Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Bars with Ginger Cookie Crust – Swap out the pumpkin pie for these easy pumpkin pie bars. The cookie crust makes them so easy! They slice and serve like a dream!
Avocados are my forever love language, but pie is DEFINITELY up there. I’d take pie over cake most days, so the holiday season is one of my favorite dessert times of the year.
One of the best holiday traditions I’ve heard lately is a family who celebrates a Pie Day the week before Thanksgiving with their extended family. It’s a way to guarantee that you get to see everyone around the holidays. Plus, their family goal was to never bring the same pie twice. Doesn’t that sound amazing?
In my own extended family, there are often almost as many pies as there are people in attendance (which is just about right–ha!). Everyone brings something. There are always classics and repeat favorites, but there are also always new offerings and twists on old favorites.
I haven’t gotten to attend a family pie night for a long time, but we keep the tradition alive, even in our own little family by always including something new at our Thanksgiving celebration. This year, we took an easily serve-able, sharable twist on pumpkin pie with these Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Bars with Ginger Cooke Crust. And honestly? We may never go back.
What Makes These Pumpkin Pie Bars Special:
- Size. I wanted something made in a baking dish (rather than a pie pan) so that we could get nice, even pieces for serving a crowd. I love that we can cut the squares as big or small as we like (which works out GREAT when you want to try a little bit of several kinds of pie).
- That ginger cookie crust. Many people find from-scratch gluten free pie crust a bit intimidating, so a cookie crumb crust seemed like a great solution for experts and novices alike. I used some gluten free graham crackers from Sprouts. I like Kinnikinnik brand gluten free graham crackers or graham cracker crumbs, or Glutino brand graham-style animal cookies. I crush them up into crumbs, then give them the gingersnap treatment. Just a tiny bit of molasses, and plenty of ginger and cinnamon give these a total ginger cookie taste without any of the extra work.
- The pumpkin filling. Perfectly spiced, gently sweet, and ready and waiting for a big dollop of whipped cream. The filling is so good! As for the whipped cream element…For the holidays, I love using So Delicious CocoWhip, which is a little more stable than whipping your own coconut cream. If you’re not dairy free, the traditional stuff will work like a charm!
Notes on the Recipe:
Can I make them vegan? You know, you probably could if you use flax eggs, but I haven’t tried it that way so I can’t guarantee results. If you try it that way, I’d LOVE to know how it turns out!
Not Gluten Free? No worries. Traditional graham crackers will work in this recipe.
Dairy free notes. We’re a dairy free family, so we recommend ghee (clarified butter with the dairy solids removed), vegan butter, or coconut oil for the crust. I most often use unsweetened almond milk for the milk component, but you can easily sub in your favorite (cashew, coconut, dairy milk, etc.)
Substitutions. If you’re not into coconut sugar or can’t find it, I’d recommend substituting brown sugar. It’ll be a little bit sweeter than using coconut sugar, but will provide consistent results.
Make-Ahead Notes. You can absolutely make these a day ahead of time, and I actually recommend it. They taste best when they’ve had plenty of time to chill in the refrigerator. Plus, that frees up more oven space for the rest of your holiday cooking! They’ll keep 5-6 days in the refrigerator.
More Holiday Favorites to Try:
- Paleo or Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole (THE BEST!!!)
- How to Make Gluten Free Pie Crust
- Gluten Free (or not) Triple Berry Crumble Pie
If you don’t have a food processor, you can crush the graham crackers/cookies in a zip top bag with a rolling pin or measuring cup. Just be sure to get the crumbs as fine as you can.
For the Crust:
- 1 (8oz) pkg Kinnikinnik gluten free graham crackers or 1 (10.5oz) pkg Kinnininnik gluten free graham cracker crumbs
- 6 Tbsp ghee, butter, vegan butter, or coconut oil, melted
- 3 Tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 Tbsp molasses
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch salt
For the filling:
- 1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree
- 1 cup milk (I use coconut milk or almond milk)
- 3 Eggs
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8″ baking dish with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray.
Make the Crust:
- In a food processor, crush graham crackers until very fine crumbs. Stir in ghee/oil, coconut sugar, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Pulse to combine until mixture resembles wet sand.
- Pour crumb mixture out into your prepared baking dish. Using your fingertips or the back of a measuring cup, pat out the crumb mixture as firmly as you can into the pan. Refrigerate crust while you mix up the filling.
Make the Filling:
- In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, milk, eggs, coconut sugar, cornstarch, vanilla (if using), cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt until as smooth as possible. (You don’t want any lumps of egg).
- Pour filling over crust. Spread out as evenly as you can, then gently shake the pan to distribute even more.
- Bake at 350 degrees 45-55 minutes, or until edges are set but the center is just slightly wobbly. The center will continue to set with the residual heat as the pumpkin bars cool.
- Cool completely, then refrigerate until ready to serve. Slice and dollop with whipped coconut cream, CocoWhip, or traditional whipped cream.