How to Bake Pumpkin Seeds

For a crunchy fall snack, learn how to roast pumpkin seeds. We'll walk you through the four easy steps to bake pumpkin seeds. All you need for this easy pumpkin recipe is oil, salt, and harvested pumpkin seeds.

Step 1: Choose a pumpkin
Enlarge Image The best pumpkin seeds to roast come from smaller pumpkins, as seen here. Instead of cutting off the stem to retrieve the pumpkin seeds, simply cut the pumpkin in half. Try These: Creative Pumpkin Crafts

Before learning how to bake pumpkin seeds, you'll want to choose a pumpkin with the best seeds. Pumpkin seeds from a carving or pie pumpkin work well, but avoid seeds from decorative white pumpkins. If you want to bake 1 cup of pumpkin seeds, purchase a 10- to 14-pound pumpkin. Smaller seeds are the best pumpkin seeds to bake; larger pumpkin seeds tend to pop in the oven and get tough.

Tip: You can also use this method to roast seeds from winter squashes such as butternut squash or acorn squash.

Step 2: Remove pumpkin seeds
Enlarge Image Have the kids help harvest pumpkin seeds as part of the pumpkin-carving process. FREE Pumpkin Stencils for a Cause!
Removing pumpkin seeds to bake is a fun, albeit messy endeavor that kids love to help with. You may want to put paper down on the floor or table to make cleanup easier.

  1. Cut a large hole in the top (stem end) of the pumpkin, and remove the top using the stem as a handle. For smaller pumpkins, you can cut the pumpkin in half from top to bottom. 
  2. Using a long-handle metal spoon or your hands, remove seeds from the pumpkin(s). 
  3. Rinse the pumpkin seeds in water until the pulp and strings wash off; drain.
Step 3: Dry and bake pumpkin seeds
Enlarge Image Bake the pumpkin seeds on a cookie sheet to dry them out. Alternatively, you can dry the seeds at room temperature overnight. Savory Pumpkin Recipes

Next, dry your pumpkin seeds. Drying helps prevent overly chewy pumpkin seeds. Here's how to oven-dry and bake your pumpkin seed snack:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. 
  • Spread 1 cup of pumpkin seeds on a parchment paper-lined 8x8x2-inch baking pan
  • Bake the seeds, uncovered, for 1 hour. This allows the pumpkin seeds to dry out.

Tip: You can dry the seeds at room temperature instead of baking. Leave the rinsed pumpkin seeds on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet, uncovered, at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours, stirring occasionally until dry. Remove parchment; season and bake as directed below, but increase the baking time to about 30 minutes or until toasted, stirring twice.

Step 4: Roast the pumpkin seeds
Enlarge Image Removing the white shells, or hulls, from the pumpkin seeds reveals green oval seeds, called pepitas. Although it is not necessary to remove pumpkin seed shells, you can do so by crushing the hulls with a rolling pin and bringing the seeds and 1 cup of water to boiling. This will cause the shells to float to the surface and the seeds to sink.
Now you're ready to roast your pumpkin seeds.
  • Remove the parchment paper from the pan.
  • Stir in 2 teaspoons cooking oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. If desired, add 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin or another favorite spice.
  • Bake the seeds, uncovered, at 325 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes or until toasted, stirring once. 
  • Transfer seeds to paper towels to cool. There are tons of ways to use your roasted pumpkin seeds. Enjoy them for a salty snack right out of your hand, add them to your favorite trail mix or a bowl of popcorn, or use them to garnish soups and salads. Store the roasted pumpkin seeds, covered, at room temperature for up to one week.

Tip: If you end up with more than 1 cup of pumpkin seeds from your pumpkin, you can easily double or triple the recipe. Simply use a 15x10x1-inch baking sheet when drying and roasting the seeds.

bake this two-layer pumpkin bread!
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