The Best Pumpkin Desserts Ever

The Best Pumpkin Desserts Ever

Whenever Autumn rolls around, I start baking up all sorts of goodies with fall favorites like apples and pumpkins. My family enjoys the classic pumpkin desserts such as pie for Thanksgiving, but over the years, we've found some truly amazing dessert recipes that incorporate pumpkin. In this post, I've put together my list of favorite pumpkin desserts with plenty of instructions so that you can be successful whether you are an expert or novice baker. As a special bonus, I put in some personal tidbits about where the recipes came from too. I hope that you enjoy the recipes as much as my family has over the years!

Paul's Classic Pumpkin Bars

These super moist bars taste great and they work well when you want to feed a crowd of people. When my family gets together for Thanksgiving or Christmas, it ends up being about 50 people with all my Aunts, Uncles, cousins and their kids, plus my immediate family so whipping up these bars for the potluck is a no brainer. I simply double the recipe and make two big jellyroll pans full of bars.

Pumpkin Bars:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1-15oz can pumpkin
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup cooking oil (I use canola)
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • Pecan halves for decorations

In a medium sized mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients including the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, soda and salt. Set aside. In another large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, pumpkin, sugar and oil with a hand mixer on medium speed. Add the dry mixture to the wet one a little at a time until well combined. Stir in the chopped pecans (optional).

Spread the bar batter in an ungreased 15x10x1 inch baking pan. Bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool bars completely and then frost with cream cheese frosting. Cut the bars into squares topping each square with one or two pecan halves. Store unserved bars in the refrigerator. Makes about 24 bars.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

In a medium bowl, beat together one 3 oz package of softened cream cheese, cup softened butter, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Gradually add 2 cups of sifted powdered sugar beating until smooth. Spread on cooled bars. Store bars in an airtight container or pack them up to give to the party host as a Thanksgiving or Halloween gift!

Did You Know?

According to, the word pumpkin comes from the word pepon which is Greek for "large melon".

Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling

A while back, we had a cleaning lady named Pat that came by once a month to help with housework. She was a godsend and every year for Christmas, she gave all her clients (including us) one of her delectable pumpkin rolls as a little thank you gift. Well I've been hooked ever since so today I'm going to share that favorite recipe with you.


  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)


  • 1 - 8 oz package softened cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Grease and flour a 15 x 10 x 1 inch jelly roll pan and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer on high speed until thick and pale. Gradually add 1 cup of sugar and beat for 5 minutes on medium speed. Stir in the pumpkin and lemon juice by hand.

Combine together the flour and next five ingredients. Then gradually add the dry flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture mixing well between each addition. Spread the batter evenly in the jelly roll pan. If you choose to use nuts, evenly sprinkle the chopped pecans over the top of the batter. Bake at 375°F for 12 minutes.

The following step is a MUST in order to prevent the cake from splitting and breaking when you roll it up with the filling. On a large flat surface, spread out a thin cloth kitchen towel and sprinkle it lightly with some powdered sugar (maybe 1 to 2 tablespoons). When cake is removed from the oven, immediately loosen it from the sides of the pans and turn it out onto the powder sugar sprinkled towel. Starting at the narrow end of the cake, roll up the cake and towel (TOGETHER). Cool completely on wire rack with the cake seam side down.

To make the filling, beat together the cream cheese and butter on high speed. Mix in the vanilla and gradually add the powdered sugar beating until thoroughly combined and smooth. Unroll the cooled cake and remove the towel. Spread the cake with the cream cheese mixture and carefully re-roll. Present to guests on a plate with the seam side down. You can garnish with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, cinnamon or a large dollop of whipped cream. Be sure to store in the refrigerator.

How To Make A Pumpkin Roll Video

If you've never made a jelly or pumpkin roll before, I highly recommend watching this video for some great tips on how to keep the sponge cake from cracking when you roll it up.

Pumpkin Dessert

Pumpkin Dessert

My husband and I have been making this dessert since we were in college... guess that was 20 years ago. I loved it then for the same reason that I love it now... it is super easy to make and it tastes great. It is kind of like a light and fluffy upside down pumpkin cake.

Photo is courtesy of Betty Crocker


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 - 29 oz can pumpkin
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • tsp. ginger
  • tsp. ground cloves
  • tsp. salt
  • 1 - 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 box of yellow cake mix (no pudding added)
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans
  • 4 Tbsp. melted butter
  • Carton of Cool Whip, Vanilla Ice Cream or Homemade Whipped Cream


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13 pan with wax paper. Set aside.

2. Mix together the sugar, eggs, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, and milk. Pour the mixture into the wax-lined pan.

3. Sprinkle the DRY cake mix on top, then evenly sprinkle on the chopped nuts. Pour the melted butter evenly over the cake mix and nuts.

4. Bake for 1 hour or until knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

5. Cool. Cut into squares and serve with cool whip, whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Praline Sauce

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Praline Sauce

Personally I'm not a big fan of cheesecake which is good because I'm lactose intolerant. However my husband LOVES eating and baking up a gourmet cheesecake. This is one of his favorites for the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. It is a nice change from traditional pumpkin pie.

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Foley at Food & Wine


  • 1 cups finely chopped pecans
  • cup fine dry bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter


  • 4 - 8 oz packages of softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • cup flour
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 - 16 oz can pumpkin (or 2 cups mashed cooked pumpkin)

Pecan Praline Sauce

  • 1 sticks unsalted butter
  • cup dark brown sugar
  • cup heavy cream
  • teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chopped toasted pecans (8 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9" springform pan with some softened butter. In a medium bowl, combine the dry crust ingredients and then drizzle the melted butter over the mixture, tossing to combine. Press the crust mixture into the bottom and sides of the springform pan and refrigerate.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese using a mixer on medium speed until it is smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in the brown and white sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the five eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed just until blended. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, and pumpkin, mixing well. Gradually add this to the cream cheese mixture beating until smooth. Pour the filling into the crust-lined springform pan.

Place in the center of the 350°F oven baking for 1 hour 20 to 1 hour 30 minutes or until the center is set. Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake stand in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and run a sharp knife around the sides of the pan. Cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

For the sauce, preheat the oven to 350°F to toast the pecans. Spread the 2 cups of chopped pecans on a baking sheet and place in the oven for about 8 minutes. Keep your eye on them. You want them lightly browned and fragrant (not burned). Transfer them to a bowl to cool. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar over medium heat stirring constantly until smooth. Then stir in the heavy cream and salt, bringing the mixture to a boil. Then boil it until it thickens (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat and let it cool slightly. Stir in the toasted pecans and serve over individual wedges of cheesecake.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Video

I prefer to use my cheesecake recipe (rather than the one shown in the video). However if you'd like tips on how to keep your cheesecake moist and crack free... give this video a watch!

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Sugar Frosting

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Sugar Frosting

We've made these yummy cookies for several of our annual Halloween parties and they have always been a big hit. I stumbled across this recipe one year when I decided we needed something besides the usual pumpkin cake or bars to serve at the party. The brown sugar frosting gives them an extra special finishing touch and turns them into a truly gourmet cookie.

Photo courtesy of Betty Crocker


  • cup sugar
  • cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • cup milk
  • 1 to 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugars and butter until light and fluffy. Add the pumpkin, vanilla, and egg beating well. In another bowl, mix together the rest of the dry ingredients (except the nuts). Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet pumpkin mixture mixing until well blended. Stir in the walnuts. Drop the dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Leave about 2" spaces between the dough balls so that cookies don't run into one another. NOTE: I use a small #90 scoop instead of "rounded teaspoons" to achieve uniform sized cookies.

Bake cookies at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Immediately remove cookies from baking sheets and cool them completely on cooling racks. Recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies.

To make the frosting, combing the butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat for 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Be sure to stir constantly. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes. Stir in the milk beating until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar until you achieve the desired consistency for spreading on the cookies. Frost the cookies and let them sit until the frosting sets up.

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