5 steps to perfectly roasted pumpkin seeds

Alongside the ritual of pumpkin carving, is the tradition of roasting pumpkin seeds. We hope you saved those seeds when you carved that spooky squash, they make a delicious salty (or sweet) snack.

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Perfect roasted pumpkin seeds. (Photo, Kristen Eppich.)

Carving a pumpkin this week? Save your pumpkin seeds for roasting a salty snack! I’m a sucker for traditions and nostalgia, so I roast pumpkin seeds annually — but I’ve never been sure that I actually like them. I haven’t been able to give up on them though, and in an attempt to redeem these little snacks (and find a way to reduce their tendency to be bitter and fibrous), I’ve roasted a lot of seeds. The good news? I ended up with some truly yummy, crisp and salty seeds.

I learned some useful tips with all this practice:

1. Separate all the gunk (my technical term) from the seeds. Pick through them carefully and remove any orange stringy bits.
2. Wash and rinse them thoroughly in a colander.
3. Let them air-dry. Starting with dry seeds allows the oil and any seasonings to adhere properly, and also encourages them to crisp up better.
4. Once in the oven, keep a close watch, flipping the seeds often as they begin to turn golden.
5. Finally, and this may be the most important step, use Kosher salt. It’s almost like that gorgeous little flake was designed to sit on a pumpkin seed.

Perfect roasted pumpkin seeds

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 tsp Kosher salt

Instructions

  • REMOVE any orange strings or pumpkin bits from the seeds. Transfer seeds to a colander and rinse thoroughly, 2 to 3 times. Pour onto a baking sheet in a single layer and pat dry with paper towels. Let seeds dry on the sheet until they are no longer shiny and the tops are dry to touch, about 1 hour.
  • PREHEAT oven to 375F. Stir seeds with oil in a medium bowl. Add salt and toss until coated. Return to baking sheet and bake, stirring every 5 minutes until seeds are evenly golden and crisp, about 20 minutes.
  • REMOVE from oven. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 tsp over hot seeds. Enjoy warm.

Here are two fun variations on roasted pumpkin seeds — one spicy and one sweet. It works well to roast the seeds plain for about 10 minutes before adding any seasonings, allowing them to begin to crisp up without burning the added ingredients.

Perfect, spicy roasted pumpkin seeds

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt

Instructions

  • FOLLOW first step from Perfect roasted pumpkin seeds.
  • PREHEAT oven to 375F. Stir seeds with oil in a medium bowl. Return to baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool just long enough that the seeds can be handled. Rub gochujang onto seeds until evenly coated. Return to oven and bake for 10 more minutes, or until chili paste has turned dark red and seeds are crisp.
  • REMOVE from oven. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 tsp over hot seeds. Enjoy warm.

Perfect cinnamon-maple roasted pumpkin seeds

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt

Instructions

  • FOLLOW first step from Perfect roasted pumpkin seeds.
  • PREHEAT oven to 375F. Stir seeds with oil in a medium bowl. Return to baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool just long enough that the seeds can be handled. Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar, then stir in maple syrup. Return to oven and bake for 10 more minutes, or until the syrup clings to the seeds and they are crisp.
  • REMOVE from oven. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 tsp over hot seeds (yes it still needs salt). Enjoy warm.

Originally published October 31st, 2014. 

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