The Secret to Perfectly Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Adam Campbell-Schmitt

Fall is pumpkin season—when else do we put vegetables out on the porch to amuse our neighbors (other than zucchini season)? If you're making a jack-o-lantern, it means cleaning out a gourd to create a hollow canvas for what's sure to be a candlelit masterpiece. But if you've ever looked at that pile of pumpkin innards and thought, "I really should roast the seeds or something," only to toss it all in the compost bin anyway, this recipe might be the encouragement you need to make those seeds into a snack. Associate Food Editor Kelsey Youngman is here to explain the pumpkin prep bascis and the how to ensure they come out fully cooked and crispy.

Slice your pumpkin

If your pumpkin is wobbly or otherwise awkward to hold onto, use a kitchen towel propped underneath to stabilize it. Then use a large knife and rock it up and down for leverage while letting gravity do some of the work for you. Slice down one side, then the other, and safely slide the knife out before fully connecting the two cuts at the bottom. Then pry the halves apart with your hands. Of course, if you're making a jack-o-lantern (or pumpkin keg), you'll just need to remove the top and go from there.

Give the seeds a bath

After spooning out the seeds and those stringy bits from the inside of the pumpkin, drop them in a bowl of water to help the seeds float to the top. This will make separating the flesh from the seeds easier.

Boil before baking

Roasting seeds directly out of the pumpkin can cause burning and uneven doneness, as the thinner hull cooks much quicker than the inside. For crispy, fully-cooked seeds, pre-boiling them for about 10 minutes in salted water begins the cooking process and adds a bit of seasoning as well. Remove the seeds from the water, drain, and let them dry before firing up the oven.

Season your seeds

For this recipe, fresh rosemary adds a fall-appropriate piney flavor, brown sugar brings sweetness to the table, and flaky sea salt adds a dash of savory. But the flavor possibilities are only limited by your imagination and your spice rack, so go as spicy or sweet (or both) as you please. Toss the seeds with your chosen herbs, spices, or other seasonings along with some olive oil to fully coat.

Toast and toss

Put your seasoned seeds in a single, even layer on a baking sheet (line it with parchment paper to prevent sticking if you've used any sugar) and toast in a 400-degree oven for 15 to 25 minutes, checking every few minutes to avoid over-browning and to toss the seeds for even toasting.

Then let them cool for a bit before you enjoy this crispy, delicious snack.

Get the recipe for Rosemary-Brown Sugar Pumpkin Seeds.