The first leaves have fallen. That means it’s time to bust out the boots, throw on a scarf, and whip up a batch of Healthy Pumpkin Bars.

Healthy pumpkin bars made with gluten free oats, cranberries, and maple syrup cut into squares

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Maybe I’ve been sitting too close to a lit pumpkin spice candle, but I felt the air change this week.

Instead of flip-flops and short-sleeved tees, I found myself subconsciously reaching for slippers and scarves.

I’m also dumping cinnamon on everything (plus baking Cinnamon Blondies), and debating how to use my first purchased can of precious pumpkin.

While Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies would be a tasty choice, I think these healthy pumpkin bars may just edge them out of contention.

Gluten Free pumpkin oatmeal bars stacked on a plate with a fork

5 Star Review

“YESSSSSS!!!!! These are fantastic.”

— Tracy —

Packed with pumpkin flavor and warm spices, these healthy pumpkin bars are everything I love about fall (and dessert) in a single recipe.

  • They’re ultra moist, pleasantly chewy, and incredibly filling.
  • Loaded with taste-good, feel-good ingredients like cranberries, ginger, and dark chocolate (like these Trail Mix Peanut Butter Granola Bars).
  • Thanks to pumpkin and peanut butter, these oatmeal breakfast bars contain no butter or no oil so they’re low in fat.
  • Contain zero processed sugar. Instead, they’re naturally sweetened with pure maple syrup (like this Vegan Pumpkin Bread).
  • A “dessert” that’s also socially acceptable for breakfast (like these Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins).

I was a bit worried about how the pumpkin and peanut butter would go together, but the combo turned out to be perfect.

Gluten Free healthy pumpkin bars with cranberries, chocolate chips, and oats cut into squares on parchment paper

How to Make Healthy Pumpkin Bars

Similar to my Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Bars but with the addition of pumpkin, these healthy baked pumpkin oatmeal bars are moist, flavorful, and ultra-versatile.


The Ingredients

  • Oats. Add texture and a little chew to these pumpkin bars.
  • Oat Flour. A wholesome, nutty flour choice that also has the added bonus of being gluten free (reminder: always check your labels).
  • Peanut Butter. Makes the bars moist, but its flavor is subtle.
  • Pumpkin. Packed with fiber, vitamin A, and antioxidants, pumpkin is the true star of these healthy bars. Make sure you don’t accidentally use pumpkin pie filling!
  • Ginger. I went a little heavy on the ginger because I love the way it tastes paired with the pumpkin.
  • Maple Syrup. No sugar required. These healthy pumpkin bars are naturally sweetened with nature’s best.

Pumpkin Bar Mix-Ins

Add 1/2 cup of your favorite nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, dried fruit, or even toasted coconut flakes. Here are a few of my favorite combos:

  • Dark Chocolate Chips + Cranberries
  • Pumpkin Seeds + Coconut Flakes
  • Dried Apricots + Pecans
  • Walnuts + Raisins

I’ve been making these bars on repeat for weeks, yet the versatile mix-ins make them a little different every time.

The Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Then stir together the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
a mixing bowl with peanut butter, oatmeal, and pumpkin
  1. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and then fold in any desired mix-ins.
Gluten Free Healthy Pumpkin Bars with Chocolate Chips and Cranberries
  1. Transfer to a baking pan and bake until golden.
Healthy pumpkin bars with oatmeal and no sugar and no butter
  1. Let cool, remove from pan, and slice. ENJOY!

How to Store Healthy Pumpkin Bars

  • To Store. Leftover pumpkin oatmeal bars can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 week or at room temperature for 3 days.
  • To Freeze. Individually wrap the bars, and freeze them in a ziptop bag for up to 3 months. Let thaw in the refrigerator overnight (or on the counter for a few hours if you are in a hurry!).
Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Bars made with with peanut butter and maple syrup stacked on a plate.

Never mind that the forecast is 69 degrees; fall is here. My boots, scarf, and stash of healthy pumpkin bars are (finally) ready!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Healthy Pumpkin Bars be Made with Regular Flour?

I have not tried making this recipe with wheat-based flour so it would be an experiment. If you wish to swap the oat flour for regular flour, I would suggest using an equal amount of white whole wheat flour. Note that the texture of the bars will likely turn out different and they will no longer be gluten free.

Can I Use Fresh Instead of Canned Pumpkin?

Yes. You may swap the canned pumpkin for an equal amount of pureed fresh pumpkin.

How Can I Make Pumpkin Bars Vegan?

I have not tried adapting this recipe to be vegan in my kitchen. If you’d like to experiment, you can try swapping the egg for a flax egg and the milk for your favorite non-dairy milk of choice. Let me know your results if you attempt in the comments. Or try this Vegan Pumpkin Pie or these Vegan Pumpkin Muffins.

A close up of healthy pumpkin bars made with oatmeal

Healthy Pumpkin Bars

5 from 6 votes
These healthy pumpkin bars with oatmeal are gluten free and naturally sweetened with maple syrup. Add nuts, chocolate, or dried fruit mix-ins.

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 40 mins

Servings: 8 large or 16 small bars (1 8×8-inch pan)

Ingredients
  

  • 2 1/4 cups rolled oats or quick oats; do not use instant oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup oat flour*
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons  baking powder (I recommend aluminum-free)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup pure pumpkin puree NOT pumpkin filling
  • 1 cup milk of choice (skim, almond, soy, etc.)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (I like Grade B)
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter almond butter, or other nut butter of choice
  • 1/2 cup desired mix-ins: chopped nuts dried cranberries, chocolate chips, diced apricots, coconut (I used 1/4 cup cranberries and 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8×8-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, oat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, milk, egg, maple syrup, and peanut butter until smooth. Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients, then gently stir by hand, just until combined. Fold in any desired mix-ins.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake until golden and set on top, dry at the edges, and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Let cool in the pan completely, then slice into bars.

Notes

  • *To make your own oat flour, grind regular rolled oats in a food processor for 1-2 minutes, until they are pulverized to a flour-like consistency. You’ll need just over 1/2 cup rolled oats to yield 1/2 cup oat flour, but be sure to measure before adding it to the recipe!
  • TO STORE: Leftover pumpkin oatmeal bars can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 week or at room temperature for 3 days.
  • TO FREEZE: Pumpkin bars may be individually wrapped and frozen in a ziptop bag for up to 3 months. Let thaw in the refrigerator overnight (or on the counter for a few hours if you are in a hurry!).

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 8) calculated with 1/2 cup dried cranberries as a mix-inCalories: 222kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 7gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 22mgPotassium: 344mgFiber: 4gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 3663IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 113mgIron: 2mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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27 Comments

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  1. I made this over the weekend and they are an AWESOME breakfast or snack, and my kids love them too. Thanks for the great recipe!5 stars

    1. I am SO SO SOOOO excited to hear this Kelly. Thanks so much for trying the recipe and letting me know how it turned out for you!

  2. Your oatmeal breakfast bars are on my recipe “to do” list, but this pumpkin variation was that catalyst I needed to finally bake them last night! My afternoon snack today was like a delicious bowl of oatmeal in a portable bar, both fulfilling and nutritious. I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk and almond butter. My mix-ins were raisins and toasted walnuts. I noticed that your oatmeal breakfast bars include unsweetened applesauce, so I added 1/2 cup while omitting the maple syrup. I did bake 30 minutes to account for the extra moisture. These bars may be a weekly creation in my kitchen now, and I am excited to try other variations too! 5 stars

    1. Any, I’m so glad to hear that you liked these bars, and I bet the raisins and walnuts were absolutely delicious! Thank you so much for trying the recipe and for letting me know how it turned out for you. I truly appreciate it!

  3. This recipe is so versatile: made these with Silk Dark Chocolate Almond Milk as the milk ingredient, and then used coconut and Bob’s Red Mill Flaxseed as the add-ins.5 stars

    1. Chocolate almond milk sounds dreamy Lisa! Thanks so much for trying the recipe and letting me know how it turned out for you. Love the flaxseed too. Enjoy every bite!

    1. Hi! These can be tightly wrapped and frozen for 2 months or stored in the refrigerator for a few days.

  4. Can you use quick oats for this recipe….it’s all I have on hand as I seem to digest that form of oats better than the traditional rolled. I would love to have this as a prerun snack during the week to grab and go.

    1. Hi Tracy! I have never baked these bars with quick oats, but I think that they will work just fine. Since quick oats are more ground than rolled, the bars may have a softer texture, but they’ll still taste great. I hope you enjoy them!

  5. YESSSSSS!!!!! These are fantastic. I made some modifications to fit my dietary needs like adding a scoop of vanilla protein powder and I find that anything baked needs chia seeds. I loooooooove baked oatmeal and for my running mornings this is so much easier than actually cooking oatmeal. I’m going to make up a batch of these and send them to my brother and his kids……we are a family that loves ANYTHING with pumpkin & peanut butter and don’t even get me started on the combination.

    They held together quite nicely ……5 stars

    1. YAY!!!!! I’m so happy to hear this Tracy! Pumpkin and peanut butter is one of my favorite combinations too, and the chia seeds are a great addition. Thanks for leaving this lovely review.

    2. Hi, Tracy! When adding a scoop of protein powder did it change the texture at all? Does the liquid need to be upped at all to balance that? Also scoop as in the scoop that comes with the bag of protein powder? Thanks for your help! I try to add extra protein where I can. Usually in my shakes, so this would be a nice change!

      1. Hi Kelly…I used whey which isn’t a starchy powder so it doesn’t absorb much liquid buto I did add 2 egg whites just for good measure….according to my fitness pal ad I entered the ingredients it came out to 18 grams of protein per bar….but I cut mine into 6 bats as I use them on mornings I do long runs and need the calories…they are only about 370 calories how I made them…

        Oh i have also made them without the peanut butter as I feel I may have a sensitivity to it and they were great that way too ….

    1. Hi Annie! You could try swapping wheat flour for the oat flour, but I’ve only tested the recipe with oat flour so far. Fortunately, if you have oats on hand, you can easily make oat flour! Please see recipe notes for directions.

        1. Hi Annie!  You will probably need to stop and stir more often or work in small batches, but I don’t see why that wouldn’t work!

          1. Yay! Thank you so much for being so helpful. I can’t wait to make these! I make recipes from your blog all the time and they’ve always been incredible, so I’m sure these will be too!

  6. Loved this recipe! I did tweak it according to what I had available…almond cashew milk, raisins and pecans. I also cut the maple syrup in half.  Shredded coconut on top…just because. Great way to start the day. This recipe is definitely a keeper! Thank you!! 5 stars

  7. Hi Erin,  is there a difference between using a glass pan or regular pan for this recipe? I used an 8×8 glass pan and had to cook for 40 mins before the knife came out mostly clean.  I followed your exact recipe. I’m worried I over cooked and wondering if I should have used a regular pan vs. glass? The bars are still cooling and smell delicious so hopefully I didn’t mess them up too much!!! :)

    1. Hi again! I forgot to mention that glass *does* affect baking times and temperatures—next time, I’d suggest decreasing the oven temp by 25 degrees or using a metal pan. Metal might help with getting more consistent results!

  8. Hello Erin! I baked the bars last night. As I was getting ready to put my baby to sleep, we were tasting the bars as it finished cooling down. She wanted to keep on eating the bars, but we had to stop so we can go to bed. They are moist and yummy. My son also took some with him for his school snack versus a store bought snack. I am happy about that. Thank you again for a recipe keeper.5 stars