Soft and Chewy Pumpkin Granola Bars

What do you call a granola bar that tastes similar to a muffin?

Vertical image of squares of a dark orange snack with seeds on a plate, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

If you know, please tell me. In the meantime, I’ll just be sitting here eating one of these chewy pumpkin squares and sipping on a hot cup of tea.

But actually, calling this a granola bar recipe just doesn’t seem accurate.

Yes, it’s cut into squares, contains oats and seeds, and has a maple-cinnamon flavor. But it’s also so soft and almost spongy, giving it a muffin-like feel.

And as someone who thinks muffins are one of the superior baked goods, that’s a very good thing.

After all, anyone can buy a granola bar, but not everyone has a hearty homemade version like these on hand.

With pumpkin, brown sugar, honey, applesauce, and molasses, you know these squares are essentially bursting with all the best flavors of fall, packed into an edible to-go package.

Vertical image of a spatula picking up a square of a granola bar topped with seeds.

But what’s even better is that they’re also a nutritious option for a filling snack, or a light breakfast.

Thanks to the flax seeds, oats, applesauce, and pumpkin, there’s so much heart-healthy fiber packed into every bite!

But what gets me the most excited is all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that these are filled with, thanks to the addition of pumpkin and the seeds.

Anytime you see an orange vegetable, it’s a safe bet that it’s high in beta-carotene. Responsible for the orange color, beta-carotene is more than just a pigment, it’s also a powerful antioxidant that may protect us against cancer and heart disease.

Of course, pumpkin is more than just antioxidants. It’s also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium, while being low in calories.

Vertical image of a stack of pumpkin squares with seeds on a white plate.

Plus, it tastes good!

While the flesh tends to get the most attention, the seeds are just as impressive, if not more.

Also known as “pepitas,” pumpkin seeds are rich in healthy fats and high in protein. They’re also a great source of phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, zinc, iron, copper and antioxidants.

Studies looking at the health benefits of these seeds have shown that diets high in these seeds are associated with a reduced risk of several types of cancer, including cancers of the stomach, colon, breast, lung, and prostate.

Additionally, if you’re having trouble sleeping, the tryptophan, zinc, and magnesium in the seeds may help!

Vertical close-up image of a spatula holding a square baked good topped with green seeds.

As you read through the ingredient list, there may be a few ingredients you aren’t familiar with: potato flour, sorghum flour, and xanthan gum.

Both flours are gluten free, but to keep the bars from ending up too flat and dense, xanthan gum is added. Acting as an emulsifier and binder, it will give these bars some lift.

However, if you aren’t gluten free, feel free to use all-purpose or white whole wheat flour instead.

Okay, so now you know that A. these bars are essentially a muffin in bar form and B. they are packed with nutrition, there’s really no excuse not to make them.

Vertical image of three shingled pumpkin squares on a white plate on a plaid napkin.

Plus, they’ll make your kitchen smell amazing!

Print
Horizontal image of shingled pumpkin squares topped with pumpkin seeds on a white plate with a plaid towel.

Soft and Chewy Pumpkin Granola Bars


  • Author: Kelli McGrane
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 28 minutes 
  • Yield: 12 bars 1x

Description

These soft and chewy pumpkin granola bars essentially take all the best flavors of fall and wrap them into a healthy, snack-sized package. Read more now.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats 
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed meal 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 3/4 cup sweet sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup potato flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg, beaten 
  • 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, roasted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease an 11-by-9-inch baking dish with coconut oil or spray, and set aside. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, ground flax, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, flours, xanthan gum, and sunflower seeds. Set aside. 
  3. In another mixing bowl, stir together pumpkin, egg, molasses, honey, vanilla, and coconut oil. 
  4. Pour wet ingredients into the dry and mix until well-combined. 
  5. Spread mixture into the baking dish, using a rubber spatula to spread it into an even layer. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and lightly press them down. 
  6. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned and the edges start to pull away from the sides. 
  7. Cool for 5 minutes and then cut into bars. Remove from pan and let cool completely before storing them in an airtight container.

Notes

Note: If you’re not concerned about keeping this recipe gluten free, you can use 1 cup of all-purpose flour in place of the sorghum flour, potato flour, and xanthan gum. 

  • Category: Granola Bar
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Baked Goods

Keywords: pumpkin, pumpkin seed, granola bar

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Preheat Oven, Grease Pan, and Measure Ingredients.

Horizontal image of assorted ingredients in various bowls to make a granola recipe.

Preheat oven to 350˚F and grease an 11-by-9-inch baking dish with coconut oil or spray. Set aside.

Measure out all of your ingredients.

Step 2 – Make Batter

Horizontal image of a glass bowl with portioned areas of dry ingredients.

In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, flax seed meal, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, flours, xanthan gum, and sunflower seeds. Set aside.

Horizontal image of an oat and dry ingredient mixture in a glass bowl.

In another mixing bowl, stir together pumpkin puree, egg, molasses, honey, vanilla, and coconut oil.

Horizontal image of a glass bowl with oats and a dark orange thick liquid mixture pouring over the top.

Pour wet ingredients into the dry and mix until well-combined.

Horizontal image of a glass bowl filled with a dark orange and oat dough mixture.

Step 3 – Pour Mixture Into Pan and Bake

Horizontal image of a glass baking dish with a dark orange oat mixture pressed down.

Spread mixture into the baking dish, using a rubber spatula to spread it into an even layer. Sprinkle with the seeds and lightly press them down.

Horizontal image of a glass baking dish with a dark orange oat baked good topped with pumpkin seeds.

Place baking dish in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned and the edges start to pull away from the sides.

Step 4 – Cool and Slice

Horizontal image of shingled pumpkin squares topped with pumpkin seeds on a white plate with a plaid towel.

Cool for 5 minutes and then cut into bars. Remove from pan and let cool completely before storing them in an airtight container.

Leftovers keep best in the fridge for up to 5 days. Bars can also be wrapped individually and stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.

How to Use Up Leftover Pumpkin

After the accomplishment of making your own bars that are essentially fall in bite-sized form, you may be wondering what to do with the remaining canned puree.

Vertical image of a glass pan with cut squares of bars topped with seeds.

The first step is to scoop the remaining pumpkin out of the can and into an airtight container if you won’t be using it right away.

Place that container in the fridge, where it will keep for up to 5 days. Notice some water on the top? Simply give it a good stir before using.

Here are some Foodal-approved recipes for a healthy breakfast to use up the rest of your pumpkin:

If you don’t plan to use the remaining pumpkin within 5 days, pour it into freezer-safe containers and store in the freezer for up to 4 months. This option is perfect for making smoothies or chili down the road.

What are your favorite uses for leftover pumpkin? Share in the comments below, and be sure to leave a rating after you’ve had a chance to try this recipe!

Photos by Kelli McGrane, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on October 4, 2011. Last updated: November 6, 2019 at 17:53 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Kelli McGrane, MS, RD

Kelli McGrane is a Denver-based registered dietitian with a lifelong love of food. She holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in nutrition science from Boston University. As a registered dietitian, she believes in the importance of food to nourish not only your body, but your soul as well. Nutrition is very personal, and you won’t find any food rules here, other than to simply enjoy what you eat.

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