Don't throw out the seeds from a fresh pumpkin. Instead make a healthy snack and roast the pumpkin seeds. Tasty, salty, crispy, and crunchy, the pumpkin seeds are a unique autumn snack. The kitchen smells so good with pumpkin seeds roasting in the oven.
Pumpkin seeds are an easy, healthy snack or a garnish for soups such as Butternut Squash Soup or Pumpkin Soup. They are high in protein and fiber and contain vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. They are a powerhouse snack.
My daughter absolutely loves to eat roasted pumpkin seeds. So, she is going to learn how to roast them this month.
After removing the seeds, cook the pumpkin for your favorite recipes.
What Kind of Pumpkin Should I Use When Roasting Pumpkin Seeds?
You can easily find fresh pumpkins in the fall and winter. Your selection is limited to what is available in your grocery store or farmers market unless you grow your own pumpkin.
The best pumpkins from the grocery store are the medium or small cooking pumpkins (not the tiny decorative ones). These are often Small Sugar or New England Pie pumpkins. Often the variety is not identified.
These smaller pumpkins aren’t used for carving, but their seeds are good for roasting and the rest of the pumpkin can be cooked in your pumpkin recipes.
Carving pumpkins have larger, somewhat tougher seeds. However, we have still roasted and eaten these seeds every time we carve a pumpkin.
Whichever pumpkin variety you buy, choose the freshest pumpkins available and roast the seeds when the pumpkin is still fresh. The age of the pumpkin affects the toughness of the seed shell.
Some people find the hard pumpkin shells too tough for eating. Fortunately, some pumpkin varieties are considered “naked-seeded.” This means there is no shell hull on the seed.
Some of these pumpkin varieties are Lady Godiva, Williams Naked Seeded Pumpkin, and the Kakai pumpkin. These pumpkins may be right for you (although somewhat difficult to find) if you want to roast the pumpkin seeds, but cannot stand the hard shell.
How to Clean Pumpkin Seeds
Read more on how to prepare a pumpkin for cooking.
- First step is to scrub the pumpkin with a vegetable wash.
- Then pat it dry so it doesn’t slip when you cut it.
- Cut the pumpkin stem off. This will reveal the seeds and strings inside the pumpkin.
- Remove the seeds from the pumpkin. There are two ways to remove the seeds. Either cut a larger hole at the top of the pumpkin or cut the pumpkin in half to expose the seeds.
Using either your hands or a spoon, scoop the pumpkin seeds and stringy pulp out of the pumpkin and place them in a bowl. The seeds and the pulp will be a little slimy and slippery. Use a food service glove if this bothers you.
- Separate the pulp and the seeds. Pull the pulp off the seeds. Beware of slippery seeds. You will be able to pull the majority of the pulp off this way.
- After you remove the large pulp pieces, immerse the pumpkin seeds in water. Soak the seeds for 5 to 10 minutes to loosen the remaining pulp and help it separate from the seeds.
- Following the soak, sort the seeds with your fingers and pull off the remaining pulp. Rinse thoroughly.
Sort through the seeds and pull out any that seem slightly flatter or smaller. These won’t taste good.
- After removing all the pulp, pour the pumpkin seeds in a colander and pour out the soak water.
- Finally, keep the seeds in the colander and rinse them again in cold water to clean them completely.
How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds
- First, place the seeds in a bowl and cover the seeds with water. For every cup of water added to the bowl, add 2 tablespoons of table salt or ¼ cup of Kosher salt. Mix with a spoon to dissolve the salt. This is the pumpkin seed brine.
- After the brine water is ready, soak the seeds in brine for 4 to 8 hours. This soaking will help soften the seeds and infuses a salty taste.
- After the soak, drain the seeds in a colander. Drain very well, but do not rinse again.
- Then spread the seeds out to dry for several minutes, either on the baking sheet or on a nonstick mat.
Pat some of the moisture off with a cheesecloth, but do not use a paper towel because the seeds will stick to it.
- Preheat the oven to 300° Fahrenheit. Spread the seeds onto a good quality baking tray or pan. The darker the pan, the shorter the roasting time. My pan is a good quality USA Bakeware Baking Sheet. It is nonstick and bakes evenly.
Because the seeds were already soaked in brine, do not salt again before roasting.
- Dry roast the pumpkin seeds for 30 to 45 minutes. Stir the seeds every 10 minutes to roast the seeds evenly.
The roasted seeds should be a light brown color. Continue roasting and flipping the seeds over until they are as toasted as you like.
When the seeds have reached the right color, remove the pan from the oven. Let the seeds cool completely.
Roasted pumpkin seeds are a great snack anytime. Or use as a garnish for salads or soups such as Butternut Squash Soup or Pumpkin Soup.
How to Roast Using the Slow Roast Method
Note: You can slow roast the seeds as well. Heat the oven to 160° Fahrenheit. Slow roast for 2 to 3 hours, turning seeds every 30 minutes or so. Slow roasted seeds are delicious, but we usually do not have the patience to wait that long.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
- Pumpkin seeds from one small pumpkin
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup Kosher salt or ¼ cup table salt
- SCRUB the pumpkin.
- CUT the pumpkin open and remove the seeds.
- SOAK the seeds for 5 to 10 minutes to loosen the fibrous strings.
- RINSE the pumpkin seeds and remove all the strings.
- SORT the pumpkin seeds and remove any small or flat seeds.
- STIR the water and salt for a brine.
- BRINE the pumpkin seeds for 4 to 8 hours.
- PREHEAT oven to 300° Fahrenheit.
- ROAST for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to evenly roast. Continuing roasting until the pumpkin seeds are toasted.
- REMOVE from oven after the pumpkin seeds are toasted.
- COOL before eating.
- GARNISH soups or salads with roasted pumpkin seeds.