How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds Perfectly Every Time

Pumpkin seeds tout

Pumpkin carving season is (almost) here at long last, and with it comes the potential for perfectly roasted and seasoned seeds. Here’s everything—seriously, everything—you need to know about carving and seeding pumpkins, plus how to clean and roast pumpkin seeds: 

Related: 35+ Pumpkin Seed Recipes For Fall

Cooking dinner shouldn't be complicated

To Shell Or Not to Shell? 

Pepitas in heart Getty 8/31/20

You certainly don’t have to shell pumpkin seeds. The hull is delicious, nutritious, and totally safe to eat. That said, many people find the tough texture unappealing and others have trouble digesting them. 

It’s nearly impossible to shell raw pumpkin seeds, but a quick 15-minute boil should loosen them up. Once you’ve drained and cooled them, you can pinch the seeds individually to easily remove the shells (fun fact: the soft, green seeds are called pepitas). 

To shell in bulk, spread the seeds between two sheets of wax paper. Carefully roll a rolling pin over the top sheet or beat it with a mallet. Be firm enough to crack the shells, but gentle enough to keep the seeds intact. 

For the purposes of this article, we left the pumpkin seeds whole—but you can find our recipe for roasted pepitas here.  

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds 

1. Carve and seed the pumpkin.

Pumpkin with top off

Place your pumpkin on a prepared work surface (things will get messy) and cut off the top using a  pumpkin carving kit or a serrated knife. 

Scooping pumpkin seeds

Scoop out the seeds and pulp with your hands, then scrape down the sides with a slotted spoon or ladle. 

2. Clean the seeds. 

Rinsing seeds

Place the seeds—pulp and all—in a large mixing bowl. Fill the bowl with water.   

Separating seeds and pulp

Use your fingers to separate the seeds from the pulp. Set the seeds aside. As for the pulp, you can do whatever you want—throw it away, compost it, feed it to your animals, or toss it over your fence.

Clean seeds in water

Give the seeds one more good rinse, but don’t worry too much about lingering pulp. It won’t affect the roasting process and it may actually lend a bit of flavor to the finished seeds. 

Note: You can find a more detailed step-by-step pumpkin seed cleaning guide here. 

3. Dry the seeds. 

Drying pumpkin seeds

Drain the seeds in a colander, then spread them evenly over an absorbent dish towel. Let them dry overnight. Now you’re ready to roast!

4. Prep and season the seeds. 

Pumpkin seeds in bowl

Place the dried seeds into a mixing bowl.

Seasoned pumpkin seeds in bowl

Prepare and season them however you want. Our most basic recipe calls for just three ingredients: pumpkin seeds, cooking spray, and salt. 

Of course, you can get as creative as you want. I like to toss my seeds with a little olive oil and season them with spices like cayenne pepper and paprika (find the full recipe for Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds below). The only rule when it comes to roasting? There are no rules.

5. Roast the seeds. 

Pumpkin seeds on baking sheet

Lightly coat a baking sheet in cooking spray, then spread the prepared pumpkin seeds in an even layer. 

Pumpkin seeds in oven

Roast the seeds according to your recipe. I like to let them go for about 30 minutes at 300°. Stir the seeds about halfway through your cooking time to encourage even roasting. 

6. Let cool.

Finished pumpkin seeds

Remove the seeds from the oven and let them cool completely on the baking sheet. Transfer them to an airtight container and store at room temperature. 

Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds tout

Ingredients: 

  • ¾ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • Cooking spray
  • Garlic salt (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 300°.
  2. Toss the seeds in olive oil, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and dried oregano. 
  3. Spread the seeds evenly over a baking sheet prepared with cooking spray. Roast for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned and aromatic. 
  4. Let cool on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic salt, if desired. 

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