Don’t toss those Jack O’Lantern seeds! Save them them to make yourself a batch of easy roasted pumpkin seeds! Just 15 minutes of prep and 25 minutes of roasting stands between you and this simple salty snack! Recipe includes a how-to video!
Save the Seeds!
If you plan on carving a Jack O’Lantern sometime between now and Halloween (or even after), don’t throw out your seeds! Ugh, I cringe thinking about the pounds of pumpkin seeds I’ve thrown away over the years when I could have been making roasted pumpkin seeds.
This is a simple, salty snack that can be easily customized with your favorite spices. I have a few key tips that will make these the best roasted pumpkin seeds you’ve ever had.
Get them in the oven while you’re carving the face of your Jack O’Lantern so the kitchen smells amazing while you’re working and you have a great snack by the time you’re finished.
How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds
The first thing you need to do is clean the seeds. Place them in a large colander and run them under cold water. This helps to separate out the stringy strands and any chunks of pumpkin flesh so you can easily remove them from the seeds.
If there are any small stringy bits of pumpkin left, don’t sweat it. The tiny bit that we don’t lose while boiling will add a bit of extra flavor when the seeds roast.
After you’ve removed them, you’re going to boil the seeds.
Why Boil Pumpkin Seeds?
Boiling the pumpkin seeds before roasting is a great tip I learned about when experimenting with the many different ways to roast pumpkin seeds (Zach’s probably carved over a dozen pumpkins so far, just for this research!).
We’ll be boiling the seeds in very well-salted water. Doing this imparts a saltiness into the pumpkin seeds (rather than just relying on the salt and seasonings that we’ll add on the outside later on).
Boiling also helps the seeds to roast more evenly and, as a bonus, helps with digestion (some people soak the seeds to help with this, but boiling works just as well). I use about a half teaspoon of salt for every cup of water that I use, but you can use even more for extra salty pumpkin seeds.
Note: After boiling, the pumpkin seeds will look gray, this is normal!
Now it’s time to season. Toss the seeds in a bit of olive oil or melted butter first to help the seasoning stick (and to add some extra flavor and keep the seeds from burning).
For seasoning, you could just use salt and call it a day, nothing wrong with that! However, I like to use a blend of some of my favorite spices including seasoned salt, smoked paprika, and Worcestershire sauce, but here are some other great savory seasoning options:
- Cayenne pepper
- Old Bay seasoning
- Chili powder
- Lemon pepper and garlic salt
- Ranch seasoning (or this homemade blend)
After tossing with seasoning spread them evenly on a baking sheet and cook, stirring every 15 minutes, until they’re crisp and golden brown.
Tip: Be mindful of the sizes of your seeds! Smaller seeds will need less time in the oven and larger seeds will need more, keep an eye on them!
Frequently Asked Questions
No. You can, and some people do, but I have never removed my shells. Who has the time? They taste just fine with the shell, it’s part of the experience 😉
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for several weeks. Pumpkin seeds do not need to be refrigerated once they are roasted.
If your roasted pumpkin seeds are chewy after baking then either they are still warm (they’ll be crisp once cooled completely) or they haven’t been baked long enough. Look for them to be a beautiful golden brown color!
You can dry your seeds overnight or for as long as 24 hours, but personally I don’t have the patience (and I don’t find it makes that much of a difference, if I’m honest). I boil my seeds, pat them dry, then coat them with oil, season, and bake right away.
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Let’s bake together! Make sure to check out the how-to VIDEO in the recipe card!
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
- 1 ½ cups pumpkin seeds (180g)
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt for boiling water
- 1 teaspoon salt (I like to use sea salt) for pumpkin seeds, plus more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon seasoned salt optional, if not using substitute with additional sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika optional
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce optional
- 1 ½ Tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
- Preheat oven to 375F (190C) and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Rinse pumpkin seeds in a colander under cold water and remove any pulp/pumpkin flesh from the seeds.
- In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat combine 3 cups water and 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Bring to a rolling boil.
- Add your pumpkin seeds and return to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes (seeds may look gray) then drain and transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and pat dry with additional paper towels. If you have the time, let your seeds air dry for up to 24 hours, but I never have the patience for this and proceed immediately after patting my seeds dry.
- Transfer seeds to a mixing bowl and toss with olive oil or melted butter.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt plus more to taste and other seasonings as desired¹, stir well until evenly coated, then spread in an even layer onto prepared baking sheet.
- Bake on 375F (190C), turning every 15 minutes, until golden brown and crunchy (about 25-30 minutes)