How To Use Pumpkin Seeds

leftover pumpkin seeds


We end up with lots of pumpkins in the fall as we use our summer pumpkin crop. Learn how to use those leftover pumpkin seeds. Includes information on roasting, toasting and spicing.

Don't Throw Those Seeds Away!

Between pumpkin carving, and all the baking, roasting and fall uses for pumpkins we can accumulate a lot of pumpkin seeds.  We have many suggestions for using these plump, nutritious seeds.

Roasted Seasoned Pumpkin Seeds
Used roasted pumpkin seeds whole, or ground to top soups or salads.  Whole roasted seeds simply flavored with a little sea salt make an addictive tasty snack.

Pumpkin Seed Sauces
Toasted seeds can be made into sauces such as pesto or a traditional Mexican mole (pipian).  These sauces can be used over pastas and meats.

Cereals and Granola
Toasted seeds make a nutritious addition to granola or top a bowl of hot oatmeal.

Coating For Fish or Meats
Raw pumpkin seeds can be crushed and mixed with flour or masa and used to coat fish or thin slices of meat.

Pumpkin Seed Desserts
For a simple snack the seeds can be roasted with cinnamon and sugar.  More elaborate recipes include Pumpkin Seed Cake; similar to an almond cake and makes a wonderful breakfast or dessert with coffee.

Prepare Seeds For Use

pumpkin pulp with seeds attached

Remove Seeds From The Pumpkin

Scrape the seeds and the loose membrane from the inside of the pumpkin onto sheets of paper towel.  Separate the seeds from the membrane; fingers work best for this but if you prefer you can separate them using two forks.

Clean The Seeds

Clean the seeds by running them under cool water and rubbing the seeds between your fingers.  Drain the seeds well in a colander and place on paper toweling to dry.  If you don't want to take the time to allow the seeds to air dry you can accelerate the process by spreading the seeds on a cookie sheet and heating them in a 120F oven until dry (about 20 minutes).

Once the seeds are dry they can be roasted or store in sealed zip lock bags until you are ready to use or roast.

The image shown here shows the pumpkin pulp with the seeds still attached.

Roast (Bake) Pumpkin Seeds

pumpkin seeds with pulp removedThere are many methods for baking or roasting pumpkin seeds.  Some methods use butter or oil while others only use a small amount of liquid such as lime or pepper sauce along with seasonings.  See the recipes on this page for detailed instructions.  Here is a basic recipe for roasting the seeds with a small amount of sea salt.

2 cups pumpkin seeds
vegetable oil spray
sea salt

Preheat oven to 350F

Spread pumpkin seeds evenly on a baking sheet.  Spray lightly with vegetable spray and sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until crispy and lightly browned.  Turn seeds a couple of times during the roasting process to insure the seeds are uniformly baked.

Seasonings For Pumpkin Seeds
You can flavor your pumpkin seeds with any spice or seasoning you'd like.  Allow about 1/4 to 1 teaspoon seasoning per 2 cups of seeds. A small amount of butter or oil will help the seasoning adhere to the seeds. Add sea salt to taste.

  • Curry powder
  • Chili powder and lime juice
  • Cajun blackened seasoning
  • Lemon pepper

Nutrition Information For How To Use Pumpkin Seeds

Serving Size
1 cup
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 63g
Saturated Fat 12g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 25mg
Total Carbohydrate 25g
Dietary Fiber 5g
Sugars 1g
Protein 34g
Vitamin A  0% Vitamin C  0%
Calcium  0% Iron  0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

How to Hull Pumpkin Seeds

You can extract the pumpkin seeds from the shells but it's a pretty laborious process.  You may want to use your seeds whole and just buy hulled seeds for those recipes which require them.  But, for the adventurous, here are some tips.

  1. Roast the pumpkin seeds, allow to cool. 
  2. Spread the seeds out on a pastry board.
  3. Using a rolling pin, roll over the seeds applying just enough pressure to crack the shells but not so much that you crush the seeds.
  4. Pinch the cracked shells using your thumb and forefinger and pop out the kernel.


pile of toasted, shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)


Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.