Can You Eat Pumpkin Seed Shells?

They're crunchy, tasty and loaded with healthy nutrients. So can you eat pumpkin seed shells? Yes—here's how.

Fall is here, and that can only mean one thing: delicious fall foods. It’s time for pumpkin spice lattes, caramel apple crisp and crispy roasted pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, are a healthy snack found inside whole pumpkins. The seeds have a dark green color and are surrounded by a yellowish-white shell.

If you’ve ever carved a pumpkin, you may have wondered, “Can you eat pumpkin seed shells?” After doing all the work of carving and scooping out the stringy guts, the last thing you want to do is shell dozens of pumpkin seeds.

Fortunately, you don’t have to. Pumpkin seed shells are safe to eat, so you can enjoy them as a crunchy snack.

Can you eat the shell of a pumpkin seed?

Yes, you can eat the shell of a pumpkin seed. The shells add a nice crunch to this nutritious snack. They’re also loaded with fiber. Pumpkin seeds with shells pack twice the fiber content of those that have already been shelled.

To prepare pumpkin seeds in their shells, start by carving a whole pumpkin. Once you scoop out the stringy flesh, place it in a colander and rinse under cold water. Remove the flesh with your hands and pat the seeds dry with a clean paper towel.

Try to avoid store-bought pumpkin seeds, as they’re usually loaded with extra sodium.

Also, check here whether or not can you eat watermelon seeds!

Should you eat pumpkin seed shells?

For most of us, pumpkin seeds in their shells are a great, healthy snack option. Pumpkin seed shells are rich in fiber, which aids in digestion and can lower cholesterol. They’re also high in vitamins and minerals like zinc, magnesium, copper and iron.

Unfortunately, pumpkin seed shells aren’t for everyone. It’s best to avoid them if you have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. High-fiber seeds like pumpkin seeds can increase inflammation in the intestines and make these conditions worse. They can also lead to diarrhea, stomach pain and bloating.

Are pumpkin seeds better shelled or unshelled?

Now that you’ve grabbed your keys and are headed to the nearest pumpkin patch, it’s time to decide how to use your seeds. Fortunately, there are so many ways to love pumpkin seeds.

The quickest way is to roast pumpkin seeds. Once you’ve separated your pumpkin seeds from the flesh, keep them in their shells. Toss the seeds in a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them at 250°F for 45 minutes. To pump up the flavor, add other seasonings like Worcestershire sauce, garlic, paprika or even coffee.

If you prefer your pumpkin seeds without the shell, try using them as a topping for oatmeal, salad or a quinoa bowl. Embrace all the fall flavors with a few roasted seeds sprinkled over our Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Orange Dressing.

Carrie Madormo, RN
Now a freelance health and food writer, Carrie worked as a nurse for over a decade. When she isn't hunched over her laptop with a baby in hand, you will find her cooking her grandmother’s recipes, lacing up her running shoes or sipping coffee in the bathroom to hide from her three young children.