Gingersnap Pumpkin Pie Bars

Rich and creamy gingersnap pumpkin pie bars – everything to love about classic pumpkin pie, but so much easier, with a flavorful gingersnap cookie crumb crust, a silky smooth, ginger-spiced pumpkin filling, and perfect for a crowd! Gluten-free friendly.

gingersnap pumpkin pie bars via forkknifeswoon.com

Gingersnap pumpkin pie bars

These gingersnap pumpkin pie bars are for those of you who thought, wow, last week’s roasted sugar pumpkin pie sounds deeelicious, but also like, a lot of work.

Well, my friends, welcome to everything there is to love about that super creamy and flavorful pumpkin pie, bundled up nicely in nearly foolproof bar form, and ready in less than half the time. They’re the lazy baker’s BFF.

gingersnap pumpkin pie bars via forkknifeswoon.com

Why you’ll love these rich and creamy pumpkin pie bars

We’re once again riffing on my favorite gingersnap pumpkin pie, which sports a chunky gingersnap cookie crumb crust and silky smooth pumpkin filling that’s generously spiced with fresh ginger, warming spices, and complex caramel and brown sugar notes. It’s the perfect way to serve a Thanksgiving crowd, and much easier (and faster) than making a full on pie or tart.

The crust is made with gingersnaps, a pinch of brown sugar, fall spices, and melted butter. It comes together in minutes in a food processor, before being simply pressed into the bottom of a 9×9-inch baking pan. If you’d like a milder flavor, you can also use graham cracker crumbs, but the spiciness and added flavor that the gingersnaps bring is a perfect complement to the richness of the pumpkin filling.

The filling is made with mostly familiar, traditional ingredients, but I have a few simple tricks that elevate classic pumpkin pie from basic to crave-worthy.

gingersnap pumpkin pie bars via forkknifeswoon.com

I like to start by cooking the pumpkin for a few minutes prior to baking with the sugar and spices. This caramelizes the sugars, and releases some of the natural moisture in the pumpkin, yielding a smoother, richer filling. Next up, indulgent sweetened condensed milk, and two eggs plus an extra yoke to keep the pumpkin custard super smooth and ultra creamy. A splash of vanilla rounds out a sweet and spicy filling that is both new and nostalgic at the same time.

The most difficult part of this recipe is waiting for your gingersnap pumpkin pie bars to cool – they really do need several hours to properly set before slicing and serving. But the good news is, you can also make these in advance, which frees up the oven and crosses off one cooking to-do list item early on busy baking days.

Do you have your Thanksgiving dessert menu settled yet? Stay tuned – I’ve got another pie recipe coming for you this weekend! Happy baking!!

gingersnap pumpkin pie bars via forkknifeswoon.com

Gingersnap Pumpkin Pie Bars: FAQs

Which brand of gingersnaps are best for a gingersnap pie crust?

I typically use Mi-Del gingersnap cookies or Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Snaps. I have not had good luck with Nabisco Ginger Snaps. You’ll want to choose a thin, crispy cookie with lots of spicy ginger flavor to balance the sweetness of the filling.

Can I make these pumpkin pie bars gluten free?

These bars can easily be made gluten free by using gluten free gingersnaps in the crust. I’ve used Mi-Del gluten free gingersnaps with success. See the recipe notes for more.

How long will pumpkin pie bars last?

These bars are very best the day of, but if you have leftovers, they’ll keep in the fridge for 2-3 days before things get a bit sad and soggy.

Looking for more pumpkin desserts? Try these next:

If you make these gingersnap pumpkin pie bars, be sure to tag me on Instagram with the hashtag #forkknifeswoon and leave a comment and rating below letting me know how you liked them! ★★★★★ Star ratings are especially helpful because they help others find my recipes too. xo, Laura

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gingersnap pumpkin pie bars via forkknifeswoon.com

Gingersnap Pumpkin Pie Bars


Description

Rich and creamy gingersnap pumpkin pie bars – everything to love about classic pumpkin pie, but so much easier, with a flavorful gingersnap cookie crumb crust, a silky smooth, ginger-spiced pumpkin filling, and perfect for a crowd! Gluten-free friendly.


Ingredients

Scale

for the crust:

  • 22-1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs ¹
  • 1 Tbsp (13g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (113g or 1 stick) unsalted butter, melted ²

for the filling:


Instructions

Gingersnap crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉. Line a 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a few inches overhanging on two sides to create a sling. I like to use binder clips to help hold the paper in place.
  2. Make the gingersnap crust: In a food processor, pulse together the gingersnap cookies and brown sugar until you have a coarse crumb. Add the ginger, cinnamon, and salt, and pulse once or twice to combine. Pour in the melted butter and pulse until combined.
  3. Spoon the crumbs into the prepared pan and use your fingers to gently press the mixture into an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Follow with the flat bottom of a measuring cup or glass to firmly pack the crust into the pan.
  4. Bake for 5-8 minutes, until the crust is just beginning to set, then remove from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Set aside.

Pumpkin pie bars

  1. Meanwhile, make the pumpkin filling: Heat the pumpkin, sugars, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and spices in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-heat. When the mixture begins to sputter, cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until smooth and glossy.
  2. Remove from the heat and slowly stir in the condensed milk, whisking until completely combined. Whisk in the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, whisking until completely combined after each addition.
  3. Stir in the vanilla. Pour the filling over the crust.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes at 350℉, until the edges of the filling are just starting to set.
  5. Turn the oven down to 325℉, and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the filling is mostly set (the center will still be slightly jiggly). The filling may bubble and puff up slightly as it cooks – that’s okay, it will settle as it cools.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool for 2-3 hours until completely set. The pie filling will continue cooking through residual heat.
  7. Garnish with fresh whipped cream and serve chilled or at room-temperature. Enjoy!!

Notes

¹ This recipe was originally tested with MI-DEL gingersnaps (10 oz or about 45-50 cookies), but I’ve used other brands with success. If your gingersnaps are very sweet, you can reduce or omit the brown sugar in the crust. This pie is best with a strongly spiced ginger cookie crust.

² Because there are so many different brands of gingersnap cookies, use your judgment when it comes to the butter/crushed cookie ratio. 1/2 cup (1 stick) of melted butter may be more than you need depending on the particular gingersnaps you use. Start by adding about 6 Tbsp of the melted butter to the crumbs. If they aren’t coming together or don’t seem damp enough, add a little more butter. If they seem excessively buttery, add more crumbs, and so on. You want a crumbly, moist crumb that can easily press into the tart pan.

For gluten free pumpkin pie: Simply use gluten free gingersnap cookies such as these from MiDel. Note that they are 8 oz bags instead of 10 oz and will yield about 2 cups of cookie crumbs, so you may need a bit less butter. Several readers have also had good results with the gluten free gingersnap cookies from Trader Joe’s.

³ Substitutions for sweetened condensed milk: You’ll get the best flavor and texture using sweetened condensed milk, but if you’d prefer a less sweet pie, you can also use 1 cup of evaporated milk, heavy cream, or full fat coconut milk.

Best eaten the day of, but will keep for 2-3 days in the refrigerator.

  • Category: dessert, baking
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: american

Keywords: gingersnap pumpkin pie bars, pumpkin pie, pie, gingersnap crust, fresh ginger, holiday pie, thanksgiving dessert, easy

Photos by Laura Kasavan, of the lovely desserts blog Tutti Dolci.

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14 Comments

  1. 11.24.21

    I baked this for a staff retreat. It turned out so well that I baked it again today for Thanksgiving gathering at our house tomorrow. It is a perfect and easy bake. Spicing is just right. Thank you.

    • 11.24.21
      Laura said:

      Oh, yay! Thank you so much, Caryn!

  2. 10.31.21

    Hi, I am waiting for these to bake. I am thinking the spicing might overwhelm the pumpkin flavor and it may be too sweet for my taste. I hope I am wrong about this. However the recipe is really great and is a nice and easier bake than
    my usual pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust. If it is too sweet I will add cream cheese to my whipping cream and offer toasted pecans for my guests. I will let you know how it goes.
    Thank you for this recipe. It was What I was looking for!

  3. 10.27.21
    Samantha Tessler said:

    Can you do a streusel topping on this? If so, could you put it on before baking or after the first 30 minutes bake time?

    • 10.27.21
      Laura said:

      Hi Samantha! I haven’t tried that, but it sounds delish! I would probably try adding the streusel when you turn the oven temp down. Let me know how it turns out 🙂

  4. 12.4.19
    Lori said:

    Wow! I am a very seasoned baker! I love to look at new recipes and I so enjoyed looking at so many of yours! The one I chose to introduce to my family of 35 people was the ginger snap pumpkin bars. I knew when I read it.through it was going to be delish! Well it did not disappoint it was fantastic! I’m still thinking about them it’s been a full week…. can’t wait to make them again.. p.s. the only cinnamon I jd on hand was Siagon Cinn it was delish in this dish it has a tiny bit of heat very fun spice… also added roasted pecans and walnuts to the crust as I always do with any cookie crust!!! Thank you for the recipe I’ve really enjoyed it… it’s a keeper!!

    • 12.5.19
      Laura said:

      Oh, thanks so much, Lori!!

  5. 11.25.19
    Laura Kirste said:

    Wow, this sounds delicious! Will it work in a mini cupcake pan?

    • 11.25.19
      Laura said:

      Hi Laura! I think it probably will, but you’ll need to cut the baking time way down.

  6. 11.17.19
    Jeannette said:

    I love this recipe! Pumpkin pie is my favorite fall dessert, and these are the perfect size for when I want a small treat and not an entire piece of pie. Love your blog!

    • 11.17.19
      Laura said:

      Thank you, Jeannette!!

  7. 12.25.18
    Lori said:

    These bars are so flavorful and rich! I followed the recipe exactly but found that the crust, once pressed down , became too heavy and hard. When I make them again, I won’t press so hard or bake them so long.

  8. 11.19.18
    Abigail said:

    I am SO going to make this for our neighborhood Christmas party!
    They are the absolutely perfect nibble for the dessert table.

  9. 11.16.18

    I’m still dreaming of these bars! 🙂

Hi! I'm Laura, the food-obsessed cook, writer, and photographer behind Fork Knife Swoon, where you'll find mostly sweet, seasonal recipes and stories from my Northern Virginia kitchen.

All photography and content copyright Laura Bolton ©2021.