When you're carving or cooking up pumpkins, don't toss away the seeds. Roast them instead for delicious autumn snacking.

By Vanessa Greaves
Updated October 12, 2020
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Although roasting pumpkin seeds is easy to do, not every recipe will tell you exactly how to prepare the seeds before roasting, so we're here with step-by-step tips for prepping and roasting pumpkin seeds — including top tips from home cooks — along with favorite pumpkin seed recipes to try.

Credit: pjudy

How to Prep and Roast Pumpkin Seeds

1. Wash the seeds.

Before you roast the seeds, you first have to separate them from their nest of gooey, pulpy fibers. For best results, do it just after you've scooped out the seeds from the pumpkin and before the pulp has dried. Put the pulp and seeds into a large bowl of water, and rub the pulp with your fingers, picking out the strings and clingy pumpkin bits.

Allrecipes home cook NLWB22 agrees: "I soaked the seeds in warm water as I cleaned out the pumpkins, it seems easier to separate and clean the seeds this way."

Credit: Meredith

2. Boil seeds in salted water.

Pumpkin seeds don't roast evenly — the insides tend to get done faster than the shells, and they can burn in the middle before the shells are nice and toasty. To solve this problem, simmer them first in salty water for about 10 minutes.

Sara Neziol uses this method to clean the seeds as well: "To remove the pumpkin slime from the seeds I boiled the seeds in salt water for about 10 minutes. The pumpkin will separate from the seeds very easily this way."

Credit: Meredith

3. Dry the seeds.

Drain the seeds in a sieve or colander, and dry thoroughly with towels. Drying the seeds before roasting helps them bake up crunchier.

Home cook Kim's Cooking Now! adds, "If you leave them too wet, the mixture won't stick to the seeds very well (the whole oil doesn't mix with water thing)."

4. Oil and season to taste.

After washing, simmering, and drying the seeds, place them in a bowl and coat them with oil, melted butter, or cooking spray. Stir to coat the seeds evenly, then add sweet or savory flavorings. Check out our collection of roasted pumpkin seed recipes for ideas.

5. Place seeds on a baking sheet.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil (this makes cleanup so much easier) and spread out the seeds in a single layer. The less the seeds overlap the crispier they'll bake up.

Tip: You can roast the seeds of any winter squash, not just pumpkin.

6. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

If you're following a particular recipe, use the roasting temperature recommended in the recipe. Otherwise, using a moderate oven temperature helps cook the seeds evenly. Roast until toasted, about 20 to 25 minutes, or as recommended in your recipe. Check on your seeds every 10 minutes, removing the baking sheet from the oven, stirring, and spreading them out again. Start testing for doneness at about 20 minutes. Let them cool a moment, then break into a few to ensure they're not burning on the inside. If they're crispy on the outside, tender and golden on the inside, your work is done.

Home cook aimstream turns off the heat and leaves the seeds in the oven for an hour to crisp them up even more.

Credit: Meredith

7. Let cool and store in an air-tight container.

Season them as you like. And crunch away! Stored in an airtight container, your pumpkin seeds will keep for 1–2 months in the refrigerator, or at room temperature for up to a week.

VIDEO: See how to make Caramelized Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

10 Ways to Use Pumpkin Seeds

  1. Mix pumpkin seeds into homemade granola.
  2. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds over comforting squash soup.
  3. Add them to energizing trail mix.
  4. Use them to top this recipe for Pumpkin Seed Flatbread with Sweet Onions and Feta.
  5. Press them into granola bars with oats, nuts, and honey.
  6. Blend them into a smoothie for a nutty hit of protein.
  7. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds over cakes and muffins.
  8. Add a handful to salads for protein and crunch.
  9. Grind them into pesto.
  10. Fold pumpkin seeds into homemade hummus.

Check out our collection of Roasted Pumpkin Seed Recipes