Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake Bars

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake Bars |

Brown butter trumps everything.  Well, not sprinkles.  I mean, let’s not get carried away or anything. But it definitely trumps everything else!  That nutty aroma that fills your kitchen and those little browned specks floating around in baked goods.  It’s kind of magical.  And I believe it’s kind of mandatory in fall baking.  It’s definitely mandatory in brown butter pumpkin bars, filled with cinnamon, nutmeg, pecans and a little white chocolate. Yep, these bars are all sorts of divine!

Okay, so these little gems are one of those recipes that will become a regular go-to in your fall baking.  They’re easy to throw together, you don’t even need a mixer, and the bake time is under 30 minutes.  I love how they look totally unassuming too, like it’s the type of dessert you’ll be all set with just a few bites and then you can move on with your life.  Wrong!  More like the type where you keep going back for 1 more bite until the whole bloody pan is gone.

You think I like them?

The first step is to brown the butter. If you’ve never done this, please don’t be deterred. I explain it in the directions and it’s one of those things that once you try it, you’ll want to brown butter for anything and everything.

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake Bars |

The next thing that makes these gems so heavenly, besides the pumpkin of course, are the spices. I think we talked about this in the past, but it’s important so I’m going to PSA it again: Use freshly grated nutmeg.  I’m telling you it’s a game changer.

Last, you stir in a little white chocolate and some lightly toasted pecans to give it even more warmth and flavor.

Important tip: don’t over mix this batter. Mix in those dry ingredients just until they’re incorporated.

Finally, we eat! I could tell you to make sure the bars are completely cool before you cut in, but I totally cut into these while they’re still a bit warm so get the spoons ready.  One bite and you’re so hooked. You get the pumpkin, then the nuttiness from the brown butter combined with the warmth from all the spices. Every few bites you get a little sweet from the white chocolate, and the crunch from the toasted pecans finishes it off perfectly.

Also, I actually find that I like them even more (how is that even possible?) the next day. It’s like once all those ingredients have time to mix & mingle, they really shine.

Happy baking!

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake Bars |

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake Bars


  • 8 ounces unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp. canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3/4 cup lightly toasted pecans, finely chopped
  • 6 ounces white chocolate, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Lightly spray again and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, brown butter over medium heat. As soon as the butter starts to sizzle, keep a close eye on it. When it starts to foam up a bit and you start to see those little browned specks, it's done. You'll know it's done as soon as you smell the nutty aroma.
  3. Remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl to cool down for about 5-10 minutes.
  4. In a separate bow, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Set aside.
  5. Whisk granulated sugar and brown sugar into browned butter, mixing well.
  6. Whisk in egg followed by vanilla extract.
  7. Whisk in pumpkin puree.
  8. Add dry ingredients to batter, mixing just to combine. Do not over mix!
  9. Stir in pecans and white chocolate.
  10. Pour batter into prepared pan and even out with a spatula. Bake for 25-28 minutes, rotating once halfway through, until edges start to pull away from sides of the pan.
  11. Set bars on a wire rack to cool.

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12 Responses to “Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake Bars”

  1. 1

    Mmm such a yummy looking pumpkin bar. Great recipe!

  2. 2

    Can’t go wrong combining pumpkin and brown butter!

  3. 3

    LOVE brown butter, and with pumpkin?! OMG this is heaven!

  4. 4

    These pumpkin bars are absolutely incredible! Pinned!

  5. 5

    I totally agree with the fresh nutmeg!! The spices are what really bring pumpkin treats alive…otherwise they’re totally bland!

  6. 6
    Terra says:

    Brown butter is the nectar of the gods, so good! Your pumpkin bars look fabulous! Yum, Hugs, Terra

  7. 7

    […] Don’t underestimate these little Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake Bars!  They are packed with flavor from the brown butter, white chocolate and toasted pecans.  Light, […]

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