How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds

Created January 10, 2017
pumpkin seeds on baking sheet
You know the drill. Pick out a pumpkin, grab some carving templates and tools, and away you go. But when you're elbow-deep in pumpkin innards this fall, don’t forget to reserve the seeds for an easy, addictive snack that’s ready in minutes. MORE+ LESS-


Carving pumpkins may get all the Halloween glory, but it’s roasting the oh-so-addictive seeds inside that’s become our favorite treat for any time of year. Pumpkin seeds, also called Pepitas, are an amazing snack that you can roast and enjoy in just a few simple steps. You can season your seeds any way you like, opting for a savory flavor profile—think cumin and coriander—or a sweet combination, like cinnamon and ginger. No matter how you season them, roasted pumpkin seeds serve as the perfect blank canvas for the flavors of your choice.

Aside from their easy preparation and deliciously crispy texture, pumpkin seeds are also chock-full of nutrients; their multiple health benefits give us plenty of reasons to keep snacking! According to the USDA, pumpkin seeds are full of essential nutrients, particularly magnesium, potassium and zinc. Magnesium helps regulate blood pressure, as well as muscle and nerve function. Potassium has also been shown to help regulate blood pressure, as well as maintain healthy bones and muscles. Zinc does wonders for the immune system, helping to prevent respiratory infections and other common illnesses. Pepitas are also a phenomenal source of protein—just one cup has over 18 grams.

All the great nutrients pumpkin seeds have to offer make us even happier to keep them on hand year-round. But before you learn how to roast your pumpkin seeds, you’ll need to assemble a few basic things.

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds

What you’ll need:

  • Pumpkin
  • Carving knife
  • Colander
  • Baking sheet

cutting board and pumpkins

The pumpkin type you choose depends on what your grocer may have available at the time. The most common type of pumpkins sold for cooking purposes are referred to, quite logically, as “cooking pumpkins.” These pumpkins—like the Styrian, for example—produce highly flavorful seeds and tend to be smaller than the “carving pumpkins” seen on display around Halloween. Either are fine to use; you’ll only notice a slight variation in the texture and flavor of the seeds.

We used three smaller cooking pumpkins to roast our seeds, but you can also opt for the larger carving variety. As a general rule of thumb, one 10-14 lb pumpkin will yield about one cup of pumpkin seeds—but of course, mother nature has some variation.

How To:

1. Carve off the top of your pumpkin(s).

slicing open pumpkin

2. If you’re using a larger carving pumpkin, taking off the top might be all you need to do. But for several smaller cooking pumpkins, like ours, you’ll also want to cut the pumpkin into sections for better access to the seeds.

slicing pumpkin

3. Scoop out the innards and seeds of the pumpkin and place in colander.

scooping seeds into colander

4. Next, separate the seeds from the innards, discarding the innards into a small bowl and leaving the seeds in the colander.

picking out pumpkin seeds

5. Once you have a colander that’s solely full of seeds, rinse them under cold running water.

washing pumpkin seeds

6. After rinsing your seeds, pat them dry with a paper towel or cloth. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon vegetable oil on baking sheet and sprinkle seeds on top. Be sure to spread them as thinly as possible so there is only one layer.

pumpkin seeds on sheet pan

7. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon kosher salt over seeds. If adding other seasonings, like any of the 13 flavor combinations below, now’s the time to toss those ingredients with the seeds.

sprinkling salt on seeds

8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden; cool all the way before eating.

pumpkin seeds on baking sheet

Expert Tips

  • An optional step before rinsing and drying your seeds is to boil them in salt water for ten minutes. This makes them extra crispy and also easier to digest.
  • Roasting times may vary depending on the size of the seeds. Smaller seeds may take closer to ten minutes, while larger ones may take closer to 30. The best way to check is to take them out when they are lightly browned: pumpkin seeds that are ready to eat will be very crispy and easy to bite into.
  • There’s really no wrong way to eat a pumpkin seed! Some people crack the shell and remove the inner seed first, but it’s easy (and tasty!) to eat the seeds whole and enjoy them that way.

Ways to Flavor Your Pumpkin Seeds

Cinnamon sugar: This recipe for cinnamon sugar pumpkin seeds will satisfy any sweet tooth.

Salt and vinegar: 1 teaspoon salt and 2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Parmesan garlic herb: 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary

Taco: Check out our recipe for peppy roasted pumpkin seeds for a Tex-Mex twist.

Truffle chive: 1 teaspoon black truffle salt or oil, 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives and 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Buffalo wing: 1 tablespoon melted butter and 2 tablespoons hot sauce Chile lime: ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon chili powder and 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Brown butter: 2-3 tablespoons browned butter (melt butter in sauce pan over medium-high heat until it bubbles and starts to brown) and 1 teaspoon salt

Jerk: Toss the pumpkin seeds in a batch of our scratch jerk seasoning

Pumpkin pie: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves and 1-2 tablespoons sugar

Ranch: 1-2 tablespoons minced fresh chives, 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

BBQ: Our Cajun spice rub adds smoky depth

Sesame ginger: 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sugar and 1 teaspoon ground ginger.

Want a pumpkin-seed sampler? After tossing 12 handfuls of seeds with 12 different seasonings, roast them in a muffin pan to separate each flavor.

Ways to Serve

Aside from being a delicious standalone treat, pumpkin seeds also make great additions to existing dishes. Here are some fun serving ideas:

How do you serve or roast pumpkin seeds? Do you like them spicy, salty, or sweet? Leave a comment in the section below to let us know how yours turned out!

Want to learn how to make a perfect apple pie or a juicy steak? Betty can tell you. Check out her handy how-to articles to get started mastering all this and more.