gluten free pumpkin bars (that taste awesome)

My son Samuel has been diagnosed with Celiac Disease for almost three years now (it will be six now…) Many of you were reading my site those years ago – those years where everything was in disarray and where I simply craved normal for him. Well, as you all know, we found normal again.

It’s a new normal, but it’s normal.

When I speak or write about hard times I always share about how normal can be found again. I also talk about celebrating normal now – in the middle of life – because often we don’t appreciate it until it’s gone. Celebrating normal is like hitting the pause button on the craziness in life, even if just for a second, and just finding somethings to be grateful for. That’s the finding joy posture in life.


One of the things that has helped our family find normal in Samuel’s Celiac Disease diagnosis – which means a lifetime of not eating gluten – is cooking together. Instead of cooking two separate meals I’ve learned to adapt our recipes so that we all eat gluten free. In fact, the only exception to that family gluten free rule would be regular gluten full (as I call it) bread and the occasional pizza. Bread? Simply because gluten free bread is rather pricey for many children. We do, because of this, have two separate toasters to prevent cross contamination.

So as I’ve learned to cook and bake gluten free so have my children. All of them. Including Samuel.

We have flour blends that we love and we’ve learned the secrets of adapting recipes and using xanthum gum. We’ve also learned that there will be many, many, many flops. Cooking gluten free is like science for us – it’s discovering ratios, proportions, and different blends of flours that makes our baked goods taste fabulous.


One of our favorite recipes in the fall is the infamous calorie rich and fabulously delicious pumpkin bar. Okay. I have no idea on calories or any of that. None. I’m not a food blogger – in case you didn’t notice. I’m an encourager, a cheerleader, and a real life mom who’s learned to adapt and find normal in a gluten free world. So when I realized I could make these pumpkin bars and serve them and no one know that they were gluten free it became even cooler.

It’s the pumpkin, friends, that does the trick.  That pumpkin makes the not gluten part – the part in flour that gives bread it’s elasticity and such – not noticeable. These bars are incredibly moist and incredibly fabulous and incredibly addictive.

So, today, since I’m not the cool food blogger with the pinnable recipes (don’t you love them? they save me at dinner time) I’m just going to share pics and our adapted Betty Crocker Pumpkin Bar recipe.

Warning: they will be finished quickly. And children will tell you they are healthy because they have pumpkin in them. Hahah!

Here’s the adapted recipe. And I really must thank my daughter Hannah – she put the recipe together a couple years ago and took the pictures. Now, that being said, I would have taken pictures of this whole thing as we had just made pumpkin bars yesterday in a giant jelly roll pan, but alas, they are already gone. Hahaha. They really are that incredibly good. Just add extra cream cheese frosting. Always.

Oh, and for what it’s worth, I always use Gluten Free Mama, Mama’s Almond Blend Flour, All Purpose Flour, 4 Pound Pouch (Pack of 2)
(and that’s an affiliate link, but it’s for a product that is the absolute favorite gluten free flour used in my house.)

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars
(known in our house as the fabulous Harvest Spice Pumpkin Bar)
By Rachel Martin

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars adapted from a Betty Crocker Recipe

Ingredients – The Bars
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 cups flour (we use gluten free mama’s flour blend plus one teaspoon xanthum gum)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

The Frosting that you will want to just eat out of the bowl
1 package of cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 cups powdered sugar (sweeten to taste)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a jelly roll pan. Beat the eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, ginger, and cloves. Spread the batter in the pan and smooth. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until light brown. Let cool completely for one hour. While cooling, make the frosting by mixing the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Gradually beat the powdered sugar in until smooth. Frost the pumpkin bars, sprinkle with walnuts, and cut into 7×7 rows. Enjoy!


12 Responses to “gluten free pumpkin bars (that taste awesome)”

  1. October 17, 2013

    Katie Reply

    Do you ever use Almond Flour as a gluten-free alternative?

  2. October 18, 2013

    Lisa Reply

    Thanks for this recipe! I am making this for my gluten-free girl this weekend! My daughter has been such a trooper since her Celiac diagnosis about 2 1/2 years ago. I love to surprise her with a tasty treat that doesn’t “taste gluten-free”! She is going to love this! Love your blog and encouragement.

  3. October 18, 2013

    Lynn Reply

    Wow! Glad I don’t live close or I might sneak one…or two!
    Lifting up prayers right now!
    Psalms 28:8-9 The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed. Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up for ever.
    My email address

  4. October 18, 2013

    Rachel Martin Reply


    I do use almond flour as well. It’s just pricey. The Gluten Free Mama flour that I love is a blend of almond and rice flours.


  5. October 18, 2013

    Rachel Martin Reply

    Thank you, Lisa. 🙂

  6. October 18, 2013

    Katie Reply

    Thank you for replying. I am thinking of trying a commercial brand to start and then moving to flour I will make from nuts. I figure that might be the least expensive overall.

    Thank you for your wonderful blog!

  7. October 20, 2013

    Lynn Reply

    Thankful that you made it home safely!
    No matter what happens in life, the Lord is always there! Praying!
    Habakkuk 3:17-19 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places…
    My email address

  8. October 21, 2013

    Lynn Reply

    Know that you’re always in my thoughts and prayers!
    Psalms 88:1-2 O LORD God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee: Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry;
    My email address

  9. November 19, 2013

    nita Reply

    I just made these bars using the Gluten free Bisquick mix and substituting 1 1/2 c honey for the sugar. I baked it in a 9×13 pan and they were the best pumpkin bars I’ve ever made (bar none). Very moist and great consistency.

  10. November 22, 2013

    dan melin Reply

    Have you ever used gluten free oat flour?

    • September 7, 2014

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Just saw this Dan — and no, no I haven’t. Do you have good success with it?

  11. January 7, 2017

    Misti Reply

    Saw you repost this today on Facebook. So glad to see this, as I’m always looking for tried gluten free recipes. In my house we have to be completely gluten free (no cross contamination of any kind), soy free, and corn free. This means lots of reading labels when shopping, no eating out, and usually not eating what others cook. We cannot risk any cross contamination so we only eat what we cook and cannot allow anyone to touch our food. My son is 2.5 years old, so this is quite difficult still for him.

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