If you’ve recently carved, or cooked a pumpkin, roasted pumpkin seeds are an extra bonus snack! Today, you’ll see how to roast pumpkin seeds, so they turn out perfectly crispy every time.
I’ve been cooking a LOT of pumpkins lately, so I’ve had lots of seeds to experiment with, too. I tried all of the methods out there, to see what’s worth the time and effort, and which method produces the most consistently crispy seeds.
Here’s a quick look at what I tried:
- Boiling the seeds in salt water
- Letting them dry in the fridge overnight
- Drying the seeds in a towel
- Drying the seeds briefly in the oven
- Roasting the seeds “low and slow”
- Roasting the seeds in a hotter oven
- Sweet & savory seasonings
Now that I feel like sort of a “pumpkin seed expert,” I feel confident in sharing how to roast pumpkin seeds, in the most efficient and delicious way possible.
Note: If you’re curious about roasted seeds from other varieties of squash, like butternut, acorn, or spaghetti squash, check out my Roasted Squash Seeds tutorial, too!
Should Pumpkin Seeds Be Soaked before Roasting?
You do not need to soak pumpkin seeds before roasting them. Pumpkin seeds are already pretty “wet” to begin with, if you’re scooping them out of a fresh pumpkin, so they don’t require soaking the way some other dry nuts and seeds do before using them.
If you’re worried about the seeds not being flavorful enough, I also tried boiling the seeds in salt water to see if that helped to bring more flavor to the inside of the seed.
The result? There isn’t a huge difference.
It’s definitely not worth the time and effort it takes to wait for a pot of water to come to a boil, then boil the seeds… and then you still have to dry them before you can bake them. Trust me, and save yourself that time and effort.
Note: If you’ve cooked a whole pumpkin, without cutting into it first, the seeds will already be cooked when you scoop them out. (They’ll have a darker gray color to them.) You can still roast these! I find that cooked pumpkin seeds are harder to clean the pulp off, but they turn out really nice and tender, with a crisp exterior, when you roast them following the directions below.
The Best Way to Roast Pumpkin Seeds
Step 1: Make sure the pumpkin seeds are clean and dry.
If you’re using seeds from a freshly opened raw pumpkin, place the seeds in a fine mesh strainer, and run them under running water.
The pulp should be relatively easy to remove as you clean the seeds, and you can continue to rinse them off as you go, to remove any slimy texture.
Lay the rinsed pumpkin seeds out on a dry towel, and pat them dry. The drier the pumpkin seeds are, the crispier they will get! If you plan on carving a pumpkin, go ahead and do that while the seeds lay out on the towel– the longer they dry, the better.
If you want to dry the seeds fast, you can arrange the towel-dried seeds on a baking sheet, and place them in the oven to warm up for 5 minutes at 300ºF. That brief oven time should help any extra moisture evaporate fast.
Step 2: Add the Seasoning.
Transfer the dry seeds to a bowl, and toss with olive oil, salt, and garlic powder. Stir well to coat the seeds, then arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet.
The seeds really like to stick together in clumps, but try to spread them out the best you can. The more separated they are, the crispier they will get.
Step 3: Roast until crispy!
Roast the pumpkin seeds at 350ºF for 15 minutes, then take the pan out and give the seeds a stir to make sure they roast evenly.
Return the pan to the oven, and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Once the seeds are lightly golden, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool. The seeds will get even crispier as they cool down!
Note: If you add a sweet seasoning to the seeds, like maple syrup or granulated sugar, be sure to watch the seeds closely, as they can start to get very dark by the 20 minute mark. Savory seasonings tend not to burn as much, which is why I prefer to stick with the simple recipe below.
Are Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Good for You?
Even though they’re small, pumpkin seeds pack a lot of nutrients inside!
Here’s why I love pumpkin seeds:
- They’re loaded with antioxidants. In one study, pumpkin seed oil was shown to lower inflammation in rats with arthritis, without negative side effects.
- Lignans, which are polyphenols found in pumpkin seeds, may play a role in breast cancer prevention.
- Pumpkin seeds are a natural source of magnesium, which has been associated with controlling blood pressure and regulating blood sugar levels.
- Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc, which may help improve sperm quality.
- In one study, pumpkin seed oil was shown to improve “good” HDL cholesterol levels in women.
If you’re going to carve a pumpkin, or bake a pumpkin pie from scratch, you might as well enjoy these tasty seeds at the same time!
Why Are the Seeds Still Chewy?
If you find that your pumpkin seeds are still chewy after roasting them, there are two common culprits:
- The oven temperature was too low. I found that roasting the seeds at 250ºF or 300ºF resulted in seeds that still had some chew to them. Roasting at 350ºF requires that you watch the seeds a little more closely towards the end, so they don’t get too brown, but the results should be a lot crispier!
- The seeds weren’t dry enough. If there’s still a lot of moisture in the pumpkin seeds, they won’t get as crispy. Be sure to dry them very well before seasoning and roasting.
In general, pumpkin seeds that have a white shell tend to be slightly chewier than the hulled green pumpkin seeds you can find at the store. But the recipe below should give you the crispiest results possible!
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (Perfectly Crispy!)
- 3/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds (from a 2.5 to 3 pound pumpkin)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Scoop the seeds out of the pumpkin, if you haven't already, and place them in a fine mesh strainer. Rinse the seeds under running water, picking out any pumpkin pulp that might be stuck to them. You want the seeds to be very clean for best results, but you can pick off any remaining pulp when you dry them.
- Transfer the seeds to a towel, and pat well to dry. If you're going to carve a pumpkin, feel free to let the seeds sit on the dry towel for up to 2 hours. The drier the seeds are, the crispier they will be when you roast them. Alternatively, you can place the seeds on the pan after towel-drying them, and let them roast in the oven at 300ºF for 5 minutes, to help eliminate excess moisture faster.
- Once the seeds are dry, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Pour the dry seeds into a bowl, and toss with the olive oil, garlic powder, and salt. I usually use 1/2 teaspoon of salt for these (because I like salt!), but 1/4 teaspoon is sufficient if you're looking for a mildly salty snack.
- Spread the seeds out into a single layer on the pan. They will tend to clump together, but do your best to separate them so they will get as crispy as possible. Roast at 350ºF for 15 minutes.
- When the timer goes off, remove the pan from the oven and use a spatula to stir the seeds, to help them crisp-up evenly. Return the pan to the oven, to bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. Watch closely towards the end of the cooking time, to make sure the seeds don't get too dark.
- When the seeds are lightly golden, remove them from the oven and let them cool. The seeds will continue to crisp up as they cool down. Enjoy as a cruncy snack, or as a topping for salads and soup.
- These pumpkin seeds never last longer than 3 days in my house, but I think they should keep well for at least a week in an airtight container. Store them in the fridge or freezer for a longer shelf life.
If you try these roasted pumpkin seeds, please leave a comment below letting me know how you like them! And if you make any modifications, I’d love to hear about those, too. We can all benefit from your experience.
Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite Fall snack?