How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds

Arguably the best October snack around, pumpkin seeds are easy to make. Of all the steps in this recipe, the most complicated is separating the seeds from the pulp, but if you keep at it, you’ll be golden.

Here’s what you’ll need:


That’s it! Not pictured is the olive oil. I always forget to include the olive oil.

Anyway, it’s pretty simple: pumpkins and spices. Since I was making sweet, salty, spicy, and smokey roasted seeds, I used sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, ancho chili power and smoked paprika. The result was the best of many worlds, but more on that later.

Now, a friend commented that this might be sensory overload. Maybe. It’s all according to your own tastes. That said, pumpkin seeds are remarkably tasty with nothing but salt on them, so it’s really up to you.

Now, for the process. First, remove all of the seeds and pulp. Throw that into in a bowl and fill that bowl with water:


The seeds are light, and once separated from the pulp, they will float. You just need to get in there with your hands and knead the seeds free. Discard (or save) the pulp as you go, trying to keep as many seeds as possible.

There are a ton of things to do with pulp, and it also carries antioxidants, so if you’re more resourceful than I am, you’ll do something cool with it and post it to YOUR blog. Show me up a bit, you know? Keep me on my toes.

Once the seeds are mostly by themselves, it’ll look like this:


At this point, I threw the seeds into a strainer and tried to get rid of any excess pulp that way.

Once completed, you can set those suckers out to dry:


This step is important; if the seeds aren’t dry, they will steam instead of roast. I actually cheated and expedited this process by continually dabbing the seeds with paper towels. Another way would be to throw them in the oven at a low heat (like, 150 degrees to 175 degrees) until dry.

Once dry, it’s time to season. Throw the seeds into a bowl and add a little bit of oil, then your spice mix. Be liberal with your application.

You already saw what was in my spice mix above, but I like to throw all of the spices into a bowl and mix them together; makes for a better mix, I think. A tasty example of entropy.

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Above, you see the seeds with the spices. I saved some of the spices to add onto the seeds at the end of the process.

As you can see, I didn’t quite get ALL of the pulp. You probably won’t either, and that’s okay because it won’t ruin anything. Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes or so.

When they were all done, they really did look this good:


What about the pumpkins? Should you just throw them away? Heck no. Halloween is right around the corner, so why would you?

Carve ’em.


My pumpkin is on the left. Stefanie’s is on the right. She was going for a “Man in the Iron Mask”/Iron Man hybrid. Nailed it! Also, these photos wouldn’t exist without her camera and steady hands. If you couldn’t already guess, my hands were covered in pumpkin pulp, so photos weren’t really an option for me. You go, Stefanie!



  • 2 medium pumpkins
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Baking spray (optional)

Spice Mix:

  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 shake of cayenne
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

Remove pulp and seeds, put into bowl, fill bowl with water. Separate seeds (seeds should float). Once mostly separated, run seeds through colander. Let dry. Once dry, mix with 1 tbsp olive oil and spice mix. Arrange on metal cookie sheet. Bake at 325 for around 20 minutes (or until lightly browned), stirring every five minutes. CAUTION: Seeds will be hot, so let them cool.

One final note: I wanted my seeds to be a bit sweeter, so I added about a tablespoon (3 tsps) of sugar to the mix. I’ve had a sweet tooth lately, though, so I didn’t include that in the recipe. If you like sweet, go with the whole tablespoon!

Mark Hoover is a journalist and food blogger who lives in Reston. For more of his recipes and reviews of local restaurants, follow his blog Peripheral Chew.

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