How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds (And 5 Tasty Seasoning Blends to Try)

by Matt Moore on October 23, 2012 · 21 comments

in Cooking, Food & Drink, Travel & Leisure

I’ve never been good at carving pumpkins. Even as my deftness and skill with knives has increased over the years, I find that my attempts to competently carve a pumpkin tend to always come off looking more like an elementary school project rather than a piece of art.

Instead, I typically get relegated to all of the other tasks that take place on pumpkin carving day — cleaning, picking out the seeds, and reserving parts of the pumpkin for later use in risottos, soups, and pies. Though I don’t get the artistic satisfaction of seeing my jack-o-lantern lit up to frighten the masses, I typically enjoy hearing the mmms and ahhs as folks savor my pumpkin’s culinary delights.

Roasting pumpkin seeds has always been a tradition in my family. It’s a healthy snack alternative that can satiate a Halloween appetite that’s typically fueled by sugar and sweets. Eating roasted pumpkin seeds is particularly beneficial to us men. They’re rich in zinc, magnesium, and healthy fat, making them one of the best foods to naturally boost testosterone. Preparing, roasting, and eating them is also a simple and fun activity enjoyed by couples and families alike.

To add in some variety, I’ve created 5 special seasoning blends to make the most out of this year’s pumpkin seed roast.

Boo!

MM

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds

The process for cleaning and roasting pumpkin seeds remains straightforward and simple. Follow the steps below to get that perfect roasted flavor – regardless of your choice of seasoning. Take note that the recipes below assume you will yield approximately 2 cups of clean seeds per pumpkin, which is typical from a large pumpkin. Adjust times and/or seasonings if your yield varies significantly.

Step 1 – Place the pumpkin on a flat, secure surface for cutting.

Step 2 – Cut a square shape into the top of the pumpkin, pull back to reveal the inside.

Step 3 – Pull out seeds with hands, discarding the stringy bits into the trash.

Step 4 – Place seeds into a colander.

Step 5 – Rinse seeds under cold running water, ensuring all pumpkin parts are removed. Allow seeds to dry.

Step 6 – Spread seeds out into a single layer on a baking sheet, season (recipes below), and roast for 25 – 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Step 7 – Remove seeds from oven, cool completely, enjoy!

5 Pumpkin Seed Seasoning Blends

Try the following seasoning blends to punch up the deliciousness of your roasted pumpkin seeds.

Kosher Salt + Cracked Black Pepper + Olive Oil a kicked-up version of the traditional plain salted variety. I use good quality olive oil to ensure a fruity, nutty flavor.

½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
½ Teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a non-stick or parchment-lined baking sheet toss together seeds, seasoning, and oil – arrange into a single layer. Roast seeds uncovered for 25 – 30 minutes. Remove from heat, cool completely, enjoy.

Sweet & Salty a savory and sweet variety that’s sure to be a hit with kids.

½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Teaspoon Sugar
¼ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/8 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil/Melted Butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a non-stick, or parchment lined baking sheet toss together seeds, seasoning, and oil or melted butter – arrange into a single layer. Roast seeds, uncovered for 25 – 30 minutes. Remove from heat, cool completely, enjoy.

Creole Blend take note that the quantities listed below will yield several more servings than needed. Due to the variety of ingredients, I’ve provided a recipe blend that you can reserve for later use on meats, fish, eggs, and vegetables. For seasoning purposes, shake this blend on the seeds as you would salt and pepper, toss with oil, and roast. Reserved seasoning will keep for up to 1 year in a cool, dry place.

3 Tablespoons Smoked Paprika
2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
1 ½ Tablespoons Cracked Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
1 Tablespoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Tablespoon Oregano
1 Tablespoon Thyme
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix together seasonings until well combined.  On a non-stick, or parchment lined baking sheet toss together seeds, desired amount of seasoning, and oil – arrange into a single layer.  Roast seeds, uncovered for 25 – 30 minutes.  Remove from heat, cool completely, enjoy.

Southwest Blend smokey with a hint of heat. This is one of my favorite varieties.

1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
½ Teaspoon Ground Cumin
½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
½ Teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix together seasonings until well combined.  On a non-stick, or parchment lined baking sheet toss together seeds, seasoning, and oil – arrange into a single layer.  Roast seeds, uncovered for 25 – 30 minutes.  Remove from heat, cool completely, enjoy.

Parmesan + Basil this is a play off one of my favorite French fry seasonings. Simply roast the seeds in salt and oil, and when the seeds come out of the oven, toss them in the cheese and oil to finish. Outstanding.

½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
½ Teaspoon Dried Basil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  On a non-stick, or parchment lined baking sheet toss together seeds, salt, and oil – arrange into a single layer.  Roast seeds, uncovered for 25 – 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and toss with grated cheese and dried basil.  Serve.

_________________

Editor’s Note:

If you share Matt’s love of chomping on pumpkin seeds, but not his indifference to carving, and have been pondering how to slice up your jack-o-lantern this year, look no farther than this free Art of Manliness pumpkin stencil we put out last year. No one’s probably seen a fisticuffer carved into a pumpkin before — you’ll definitely have the manliest pumpkin on the block!

If you use the stencil, upload your pumpkin to the Community photo album. I’d love to see it!

Happy carving!

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Roland Denzel October 24, 2012 at 8:04 am

Great recipes!

2 JonathanL October 24, 2012 at 8:49 am

I’ve made pumpkin seeds for the last several years, but eating them is such a chore that I’m debating it this year. I feel like I need 20 ounces of water for a handful so I can rinse my mouth out. I may try a sweet and salty variety because I’ve always just done olive oil, salt and pepper.

3 Kurt Jacobson October 24, 2012 at 10:03 am

Good for you putting out the word on cooking pumpkin seeds. Looks like some great ideas on how to season them. Most squash seeds are good for roasting too. I like mine with a dusting of jalapeno powder and Spike or Lawrey’s seasoning salt. Not many places have jalapeno powder for sale. I get mine from Penzey’s Spices or Market Spice in Seattle WA.

4 Kevin October 24, 2012 at 10:40 am

The parmesan recipe really caught my attention….might have to carve a pumpkin tonight just to try this recipe!

5 Weetabix October 24, 2012 at 11:35 am

You missed the most crucial step!

If you boil them in a nasty-strong brine until they look translucent, THEN season and roast, you’ll get the saltiness all the way in.

Find a sauce pan that the seeds will occupy less than a quarter of the volume. Before you put the seeds in, fill it halfway up with water. Put in a lot of salt, then taste it. It needs to taste like strong sea water. If you don’t know what that tastes like, just dip a finger in and touch it to your tongue. It should be disgustingly salty and make you want to shudder. I do it by taste, but I’m thinking 1/3 to 1/2 cup to a quart of water. Strong! Manly!

6 Shane October 24, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Thank you for the recipes.

I’d like to share an easier step 2 though. I’ve found that if you cut the pumpkins vertically down the middle all the way around (making two half-pumpkin pieces), the seeds remain in uniform-shaped areas all lined up in a row nicely. Hard to explain without a picture, but you’ll be amazed. They are so much easier to remove, and you’ll get less goop all over your hands. Try it.

7 Rodger October 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Just a note, you don’t have to rinse the pumpkin seeds. I like to leave the pumpkin juice on there for flavor. It makes them more toasty brown, too. I just use olive oil and sea salt on mine.

8 Christopher Battles October 24, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Thank you.
These sound great.
Will pass this on.

K, bye

9 Tina October 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm

All I can say is be careful opening up the pumpkin…

Last year I was cutting the top off a pumpkin to get into it…my hand slid down the knife and I cut my pinky. I cut the tendon in my pinky completely in half. $10,000 later and 2 months of physical therapy..I can kind of bend it and curl it…

10 Gernot_Freiherr_von Donnerbalken October 24, 2012 at 6:05 pm

A very delicious idea, I must say. There is only one thing I’ve been wondering about : How come you always use kosher salt for your recipes ?

11 Jim Collins October 25, 2012 at 5:09 am

Esteemed Matt, Readers, Kate, and Brett,

Let’s hear it for The Three Sisters! — if you’re from the southwest, that’s four: Cucurbitaceae (squash and pumpkin), Zea mays(American corn), Leguminosae(beans), and Capsiceae(chillis). These ladies have fed great civilizations and I’ve a romantic involvement with all four which causes no conflict as they are not a jealous lot.

Consider roasted pumpkin seeds in the role of other nuts, in pesto or on a salad for instance. Pumpkin seeds can be purchased hulled. Look down ye mighty upon pumpkin seed butter and be amazed!

I recently upped my popularity by incorporating baked pumpkin in the gravy for an otherwise traditional beef stew

If you garden and have the space for this large and beautiful lady, few things are so spectacular to watch grow as a pumpkin.

My mouth is watering,

Jim Collins

12 Matt Moore October 25, 2012 at 11:54 am

Thanks!

@Gernot – Kosher Salt is larger in grain, and more subtle in flavor – i.e. less salty. I prefer it’s use in almost all recipes.

@Shane – I agree – cutting the pumpkin vertically is the best way to harvest the seeds for roasting – But – I assumed most folks also want to carve that cool AofM stencil into the pumpkin for Halloween, so I kept the whole pumpkin intact.

13 skycop530 October 26, 2012 at 8:29 am

Builds testosterone and the zinc keeps the prostate in check…so I’ve heard.

14 Scott October 29, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Thanks for the information. I just made some with my sons. It was a great activity, and we all loved the pumpkin seeds. We tried the sweet and salty version.

15 jeff October 29, 2012 at 4:25 pm

You can use any of these on popcorn as well…if you’re using parmesan, the green can grated stuff works best (only time I ever say that.)

I use a variation of the cajun, and also the basil+parm. Way better than bagged stuff.

16 Shawn October 30, 2012 at 11:31 am

You can buy Pepita or pumpkin seeds that don’t have the white shell.

A little easier to chew

17 Adam Best October 30, 2012 at 4:07 pm

I’ve never had much luck roasting pumpkin seeds. It’s not something my family did growing up. I’ve never even considered seasoning it before and i think this will make all the difference. Thanks for the recipe.

18 Sam October 30, 2012 at 4:26 pm

We tried this recipe last night and they’re tremendous: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Toasted-Pumpkin-Seeds-with-Sugar-and-Spice. The difference is, the sugar gets melted, creating a nice crunchy coating. Refer back to earlier AoM articles on how to work off the added calories.

19 courtney November 1, 2012 at 1:52 am

I dislike really salty foods, so I’m trying the sweet and salty ones, such a good idea!

20 Alexius steve June 15, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Can i only have them roasted 6r is there another way of preparing them?fill me in

21 TomTX June 24, 2013 at 3:15 am

Don’t limit yourself to pumpkin! This technique works just fine for other squash seeds as well. We eat Butternut squash a lot more often than pumpkins – one day, I decided to roast the seeds instead of throwing them away. Tasty. Note: the seeds are smaller, and tend to roast a bit faster.

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