You probably already know that there are tasty pumpkin seeds hiding in your Halloween Jack-o-lanterns and more, but do you know the best method for roasting them to toasty, crunchy perfection? Here’s how to roast any type of squash seeds in the oven—without burning them.
If you’re carving or roasting any pumpkins this fall, you’ll have some guts to deal with. From the depths of your gourd you’ll scrape out a tangle of orange pulp dotted with small white seeds, and if you’re smart, you’ll do something with it.
Take a few minutes to separate seeds from slime, and you’ll have a free snack to enjoy while you carve or roast. Roasted pumpkin seeds are the ultimate “buy one, get one free” of autumnal treats.
The best part: You don’t need a recipe to do this, but you do need to pay attention to your technique. These seeds are tiny, and negligence will lead to burning. Follow these five easy steps and you’ll end up with crispy, crunchy, salty seeds. Then start experimenting with flavors and other squash seeds: butternut, acorn, and delicata are all fair game.
Watch: A Cozy Chickpea, Pumpkin & Sage Stew
How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds in 5 Simple Steps
What You’ll Need: Pumpkin or squash seeds, of course! But also a sheet pan, plus olive oil and salt for roasting and seasoning. You can also mix things up with different spices, as well as coconut oil (more on that below).
Step 1: Separate your seeds from their flesh. Start by squeezing the big pieces of flesh right at the seam where the seeds attach, and they’ll fall off in clumps. Pick out any remaining stringy stuff. Prepare for your hands to get a little orange and a lot slimy. Keep a towel nearby for wiping.
Step 2: Rinse, then boil your seeds. Why boil? The tricky thing about roasting pumpkin seeds is that their insides tend to cook faster than their outsides, so even though they may look done on the outside, they’re actually black and overcooked on the inside. As we learned from Angela Liddon, boiling pumpkin seeds before roasting ensures that everything cooks evenly. So after you’ve cleaned the muck off of your seeds, boil them in salted water for ten minutes.
Step 3: Dry the seeds thoroughly after boiling. You’re about to toss these puppies with—and you want it to stick and coat the outside. So dry them well, dabbing with a clean tea towel in a colander until they’re dry. Pluck off the seeds that cling to your towel.
Step 4: Toss with olive oil, salt, and spices. Here, we used a mix of paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper, but plain salt and pepper also works great. If you want to mix things up, try curry powder with melted coconut oil, or pumpkin pie spices for a salty-sweet autumnal snack.
Step 5: Roast for 10 to 12 minutes at 325° F, stirring halfway through. Your seeds are done when crispy on the outside and golden on the inside. Add more salt to taste as necessary, and serve once they’re cool enough to eat. You can also store them in an airtight container and use them throughout the week as a topping for sides, salads, oatmeal, or yogurt.
What’s your favorite way to use roasted pumpkin seeds? Tell us in the comments below!
This article was updated by the Food52 editors in August 2019. Photos by James Ransom.