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PSLs, and scary movies, and Scorpios – oh my!
Thanks to the fact that I’m a thriller flick fanatic and my birthday happens to land at the end of October, it’s no surprise that I believe fall is the finest time of year. And I know I’m not alone in that.
Lookin’ at you, Mister or Miss Basic who just snagged your fifth seasonal Starbucks brew of the week.
As far as the culinary scene goes this season, I’ve found that many folks are a little confused when it comes to the actual flavor of pumpkin. Appearing on just about every seasonal menu around, the term “pumpkin” has in essence become a flavor in itself, when in reality, pumpkins aren’t all that flavorful.
Sure, the orange vibrancy of the gooey flesh is a treat for the eyes, but it’s typically the aromatic cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg paired with it that give whatever you’re eating or sipping that familiar “pumpkin” scent – or more fittingly, “pumpkin spice.”
Getting hands-on with a fresh gourd is the best way to demonstrate this to a pumpkin novice. Once they start scooping out the innards, they’ll find that what they’re faced with is a fresh, lightly sweet aroma, and a mess of seeds.
Which leads us to today’s recipe. Let’s get seedy.
Pumpkin seeds can be dried and eaten raw, roasted, or sprouted. They’re nutrient-rich and brimming with potential health benefits.
Today, we’re taking the path of transforming them into toasty golden-brown morsels simply sprinkled with salt, with your choice of a flavorful spice blend to top it all off.
Sorry to disappoint, if you might have imagined they come straight out of the pumpkin perfumed with brown sugar and ginger, but we’ll get you there. Keep reading.
But first, a few words on boiling.
If you grew up roasting (instead of just tossing) them once the painting or carving was out of the way, you might not have started the process by boiling them in salted water first.
This isn’t totally necessary, though it does help to guarantee a more evenly cooked seed. Not to mention, you’ll achieve one that’s more flavorful as well, when it’s permeated with salt.
Ever tasted the difference between pasta that was boiled in plain water, versus salted? As the hot water hits your noods and they begin to expand, they’re at the point in their lives where they’re ready to accept a little extra salt into their makeup, and the same goes for these seeds.
Isn’t cooking fascinating?!
It’s hard to beat simply roasted crunchy morsels with salt, so our OG version features exactly that. To amp up the crunch factor, I sometimes call upon a flaky Maldon finishing salt like this one that’s available from Amazon, but regular coarse sea salt does the trick, too.
To really pump up your pumpkin seeds, winter warming spices are the obvious choice, and our pumpkin spice recipe adds the perfect pinch of fall. I’ll also share an alternate version below that dazzles with the addition of caramel-scented brown sugar, which gets dusted on just after they come out of the oven, so be sure to keep reading for that!
For a bright burst of color and complexity, I turn to the curry powder that’s in my spice rack. An earthy combination of cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon brings added pep to your pumpkin pieces that will hit your taste buds in all the right spots.
For those who like their sweet with a side of spicy, a Cajun-inspired blend creates a bold, savory mouthful of smoky paprika and sugar. This recipe showcases another version of a solid blackening seasoning that works like a charm when you’re trying to achieve this tasty flavor profile, and I’ve suggested my own take on it below as well.
Poking out a hole in the top of the pumpkin, peering under its hat, and looking at the legwork ahead of you to create this crispy snack might seem somewhat time-consuming. But in the end, you’ll be glad you took the time to go from craving to carving to crunching on all this deliciousness.Print
Homemade Toasted and Seasoned Pumpkin Seeds
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: About 1 cup (2-4 servings) 1x
Nothing screams “Happy autumn!” like the aroma of nutty pumpkin seeds toasting in the oven, simply seasoned with flaky sea salt and your choice of spices.
- Seeds from 1 medium pumpkin (squash weight about 3 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, divided
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons spice mix, or to taste (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using your fingers, separate the seeds from the pulp and strings as best as you can. Place the seeds in a colander and rinse with cold water to clean them, and discard any remaining pulp.
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil over high heat in a medium saucepot. Add 2 tablespoons of salt. Add the pumpkin seeds, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, and drain in a colander. Pat the seeds dry with dish towels and transfer them to a medium mixing bowl. Toss with the olive oil and remaining salt, as well as 1 1/2 teaspoons of your preferred spice mix.
- Spread the seeds in a single layer on the baking sheet, and toast until golden brown and crispy, about 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove the seeds from the oven and allow them to cool on the pan.
- Store the toasted seeds in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the fridge for 1 week.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Category: Nuts and Seeds
- Method: Toasting
- Cuisine: Snacks
Keywords: pumpkin seeds
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Remove and Prep the Pumpkin Seeds
Using a sharp knife, cut around the pumpkin’s stem, essentially making a lid. You can also slice the pumpkin in half if you have a heavy, sharp knife.
Using a large metal spoon and your hands if you need to, scrape and pull out all of the seeds, and place them in a colander. Using your fingers and running cold water over each piece, separate them as best as you can from the pulp and stringy fibers.
Step 2 – Boil
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil over high heat in a medium saucepot. Add 2 tablespoons of salt. You want to use about 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt for every 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds.
You don’t have to boil them first, but sometimes they don’t toast evenly and the insides can cook before the outsides become golden-brown.
Boiling them not only ensures that they will roast more consistently, but it helps to unstick any remaining flesh from each piece, and infuses them with salt instead of just sprinkling it on as a final seasoning.
Add the pumpkin seeds to the pot, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat, and drain in a colander. Shake them in the colander to remove as much excess water as you can. Transfer to a clean dish towel and pat dry.
Step 3 – Season
Transfer the dried seeds to a medium-size mixing bowl. Toss with the olive oil and the remaining salt, as well as 1 1/2 teaspoons of your preferred spice mix (or adjust to taste).
For the pumpkin spice and sweet and spicy seasoning blends described below, the recipes give you more than you need for preparing 1 cup of seeds. But you can save these in your cabinet and pull them out when the time is right! Sprinkle any leftover pumpkin spice in your coffee, and use the sweet and spicy mix on homemade fries.
If you need to adjust your ratios based on the amount of pieces you’re toasting, use this guide:
1 tablespoon oil + 1 cup seeds + 1 1/2 teaspoons salt-free spice mix
Be sure to omit the added salt if it’s already included in your selected spice blend. And if you’re using the brown sugar pumpkin spice blend, don’t forget to toss the nuts with the brown sugar immediately after they come out of the oven rather than mixing it in with the other ingredients before roasting.
Looking for a few tasty options? Give these a spin:
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
Brown Sugar Pumpkin Spice
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar (reserved until after toasting)
Sweet and Spicy Seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Step 4 – Bake
Spread the pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet, and toast until golden brown and crispy, stirring halfway through. This will take about 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow the toasted seeds to cool on the pan. They’ll crisp up a bit as they cool.
If you’re using brown sugar, toss the seeds with it now, and then spread them out again to cool completely.
Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for 1 week.
That’s One Peppy Pumpkin Seed!
This is definitely the expression your holiday guests will use to compliment this recipe. And while this article may have gotten your wheels spinning with a few seasoning ideas, the variations available for you to try are practically limitless.
I like the high smoke point and neutral flavor of vegetable oil when roasting them, but I’ll change things up occasionally when I want to add a little more pizazz. Try coconut oil with the sweeter spice combos for a little something extra.
What’s cozier than the fragrance of a home filled with seasonal seeds toasting away in the oven? Get your good smells on with these other roasted snack recipes next:
Did you grow up practicing the pre-bake boil method for prepping roasted pumpkin seeds? Share your tastiest tips and tricks in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Jennifer Swartvagher on October 8, 2015. Last updated on October 24, 2021.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Fanny Slater
Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”
29 thoughts on “Homemade Toasted and Seasoned Pumpkin Seeds”
I’ve never thought of doing this – in fact I never realized they were even edible! I’m looking forward to trying out the pumpkin spice recipe in particular. You can’t really go wrong with brown sugar.
Brown sugar and spices make for a delicious sweet treat!
Absolutely! I just added some toasted pumpkin seeds (with pumpkin spice seasoning) to my lunch today – inspired by this post. It was delicious.
Pumpkin are my favorite kind of seeds. I love most, if not all, others as well, but pumpkin seeds bring back memories of Fall. I can picture my mother carving up the Jack O’Lantern, scooping out the insides of that and the smaller sugar pumpkins, making pies, and roasting up the seeds. I can still feel the warmth of the kitchen, and hear the wind howling outside, along with the scents of the goodies being cooked. I love making my own seeds, because it conjures up all of these memories and the end result is a delicious and nutritious treat.
I can’t wait to carve into ours this weekend. My kitchen will be filled with the scents of the season.
I love eating pumpkin seeds. Although there are times when it is a miss more than a hit. If we don’t buy a pumpkin this year, I may just buy some roasted seeds from the store. The “gooey” part did always get to me. It’s all slimey and gets everwhere.
Pumpkin seeds are amazing, definitely my favorite type of food in autumn! I love having pumpkin soup as well, but nothing compares to toasted and seasoned pumpkin seeds.
Have you tried using the seeds as a garnish for the soup? Delicious!
Never tried, though I thought about it for a while. Embellishing the soup with seeds may be a good idea, especially if you say it tastes delicious.
These are great for munching on when you’re on the go or really busy at work!
They are a delicious snack you can feel good about indulging in.
With the over abundance of pumpkin everything at this time of year, I love the simplicity of using the seeds! I never thought about adding the different flavors and am excited to try the sweet and the curried. I also love that they are a easy, healthy snack that I can give my toddler. We are carving pumpkins tonight and will definitely be trying these recipes.
These look delicious! Going to make pumpkin carving a whole lot more fun this year. The recipes on your site are amazing. Thank you for all the new ideas of things to make for my family.
We make these almost every year. It’s time to change up the seasoning. I never quite liked them much and I think it is because we were using seasoning salt.
I had a pumpkin grow as an unexpected ‘volunteer’ amongst the tomatoes in my greenhouse this year and I’ve saved the seed in pretty much the way you describe here. I was going to just roast them plainly with a bit of salt, but your recipe has inspired me to be more adventurous. I can see them being a real favourite with the family!
I used to eat these as a child, but never knew how they were made. I know these days it’s a health food, but I still like the savory seasoning. I will try and use them more in soups and salads now, and as it’s easier than I thought to make them, it’s also cheaper than buying them from the store.
One of my favorite things about fall is toasting pumpkin seeds. I love eating them as snack.
I usually buy a lot of pumpkins during the fall and bake the seeds with a little salt in the oven. I usually make enough to last me until spring.
I haven’t toasted any pumpkin seeds straight from the pumpkin, but I toast the green ones you can buy at the market fairly often. I do it right in a pan over the stove. I season them almost exactly like your curry ones, but I use turmeric instead of curry powder. I like the other ideas for seasoning. Can’t wait to try them. Thanks!
These are so easy to make! I love pumpkin seeds too. I was always worried about making my own in fear that I would mess them up. Thank you for sharing this. I now know what and how to make is awesome snack. My daughter will have fun helping me make them too 🙂
This is both a really simple and really healthy snack. I love heat, so the Sweet and Spicy version would be my go-to choice.
Thank you! My mother and I used to make these every fall and they were so delicious. I remember having them at school Halloween parties back when you were allowed to bring homemade goodies. However, I tried to make the last year, I was feeling nostalgic, and I messed them up. They just weren’t edible. I am excited to make them again. Also, I never thought about trying them with different spices. Looks like I will be buying a number of pumpkins this year so I can try them all. Pumpkin seeds are delicious and very good for you.
The different spices are perfect for these seeds. I usually love sunflower seeds the best…never tried pumpkin seeds. I love the seasoning combinations……they seem really great. Adds much flavor to the seeds.
pumpkin seeds are both a very economical snack as well as nutritious. Protein, many minerals, as well as Omega Fatty acids, and the big benefit of the pumpkin seeds is that they are really ´leftovers´ of the reason we bought the pumpkin in the first place. My preferred method of cooking is either just with salt, or with brown sugar. They make a great snack for movie night!
Roasted punkin seeds are the best! The more mature the punmkin the more plump the seeds. I just rinse the seeds and put them on a baking sheet on a baking tray with plain salt and heat them at about 200 Celsius. When sometimes the seeds wouldn’t completely dry out, I leave them at the still-hot but turned off stove overnight and voila!
It’s true that the humble pumpkin has so much more to offer than the flesh and the seeds are a great snack. I’ve only ever lightly roasted them – but I’m keen to try the flavours you recommend here. As soon as pumpkin season comes around I shall come back to this recipe.
We always buy pumpkin seeds at the market -the ready-to-eat ones. Then whenever we use pumpkins for whatever recipe it may be, we always throw away the seeds. I’ve always thought that it was such a waste, but, meh, it’s not like I know how to cook them properly. I have no idea why it took me a lot of time before I thought of searching about how to actually make them. And voila, here I am 🙂 Thanks for the recipe! <3 I'll make sure to not waste the next pumpkin seeds -and I'll also be able to save money from not buying the ready-to-eat pumpkin seeds anymore. Thanks again~
I have been looking for a simple pumpkin seed recipe! I have actually never made them before, but we are taking the kids to the pumpkin patch this year and would love to make the seeds with the kids. Sounds delicious!
As fall is approaching, I’m always looking for new recipes to try with the younger kids in the family! This recipe looks good, simple too! Thanks for the share!
My mom always used to buy some of those for me back then when I was a kid. I have always wanted to find out how to make those, but I never knew how, nobody had told me the trick, now I surely will try it out and see what I get, thank you for sharing this, really appreciated!