Roasting Pumpkin Seeds

The “guts” of your jack-o-lanterns are filled with nutritious seeds that make a great snack, soup or salad topper and more + 5 sweet and savory pumpkin recipes
Roasted pumpkin seeds


Don’t throw out the “guts” of your pumpkins after you carve your jack-o-lantern masterpieces this year. The seeds are a deliciously nutty snack and rich in vitamins B and E, magnesium, zinc and more.

You can eat roasted pumpkin seeds on their own much like sunflower seeds—some folks enjoy them whole with the hull/shell and others prefer to remove it and just eat the medium-dark green seed inside. They are good sprinkled on soup, salad and pasta. Mix them into granola, yogurt or cereal and dips such as hummus, pesto and guacamole. Also known as “pepitas,” they are a popular ingredient in Mexican dishes, too.

If you don’t want to roast the seeds right after you carve your pumpkins, you can rinse them to remove the pulp and refrigerate in an airtight container for a few days or up to a week before roasting.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

The yield of seeds will vary by pumpkin, so the following recipe is flexible and seasoned to taste.

1 to 2 cups pumpkin seeds
1½ to 3 tablespoons melted butter or oil
(olive or vegetable)
1 to 2 teaspoons seasoning of your choice
(see Cook’s Note)

  1. Clean the seeds by separating them from the stringy membrane of freshly carved pumpkin. Rinse the seeds in a colander until they are free of any membrane matter. Dry with paper towels.
  2. Place cleaned and dried seeds in a bowl and toss with melted butter or oil and seasonings of choice. Adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  3. Preheat oven to 250°F.
  4. Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes, until they are golden brown. Roasted pumpkin seeds will keep in an airtight container up to 2 weeks or you can freeze them for up to 3 months, though they might not be as crispy once thawed.

Cook’s Note: Salt is a classic and tasty seasoning choice but you can also experiment with garlic powder, curry mix, cayenne pepper, seasoning salt, a Cajun seasoning blend, cinnamon or other spices.

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Broiled Pecan Topping

Photography Terry Brennan, Food styling Lara Miklasevics

Hungry for More?

Check out these recipes for pumpkin’s sweet and savory sides I have highlighted on this site:

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Broiled Pecan Topping Recipe

Try this easy-to-make cake, and stick around for more deliciously pumpkin-y recipes (links also below)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake
This moist, dark-golden pumpkin cake is studded with chocolate chips and topped off with a drizzle of melted chips. What’s not to like?

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
Can’t decide between pumpkin pie and luscious cheesecake for a festive dessert? Here’s your answer.

Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Praline Topping
Celebrate the flavors of fall in a sweet muffin that’s crowned with a taste of New Orleans pralines.

Savory Pumpkin Soup with Gruyère Toasts
A comforting and good-for-you seasonal soup that is more savory than sweet

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Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her school-age son, who used to eat beets and Indian food, will one day again think of real food as more than a means to a treat—and later share this with his younger brother.