Foolproof Steps for Roasting Pumpkin Seeds at Home

Bowls of roasted seeds on kitchen counter
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As Halloween approaches, you’re probably ready to carve jack-o’-lanterns. Over 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkin are sold each year, and most are just thrown away.

Don’t just carve your pumpkin and discard the good stuff — eat it too! Get the kids involved in their own food production and teach them a delicious lesson about food conservation.

Roast your own pumpkin seeds (or pepitas in Spanish) this Halloween. Pumpkin seeds are a nutritious snack, and you can fill-up the kids with them before they attack all that candy!

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas) at Home

No need to remove the outer shell of the seeds.  This roasting method of drying and then pan roasting the seeds, leaves a crispy outer shell that is totally edible (and delicious!)

Step 1: Scoop out the pumpkin

Collect the pumpkin seeds in a bowl. Adventurous kids will love getting their fingers all gooey with the stringy pulp.

Scooping out pumpkin seeds with hands
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Step 2: Wash the seeds

Using a big bowl and a colander, let the kids rinse off the seeds, skim off the floating pulp, then rinse in a strainer. It will take several washes, depending on the gooeyness of your pumpkins.

Green strainer for washing raw pumpkin seeds
Photo K Wudrich|CC

Step 3: Dry the seeds

Dry the seeds overnight (and ideally, over 1-3 days). Seeds can be dried on dish clothes, or spread out on cookie sheets. Stir or turn the seeds every 6-8 hours to make sure the moisture is evaporating evenly. Wet pumpkin seeds will attract mold and mildew, and will not cook properly, so make sure to dry thoroughly.

Tip: Seeds can be dried, and then stored in zip-lock bags until ready to roast.

Pumpkin seeds drying on dish towels
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Step 4: Roast the seeds

Our favorite way to roast seeds is on the stove-top in a cast iron skillet.  Use a little bit of olive oil, and stir frequently to prevent burning.  When the seeds are a golden brown, they are ready to remove from heat.

Pan of seeds pan roasting on stove
Photo Travis Estell|CC

Step 5: Flavor your seeds

Go crazy! Sprinkle your favorite spice on the hot seeds, to taste. Try cinnamon, or cumin & cayenne, or just plain sea salt. Use pumpkin spice or even yellow curry & cardamom for an exotic flavor.

Tip:  Add spices (if you must, sugar or brown sugar) while the seeds are still hot.

close-up of ground spices
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Bowl of homemade roasted pumpkin seeds
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