Have you carved your pumpkin yet? Let’s roast some pumpkin seeds to make a night of it! When I was growing up, we carved our jack o’lanterns every year before Halloween, and my mom always roasted the seeds for a tasty snack. Pumpkin seeds are nutritious, too—they’re a great source of magnesium and plant-based protein.
Pumpkin carving night is still one of my favorite nights of the year, and now I carry on the tradition with my husband and a glass of wine. While I’m only a mediocre pumpkin carver, I’ve perfected my roasted pumpkin seed technique over the years. I’m sharing all of my tips with you today.
Roasting pumpkin seeds is really fun and easy when you know how to do it. When you don’t, you can make a big mess and end up with seeds that are either burnt, or never golden.
This foolproof recipe yields perfectly golden pumpkin seeds, every time! Keep reading to learn the easiest way to clean those slippery seeds.
Roasted Pumpkin Seed Tips & Tricks
These simple tips will yield delicious roasted pumpkin seeds with minimal fuss.
How to Remove Pumpkin Seeds
Use a sturdy, sharp knife to carefully remove the stem and surrounding area from the top of the pumpkin. Be careful and pay attention here! Then, use a large serving spoon or ice cream scooper to transfer the pumpkin seeds to a colander. Discard any large pieces of pumpkin.
If you have dry, sensitive skin, you may want to wear disposable gloves to protect your hands during this process. Pumpkin contains some naturally-occurring acids that can cause irritation (speaking from experience here!). That’s why you’ll find pumpkin in some natural exfoliating face masks.
How to Clean Your Pumpkin Seeds
I’ve tried several techniques, and here’s the easiest way. Run water over the seeds and swish them around, removing any obvious bits of pumpkin flesh along the way. Drain off the excess water.
Create a double layer of large paper grocery bags by placing one inside the other (if you don’t have bags, you could probably use a large bowl with a secure lid). Add the seeds and a clean, lint-free tea towel or several paper towels. Fold the bag to close and shake it all around! They should be dry enough at this point.
How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds
Spread the seeds onto a large, rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper for easy cleanup (it will also prevent the seeds from sticking to the pan if you choose to add any sweetener). Pour the seeds onto the pan and shake off any seeds stuck to the towels.
Toss the seeds with a few basic ingredients: Olive oil or butter, maple syrup or honey (optional, for some sweetness), and salt. We’ll wait to add any spices because they tend to burn in the oven.
Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit, which is high enough to yield toasty results in just 12 to 16 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes to prevent burning. You’ll know the seeds are done when they’re fragrant and lightly golden, as you see in the photos below. Then, stir in spices if you’d like.
Pumpkin Seed Flavor Variations
Choose your ingredients carefully to yield your own fun flavor variation. Here are your options:
- Olive oil or butter: Olive oil provides a more neutral backdrop, while butter makes the seeds taste more like popcorn.
- Maple syrup or honey: Add a bit of either one for some optional sweetness. Delicious!
- Freshly ground black pepper: Pepper is an easy way to add an irresistible, savory note. I think my favorite variation is maple syrup with black pepper.
- Ground spices: For even more flavor, stir in some warming spices once the seeds are out of the oven. I like pumpkin spice blend or ground cinnamon, or golden curry powder (just beware that curry powder will tint your fingers yellow).
More Pumpkin Recipes to Enjoy
On a pumpkin kick? Let’s do it! Here are more than a few options, or you can view all pumpkin recipes here.
- Pancakes and Waffles: Pumpkin Oat Pancakes (gluten free) or Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes or Pumpkin Spice Waffles
- Quick Breads: Healthy Pumpkin Bread or Pumpkin Muffins
- Savory: Creamy Pumpkin Marinara or Creamy Roasted Pumpkin Soup
- Sweet Treats: Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Cups or Pumpkin Pecan Scones with Maple Glaze
Please let me know how your pumpkin seeds turn out in the comments. I hope this recipe yields a tasty snack and fun memories.
Perfect Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 1 ½ cups 1x
- Category: Snack
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
This fun recipe yields perfect roasted pumpkin seeds, every time. You’ll also find tips on how to clean the seeds, plus flavor variations! Recipe yields about one medium pumpkin’s worth of seeds (1 ½ cups).*
- 1 ½ cups fresh pumpkin seeds
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil or melted butter
- Optional sweetener: 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt, to taste
- Optional flavorings: Freshly ground black pepper, to taste, or 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice blend or ground cinnamon or curry powder
- To clean your pumpkin seeds: Place the pumpkin seeds in a colander. Run water over the seeds and swish them around, removing any obvious bits of pumpkin flesh along the way. Drain off the excess water. Create a double layer of paper grocery bags (one inside the other). Place the seeds inside with a clean, lint-free tea towel or several paper towels. Fold the bag to close and shake it all around! They should be dry enough at this point.
- To toast your pumpkin seeds: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up.
- Place your rinsed and dried pumpkin seeds on the prepared baking sheet. Add the oil, sweetener (if using) and salt. Stir until all of the seeds are coated, then spread them in an even layer across the baking sheet.
- Bake for 12 to 16 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until the seeds are fragrant and turning golden. Season them with additional salt, to taste. If desired, season with black pepper, to taste, or stir in the pumpkin spice blend or curry powder. Enjoy.
- Cooled, leftover pumpkin seeds will keep well in a bag at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
*Pumpkin seed quantity notes: If your pumpkin yields a bit over or under 1 ½ cups, you should be fine following these ingredients and instructions as written. If it yields significantly less, know that your seeds may finish baking a few minutes earlier, so keep an eye on them. I’m able to fit a maximum of 2 cups on my baking sheet at one time—don’t overcrowd them or they won’t get toasty.
Make it dairy free/vegan: For dairy-free pumpkin seeds, simply use olive oil instead of butter. For vegan seeds, use olive oil and don’t use honey (maple syrup is a great alternative, or skip the sweetener altogether).
Change it up: You can use this technique to roast other winter squash seeds, including butternut, acorn, delicata and spaghetti squash. Since these seeds are typically smaller than pumpkin seeds, they may roast more quickly, so keep an eye on them.