If you’re carving pumpkins, save those seeds that get scraped out and make these delicious crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds. This is an easy, basic recipe for learning how to roast pumpkin seeds, along with three seasoning blends to try… use any of them of your favorite combination of spices! An awesome fall treat!
Growing up, the night that our family carved pumpkins was almost as exciting as the night we went trick or treating. After visiting a local pumpkin patch and carefully picking out our favorites, my parents would cover the kitchen table in newspapers. My mom would cut the top off of the pumpkins and go to work scraping out all of the pulp and seeds. Once she was finished, my dad would let my sister and I draw our designs on our pumpkins, and then he would working carving. While we were busy at the table, my mom would pull all of the pumpkin seeds out of the pulp, rinse and dry them, season them, and put them in the oven. By the time we were finished carving our pumpkins, we were more than ready to start snacking on fresh roasted pumpkin seeds.
I haven’t carved a pumpkin in years, but every October around this time, I start to crave those fresh roasted pumpkin seeds my mom would make. I finally made my own roasted pumpkin seeds this year, and used three different spice blends.
Did you (or do you) have pumpkin carving traditions? If you roast pumpkin seeds, what are some of your favorite flavors to use?
Prepping the seeds for roasting
The very first thing you need to do is get the seeds out of the pumpkin and get them separated from the pulp. The easiest way to do this is to transfer the seeds to a colander as you work, and then run water over the seeds, using your fingers to rinse them around. They may still feel a bit slimy from the pulp, but that’s okay!
Shake off the excess water, then spread them out on a baking sheet to dry.
You would ideally allow the seeds to dry overnight to make sure there is no extra moisture, but sometimes that’s unrealistic, so try to blot them dry as best you can if you want to power through on the same night!
Optional: soaking in salt water
Soaking the pumpkin seeds in a bit of salt water can help them turn out super crunchy. While it sounds counterintuitive, this same method is popular for homemade French fries and it really works!
If you decide to go this route, transfer the pumpkin seeds from the colander into a medium or large bowl and cover with fresh water and a bit of salt (about 1 teaspoon per 4 cups of water). Allow to soak overnight, then drain and dry as directed above.
Basic seasonings + other options
My mom would use a simple salt and garlic powder seasoning on her pumpkin seeds, and you could certainly use something just as simple. If you like to play around with some different flavors, I think you’ll like at least one of the combinations below:
Ginger-Soy – This is a balance of sweet and a bit of a bite from the ginger.
Brown Sugar Spice – Combines dark brown sugar, with some spices and cayenne pepper. This one definitely has a kick to it, but you can omit the spice and use cinnamon instead for a sugar-cinnamon spin!
Maple Chipotle – Maple syrup is combined with chipotle chile powder and cumin, which gives the seeds a sweet and smokey flavor; not really spicy like the previous blend.
Storage and shelf life
Storing Roasted Pumpkin Seeds – Once the pumpkin seeds have cooled, transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
Freezing Unroasted and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds – Once the unroasted seeds have been thoroughly dried, you can transfer them to an airtight container or freezer ziplock bag for up to 12 months before roasting.
Freezing Roasted Pumpkin Seeds – Once the seeds have been roasted and cooled completely, you can freeze them as directed above
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin seeds with the olive oil. In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for whichever spice blend you are using, then pour over the pumpkin seeds and stir to combine and evenly coat all of the seeds.
Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake until the seeds are golden and crunchy, about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Allow the seeds to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Recipe adapted from Everyday Food
Nutritional values are based on one cup of Ginger Soy pumpkin seeds