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The Best Way to Make Dry Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Published on: October 26, 2020
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

You’ve made your Jack O’Lantern and have a huge pile of pumpkin seeds. Do not throw them away. Let me repeat that – Do NOT throw those seeds away! It’s time to toss them with some seasoning and roast them! But is there a “best” way to make dry roasted pumpkin seeds? If you read a lot of blogs or cookbooks everyone claims to have found the “best” method. But really, how much does the method matter?

Well, it turns out, a little bit. I tried 3 different methods for making dry-roasted pumpkin seeds and here’s what I found:

Method 1 – Semi-Dry Roasting

The first method is what I’ve called “the semi-dry roasting method”.

  • Remove all the seeds from the pumpkin and rinse them to remove all the “slime.”
  • Lay them flat on a sheet pan, and let them dry for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, toss them with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and 1/2 tsp. of smoked paprika, and 1/8 tsp. of salt.
  • Roast them at 325 F for 20 minutes – just until they started to brown and crisp. You should hear them “popping.”
  • The bowl at the top right of the image above is the one holding these “semi-dry roasted” seeds.

Method 2 – Low and Slow

This is the “low and slow method”.

  • Follow the same first two steps as above but leave them on the sheet pan to dry overnight.
  • In the morning toss them with 2 tsp. of olive oil and seasonings like smoked paprika and salt mixture.
  • Place them in a preheated 300F oven and roast for 40 minutes.
  • Once they started to brown remove them from the oven and let them cool on the sheet pan.

There wasn’t any”popping” with this method and that probably should have told me something. These seeds are in the bowl on the left, in the middle. A little crunchy but lacking in flavor.

Method 3 – Soak, Boil, and Roast

This method is what I call the “soak, boil, and roast” method.

  • Soak the seeds in cold water for 30 minutes.
  • Remove all the “slime” and place them in a saucepan with 4 cups of salted water. (I used 1 Tbsp. kosher salt to 4 cups of water and had 2 cups of pumpkin seeds.)
  • Bring the water to a boil and then boil them for 10 minutes.
  • Drained them well and toss them with olive oil and seasoning blend. (I used smoked paprika and salt mixture.)
  • Roast them at 325°F for 40 minutes, until slightly browned, popping, and crispy.

Take a look at the bottom right of the picture. They are plumper and a little more browned than the second method.

The Verdict?

Method 3, while the most labor-intensive, produced the best-flavored and crispiest pumpkin seeds. They did have a saltier flavor – I’m sure boiling them in salt water helped with that!

Other Seasonings that are Good on Dry Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I kept the seasoning the same in all three methods and used the same amount of olive oil and seasoning on top so that it wouldn’t influence the decision, but you can season these with any spice you want. Here are some other ideas for seasoning your roasted pumpkin seeds:

  • Sweet, with cinnamon, nutmeg, and honey or sugar
  • Spicy with crushed red pepper or spicy chili powder
  • Southwestern with cumin and lime juice.
  • Plain with just salt and crushed black pepper

Whatever mood strikes you, but I would boil them with saltwater before roasting them – the flavor is just so much better and they are crispy and really “pop” in your mouth!

But you tell me! What is your favorite pumpkin seed seasoning? I’m always looking for new ideas! And if you try any of these roasting methods, let me know what you think. Is it worth the extra effort to boil and then roast or just pop them in the oven and get them going?

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Laura M. Ali, RD holding a bowl of pomegranate seeds

Hi! I’m Laura!

I love to cook and share simple tricks and tips to make healthy meals taste delicious.

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