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How to Prep and Roast Pumpkin Seeds

When you're carving pumpkins, don't toss away the seeds. Toast them instead for delicious autumn snacking. It's easy to do, and you can change them up any way you want with sweet or savory flavors.

However, not every recipe will tell you exactly how to prepare the seeds before roasting, so we're here with advice on prepping and roasting pumpkin seeds—including top tips from home cooks—along with favorite pumpkin seed recipes to try.

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Try this recipe: Spiced Pumpkin Seeds | Photo by pjudy

How to Prep and Roast Pumpkin Seeds

1. Wash the seeds.

Before you roast the seeds, you have to separate them from their nest of gooey, pulpy fibers. For best results, do it just after you've scooped out the seeds from the pumpkin and before the pulp has dried. Put the pulp and seeds into a large bowl of water, and work the pulp with your fingers, picking out the strings and clingy pumpkin bits.

Allrecipes home cook NLWB22 agrees: "I soaked the seeds in warm water as I cleaned out the pumpkins, it seems easier to separate and clean the seeds this way."

Wash and rub the seeds, and pick out the clingy stringy bits.

Wash and rub the seeds, and pick out the clingy stringy bits.

More: How to Carve a Pumpkin

2. Boil seeds in salted water.

Pumpkin seeds don't roast evenly—the insides tend to get done faster than the shells, and they can burn in the middle before the shells are nice and toasty. To solve this problem, simmer them first in salty water for about 10 minutes.

Sara Neziol uses this method to clean the seeds as well: "To remove the pumpkin slime from the seeds I boiled the seeds in salt water for about 10 minutes. The pumpkin will separate from the seeds very easily this way."

Boil the pumpkin seeds in salted water for 10 minutes.

Boil the pumpkin seeds in salted water for 10 minutes. | Photo by Allrecipes

3. Dry the seeds.

Drain the seeds in a sieve or colander, and dry thoroughly with towels. Drying the seeds before roasting helps them bake up crunchier.

Home cook Kim's Cooking Now! adds, "If you leave them too wet, the mixture won't stick to the seeds very well (the whole oil doesn't mix with water thing)."

4. Oil and season to taste.

After washing, simmering, and drying the seeds, place them in a bowl and coat them with oil, melted butter, or cooking spray. Stir to coat the seeds evenly, then add sweet or savory flavorings. Check out our collection of roasted pumpkin seed recipes for ideas.

5. Place seeds on a baking sheet.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil (this makes cleanup so much easier) and spread out the seeds in a single layer. The less the seeds overlap the crispier they'll bake up. 

Tip: You can roast the seeds of any winter squash, not just pumpkin.

6. Bake at 325 degrees F.

If you're following a particular recipe, use the roasting temperature recommended in the recipe. Otherwise, using a moderate oven temperature helps cook the seeds evenly. Roast until toasted, about 25 minutes, or as recommended in your recipe. Check on your seeds every 10 minutes, removing the baking sheet from the oven and stirring. After 20 minutes, give them a test. Let them cool a moment; then break into a few to ensure they're not burning on the inside. If they're crispy on the outside, tender and golden on the inside, your work is done.

Home cook aimstream turns off the heat and leaves the seeds in the oven for an hour to crisp them up even more.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Roast pumpkin seeds on a sheet pan. | Photo by Meredith

7. Let cool and store in an air-tight container.

Season them as you like. And crunch away! Stored in an airtight container, your pumpkin seeds will keep for 1-2 months in the refrigerator, or at room temperature for up to a week.

See how to make Caramelized Spicy Pumpkin Seeds:

Try These Top-Rated Roasted Pumpkin Seed Recipes

Cinnamon Toast Pumpkin Seeds
A buttery coating of cinnamon sugar turns these seeds into sweet snacks.

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
Garlic salt and Worcestershire sauce take these seeds to the spicy side.

Caramelized Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
Can't make up your mind between sweet and savory? Try these seeds coated with sugar, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, and cayenne to satisfy all your flavor cravings.

Drunken Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds get simmered in whiskey, bacon drippings, and brown sugar before roasting. Cheers!


Check out our collection of Roasted Pumpkin Seed Recipes


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