Pumpkin Crunch

October 7, 2022

It’s October so let’s embrace everything pumpkin! Pumpkin Crunch is kind of like Hawaii’s version of a dump cake, but no one is quite sure where the recipe originated. I say it’s “kind of” like a dump cake because unlike a dump cake, some mixing is required. Pumpkin Crunch is so popular, it’s not just something made by home cooks, you will also find it at many local restaurants. The pumpkin along with warm spices, make it a perfect way to celebrate Fall.

What is pumpkin crunch?

Pumpkin crunch is similar to a pumpkin pie, but better. It starts with a buttery crust with a creamy spiced pumpkin filling, topped with a cream cheese & whipped cream topping. By turning a pumpkin pie into bar form, you have a perfect dessert to take to a family gathering or potluck.

Making pumpkin crunch

To make this dessert, start by preparing the filling. Just like a pumpkin pie, you mix canned pumpkin with eggs, evaporated milk and spices. The filling is poured into a prepared pan and then topped with the boxed cake mix, chopped nuts, and lots of buttery goodness which form both the crust and the “crunch” part of the pumpkin crunch.

After baking, while the bars cool, the topping is made by whipping together cream cheese, Cool Whip, and some powdered sugar. After inverting the bars, the pumpkin crunch is topped with the cream cheese mixture and cut to serve.

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Pumpkin Crunch

  • Author: She’s Almost Always Hungry
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
  • Yield: 24 1x


This is a popular dessert in Hawaii. It has all the flavors of zhuzhed up pumpkin pie with the near-ease of a dump cake.



1 package (15 1/4 ounces) yellow cake mix

1 15-ounce can pumpkin

1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

1 tablespoon vanilla

3 large eggs, beaten

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, to taste

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup salted butter, melted*

For the topping

3/4 cup Cool Whip

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray the sides and bottom of 9” x 13” pan with nonstick spray. Line the long sides and bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper, allowing the excess to overhang the sides (this will help with removing the dessert from the pan). Spray the bottom again with nonstick spray.

In a bowl, combine the pumpkin, milk, vanilla, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl. Mix well and pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

Sprinkle the cake mix evenly over the pumpkin mixture and then top with the chopped pecans. Drizzle the melted butter over the top.

Bake for 50-55 minutes until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Place pan on a rack and allow to cool completely (at least an hour).

While the dessert cools, mix the topping ingredients. Set aside.

When the dessert is completely cooled, gently loosen it from the sides of the pan and invert the pan onto a platter (the top becomes the crust). Top with the Cool Whip-cream cheese mixture.

Cut into squares and serve.


*If you use unsalted butter, add ½ teaspoon salt.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Inactive Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: Hawaiian-American


  • Calories: 293.1
  • Sugar: 23.13 g.
  • Sodium: 322.45 mg.
  • Fat: 16.66 g.
  • Saturated Fat: 8.36 g.
  • Carbohydrates: 33.41 g.
  • Fiber: 1.27 g.
  • Protein: 3.91 g.
  • Cholesterol: 57.62 g.

Keywords: pumpkin, boxed cake mix

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