It’s a source of constant bafflement to me that so many people are unaware of the potential within their pumpkins beyond space for a tea light.
How to roast pumpkin seeds
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Scrape the seeds from your pumpkin with a wide, flat spoon.
Hand-on-heart, this is not like one of those times in which people suggest you eat the entire apple – core, seeds and all – or gnaw the gristle from your chicken bones; roasted pumpkin seeds are simply a joy, through-and-through, and it’s one of the great foodie crimes that so many thousands are discarded like yesterday’s coffee grounds, year after year.
Believe it or not, the seeds you exhume and discard from your soon-to-be Jack O’ Lanterns are just a quick roast away from becoming a delicious snack – crunchy, flavoursome, and hellishly moreish. They’re perfect for grazing, as well as tossing into salads, or sprinkling over soups and savoury bakes for added texture and seasoning.
It’s almost as straightforward as giving them a rinse and flinging them in the oven, but there are certain tricks that can make them particularly great.
Flick through my guide below before disembowelling your pumpkin this week and I promise, you’ll never discard a pumpkin seed again.
HOW TO ROAST PUMPKIN SEEDS
How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds the Right Way
You'll be baking up these babies allllll season long.
You&rsquore bound to have leftover pumpkin seeds from all of your pumpkin carving and creative fall crafts this season, so there&rsquos no better time to learn how to roast pumpkin seeds like a total pro. After you&rsquove become a scoop, season and roast master (more on that below), just wait until you try more sweet and savory recipes with pumpkin seeds. Once you get the basic steps down, you can experiment with all different kinds of seasonings that turn the simple seed into a tasty treat or healthy snack. It&rsquos the perfect crunchy and satisfying pack-along pick to stash in your kids&rsquo backpack or your purse. We can&rsquot wait to try all the delicious and festive pumpkin recipes this autumn&mdash pumpkin seeds definitely included.
Follow our Test Kitchen-approved tips for pumpkin seed success:
Step 1: Gut your pumpkin
The part of pumpkin carving that nobody talks about. Cut off the top of your pumpkin and get grabbing at the guts! I like scrape a large spoon down the sides to help loosen them all up. Then place the mess of guts and seeds in a large bowl.
How to Roast Shelled Pumpkin Seeds
Nothing heralds the arrival fall like its signature flavor—pumpkin. Once the jack-o&apos-lantern carving over, don&apost let the insides go to waste. Save the seeds for fall baking and entertaining. Roasted pumpkin seeds bring a great addition of autumn flavor to recipes that call for nuts like salads, breads, and desserts. Or, pop a handful of seasoned seeds in your mouth for a nutritious snack. While most pumpkin seeds are roasted with the shell, it&aposs the tender, meatier insides that you really want. Also called pepitas, pumpkin seeds are a rich source of heart-healthy, plant-based protein. You can shell the seeds yourself, or you can find raw, already hulled seeds at the grocery store.
To roast the pepitas, first rinse them in water and pat completely dry. Toss them in olive oil, salt, and pepper. You can also kick the flavor up a notch with the addition of your favorite spices—rosemary, thyme, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, etc. Next, spread the seeds out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. If you can&apost have parchment paper or aluminum foil on hand, coat the baking sheet with cook spray to ensure the seeds won&apost stick. Bake at 325° for 10-15 minutes, or until crisp. Let them cool completely on the pan, and then enjoy. Follow our how-to video for easy, step-by-step instructions.
Versatile pepitas will be your go-to ingredient for fall cooking occasions. Swap the mixed nuts for a bowl of Spicy Roasted Chile Peanuts and Pepitas at your next party. Top creamy butternut squash soup with toasted pumpkin seeds for a simple weeknight supper. For the Thanksgiving dessert spread, bake a standout Bundt cake that&aposs topped with sugared pecans and pepitas. In the mood for a lighter dish? Try a harvest salad with grilled sweet potatoes, poblano peppers, and—yes—roasted pumpkin seeds.
- Ease: Since you’re already taking the time to cut and remove the seeds, why not pre-heat the oven and quickly make a snack!
- Versatility: I’m sure your pantry is already filled with seasonings to create unique and tasty combinations. You can use any seasoning mix, like some chili powder for heat, curry powder or cumin for a more earthy flavor, or even a sweet taste with cinnamon and maple syrup. Feel free to use vegetable oil, butter or coconut oil instead of olive oil.
- Nutrition: Eating the whole pumpkin seed provides fiber and an excellent source of zinc from the shell and the nutrients phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and iron. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, in 1 ounce (28 grams) of pumpkin seeds provides approximately 126 calories, 5.3 grams of protein, 5.5 grams of fat mainly from unsaturated sources, 15 grams of carbohydrates and 5 grams of total dietary fiber.
If you’re a fan of pumpkin seeds, I’d love to hear your flavor combinations and uses in the comments section below!
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1. Remove the seeds from the pumpkin.
Cut a hole around the stem of the pumpkin and lift the lid to get to the inner “guts” where all the juicy pumpkin seeds are. Use your hands or a spoon to remove the seeds and place them in a large bowl.
We’ve used the orange scoops that come with kid’s pumpkin carving kits. These work fairly well especially if the kids are removing the pumpkin seeds. If you really want to make quick work of it though I recommend using a metal ice cream scoop. It makes it super easy to scrape the edges of pumpkin to clean out the insides very well.
After you’ve removed all the insides from the pumpkin, separate the seeds from the guts. I wish there was an easy way to do this part, but at some point, it’s faster if you just dig in with both hands.
2. Rinse the pumpkin seeds.
Put the pumpkin seeds in a kitchen colander and run under lukewarm water for several minutes to remove the last bit of guts from the pumpkin seeds. You may need to dig in with your hands again to rub the gunky parts off.
3. Coat the pumpkin seeds with olive oil and spices.
Place the pumpkin seeds in a medium-sized bowl. Toss them with a little olive oil and your favorite spices. Pumpkin seeds can be made sweet, spicy or savory. Our recipe favors the savory side by combining spices like garlic, seasoning salt and cumin to give them a delicious flavor. You’ll find a printable version of the actual recipe and ratios we used of each further down this post.
4. Place the seasoned pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet.
Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Spread the pumpkin seeds in a single layer so they can roast more evenly.
5. Slow roast the pumpkin seeds.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the baking sheet on the center rack in your oven and bake for 50 minutes. Turn them every 15-20 minutes to help them cook evenly.
6. Cool the pumpkin seeds and enjoy!
Allow the roasted pumpkin seeds to cool for a few minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy this fun fall treat.
What is the best way to scoop out pumpkin guts?
We found the quickest way to scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin is to use a metal ice cream scoop. You can also use a large tablespoon, but an ice cream scoop is more effective.
What is the fastest way to separate the pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin guts?
Yes, this is the messiest part! If you put the stringy pumpkin guts in a bowl of water, some of the seeds will naturally begin to float to the top. Then, it is easier work to just use your hands and separate the rest of them.
Why didn’t my pumpkin seeds roast evenly?
Keep your pumpkin seeds in one layer on the baking sheet. If you have any seeds covering other seeds, you won’t have an even roasting experience.
How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds at Home
One of the most fun parts about fall besides dressing up for Halloween is carving a pumpkin into a cute or spooky jack-o-lantern. Sometimes, though, the pumpkin seeds are forgotten. You can turn them into a perfect snack by simply seasoning and roasting them for a few minutes. If you scoop out the seeds at the beginning of carving, they'll be done just in time for you and your family to put the finishing touches on your pumpkin masterpieces. Lightly salted pumpkin seeds provide such a satisfying crunch. You can drizzle them in butter and sprinkle with salt, or go for an unexpected flavor palate by coating the pumpkin seeds in truffle oil and fresh chive.
The possibilities with pumpkin seeds are almost endless. Using a combination of sweet and spicy ingredients, these roasted pumpkin seeds will satisfy your whole family. Pumpkins make great decorations and desserts, but don't forget about how yummy their seeds are! Follow the steps below to enjoy a bowl of light and crunchy pumpkin seeds.
Cleaning the Pumpkin Seeds
Pick your pumpkin. You can use the seeds from small baking pumpkins or a large carving pumpkin. A large pumpkin will have about one cup of seeds in it.
Cut the top off of the pumpkin to remove the seeds. If not carving the pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern, you can cut the pumpkins into smaller sections to make the process easier. Squeeze the seeds off of the stringy fibers for quick removal.
Place the seeds in a colander and rinse with cold water. Stir the seeds to separate them from the fibers. You can also put them in a bowl of cold water and stir. The clean seeds will float to the top.
Optional: soak the seeds in salt water for 8-48 hours. Sometimes pumpkin seeds can be harsh on the stomach, and the salt water soak helps break down the enzymes that cause irritation. If you choose to do this step, fill a large bowl 2/3 of the way full with water. Sprinkle the salt in until the water is saturated, and then let the seeks soak.
Cooking Pumpkin Seeds
Season the seeds with salt or your favorite combination of spices.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil on a baking sheet and spread the pumpkin seeds out on top. Make sure they're only in one layer.
Depending on the size of the seeds, bake for 15-20 minutes. Open the oven and shake the pan every 5-10 minutes so that they don't burn.
5. Maple Spiced Cauliflower Roast With Pumpkin Gravy
This recipe is a great plant-based option if you're looking to forgo the turkey this year. Instead, "carve" yourself a slice or two from this whole cauliflower topped with a pumpkin gravy made from pumpkin purée, cinnamon, maple syrup and spiced with cayenne and garlic powder.
Cauliflower belongs to the family of cruciferous vegetables which are rich in plant compounds that can lower inflammation in the body and reduce the risk of cancer, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Another bonus: It's topped with whole pumpkin seeds for extra crunch.
Get the Maple Spiced Cauliflower Roast With Pumpkin Gravy recipe and nutrition info here.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkins are pretty amazing. You can carve them, roast them, serve them savory or sweet . One of their best (and often overlooked) attributes is their seeds! They&rsquore super easy to prepare and make a seriously delicious snack.
They're great prepared super simply, roasted with salt and melted butter, but the variations are completely endless. We love ranch seasoning, taco seasoning, or cinnamon sugar for an added pop of flavor. Toasting them in the oven gives them an irresistible crunch.
Besides tasting great, they&rsquore also loaded with nutrition. They&rsquore high in protein, (take note, vegetarians!) are an excellent source of magnesium, zinc and calcium. Plus, lots of healthy fats . It would be a shame to throw all that good stuff out!
Have you made this recipe? Rate it and comment below.
Editor's Note: This introduction to this recipe was updated slightly on July 31, 2020.
Notes on the Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe, Tips and Tricks
Any edible pumpkin works in this recipe, the large carving ones or the small pie pumpkins. Carving pumpkins weighing about 10-15 pounds yield about 2 cups pumpkin seeds. Smaller pie pumpkins weighing 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 lbs yield about 2/3 cup seeds.
The trick to removing the seeds from the stringy core is to soak everything in water. The water helps to untangle the seeds and will make it easier to pluck the seeds from the fibers.
After washing the pumpkin seeds, be sure to drain well and then pat dry with a paper towel. Excess water may increase the roasting time and may even make the pumpkin seeds soggy.
I love these pumpkin seeds just as they are, but you can add any additional flavorings or seasonings to make the pumpkins seeds sweet, savory or spice. Add the flavorings and seasonings to the cleaned and dried seeds and combine well. Then bake as directed below.
Store the roasted seeds in an air-tight jar for up to 3 months.
Roasted pumpkin seeds are not only delicious but they&aposre super easy to prepare! The EatingWell Test Kitchen cooks recommend preheating your oven to 350ଏ. Spread some parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet, coat the seeds with 1 teaspoon canola oil and sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt (or other seasoning of you chose) and then spread them in a single layer on the pan. Be sure to stir the seeds a few times as they bake. It takes about 20 minutes for them to get golden brown, but don&apost trust your timer!
In fact, EatingWell food stylist Patsy Jamieson has a great trick for telling when pumpkin seeds are perfectly cooked: "Most people don&apost think to use their nose when cooking," she says. "I can always tell when my pumpkin seeds are about done because they smell done."
This might seem a bit simplistic, but it really works. When the seeds take on a rich, woody scent, they&aposre ready to come out. If you stick close to your stove and trust your sense of smell, you should be able to get perfectly roasted pumpkin seeds every time. And now that know how to roast pumpkin seeds, here is everything else you need to know about the delicious snack!