Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bars with Pecan Crust (Gluten-Free & Easy)

By Alexandra Caspero on November 5, 2021
One of my favorite desserts for Thanksgiving or the holidays. Vegan pecan pie crust topped with a creamy pumpkin filling.
Makes 9 large bars

Now you don’t have to choose between pumpkin or pecan pie! Have both with these healthy vegan pumpkin pie bars with a pecan crust. 

Pecan on the bottom, pumpkin pie on top, it’s a Thanksgiving party in your mouth. These vegan pumpkin pie bars are a dessert showstopper that will wow everyone. 

Plus, these squares are both gluten-free and vegan so they accommodate the eating preferences of almost anyone at your holiday table. I’ve made these bars evert year since I first created them back in 2014 and they are a major hit every time. You know it’s a good dessert when these bars are gone before anyone’s touched the regular pumpkin pie! 

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bars with Pecan Crust

Pumpkin Bars that taste like pumpkin pie, with half the effort

The best part about these bars is that they are easier to put together than traditional pie. The pecan pie base is made in just minutes in a food processor and the pumpkin filling comes together in no time. 

Once you try these pumpkin bars, it’ll be hard to go back to regular pie again.

Plate with creamy pumpkin bar and whipped cream

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Pecan Bars

Because I can never choose which pie flavor I love more, I’ve decided to combine my two favorites– pumpkin pie and pecan pie– into one dreamy bar. Problem solved!

I cannot wait for you to make this one! One of my favorite fall desserts with rave reviews from readers who’ve tried it. Typically, when I bake desserts for the blog it involves at least 2-3 rounds of testing. One-to-two attempts to get it right, and another to double check the recipe and photograph. With all that extra food, I usually become everyone’s favorite co-worker.

After I made these bars, BL persuasively recommended the leftovers not see the interior of my office. Ha! Good thing they freeze well. 

vegan pumpkin pie bars

Creamy Pumpkin Pie Bar Ingredients:

To make these bars, you’ll need ingredients for both the pecan crust and the creamy pumpkin pie filling. 

  • Pecans
  • Brown sugar
  • Spices, like cinnamon, ginger, vanilla extract and nutmeg 
  • Non-dairy butter; you can sub coconut oil if you’d like 
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Maple syrup
  • Full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream
  • Cornstarch, arrowroot powder also works 
  • Dairy-free milk 

While they are perfect on their own, the dollop of coconut whipped cream on top completes the pie experience. I used my basic coconut whipped cream recipe (tutorial here) and added a sprinkle of cinnamon. Top with finely chopped pecans and these bars are a complete showstopper.

Baking Dish with Pumpkin Pie Pecan Bars

How to make Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bars

Make the Pecan Pie Crust

Line a 8×8 inch baking square pan with a parchment paper overhang. This helps for easy removal of the bars once they are completely cooled. To do this, cut two large strips of parchment paper longer than the baking dish, then overlap in the middle. 

To start, you’ll make the pecan crust by place 2 1/2 cups pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Then, add in the butter and pulse again until combined. The texture should be like wet sand. 

Press the pecan pie filling into the prepared baking dish and bake for 8-10 minutes until just golden brown.

Making the pumpkin pie filling in the food processor

Make the creamy pumpkin pie filling

In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and cornstarch until dissolved. Then, place that alongside the the remaining ingredients in the base of the same food processor and blend until creamy, scraping down the sides as needed. 

If you don’t have all of the individual spices, you can substitute in 2 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice instead. 

Pour the filling onto the pecan crust and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until completely set. The only downside to these bars is you have to let them cool completely before serving. Which is complete torture when your whole house smells like cinnamon, nutmeg and toasted nuts. 

Who has the patience to wait hours before taking a bite?! My advice- make them in the evening, and place them in the refrigerator before you head to bed.

Pouring the pumpkin filling over the pecan pie base

A yummy holiday dessert or breakfast option 

Instead of enjoying dessert after a large holiday meal, like Thanksgiving, I prefer to indulge the next morning. My day-after ritual involves relaxing on the couch while outfitted with a Christmas movie, oversized cup of black coffee, and a giant plate of pie from the evening before. 

I’ve been doing this since I was a kid, and it’s my favorite memory of Thanksgiving with my family. Even though we were a four woman household, we usually passed on Black Friday sales to cuddle on the couch and pass around Thanksgiving leftovers. While my sisters were active members of the turkey sandwich club, Friday was my pie day.

Trust me when I say that these bars pair well with coffee. Grab a blanket, grab a book, and relax on the couch– coffee (or tea!) in one hand, these bars in the other.

Pumpkin Pie Bars with Pecan Crust

More Vegan Dessert Recipes:

Apple Pie Bars
Chocolate Bourbon Balls
Vegan Molasses Cookies
Fresh Cranberry Bars
Vegan Pecan Pie Cheesecake Bars
Cranberry Orange Bars
Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
Vegan Espresso Brownies

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking! 

Print
Vegan Pumpkin Pie Pecan Bars

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Pecan Bars

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: dessert, thanksgiving
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten Free
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Pumpkin Bars that taste like pumpkin pie, with half the effort The best part about these bars is that they are easier to put together than traditional pie. Once you try these vegan pumpkin pie bars, it’ll be hard to go back to regular pie again.


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: dessert, thanksgiving
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten Free
  • Diet: Vegan
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: dessert, thanksgiving
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten Free
  • Diet: Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

Pecan Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups raw pecans, plus more for garnish
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons non-dairy butter, cubed (I like Earth Balance brand)

Creamy Pumpkin Pie Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot starch
  • 1/4 cup 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 (15 oz.) can or carton pumpkin puree– not pumpkin pie filling!
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk (the thick stuff on top of the can*)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Whipped coconut cream, for topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place 2 1/2 cups pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
  2. Add butter and pulse until mixture is finely ground and resembles wet sand. Press the pecan mixture into a well-greased or parchment lined 8×8″ baking pan. Bake 8-10 minutes until lightly colored and fragrant. Set aside until ready to fill.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch into the maple syrup until combined. Place this along with the pumpkin puree, sugar, vanilla extract, coconut cream, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in the same food processor (no need to wipe it out first) and blend until creamy and smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
  4. Pour the pumpkin filling onto the pecan crust, tap to even out the layer, and bake for 40 minutes.
  5. When done, remove the pumpkin bars from the oven and let cool on the counter. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set before slicing.
  6. Serve squares with a dollop of whipped coconut cream and pecans.

Notes

*For best results, place the can of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge. After opening, carefully remove the top layer of thick cream. If your coconut milk is too watery, omit it all together as too much liquid in these bars won’t allow them to set up correctly.

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Vegan and Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie Pecan Bars! Now you don't have to choose between pies! This dessert is the BEST- a must for Thanksgiving. Topped with Cinnamon-Vanilla Coconut Cream. | www.delishknowledge.com
This recipe was first published in 2014 and updated in 2021. 

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. Ali
      September 12, 2022 AT 7:09 am

      These are amazing! Even my non-vegan family loved them. These are now a staple in the fall.

    2. Kateri north
      May 26, 2022 AT 9:48 am

      Will try this today with.thst squash that is huge.

    3. Ali
      December 26, 2021 AT 9:15 am

      Huge holiday hit with my whole family. Will definitely make this again.

      1. Alex
        December 29, 2021 AT 11:43 am

        So glad to hear, thanks Ari!

    4. Pat
      December 22, 2021 AT 10:06 am

      Can i substitute applesauce for the vegan “butter”/ earth balance?

      1. Alex
        December 22, 2021 AT 12:47 pm

        Hi Pat, I haven’t tried that before so not sure how it will work in the crust. If you try it and it works, let us know!

    5. Suzan
      December 14, 2021 AT 5:38 am

      Wonderful recipe! I will definitely add this to my favourites. Next time I will double up on the pumpkin as it was soooooo good.and want it to be the star. I did reduce the sugar when I made it. Didn’t miss it.

      1. Alex
        December 15, 2021 AT 8:12 am

        Glad to hear! Do you happen to remember what you reduced the sugar to? I’d like to try it.

    6. JeanineMB
      November 26, 2021 AT 7:06 am

      One swap was pumpkin for butternut squash. Everything else was according to the recipe. Delishious!

    7. Nicole
      October 5, 2021 AT 9:52 am

      Narrorator Voiceover: …And with one bite, she never had to choose between pumpkin and pecan pie ever again. (Cue dramatic, sweeping soundtrack). The End.

      1. Alex
        October 5, 2021 AT 10:49 am

        YOU WIN for the best comment ever.

    8. Michaela
      November 24, 2014 AT 1:15 pm

      what a beautiful recipe! So perfect for Thanksgiving 🙂

    9. Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy
      November 22, 2014 AT 4:12 pm

      oh my gosh yum! drooling over here!

      1. DK
        November 22, 2014 AT 8:30 pm

        Thanks Caralyn!

    10. athletic avocado
      November 22, 2014 AT 6:45 am

      gotta love this recipe!!! team pumpkin all the way!!

      1. DK
        November 22, 2014 AT 8:30 pm

        Thanks girl!