Healthy Pumpkin Bars
Published Oct 31, 2022, Updated Nov 15, 2022
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These healthy pumpkin bars are made with whole wheat flour, Greek yogurt, applesauce and studded with chocolate chips. They have less oil than traditional pumpkin bars and can easily be made vegan.
If you only make one pumpkin-flavored thing this fall, these healthy pumpkin bars should definitely be it. They’re like my go-to pumpkin bread, but in bar form. They have the perfect amount of spice and the dark chocolate chips add a rich sweetness to each bite. Plus, you can never go wrong with the combo of pumpkin + chocolate, am I right?!
Seriously, they are so good! I literally couldn’t keep my hands off them and ate one with every meal when I first tested them, including breakfast.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Pumpkin is not only high in fiber and vitamins, but it also helps to keep these bars moist!
- The recipe only calls for 1 Tablespoon of oil. The pumpkin, applesauce and yogurt replace the rest of the fat.
- Can easily be made gluten-free + vegan!
- The combo of pumpkin, fall spices + dark chocolate = chef’s kiss!
- whole wheat pastry flour – a whole grain, nutrient-dense flour that results in a light and fluffy cake. My go-to brand is Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour. Cake flour and all-purpose flour will also work. You can also do a 1 cup whole wheat and 1 cup all-purpose if you’d like! And if you need this recipe to be gluten-free, you can use gluten-free all-purpose flour.
- pumpkin pie spice – a must for this recipe! Pumpkin pie spice is a blend that usually consists of ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and sometimes allspice. You can make your own pumpkin pie spice at home or use a store-bought blend.
- coconut sugar – I love using coconut sugar because it’s a natural sugar with a bit more nutrition but brown sugar or regular white sugar will work as well.
- pumpkin puree – you can use canned pumpkin puree or homemade pumpkin puree. If using store-bought, just make sure the ingredient list is only “pumpkin” – you don’t want to accidentally buy pumpkin pie filling, which has added sugars.
- unsweetened applesauce – I like using unsweetened applesauce to keep baked goods moist without using a ton of oil. You can make your own applesauce or use store-bought, just be sure to grab unsweetened to avoid added sugars!
- Greek yogurt – this really amps up the protein and helps to keep these bars moist. I like Fage 5% Greek yogurt or Stonyfield whole milk Greek yogurt. If you need these bars to be dairy-free, use vegan yogurt! My favorite dairy-free option is the Culina coconut yogurt.
- coconut oil – we’re only using 1 Tablespoon of oil for this entire recipe. This adds healthy fat and helps bind the bars together.
- eggs – helps bind the ingredients together and provides structure for these bars. If you need these bars to be vegan you can replace the eggs with 2 flax eggs.
- vanilla extract – a much-needed flavor enhancer.
- baking soda – to help the bars rise.
- sea salt – to bring all the flavors together.
- dark chocolate chips – I like using Lily’s chocolate chips because they’re sugar-free and low-calorie, but I also like Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips which are allergen-friendly. That said, feel free to use your favorite chocolate chip brand.
Why Use Whole Wheat Pastry Flour?
Whole wheat pastry flour is ground more finely than regular whole wheat flour so it makes lighter baked goods. It is also packed with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals and is really easy to bake with. If you can’t find whole wheat pastry flour at your local grocery store you can simply use all-purpose flour or a blend of 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of all-purpose flour.
How to Make Pumpkin Bars
Combine dry ingredients: Start by mixing your dry ingredients together: whole wheat flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt.
Whisk wet ingredients: In a separate large bowl, mix your wet ingredients: applesauce, yogurt, coconut oil, eggs, vanilla and coconut sugar. Then, stir in the pumpkin puree.
Combine dry + wet ingredients: Slowly add the flour mix to the wet ingredients and mix well until everything is combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Bake: Pour batter into a greased baking dish or one that’s lined with parchment paper. Top with additional chocolate chips. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350ºF or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Serve: Let the bars cool completely at room temperature (patience is key!) – then cut and enjoy!
How to Serve Pumpkin Bars
If you feel like getting fancy here are some ideas on how to serve these pumpkin bars:
- Coconut whip – a scoop of coconut whip cream would be so delicious on top of these pumpkin bars.
- Nut butter – a drizzle of your favorite nut butter would not only taste great but add some extra protein to these bars. You can’t go wrong with almond butter, especially if it’s homemade. Other great options are cashew butter, peanut butter or tahini. This pumpkin almond butter would also be delicious!
- Pumpkin butter – there’s no such thing as too much pumpkin in my opinion so if you want to add some extra pumpkin flavor to these bars they’d be delicious with a drizzle of this pumpkin butter + dash of pumpkin pie spice.
- Ice Cream – you really can’t go wrong with adding a scoop of your favorite ice cream on top of your freshly made, warm pumpkin bar. Vanilla would be my first choice, but for some dairy-free options this banana ice cream or chocolate banana ice cream would be tasty!
- Frosting – skip the chocolate chips on top and instead add a layer of frosting to these bars once they’ve cooled completely. This cream cheese frosting would be delicious! Pumpkin + cream cheese = a match made in heaven!
How to Store Pumpkin Bars
These pumpkin bars will stay fresh at room temperature for about 2 days or in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week. For longer storage, you can freeze them. Store in a freezer-safe, airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy, let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator or for about 1 hour at room temperature.
More Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
- Pumpkin Oatmeal Cups
- Pumpkin Spice Donuts
- No Bake Pumpkin Pie Bars
- Easy Pumpkin Granola
- Pumpkin Coffee Cake
- Pumpkin Brownies
- Pumpkin Smoothie Bowl
- Oatmeal Pumpkin Cookies
Be sure to check out all of the pumpkin recipes as well as the full collection of dessert recipes on EBF!
Healthy Pumpkin Bars
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt I used full-fat 5% yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon melted coconut oil
- 2 large eggs or 2 flaxseed eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup canned pumpkin or homemade pumpkin puree
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips + more for topping
- Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 13 x 9 baking pan with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together whole wheat flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk together coconut sugar, applesauce, yogurt, oil, eggs and vanilla until well combined. Stir in pumpkin puree.
- Slowly pour flour mix into the wet ingredients and mix well until everything is combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
- Pour dough evenly into the greased pan and top with additional chocolate chips.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when stuck into the middle of the bars.
- Cool completely, cut in 15 bars and enjoy!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Probably an unconventional request – but I’m looking for ways to make recipes like this higher calorie. Could oats be added to this? With some flax seed perhaps?
Hey Taryn, I’m sure you could add those in, but you’d likely have to add more liquid.
These are seriously good. I used half whole wheat (not pastry) and half AP flour. They are so moist and fluffy. The only issue I had was my edges were slightly chewy, but that could have been overmixing since my toddler helped make them 🙂 Mine were done at around 23 minutes, glad I checked them when I did. Might even check at 20 mins next time – there will def be a next time!
So glad these bars were a hit, Valerie!! It definitely could have been from over mixing, but how nice to have some help making them! And good thing you checked on them when you did. All ovens vary in temp so it’s always a good idea to check a few minutes before the recommended baking time just in case your oven is hotter. 🙂
I make these almost every week. Whole family can’t get enough. Use spelt flour, a whole egg instead of the 2 whites and coconut yogurt instead, but it still turns out beautifully.
Side note, there has not been one of your recipes, that I have tried, that hasn’t be amazing. Love your website.
Woo!! So glad this recipe is a hit with your family, Leslie. Thanks for coming back to leave a review, I so appreciate it!
Hello Brittany – I’ve been following you on Instagram for a long time and just love your recipes and website (and Liv)! Can you recommend the best GF all purpose flour? I’ve tried a few and find that whenever I substitute the GF flour the recipe turns out a tad dry. Thank you in advance.
I love Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten-free all-purpose flour! Have you tried that one?
I made these with Bob’s Gluten free flour and 2 whole eggs. They are tasty but came out a tad dry. This was my first attempt using gluten free flour so I don’t know if the liquids need to be adjusted to compensate or what. They are still tasty though!
Hey Lauren – Sorry to hear that these turned out a bit dry. I haven’t tried them with the gluten-free all-purpose so it could have been the flour that caused them to be a bit dry. If you make them again I would add an extra splash of liquid to the batter. 🙂
These are a Fall staple in my house. They’ve turned out great every time I’ve made them. Making them later this week, but I don’t have applesauce so I’ll see how they turn out. Maybe I can just grate an apple in there.
So glad you love this recipe, Sara! I bet using more pumpkin would also work instead of the applesauce. Let me know how they turn out for you!
These are great! I did not expect the pumpkin flavor to be as bold as it is, and I really like it! Very easy to make as well. I only needed to cook mine for 20 minutes and they were a little overdone, but I think that was my mistake. Even so, they are great. Thanks!!
Awesome, Emily! I am so glad that you are loving this recipe. Sorry to hear they were a bit overdone, but happy you enjoyed them anyways. Thank you for your review + star rating, I really appreciate it.
Absolutely amazing! I make pumpkin bars every Thanksgiving and it’s not a recipe that uses the healthiest ingredients. My family loves them though. This recipe is hands down my favorite and the family agrees. Thanks for sharing your delicious recipes with us.
WOO! I am so glad that you and your family are loving this recipe. Thank you so much for sharing your review & star rating, I truly appreciate it!
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