Pumpkin Magic Bars

This is what happens when fall meets the classic magic bar dessert—a stepchild is born. Welcome my updated classic: pumpkin seven layer magic bar. While much of the classic component are there, I tweaked the flavor to reflect a pumpkin profile and since I’ve always found the classic far too sweet I took a few steps to offset it.

Pumpkin Magic Bars by Bakers Royale 21

Pumpkin Magic Bars

I started by adding shredded apples for more depth in flavor. After that I added roasted salted almonds and traded the heavy layer of chocolate for a generous sprinkling of chocolate chips.trans

Did it work? I think so.

Pumpkin Magic Bars via Bakers Royale1

If only life were this easy, right—add a little here, remove some from there and swap out one thing for another, and done. I’ve been told if life were that easy I’d bored. Here’s the thing, I don’t think so, friends. I think it would be rather nice to just throw away all my dirty clothes each week and by new rather than tether myself to home for the hours-on-hours it takes to load, transfer, fold and then put away all that stuff. And while I’m on a roll  I would love to have an extension on all my late deadlines.

. . . see,  I will take boredom any day. Any day.

**Recipe was modified September 2013, after several comments were left about the center not setting up. The original recipe calls for an 8×8 pan, I have since switched this recipe to be baked in a 9×13 pan to solve the “gooey center” problem**

Pumpkin Magic Bars via Bakers Royale 210x260

this recipe

Pumpkin 7-Layer Magic Bars

Yield: Makes one 9x13 pan


  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 16 whole crackers)
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 11 oz. golden delicious apples, shredded (about 2 regular size apples)
  • 11/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup salted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup chocolate chips



Heat oven to 350 degrees. Create a foil sling with a 1 inch over hang in a 9x13 pan..

  1. Combine graham crackers and butter  and stir until well blended. Press mixture onto bottom of pan
  2. Combine sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and stir until well combined. Pour mixture over graham cracker crust.
  3. Peel and core apples. Use the large side of the  grating box to shred the apples. Layer shredded apples on the sweetened sweetened condensed milk. Sprinkle on chocolate chips, followed by the almonds and then finish by sprinkling coconut on top.
  4. Place assembled pan in the oven and bake for about 35-45 minutes. Let cool in pan completely and then transfer finished pan to the refrigerator to chill before cutting.

A few notes:

  • You can easily switch out the pumpkin for apple butter to keep the fall flavor.
  • I used Blue Diamonds roasted salted almonds for the nut portion, but feel to switch that out to any nut that suits your preference.
  • The apples are not necessary, but again, I added them to scale back the sweetness and to add a slight fruity bite.


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  1. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonChoco says

    When do you put the chocolate?!

    • Avatar for Naomi Robinson

      Naomi replied: — September 24th, 2012 @ 5:51 pm


      Add the chocolate in after the apples. I have revised the recipe to reflect.

  2. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonGabrielle says

    These looked so good that I had to make them! They’re in the oven right now.

    I couple of things though: Are you sure it’s a 8×8 pan? I tried that size and the graham cracker crust was way too thick. Another thought, the instructions don’t have the chocolate chips being added. I added them after the apples and before the nuts.

    • Avatar for Naomi Robinson

      Naomi replied: — September 24th, 2012 @ 5:51 pm


      You can use an 8×8 or a 9×13 pan. I tend to like my bars thick rather than thin, so I opted for the smaller pan. And you are correct on the layering.

  3. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonBrian @ A Thought For Food says

    Oh how I’ve missed you! Sorry I haven’t stopped by in a while! But I’m back and I’m LOVING these bars! Damn to they look good!

  4. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonJulia says

    I always think classic 7 layer bars are too sweet too… which is crazy since I could live on sugar… So making these!

  5. Avatar for Naomi Robinson says

    Good grief. I’ve never heard of magic bars but these layered bars certainly look and sound magical. Now I just need an event that calls for decadent treats; otherwise I’d demolish the whole pan by myself.

  6. Avatar for Naomi Robinson says

    Beautiful! I have a list here of ideas to make pumpkin layer bars and now I don’t have to wonder if they will be good or not. Love your idea to add apples. I am looking forward to trying them soon. Thank you for sharing! Your photos are gorgeous!

  7. Avatar for Naomi Robinson says

    I think I just fell straight out of my chair. Magic bars are my absolute favorite thing about the holidays, but I always wait until Christmas to have them – thanks for moving them up a season – I couldn’t wait much longer!

  8. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonMichelle says

    They taste even better using butterscotch chips instead of chocolate…

    • Avatar for Naomi Robinson

      Naomi replied: — October 9th, 2012 @ 9:03 pm

      Michelle-I will have try that next time!

  9. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonMelanie says

    My bars were really smushy…how can I make them more solid to be more like a bar. I don’t know if I did something wrong or didn’t cook it long enough…please let me know if anyone has any ideas

    • Avatar for Naomi Robinson

      Naomi replied: — October 19th, 2012 @ 2:17 am

      Melanie- I’m not quite sure why, as other people have made this and havent had that problem. But that said, you are also not alone.

      My suggestion would check your oven temperature if that’s good, place foil on top( to prevent the coconut from burning) at the 30 minute mark and bake it for another ten to minutes.

      Thank for sharing with all of us.

      • Avatar for Naomi Robinson

        Brenda replied: — November 6th, 2014 @ 7:57 am

        I used a 9×13 and they still were not set up – when I went to cut them they just smooshed…I guess I should have read the comments 1st on covering with foil and cooking longer…

  10. Avatar for Naomi Robinson says

    oh man, these look amazing. So amazing I had to make them last night for today’s work potluck. My house smelled amazing while they were in the oven. They tasted great this morning as I cut the first corner piece. BUT…
    as I got farther into the pan, it was still gooey in the center… plus the bars all stuck to the foil (even though I sprayed with coconut oil) :(
    so as tasty as that corner piece was, they didn’t come to work with me and I had to buy store-made cookies for work :(
    Better luck next time I guess.

  11. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonJessica says

    I had some issues with these bars! I would recommend that people use a 9×13 pan, it’s just too much for an 8×8. Also, in traditional magic bars you do the crust, then sprinkle the nuts, chips, etc. pouring the condensed milk over it at the end. I would recommend that people making this recipe pour the pumpkin/condensed milk over all the ingredients at the end, help solidifying the bars. I found that my bars weren’t really held together and all the top layer would fall off (keep in mind I used an 8×8). I made these in the afternoon for a party at night and couldn’t even serve them, so I would suggest that you give your self ample time for them to set.

    • Avatar for Naomi Robinson

      Jen replied: — September 18th, 2013 @ 3:32 am

      Good suggestion Jessica! Mine didn’t really set, so I’ve been thinking on what to do different next time. Will definitely try this method!

  12. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonJohnnieAnne says

    I made these yesterday and after a few hours cooling on counter and then in fridge I realized crust and filling were all mushy. I used a 9×13 and cooked for a little over 30 min. As of this morning, straight out of fridge the crust firmed up a bit, but went mushy again after a couple minutes and toppings all fell off. I do have to say that the pieces that didn’t fall on the floor & actually made it into my mouth tasted AMAZING!!! Next time, (and there will be a next time!!) I will try the trick ‘Jessica’ mentioned above and layer loose toppings onto crust and then pour pumpkin filling on top or maybe do half filling on crust and half over top of loose ingredients. My house still smells yummy from yesterday’s baking. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  13. Avatar for Naomi Robinson says

    Just made these last week…. The original Magic Bars hold a special place in my heart, as my grandmother always made these at Christmas. Loved this new version for fall. Big hit with my book club girls!

  14. Avatar for Naomi Robinson says

    This looks amazing! I am a vegetarian who is lactose intolerant and the condensed milk really may be present enough to upset me (plus I could make this for my vegan friends). Any suggestions in substituting the condensed milk for something else. Is it’s purpose to bind everything together? Thank you sooo much for this recipe, CANNOT wait to try it!

    • Avatar for Naomi Robinson

      Robin replied: — October 18th, 2013 @ 5:17 pm

      You can make sweetened condensed coconut milk. That’s probably what I will do. My family doesn’t do much dairy either.

  15. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonSherri Brooks says

    Oh really…you shouldn’t have, but thank you! My two favorites together at last! Woohoo!!

  16. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonMarisa Franca says

    Being Italian, I don’t like things too sweet. I like tang and I like spicy and these bars look delish. The originals I agree were cloying. I’m anxious to try these.

  17. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonLinda Ann says

    Wish these looked like the first pic but they are much thinner. My grown daughter said that you would think with all the layers that they would be exceptional but they are “just ok”. Won’t be making again.

  18. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonKristine says

    Ended up doubling the amount of pumpkin since i wanted to use the rest of my can so i added 2 eggs to the filling to make sure it set. Folded in the grated apple and nuts before pouring over the crust. Topped with chocholate chips and coconut. In the oven now hope it turns out ok! :)

  19. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonLindsay says

    Hello, I am baking these bars today for a party. Reading through the ingredient list, I assume the butter is melted, then combined with the graham crackers? Or is it cold or softened? Thanks, Lindsay

    • Avatar for Naomi Robinson

      Naomi Robinson replied: — February 10th, 2014 @ 7:26 am

      Hi Lindsay, the butter is melted and combined

  20. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonSheena Blas says

    I made these bars 2 nights ago and they turned out delicious! My brother wanted a dessert that had pumpkin since he loves that flavor, and something not too rich. Plus, he likes bars, so these turned out to be perfect! I wouldn’t change anything from the original recipe. The only minor downside to these is that the coconut wants to fall off when eating them, but all the ingredients go well together, and the pumpkin isn’t overbearing. Simple to put together and people will think you spent a long time on this.

  21. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonJenny says

    If I ever made these again, I would definitely bake the graham crust first at least to a crispy stage. Then I would add the other ingredients. I just made them and the graham crust is mush.

  22. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonPaul says

    I’ve been searching for pumpkin recipes recently and these have definitely been added to the list. They look and sound delicious.

  23. Avatar for Naomi Robinsonerin gilmore says

    I know you chill them a bit to cut them but do they have to be refrigerated there after?

  24. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonJayme Phillips says

    When you say make a foil sling, does that go at the bottom of the pan, or you put foil over the top and then cook?