Can You Eat Pomegranate Seeds?

Updated: Apr. 18, 2023

They're sweet, tangy and downright beautiful...but can you eat pomegranate seeds?

Every fall and winter I pass by the most beautiful pomegranates with their deep red color in the produce section, and then I just keep on walking. Pomegranates have a reputation for being an intimidating fruit to work with, and many of us don’t even know where to start. Fortunately, pomegranate seeds are sweet, tangy and full of health benefits.

Can You Actually Eat Pomegranate Seeds?

Yes! You can eat those ruby red seeds known as arils. Pomegranate seeds make up about half the weight of a pomegranate. The seeds are hard and fibrous and are surrounded by a sweet, juicy covering called an aril. Each pomegranate contains about 600 arils.

Arils make a delicious topping for a variety of dishes from breakfasts like yogurt parfaits and oatmeal to dinners like salads and couscous. Toss a few on your favorite dessert or cocktail as well. Start with a few of our favorite pomegranate recipes.

When buying a pomegranate, inspect it carefully to make sure it’s ripe. A good pomegranate looks plump and round. It should feel heavy when you pick it up and free of any cuts or bruises.

Are Pomegranate Seeds Good for You?

Yes, pomegranate seeds are good for you. They are loaded with nutrients with serious health benefits. Pomegranate seeds are rich in vitamins and minerals including vitamin E and magnesium. They are also a great source of antioxidants and polyunsaturated fat.

Pomegranate seeds are rich in fiber, especially insoluble fiber. This is the type that passes through the digestive system without being absorbed.

More research is needed but some studies have begun to find significant health benefits from pomegranate seeds. Consuming these arils has been linked to a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels and lower inflammation levels in the brain.

On top of the health benefits, these gorgeous red seeds might even have beauty benefits, too.

While pomegranate seeds are safe to eat, consuming a large amount can lead to gastrointestinal problems. A rare side effect of eating an excessive number of pomegranate seeds is an intestinal blockage. People with chronic constipation are at a slightly higher risk of this.

How to Open a Pomegranate

Perhaps the most intimidating aspect of pomegranates is how to cut them open. There are several techniques out there, and many of them will leave you with pomegranate juice and seeds all over your kitchen counter.

Our favorite technique is simple, quick, and most importantly, easy to clean up. Start by placing your pomegranate on a cutting board and grab a sharp knife. Firmly hold the pomegranate on its side and slice off the top.

Once you remove the top, you’ll see that the fruit is divided into sections. Using your knife, score along each section without cutting all the way through.

Fill a large bowl with cool water and gently pull apart the sections of the pomegranate over the bowl. Place the pieces into the bowl of water.

Using your hands, rub the arils with your thumbs to remove them from the fruit. You’ll notice that the seeds sink to the bottom of the bowl while the pieces of membrane float to the top. This is a quick way to deseed a pomegranate.

Throw out the white membrane, then strain the water to remove the smaller pieces. You’ll be left with those tangy ruby red seeds that are ready to be enjoyed. Here’s how to eat a pomegranate!

It’s important to note that pomegranate juice (and seeds) can stain your clothing or a kitchen towel, so take extra care not to spill. Now you’re ready to go forth with your new pomegranate knowledge (and this insanely good White Chocolate Mousse with Pomegranate Sauce).