It’s not fall without a decadent and delicious pumpkin bar. And these pumpkin bars WITH sourdough discard – incredible. Not quite cake and not quite bar, this finds itself somewhere in the middle making for a moist and flavorful pumpkin bar. And the creamy frosting takes these over the top. I kept coming back for “just one more bite.” These homemade pumpkin bars using sourdough discard are seriously so good. I hope you love them too!
Important Ingredients in Pumpkin Bars with Sourdough Discard
Sourdough Discard: You can use fresh, bubbly sourdough starter if you want. If you don’t mind a more pronounced sourdough flavor, you can use refrigerated discard up to a week or two old. I always use 100% hydration sourdough discard.
Sugar: Brown sugar and granulated sugar work together to give these bars a sweet flavor.
Canned Pumpkin: Use canned pumpkin for this recipe (not pumpkin pie filling). I have not made this recipe with homemade pumpkin, though it tends to be more watery. If you want to try this with homemade pumpkin puree, drain it a bit or compensate with some extra flour.
Coconut Oil: I love the tenderness that coconut oil brings to these pumpkin bars. Make sure to use it in its liquid state, but if you prefer, you can use vegetable oil instead.
Spices: In this recipe I using love pumpkin pie spice, which enhances the sweet pumpkin flavor. Adding a little extra cinnamon gives these bars delicious flavor too.
Creamy Frosting: This frosting is light, airy and complements the sourdough discard pumpkin bars so well. Make sure the ingredients are at room temperature and softened for best results.
Sourdough Discard in Pumpkin Bars
I love baking with sourdough discard and sourdough starter. Because I refresh my sourdough starter often, I end up with quite a bit of leftover discard in my fridge. I don’t like this discard to go to waste, so I find muffins, waffles, crackers, pretzels and rolls to put it into. The sourdough discard brings moisture, enhances the flavor and creates less kitchen waste. Pumpkin bars with sourdough discard are a great way to use up some of that extra discard and make something delicious.
More Amazing Pumpkin Recipes Here:
Mix Together Ingredients
Wet Ingredients: Mix together canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling), sourdough discard and sugars. Whisk together until the discard combines and the resulting batter is smooth. Add the egg and whisk until incorporated. Drizzle in the coconut oil, whisking as you go to incorporate and add the vanilla extract. The resulting mixture will look uniform and smooth.
Dry Ingredients: To a small bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
Mix together: Add the dry ingredients on top of the wet ingredients and use a spatula or wooden spoon to mix together gently. Be careful not to over-mix the batter (that makes it tough).
Spread Batter into Pan and Bake
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare an 8 by 8 baking pan with parchment paper. Spread the batter into the pan, evenly pushing the batter out to the edges. Bake the pumpkin bars with sourdough discard for about 20-25 minutes until the bars are baked all the way through. Stick a toothpick or a sharp knife into the center of the bars. If it comes away clean, the bars are ready to be pulled out of the oven. Let the bars cool for about 5 minutes in the pan and then remove the bars using the parchment paper to a baking rack to cool.
Mixing the Frosting
While the bars cool, whip up the frosting. Whip together the softened butter and cream cheese. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract and splash of cream if needed (milk also works in a pinch). I also add a pinch of salt to balance out the flavors. Whip together with a hand mixer for a few minutes until creamy and delicious. If your frosting is too thick, add a little more cream and mix until you reach your desired consistency.
Assemble Pumpkin Bars
Once the bars have cooled completely, spread the frosting on top of the pumpkin bars. Cut into pieces and dig in! These bars are the perfect treat to bring to a fall party or just to make for a weekend treat. Enjoy!
Looking for More Delicious Sourdough Discard Recipes?
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I store leftover sourdough discard pumpkin bars?
Because of the cream cheese frosting, the bars should be refrigerated for a few days or placed in an airtight container and frozen for a month or two.
What can I substitute for the coconut oil?
Substitute vegetable oil or any other neutral-flavored oil. Melted butter would probably work too – I haven’t tried it yet, though.
Can I use homemade pumpkin puree in this recipe?
Homemade pumpkin puree is often more watery than canned pumpkin. If you choose to use homemade, the bars may turn out a little more “cakey.” Make sure to drain the puree before using.
Pumpkin Bars with Sourdough Discard
- 225 grams canned pumpkin not pumpkin pie filling, about 1 cup
- 100 grams sourdough discard, 100% hydration about 1/2 cup, see recipe notes
- 100 grams brown sugar about 1/2 cup
- 30 grams granulated sugar about 2 Tablespoons
- 1 large egg
- 65 grams liquid coconut oil or other neutral-flavored oil, about 1/3 cup, see recipe note
- 5 grams vanilla extract about 1 teaspoon
- 100 grams all-purpose flour about 2/3 cup
- 3 grams baking powder about 3/4 teaspoon
- 2 grams baking soda about 1/2 teaspoon
- 3 grams cinnamon about 1 teaspoon
- 3 grams pumpkin pie spice about 1 teaspoon
- 2 grams salt about 1/2 teaspoon
Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
- 30 grams cream cheese, softened about 1 oz
- 55 grams unsalted butter, softened about 1/4 cup
- 120 grams powdered sugar about 1 cup
- 4 grams vanilla extract about 1 teaspoon
- splash of cream if needed
- pinch of salt
- To a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the canned pumpkin, sourdough discard, coconut oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg and vanilla extract until fully incorporated and smooth.
- To a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients on top of the wet ingredients and mix together until no dry streaks remain. Pour the mixture into the parchment-lined baking pan.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes until baked through. Insert a toothpick or sharp knife into the center of the bars. If it comes out clean, it's finished baking. If not, let it bake a few more minutes and check again.
- Whip up the frosting while the bars cool. Whip together the softened cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and salt until smooth and creamy. Add a splash of cream if needed to smooth out the consistency.
- Spread the frosting on top of the cooled bars. Enjoy!