Don’t Toss Those Pumpkin Seeds, Roast Them!

cast iron skillet used to roast pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin season is in full swing! (Not to be confused with pumpkin spice latte (PSL) season, which began at the end of August.) I bought my first sugar pie pumpkin of the season a few weeks ago at the farmers’ market.

fresh produce from the farmers' market without plastic packaging
Recent farmers’ market haul featuring a small sugar pie pumpkin

Usually I cook whole pumpkins in a pressure cooker in a mere eight minutes (!) but when I had my oven on recently to cook several things at once, I roasted the pumpkin in there as well. (To roast, stab it a few times and cook at 350°F for about 45 minutes or until you can easily slide a knife into it.)

After the pumpkin had cooled, I removed the seeds, set them aside, scooped out the flesh and ran it through my food mill to remove any stringy bits. If you don’t have a food mill, a food processor will work. I don’t find this step necessary when I cook a whole pumpkin in my pressure cooker as the cooked flesh is quite smooth.

With the purée, I can make pumpkin dal, pumpkin pasta, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread… pumpkin whatever. A small sugar pie pumpkin yields a little over 2 cups of purée.

With this particular pumpkin, I made a pumpkin pie and with the bit of leftover purée, my daughter Charlotte made us sourdough pumpkin waffles for my birthday breakfast earlier this week.

I then roasted the seeds.

Sourdough waffles with pumpkin purée added

Eat the Seeds!

My kids have always loved these and look forward to them every fall. I think I learned to make them in elementary school after pumpkin carving in class one Halloween.

raw pumpkin seeds from a fresh pie pumpkin
Raw pumpkin seeds patted dry and ready to toss in olive oil and seasoning

When I posted these on social media earlier this week, a few people asked if they needed to shell the seeds after roasting. You eat these casing and all. But you want to roast the seeds until the casing becomes deliciously crunchy.

For this post, I tossed the seeds in olive oil and seasoned them with homemade chili powder (sorry, the recipe is not on my blog), garlic granules and salt. Use any spice you want (even pumpkin spice I suppose!) or simply sprinkle them with salt.

Squash seeds also roast nicely, depending on the variety. Acorn squash, butternut squash and honey nut squash seeds all work well.

roasted pumpkin seeds from a fresh pumpkin
Roasted pumpkin seeds seasoned with chili powder, garlic granules and salt

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

  • ¾ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic granules

1. Remove as much pulp from the seeds as you can. Don’t worry about getting it all off. You can either remove the pulp bits or rinse off the seeds. I like to remove the pulp to retain some of the pumpkin essence but rinsing requires much less time. Pat the seeds dry with a clean dishtowel.

2. Toss the seeds in the olive oil, salt and spices.

3. Spread in a single layer in a large cast-iron skillet or glass baking dish. I use cast iron whenever I can because it requires little effort to clean.

4. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes. Stir. Continue baking for another 5 to 10 minutes or until the seeds have turned golden and crunchy. Test one for crunchiness. If it’s chewy, put it back in the oven for a couple more minutes.

5. Eat immediately or store the roasted pumpkin seeds in a glass jar after they have cooled.

7 Replies to “Don’t Toss Those Pumpkin Seeds, Roast Them!”

  1. pumpkin seeds are the best! 🙂 thanks for sharing your recipe.

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  3. And do not forget to spare some seeds to plant!

  4. I’m definitely going to try this, I love pumpkins 🎃

  5. First, Happy Belated Birthday!

    Second, I love your recipes and ideas.

    Third, help!

    Every time I rinse and dry seeds I swear I’ll never do it again. I use embarrassing amount of water (the slimy, sticky pumpkin pulp is hard to remove) and end of using several dish towels to absorb the excess water. I pat dry and then air dry as I find that wettish seeds steam in my oven and do not become crisp, instead remaining chewy, in a not-so- good way. Feels like it takes forever to get them ready for roasting and then they are hit or miss (some seeds are delicious, some, not-so-much). Do you have any tricks to make the prep process less arduous and/or any wisdom as to how you can determine whether the seeds will be good (large flat seeds? small, plump seeds? seeds that easily pull away from pulp? seeds that stick like crazy to pulp? seeds that smell particularly squashy? seeds that don’t smell squashy?).

    1. Hi Jeanine,

      Thank you for the birthday wishes 🙂

      That makes sense that the seeds steam instead of roast. How about spreading them across a baking sheet, covering them with a towel and just letting them sit for a day or so? You won’t be able to make them right away but they might be drier. Also, if you make sure they have enough space (i.e., not crowded) in a single layer on the baking sheet, that might help them crisp up. I don’t mind if mine still have pulp on them so I pull the pulp off instead of rinsing it. I think it adds a bit of flavor. But it IS slow. It’s a good job if you’re watching or listening to something. As for seeds, you want fairly flat seeds. Occasionally I’ll buy a squash with seeds that have very thick casings and I don’t roast those. I look at shape when roasting. I think squashy smelling seeds would work if they are the right shape. Pumpkins of any kind (or at least any kind I’ve ever bought) work well. For squash, you might not know until you open the squash. I hope that helps and that you have better luck.

  6. I love roasted pumpkin seeds! Thank you for this recipe!

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