Pumpkin Pie Squares

These easy-to-make squares are perfect as a dessert or snack. When served soon after baking, the texture resembles freshly baked pumpkin pie, but after cooling (especially overnight), they firm up considerably and can be eaten with your fingers.

Ingredients:
12 medjool dates, pitted and diced (about 1-1/4 cups or 8 ounces)
1 cup non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups rolled oats, ground into flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 can (15 ounces) cooked pumpkin (not pumpkin pie “mix”)
1/2 cup pecan halves, chopped (optional)

Directions:
1. Place the pitted, chopped dates into a blender with the non-dairy milk and vanilla, and set aside for at least 30 minutes so that the dates may soften.

2. Combine the flour and spices in a mixing bowl.

3. After soaking, blend the dates, non-dairy milk and vanilla until smooth (1 to 2 minutes). Pour this mixture, along with the pumpkin, into the bowl of flour and spices. Mix until smooth with an electric beater, tossing in the nuts last. (The batter will be thick.)

4. Scrape into an 8 by 8-inch baking pan lined with parchment paper (or use a silicone baking pan). Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees. Let cool 10 to 15 minutes before slicing the squares and serving. The longer they cool, the firmer they will become. Optional: add Nutty Frosting below just before serving.

Preparation: 35 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Makes: 12 to 16 squares

NOTES

Using fresh pumpkin: I use canned pumpkin because it’s convenient and easy, and I know the texture will be consistent. If using fresh pumpkin interests you, search “fresh pumpkin vs. canned pumpkin in baking” online.

Pumpkin pie spice substitution: If you do not have pumpkin pie spice, you may substitute: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and a pinch of ground clove.

Oat flour: You can easily grind rolled oats into flour by using any blender; high-speed blenders produce the finest flour, but any blender will do. (A food processor is least effective.) If you are using pre-ground flour, the measurement is the same.

Pans: I use an 8×8-inch Pyrex pan here, but you can also use a lined pie or cake pan, and then cut the pieces to look like pumpkin pie slices.

Nutty Frosting

This simple nut-based frosting adds a little extra richness and sweetness to special-occasion cakes and bars. Spread on with a butter knife or use a cake decorating kit for a more decorative touch.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup raw, unsalted cashews (about 4 ounces)
7 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped (about 5 ounces)
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Place all ingredients into a blender jar and let sit for at least 30 minutes, so the nuts and dates can soften.

2. After soaking, blend all ingredients until smooth. Use immediately or chill for a couple hours or overnight to thicken.

Preparation: 35 minutes
Cooking: 0 minutes
Makes: about 1-1/2 cups

Above: This was baked in a pie pan and served soon after taking out of the oven, so it has a looser texture. The longer it sits (or is refrigerated overnight) the firmer it will get (see below).

Above: These are completely cooled, so they are firm enough to be cut into snack-sized squares. The bottom squares have a little grated macadamia nut on them instead of frosting.

Above: You can also make mini pumpkin pies slices. After baking in a square pan and cooling, slice into three equal strips and then cut out little pie slices as you go across each strip. I bought this inexpensive cake decorating kit for the frosting.

This recipe was edited on 11/18/13. Click here to see original.

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Comments

  1. Cathy, these look absolutely delicious–and easy. Now I know exactly what I’ll be making for dessert on Thanksgiving. Thanks for all you plant-based, no-oil recipes. You’re a master, lady!

  2. would you substitute oat bran instead of the oat flour?

  3. Rebecca Poppe says:

    I love ALL the options you gave. I appreciate it so much! Can’t wait. It looks so easy to make!

  4. These look ah-maz-ing! So excited to give this recipe a try.

  5. Looks so good! I have been in a pumpkin mood and can’t wait to try these. Thanks!

  6. Is it gluten-free?

    • Hi MaDonna, oats do not naturally contain gluten, but some people with this sensitivity avoid them anyway since they can be contaminated with glutenous grains during production. You can buy “gluten-free” oats but they are more expensive than regular rolled oats. Other than the oats, this recipe is gluten-free.

  7. I’m making these right now, the batter is yummy as is so I bet the finished product will be great! I’m thinking this will be great to take to Christmas events!

  8. Georgianne says:

    Hi Cathy!
    The bars look great! I have steel cut oats and a vitamix at home. What are your thoughts on attempting to make a flour with these if I don’t have rolled oats on hand?

    Thanks!
    Georgianne

  9. Thank you for such yummy recipes! I made this today and topped it with a date/hemp seed/pumpkin seed/coconut milk/vanilla topping (for my nut sensitive kid). It tasted like caramel frosting! Yummy on apples too!

  10. Made these for Halloween, excellent!

  11. Laurie-Marie says:

    Yum! I just made this recipe. Thanks for sharing it. It turned out great. I modified it just a bit. I added maple syrup and salt to the cake batter and the frosting.

    • I just made this recipe today. It is very difficult to tell when it is done. Also, I would definitely add sea salt and maybe a bit more of the spices. (That was my husband’s request.) It was a bit flat tasting. My husband also suggested adding more sweetener, so I might try the maple syrup if it doesn’t make it too runny.

      Has anyone tried freezing the pumpkin pie squares with success? I would love to make this ahead of time for Tgiving.

      • Hi Glenna, yes, I don’t make things overly sweet, so you are welcome to add more sweetner of any kind. They are somewhat basic, not a jazzy dessert. When you take it out, it will be gooey, like pumpkin pie, and you can eat it on the “looser” side (after 10-15 minutes) or wait; the longer it sits, the more it sets up. By the next morning they are very firm, like the photo shows. I haven’t freezed any yet, but if you do, let me know how they do. :)

  12. I just found your site and I am thrilled. These will be on our Thanksgiving table for sure! thank you thank you thank you!!!

  13. any suggestions for substitution for pumpkin which I don’t really like–would apples work?

    • Hi Monica, I think apples may be a little loose, but you could try it. You could also used canned (or fresh/cooked) sweet potatoes/yam. You might also try the Blueberry-Banana bar recipe on my blog instead.

  14. These are baking right now and they smell as delicious as the batter tastes!
    Thanks for sharing your recipes, I have tried several and enjoy them all

  15. pine applies says:

    i’m learning how to make snacks home made. your instructions are easy to follow. the pictures help, and the coloring of the notes- to make home made pumpkin spices.

    thank you.

  16. I must have done something wrong. Only the very surface looks like yours, everything else is sticky and looks gluetenous? Help :)

    • Hi Jenny, not sure, hmm. Did you use canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)? That could make a difference. Did it end up setting up after it cooled or next day?

      • Thanks for your reply, I used fresh pumpkin that i boiled. The whole consistency was a firm but gelatanous texture

        • Hi Jenny, I think the issue may be that when using fresh pumpkin, some people choose to drain it (after cooking and pureeing) because it has a lot of water in it. It’s not necessary, but it will result in a firmer dessert (pie or otherwise). I think in this recipe, if you’re using a fresh pumpkin, draining the pumpkin puree would be best, since we’re shooting for a firmer dessert. I will add directions for this in the notes above. Thank you for your comment, as I had overlooked adding this direction. :)

  17. these look great, are vegan, oil-free, gluten-free and soy-free!! SCORE! (dessert recipes are difficult for me to find).
    why medjool dates? the healthfood store near me has another type of date that looks almost the same but is 1/3 of the price…

    • Hi Susan, I’ve had the best luck using and finding the medjool variety (I find them organic from $6 to $8 lb.); but you can use others too. If they are smaller, maybe use a few more. Other dates (like deglet noor) are drier and not as sweet (in my experience), but if soaked I think they would work fine. Yes, they are generally a bit cheaper.

      • I made them last night with the kind from California. They probably are the deglet noor but the bag only said California Dates. Because I was concerned that they wouldn’t be as sweet and because I wanted the squares firm, I reduced the water to a 1/2 cup and then when blending the dates, vanilla, and almond milk I added 2 tablespoons of maple syrup. I also added 1 tablespoon of maple syrup to the frosting as well. I thought they came out very good and my 26 year old fussy son loved them! He has always loved my traditional pumpkin pies so I have been on a search for a vegan and healthy version. This did the trick! Thanks!

  18. I just made this! It looks delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe!

  19. Arlene Wright says:

    I’m thinking ground nuts of sorts used for a crust?

    • Hi Arlene, I’ve done nute-date crusts for raw desserts but not ones that need to be cooked. I don’t think that would work well(?) You could cook the squares then lift them out of the pan (in one big piece, since you are using parchment paper), press a raw nut-date crust into the pan, then place the squares back into the pan (w/o parchment) on top of the crust, and then cut the squares. A little extra work, but an idea :)

  20. Steve Schafer says:

    how much flour if buying oat flour and not grinding 1 and a half cups of oats?

  21. I just made these delicious pumpkin pie squares. Very easy and tasty. I ran out of time to make the frosting so I drizzled maple syrup over the top and it was very nice! Looking forward to trying the frosting out too!

  22. Made these this weekend….cut them up in little squares and put them in the refrigerator on a platter. My husband and I can’t stay out of them! Thanks for a wonderful recipe
    !

  23. Virginia Buck says:

    You might want to try date syrup instead of maple syrup. It’s yummy. I use the Date Lady brand.

  24. Linda Markus says:

    We really liked this recipe. Did not make any kind of nut dressing. Does need some type of topping, either maple syrup or nut topping you suggested.

  25. I made these last night and they are delicious!!! I will make these again for Thanksgiving so there will be a dessert there I can eat. Thank you!!! I’m thinking of topping them with a coconut cream!

  26. Talkingmountain says:

    I made these last night and they are really good! I added about 2 tsp of molasses for a little extra sweetness and flavor complexity, increased the spices a little, and added a pinch of salt (maybe 1/8 tsp) so they’d be more acceptable to the family. Next time I think I’ll leave the salt out and see how they do.

    Bet they came out firm enough to eat right away. I cooked them for 35 mins.

  27. Made these for my whole omni family, and they enjoyed them. Their only note was that the color was not appetizing to them (brown and brown apparently doesn’t excite their taste buds). Bummer for them though, because I thought they looked (and more importantly, TASTED) delicious.

    Overall though, this will for sure make the end of my sugar, oil and salt free vegan Thanksgiving dinner amazing.

  28. Another outstanding and tasty recipe! It’s another one that the entire family enjoys. My son loves liking the bowls clean for me.

    I did have some time issues, as 25-30 minutes at 375 didn’t quite seem long enough the first few times I tried this recipe. Since then I have cooked them longer and they seem to be more firm.

    Love them, as others have said, I can’t stay out of them.

  29. Hi Cathy, I already have some date paste in the fridge (very thick) can I just use that? How much do you think? I put unsweetened coconut milk in this date paste and didn’t quite cover it rendering a thick paste. I also used Deglet noor. THANKS

    • Hi Andrea, I’d put in about a half cup and taste it; if it’s not sweet enough at that point, keep adding a little more until the desired sweetness is reached. :)

  30. I have made these twice now. This time I added ginger and a little extra nutmeg to my pumpkin pie mix. Bringing them tomorrow to a friends house to watch the Macy’s day parade. I made the frosting this time but with cashews instead and added a little maple syrup for a different flavor. So excited for my friends to try them!! Thanks again!!

  31. Lovely recipe! I have a coffee grinder that sits on my counter and does the very best job grinding oats and other grains into flour. You need to do it in smaller batches but great results!

  32. This is my first plant powered baking recipe so I’m stoked. I did cheat and used dairy milk and sprayed my baking dish with oil, but I’m still new to plant powered eating. I figure more plant power is better than nothing! Thanks for the recipe.

    Also, I used a submersible hand mixer to mill my oats and it worked amazingly!

  33. Just came out of the oven, can’t wait to try. Doubled the recipe and baked it in a silicone springform pan. Where did you get the inspiration for this recipe, putting oats in the batter instead of the crust?

    It cracks me up ll these posts adding salt and sugar and even (gasp) milk to your amazing recipes! Don’t they know this is an SOS free blog?

    As Dr. Goldhamer always says “if YOUR recipes don’t Tadte good to them, they really need to fast”!

    Love & Kale,
    Chef AJ
    http://Www.EatUnprocessed.com

    • Hi AJ! I hope they were good! I thought oats would make them firmer so you could eat them with your hands. I use oats for everything :) Ha, I like that saying! See you very soon! xo

  34. Sandra Marthaler says:

    very easy to make and made my whole house smell so good — who says healthy can’t be both delicious and easy!

  35. Hi, I’m just 3 weeks into a vegan SOS diet. I’ve tried several of your recipes and am so glad you’ve made them available! I can’t wait to prepare the rest of them. It is such a time saver to know that I don’t have to double check the ingredients for fat, salt and sugar content. Plus I am pretty sure I will enjoy the flavor.

    When making oat flour in a blender do your recipes give the starting volume of rolled oats or the finishing volume of the oat flour? If it is the rolled oats volume is that loose or packed down? My blender is the typical Oster. Am I better off using store bought oat flour?

    For the frosting do you normally use raw or roasted/unsalted nuts? (I assume you don’t use roasted/salted nuts.) Thanks again.

    • Thanks Casey! ;-) In my measurements, they were the same (whole vs. ground and not packed). I’ve never used store-bought flour, but I think it would work just fine. I always use raw, unsalted nuts. Thanks again and congratulations on your new diet!

  36. Can I make 1/2 of this recipe? I only have 1/2 can of pumpkin, but I have all the other stuff. Also could you sub another type of flour for the oat flour? My blender isn’t that powerful and I don’t know if it will pulverize the oats without getting clogged.

    • Hi Julia, sure, just use a smaller pan maybe, like a loaf pan. I have not used pre-ground flour, but I think it would be just fine. :)

  37. cathy barlow says:

    This is a second comment. When I re read the recipe it said can of cooked pumpkin…does that mean yes or no to Libby’s pumpkin canned pumpkin?

  38. Thanks giving in Canada this weekend and I’m bring this to both my family and the inlaws thanks so much!!

  39. Julie Camacho says:

    I have made a double batch of these two times in 2 days! Very good. I took them to a family movie night at church and they were enjoyed by pumpkin lovers.
    Thank you for the recipe!

  40. Even in our non-vegan days, neither my husband or I has ever been a pumpkin-pie lover. I was trying out recipes to bring to a Thanksgiving gathering. We are both now pumpkin lovers! Now, if you could just devise a substitute for our Southern pecan pies, which we always did love!

  41. could this be made ahead then reheated to bring back the pie consistency?

    • Hi Chris, I don’t think so. But you could make the batter ahead and put it in the pan and get it all ready. Then just baked it when you’re ready. :)

  42. I have made this recipe twice and I absolutely love it! They are so easy and tasty. Thank you Cathy for helping us with delicious SOS free recipes!

  43. Just made 2 pans of these for Thanksgiving dessert (1 of the pans is for us at home, heh-heh). Haven’t made these before, and am looking forward to tasting them! Thanks Carhy and Happy Thanksgiving!

  44. I made these twice this week and combined this recipe and your Forks over Knives adaptation with some extra spice. They are absolutely delicious!! Used 1.5 C oats, 1 C. soy milk, no water, 1 Tb (3 tsp) pumpkin spice, a heaping quarter tsp cardamom, ~2 tsp grated fresh ginger, and 1/4 tsp sea salt. Made the first batch with pecans and left out in the second batch with the idea of using a raw pecan-based topping later (haven’t made this yet). Both are equally yummy, so I think it’s fine to leave out the pecans.

  45. I made these yesterday for the second time (with the revised recipe) and they were delicious….. SO EASY to make!!!!

    I added raisins because my husband likes sweetness. He loved them

    Thank you Cathy :)

  46. Lainey Frydrych says:

    Would this recipe work as muffins, I’m assuming 12 based on other 8×8 pan recipes I’ve made as muffins.

  47. Made these and they came out great, but I am the only one eating them. Love your recipes!! I’m hoping they will freeze well…….going to try. Cathy, have you ever put them in the freezer?

  48. Just made two batches to test for my Thanksgiving feast and wow, how delightful. I used coconut water instead of plain water for the frosting. And you’re right it does thicken up really nice after both pie and frosting are refrigerated. I did cook the pie longer with two 8×8 pans in at once to 39 min. instead of 30. Came out perfect.

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