How to Make Pumpkin Seeds, the Ultimate Healthy Fall Snack

Including how to clean and roast them—plus our favorite flavor combinations.

spiced pumpkin seeds
Photo: Raymond Hom

The next time you're busy prepping a pumpkin for carving or cooking, make sure you don't toss those seeds! Roasted pumpkin seeds are an addictive, crunchy, and healthy snack that make sticking your hand inside a pumpkin well worth the hassle.

Pumpkin seeds are not only delicious, they're healthy, too. A good source of magnesium, which is important for bone formation, they also contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber, which have benefits for the heart and liver. So give making pumpkin seeds a try—they just might become your new favorite fall snack.

How to Remove Seeds From the Pumpkin

If you've cut a pumpkin or winter squash in half to prep it for cooking, you now have easy access to the seeds and can use clean hands to pull them out. If you're carving a pumpkin, it can be a little trickier: Just cut the top off and scoop out the seeds with clean hands. Place seeds into a bowl or colander.

How to Clean Pumpkin Seeds

The most time consuming part of making pumpkin seeds is cleaning them. The good news is, you can skip this step! (See below.) If you do need to clean the seeds, here's the best method:

  1. Fill a large bowl with water and place a colander or strainer inside the bowl.
  2. Add the seeds and pulp. The seeds will float, so this set-up makes separating them from the pumpkin pulp easier.
  3. Pat the seeds dry with paper towels or a cloth kitchen towel, this will allow you to rub off any remaining strands of pumpkin fiber. Make sure the seeds are dry, because moisture can cause them to steam rather than roast in the oven.

Our Test Kitchen's Shortcut Method

This is a total timesaver: Save yourself all the sorting and rinsing usually associated with cooking pumpkin or winter squash seeds. Don't rinse off the pulp and pick the seeds out, just roast the whole lot together. The fibrous pulp surrounding the seeds is sweet and nutty, amplifying the flavor of this tasty snack.

Three Ways to Make Pumpkin Seeds

We love to drizzle the pumpkin seeds in olive oil and toss them with a handful of spices to bring out their nutty, earthy flavor. They can go savory or sweet, and will take on whatever mix of spices you use. Roast them at 350 degrees until toasted and fragrant, 10 to 12 minutes. Try one of the recipes below—and be sure to use a rimmed baking sheet when roasting, otherwise you might loose some seeds along the way!

herby pumpkin seeds
Peter Ardito

Herby Pumpkin Seeds

Our food editors swear by a rich and savory blend of fennel seeds, dried oregano, and grated Parmigiano Reggiano, for a snack that is totally irresistible.

spiced pumpkin seeds
Raymond Hom

Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

If you're craving something sweet, try the same technique using maple sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom—or go with this recipe, which uses cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne with a touch of sugar.


Chili-Lime Pumpkin Seeds

This combination is like a store-bought snack, only so much better—and better for you!

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