How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds

Don't throw away those pumpkin seeds! Roasted pumpkin seeds are an easy, healthy snack your family will love. Here's how to roast pumpkin seeds the right way.

Confession: For years, I threw away the seeds after carving pumpkins. Roasting them just didn’t seem worth the trouble (why mess with all that stringy, slimy pumpkin flesh?).

Then a few years ago, after learning more about food waste and vowing to make the most of every ingredient, I decided not to toss the seeds. Instead, I roasted them, and guess what? Those crispy, crunchy baked pumpkin seeds were super easy to make! Their nutty flavor was seriously addictive—they didn’t even make it to the pantry. My family gobbled them all up, risking burned fingers, straight from the sheet tray. (Sheet pan meals = cook’s best friend.)

The best part? Pumpkin seeds’ nutrition is amazing. They’re high in protein and fiber, and they’re a good source of minerals like zinc and iron. So save those seeds and join our Test Kitchen experts as we share how easy it is to toast them.

Once you know how to roast pumpkin seeds, here’s what to do with them.

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted pumpkin seeds in a glass cup sitting on a wooden tableTaste of Home

Here’s our easiest method for roasting pumpkin seeds. Trust us, these toasted seeds aren’t going to last long! This recipe makes two cups.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh pumpkin seeds, or whatever you scoop from one pumpkin
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted, or an equal amount of the cooking oil of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon salt and/or other seasonings
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, optional

Step 1: Preheat the Oven

Preheat oven to 250°. Line a large sheet pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease it with butter or oil. This reduces cleanup later…trust me on this.

Test Kitchen tip: Why preheat? Preheating the oven ensures that the pumpkin seeds cook evenly. The result: perfectly roasted, crispy pumpkin seeds. Here’s a list of preheating dos and don’ts.

Step 2: Scoop out the Seeds (If You Haven’t Yet)

Person using a paddle to scoop out the seeds and gunk from the center of an open pumpkinTaste of Home

Most of us are pretty familiar with this part from a lifetime of pumpkin carving. Using a sharp, sturdy knife, cut around the top of the pumpkin and remove the “lid.” Using a large spoon, scrape the sides of the pumpkin to remove the seeds and pulp. Place everything—pulp and all—in a large bowl.

(You can use one bowl to make all these baking recipes.)

Step 3: Separate the Gunk from the Pumpkin Seeds

Person separating pumpkin seeds from orange gunk in a metal bowlTaste of Home

You might be wondering, “Do you have to clean pumpkin seeds before roasting?” Yep. And this used to be the part I dreaded (that slimy, stringy pumpkin flesh!). Turns out it’s actually much easier than I thought. Just use your fingertips to pull the seeds free. Leave the large pieces of pumpkin pulp in the bowl as you transfer the seeds to a colander. They’ll still look pretty goopy—don’t worry.

The fibrous strands can be challenging to remove, but we have a trick for that: Rinse the seeds in the colander under cold running water. The water will loosen the strands and make it easier to pull them off.

Test Kitchen tip: Don’t worry if you have some pumpkin pulp clinging to the seeds. It’s really hard to remove every last bit! During testing, we found that extra strands didn’t make a huge difference once the seeds were roasted. Leaving all the gunk on prevents pumpkin seeds from getting nice and toasty.

Step 4: Rinse and Drain

Rinsed pumpkin seeds in a strainer over a white sinkTaste of Home

Now that you removed most of the pulpy pieces, it’s time to get the seeds ready for seasoning. Some people swear by boiling or soaking the seeds in salt water to make them extra crispy after baking. We didn’t find this extra step made much difference—a simple rinse under cold running water did the trick. Pat the seeds dry with a towel.

Test Kitchen tip: Patting the seeds dry is an important step. Excess water can create steam in the oven, which prevents the seeds from crisping. The seasonings we use in the next step also adhere better to dry seeds.

Step 5: Season the Pumpkin Seeds

Person stirring seasonings into the seeds with a spatula in a glass bowlTaste of Home

It’s time to season! We like salt and Worcestershire sauce, but you can use any spices you wish. Try pumpkin spice seasoning, go spicy with taco seasoning, or just douse with salt and pepper.

Whichever flavors you choose, combine the seasonings with the butter or oil in a small bowl. Then drizzle the mix over the dry seeds in a medium-sized bowl. Stir the mixture to make sure each seed is coated.

Step 6: Bake the Pumpkin Seeds, Stirring Occasionally

Person using a wooden spoon to stir pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet lined with foilTaste of Home

We’re ready to bake! Spread the seeds evenly in a single layer on your prepared baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, making sure to stir and toss the seeds occasionally.

Test Kitchen tip: Most ovens have hot spots, which can lead to burnt seeds. Our experts found that stirring the seeds from time to time promotes even browning.

Step 7: Finish Roasting on High Heat

Person using a wooden spoon to stir perfectly roasted pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet lined with foilTaste of Home

Cooking in a 200° oven helps the pumpkin seeds cook evenly inside and out, so they don’t burn before they’re cooked through. But we won’t settle for evenly cooked seeds—we want crispy seeds!

The solution: Increase the oven temperature to 325° after the 45 minutes. Then continue baking until the seeds are lightly browned and dry, about 5 minutes more.

Step 8: Serve, Store and Enjoy!

The seeds can be served warm (I always risk singed fingertips to snatch a snack right off the sheet pan), or you can cool them and enjoy at room temperature. If you’re storing them for later use, set the pan on a cooling rack until the seeds are fully cooled, then place in an airtight container.

This recipe yields approximately two cups of seeds, so you’ll have enough to snack on and use in some fun recipes. The nutty flavor makes the seeds a great substitute for nuts in granola. They also make excellent garnishes any time you want some extra crunch.

You can experiment with a few other pumpkin seed recipes, too. Check these out:

Lindsay D. Mattison
After years of working in professional kitchens, Lindsay traded her knives in for the pen. While she spends most of her time writing these days, she still exercises her culinary muscles on the regular, taking any opportunity to turn local, seasonal ingredients into beautiful meals for her family.
Peggy Woodward, RDN
Peggy is a Senior Food Editor for Taste of Home. In addition to curating recipes, she writes articles, develops recipes and is our in-house nutrition expert. She studied dietetics at the University of Illinois and completed post-graduate studies at the Medical University of South Carolina to become a registered dietitian nutritionist. Peggy has nearly 20 years of experience in the industry. She’s a mom, a foodie and enjoys being active in her rural Wisconsin community.