These delicious pumpkin streusel bars have a cinnamon graham cracker crust, creamy pumpkin cheesecake filling, and brown sugar streusel on top. They’re a little different than classic pumpkin pie – and even more delicious if you ask me.
Every fall I’m on the lookout for new pumpkin recipes. I love anything with pumpkin spice. And this fall I’m combining 2 of my favorite pumpkin recipes – pumpkin coffee cake and pumpkin cheesecake – to make these delicious pumpkin streusel bars. They have a deliciously crunchy graham crumb crust and tangy creamy pumpkin cheesecake filling that’s 1000x better than any restaurant version. Then to make them just a little different, they’re topped with cinnamon oatmeal crumble.
Talk about a winner.
The Perfect Pumpkin Streusel Bars
This recipe is very similar to my pumpkin cheesecake bars. The main difference is that we’re adding the oatmeal crumble topping, and I actually made the cheesecake layer a little thinner so that the bars don’t overflow in your pan (that would be a disaster).
Because of the 3 layers, the instructions may look a little long/complex – but they aren’t overly difficult to make.
The crust is made with graham crumbs, a little brown sugar, a hint of cinnamon and melted butter. You can either buy a box of graham crackers and crush them in a food processor, or just by the crumbs from the baking aisle (I typically do this because I’m lazy, and it’s one less thing to wash). If you want to buy cinnamon grahams and skip the additional cinnamon, that works too. You’ll bake the crust on its own for 10 minutes to give it a little crunch.
The filling is an easy, creamy pumpkin cheesecake. It’s important to use full-fat, brick-style cream cheese instead of lite or spreadable whenever making cheesecake to give it the correct consistency. Then the pumpkin spice flavor comes from pure pumpkin (sometimes the can is labeled pumpkin puree), pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar and vanilla. I’ve included how to make your own pumpkin pie spice in the recipe notes, or you can purchase the spice mix if you plan to do a lot of fall baking.
You’ll bake the pumpkin cheesecake layer on its own (without the streusel topping) for about 30 minutes. This ensures that when you add the streusel layer it doesn’t sink to the bottom of the cheesecake, and also ensures that the streusel topping doesn’t over brown.
As the cheesecake is baking, you’ll stir together the streusel ingredients – brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, quick oats and melted butter. After the cheesecake has baked for about 30 minutes, you’ll remove it from the oven and sprinkle small crumbles of streusel overtop. In many recipes, I like large crumbles – but in this recipe, I recommend small crumbles so that the bars are easier to slice. It then goes back in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes, or until the top is brown and the streusel bars no longer wobble in the middle when you give the pan a nudge.
Serving & Make-Ahead Tips
The bars will need to cool fully to room temperature, then chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours before serving for the cheesecake to set. This makes it a great dessert to make the day before a dinner party, etc. When serving, I added a drizzle of glaze for a little extra sweetness – or a drizzle of caramel works too. But it’s definitely not necessary by any means.
Your guests will love the pumpkin flavor, creamy cheesecake texture, and crunchy crumble topping of these pumpkin streusel bars. They’re the perfect spin on classic fall desserts, and just a little different to be a welcome change while still encompassing everything you love about pumpkin.
Pumpkin Streusel Bars
- 9x13 Inch Pan
Graham Cracker Crust
- 2 cups graham crumbs*
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
- 22 ounces full-fat cream cheese* softened to room temperature
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar give it a bit of a stir to remove any lumps
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice* or make your own - see recipe notes
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch*
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- one 15 ounce can pure pumpkin* AKA pumpkin puree
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup quick oats old-fashioned oats are ok
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1-2 tablespoons milk or cream
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 325F degrees. Line a 9x13 inch (23x33 cm) glass or ceramic pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the graham crumbs, sugar and salt.
- Stir in the melted butter.
- Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven & keep the oven turned on.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth.
- Beat in the white sugar, brown sugar, spices and cornstarch. To ensure the batter is smooth, ensure there are no lumps in the brown sugar before adding it into the cream cheese.
- With the mixer on low speed, mix in the vanilla extract and pumpkin.
- Carefully mix in the eggs 1 at a time until just combined.
- Pour the pumpkin batter over top of the crust.
- Bake in the preheated oven (at 325F degrees) for 30 minutes as you make the streusel topping.
- In a medium bowl stir together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and oats.
- Stir in the melted butter - it should feel like wet sand.
- Crumble/sprinkle the streusel over top of the semi-baked pumpkin layer (after it's been baked for 30 minutes).
- Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden, and there is no wobble in the middle if you give the pan a nudge.
Cooling, Chilling & Serving
- Place the pan on top of a wire rack and let the bars cool at room temperature (in the pan).
- Once the bottom of the pan is room temperature, cover the pan with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at leat 6 hours (or overnight).
- When ready to serve, remove the bars from the fridge. Lift them out of the pan using the overhang of the parchment paper and place on a cutting board. Slice with a sharp knife.
- Optionally, whisk together the cream/ and powdered sugar starting with 1 tablespoon of cream and adding more if needed. Drizzle on top of each slice. Or drizzle each slice with salted caramel sauce.
- Graham crumbs can be substituted with digestive biscuit crumbs.
- Make sure to use full-fat, brick-style cream cheese. Do not use lite or spreadable because they won't give the cheesecake the proper consistency.
- To make your own pumpkin pie spice - use 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ginger and 1/8 teaspoon allspice. Or if you're really in a pinch, use 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon.
- Cornstarch can be substituted with flour if needed.
- One 15 ounce can is almost 2 cups of pumpkin measured out. I do not recommend using homemade pumpkin puree because it can have different amounts of liquid and therefore lead to inconsistent results. Do not use pumpkin pie filling.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Nutrition information is an estimate only, and based one bar (without glaze) assuming that the pan is sliced into 15 equal pieces.