How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds
The other night, a friend casually asked me where I had bought pumpkins this year. Um… pumpkins? I don’t have any pumpkins. I saw some outside the grocery store last week and seriously considered piling my four children on them and taking pictures, like some weird pumpkin patch outing gone wrong. The thought of being blocked from Instagram was the only thing that kept my grocery cart on the straight and narrow.
What is wrong with me?! I love everything about fall. But other than eating a piece of pumpkin pie, October has completely slipped past me. Is it having toddlers? El Nino? Do I just need to buy a new pair of boots? Ack! I don’t know. But it’s time to get serious, starting with carving pumpkins and roasting seeds.
Last year was actually the first time I ever roasted pumpkin seeds. It felt really good. I always hated throwing the seeds out, kind of like tossing chicken bones when I know they can be turned into chicken stock.
It all goes back to the Pumpkin Seed Incident, circa 2006. My husband got it into his head that he was going to roast pumpkin seeds. But then he proceeded to eat the entire pumpkin’s worth of seeds in one sitting. He got sick and hasn’t been able to look at, much less eat, them since. I figure 9 years should be enough time to try again.
Roasting pumpkin seeds is a simple activity, great if you have little helpers (that often do the opposite of help, but I’m serious: this one is great for all ages). And you’re left with a frugal, healthy snack! I have eaten pumpkin seeds that weren’t worth the effort: chewy, dry, bland. I could have just popped some tree bark in my mouth and saved myself the effort.
So in the name of hard-hitting investigative blogging, I read and tried several different methods. Here are the steps I like best.
How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds
1.Using a sharp knife, cut open your pumpkin. I prefer the smaller pumpkins. The seeds tend to be more crisp, less chewy. If you’re going the jack-o-lantern route, just cut a circle in the top or bottom and scoop out the seeds with a sturdy spoon. If you are planning to roast & puree the pumpkin, I find it easiest to quarter it and scrape out the seeds.
2. Place the seeds and pumpkin pulp in a colander. Run cold water over the seeds, while swishing the seeds around with your fingers and picking out the larger pieces of pulp. Just make sure you get the main pieces. Everything else will come off in step 3.
3. Place the seeds in a medium saucepan. For every 1/2 cup of seeds, add 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt (can be adjusted, depending on your tastes). Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Pour the seeds into a colandar, shake them around, and let them drain for a few minutes. Put in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with desired seasonings. You could go with simple salt & pepper or sweet by adding cinnamon sugar (watch these seeds in the oven, as they tend to burn easier). Just look through your spice cabinet, pretty much anything works. I like a combination of salt, cumin, and garlic powder. Or you could try curry powder or cayenne pepper. You could also use seasonings like dry Ranch dressing mix or Lawry’s seasoning salt.
5. Place the seeds on a baking sheet and spread out in a single layer. You can use parchment paper for easier clean-up or just scatter the seeds directly onto the sheet.
6. Roast in a 400-degree oven for 10-20 minutes, depending on the size of the seeds. It’s a good idea to check and shake the pan halfway through. The seeds should be fragrant and golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheet before serving.
So this weekend, we’re going to kick fall into high gear. I am going to wear a sweater, make a big pot of soup, bake pumpkin bread. We will go to the apple orchard. And a real live pumpkin patch! Drink cider. Rake leaves. Build a fire. Maybe I’ll even do something crazy like give my children pumpkins + knives? And roast the seeds, of course.
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