Learn how to roast pumpkin seeds and find easy pumpkin seed recipes.
In our house, when we have fresh pumpkins, we roast pumpkin seeds. My daughter absolutely loves to eat roasted pumpkin seeds. So, she is going to learn how to roast pumpkin seeds this month. Pumpkin seeds are an easy, healthy snack or a garnish for soups such as Butternut Squash Soup. After removing the seeds, cook the pumpkin (learn 3 different ways to cook a pumpkin) for your favorite recipes.
What Kind of Pumpkin Should I Use When Roasting Pumpkin Seeds?
Unless you grow your own pumpkin, live near a pumpkin patch or have a pumpkin grower come to your local farmer’s market, you will be limited to the pumpkins available in your local grocery store. The best pumpkins from the grocery store are the medium/small cooking pumpkins (not the tiny decorative ones). These are often Small Sugar or New England Pie pumpkins (often the variety is not identified). These smaller pumpkins aren’t used for carving, but their seeds are good for roasting and the rest of the pumpkin can be cooked in your pumpkin recipes. In addition to our Halloween carving pumpkin, I like to purchase these smaller pumpkins for the seeds and for using the cooked pumpkin in my baking and cooking recipes.
Carving pumpkins have larger, and in my experience, somewhat tougher seeds. However, we have roasted and eaten these seeds every time we carve a pumpkin. Whichever pumpkin variety you buy, choose the freshest pumpkins available and roast the seeds when the pumpkin is still fresh. In my experience, the age of the pumpkin affects the toughness of the seed shell.
Some people find the tough pumpkin shells too tough for eating. Fortunately, there are some pumpkin varieties that are considered “naked-seeded,” meaning there is no shell hull on the seed. Some of these varieties include Lady Godiva, Williams Naked Seeded Pumpkin and the Kakai pumpkin. These pumpkins may be right for you (although somewhat difficult to find) if you want to learn how to roast pumpkin seeds, but cannot stand the hard shell.
How to Clean Pumpkin Seeds
To clean pumpkin seeds, the first step is to wash the pumpkin with a vegetable wash. Then pat it dry so it doesn’t slip when you cut it. Cut the pumpkin stem off. This will reveal the seeds and strings inside the pumpkin.
Next, remove the pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin. There are two ways to remove the seeds. Either cut a larger hole at the top of the pumpkin or cut the pumpkin in half to expose the seeds.
Using either your hands or a spoon, scoop the pumpkin seeds and stringy pulp out of the pumpkin and place them in a bowl. The seeds and the pulp will be a little slimy and slippery. Use a food service glove if this bothers you.
Next, separate the pulp and the seeds. This involves pulling the seeds off the pulp. Beware of slippery seeds. You will be able to pull the majority of the pulp off this way.
After the large pulp pieces have been removed, immerse the pumpkin seeds in water. Soak the seeds for 5 to 10 minutes to loosen the remaining pulp and help it separate from the seeds.
Following the soak, sort the seeds with your fingers and pull off the remaining pulp. Rinse thoroughly.
Sort through the seeds and pull out any that seem slightly flatter or smaller. These won’t taste good.
When all the pulp has been removed, pour the pumpkin seeds in a colander and pour out the soak water. Finally, keep the seeds in the colander and rinse them again in cold water to clean them completely.
How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds
First, place the seeds in a bowl and cover the seeds with water. For every cup of water added to the bowl, add 2 tablespoons of salt and mix twice with a spoon. This water makes a pumpkin seed brine. After the brine water is ready, soak the seeds for 4 to 8 hours. This soaking will help soften the seeds and infuses a saltly taste.
After the soak, drain the seeds in a colander. Drain very well, but do not rinse again. Then spread the seeds out to dry for several minutes, either on the baking sheet or on a nonstick mat. Pat some of the moisture off with a cheesecloth, but do not use a paper towel because the seeds will stick to it.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Spread the seeds onto a good quality baking tray or pan. The darker the pan, the shorter the roasting time. My pan is a good quality USA Bakeware Baking Pan, which is nonstick and evenly bakes.
Because the pumpkin seeds were already soaked in salt water, they do not need to be salted again before roasting them.
Dry roast the pumpkin seeds for 6 to 8 minutes. Then stir or flip the seeds over to roast more evenly. Roast for another 6 to 8 minutes. The roasted pumpkin seeds should be a light brown color. Continue roasting and flipping the seeds over until they are as toasted as you like. I usually stir them four separate times.
When the pumpkin seeds have reached the right color, remove the pan from the oven. Let the seeds cool completely. Roasted pumpkin seeds are a great snack or they can be used as a garnish for salads or soups such as Butternut Squash Soup.
How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds — Slow Roast Method
Note: You can slow roast the seeds as well. Heat the oven to 160 degrees F. Slow roast for 2 to 3 hours, turning seeds every 30 minutes or so. Slow roasted seeds are delicious, but we usually do not have the patience to wait that long.
What I Used to Roast Pumpkin Seeds
For your convenience, I have listed helpful items to use when roasting pumpkin seeds. These are affiliate links of high quality products I recommend.