Can You Eat Pumpkin Seed Shells?

Plus, are they good for you?

a close up view of crispy roasted pumpkin seeds
Photo: Dotdash Meredith Food Studio

As pumpkin carving season approaches, you may find yourself wondering: "Can you eat pumpkin seed shells?" Here's what you need to know:

air fryer salt and vinegar pumpkin seeds
Soup Loving Nicole

What Are Pumpkin Seeds?

Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) are the small, greenish seeds found in a slightly larger white shell. You access them by carving the pumpkin, then pulling them out with the stringy orange flesh.

How many seeds are in a single pumpkin depends on how many sections, or ribs, the fruit has. The best way to estimate is to count the number of sections and multiply that number by 16. The average pumpkin will have between 300 and 500 seeds.

Can You Eat Pumpkin Seed Shells?

Yes! In fact, the shells are chock-full of fiber. They're almost always eaten seasoned and roasted. While they technically can be eaten raw, most people opt to cook them.

Some people are averse to eating the shell because of its tough texture. We're not gonna lie, it is pretty chewy—so if you prefer to hull the seeds before snacking, that's totally cool too.


Savory Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Alberta Rose

Are Pumpkin Seed Shells Safe?

Yes, with one caveat: People with digestive disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), should probably avoid pumpkin seed shells. The fiber-rich hull may be a bit rough on a sensitive gut.

Pumpkin Seeds vs. Pepitas

So what is a pepita? Is it the same thing as a pumpkin seed? Kind of: Pepitas are just shelled pumpkin seeds.

Learn more: What Are Pepitas?

Pumpkin Seed Nutrition: Shelled vs. Whole

Pumpkin seeds are quite good for you with or without the shell. They're extremely rich in fiber (which can support good digestion and heart health), as well as other beneficial vitamins and nutrients (like zinc, magnesium, and iron).

With that said, whole pumpkin seeds offer about double the fiber of shelled ones.

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds

You only need three things to roast perfect pumpkin seeds: pumpkins, cooking spray, and salt. Just scoop out the seeds, separate them from that gross, stringy pumpkin goo, then rinse them in a colander. Dry them thoroughly before spreading them on a prepared baking sheet and bake until slightly brown. When you're done, season them with salt (and whatever other seasoning you like).

Here's our foolproof recipe: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

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