Get More from Pumpkin Carving by Baking the Seeds

My favorite memory of getting the jack-o-lantern ready every fall didn’t even include the designing, cutting, or illuminating. It was saving the seeds for our homemade pumpkin seed recipe that I really looked forward to. A simple way to get a little more from your pumpkin, it is still just as easy, delicious, and fun!

Even if you don’t celebrate Halloween, the pumpkin is a staple food for fall recipes and decorating schemes. The bright orange squash variety is selling in stores and markets across the country this month, and it is not too late to get in on the action of making a pie, bread, cake, or soup from its inside fruit. But don’t throw away the pulp and seeds! The best treat can be made by following these simple directions for tasty, crunchy, pumpkin seeds:


Step 1: Separate the seeds from the stringy pulp. Discard the pulp and place the seeds into a strainer or colander. Rinse the seeds in warm water under they are no longer slimy or sticky.

Step 2: Add the seeds to a small saucepan with 4 cups of water and 4 tablespoons of salt per cup of seeds. Bring the entire mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.

Step 3: Spray a non-stick cookie sheet with an all-natural cooking oil (olive oil is healthiest.) If you don’t have a spray-oil, use a paper towel and dab it in the oil, then smear it on the cookie sheet until it is evenly covered. Spread the seeds out on the sheet in a single layer, and sprinkle with salt.

Step 4: Bake on the upper rack of a preheated 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown. (Some folks prefer them crunchier than others, so just toast to your liking.) Allow the seeds to cool a bit, and enjoy!


Baked seeds can be stored in a storage container or plastic bag for up to a week without a compromise in taste or texture, but ours never stay around that long! For extra variety, try using different oils, salts, herbs and spices on your seeds. (Cinnamon and sugar, rosemary, garlic, curry, chili seasoning, and pumpkin pie spice are all great ideas!)

Enjoy this frugal holiday treat, and please let us know of any other ideas for perking up pumpkin seeds that you may have.

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Myscha Theriault's picture

It's so funny you did this because I was working on a post today that used toasted pumpkin seeds as one of the items. I didn't include a recipe however, and you know, I've never heard of boiling them first! I wonder what that does that just tossing them in the oven doesn't?

My husband likes to do the Halloween pumpkin carving here, and seeds are one of his favorite snacks. I'll have to make sure we try this process out to see how it improves the process.

Linsey Knerl's picture

Boiling is a new thing I'm doing.  We used to just let them soak in salt water overnight... but most people are pressed for time, so the boiling is a hack of sorts.  All I know is that it helps to give them flavor and that crispness that we love so much!

Myscha Theriault's picture

I already told my husband about it, since he's going to be doing most of the carving. I'm psyched to try them this way.

Guest's picture

We boil ours as well. Good terminololgy the bioling is a "HACK" to salt your seeds faster than the old school soaking. after the boil cool your seeds and pat them dry with a paper towel (to avoid excess moisture) Here's the smokin' part: soak you seeds in your favorite hot sauce we make our own. The longer the soak the hotter the seeds.

Myscha Theriault's picture

Hmnn . . . how about using a little liquid smoke on the seeds along with some seasonings? I think you've started something here, Linsey.

Guest's picture

OMG. My mouth is watering. I love freshly roasted pumpkin seeds. Warm and crackling. YUM.

I don't boil or soak them in salt. I sprinkle it on before roasting with a little bit of cayenne mixed in for heat. But I think soaking sounds like a great idea.

Guest's picture

The pumpkin seeds are the best part of halloween

Myscha Theriault's picture

I could not agree more!!! Except for maybe the hot bar beverages . . .

Linsey Knerl's picture

Maybe I need invited to some of YOUR Halloween parties  :)

Myscha Theriault's picture

You know, if we can ever get the part time eco lodge thing off the ground here, I think it would be a blast to have a Wise Bread bloggers retreat week. A little kayaking, a little bar time . . .

Linsey Knerl's picture

As long as we kayak FIRST, I'm game!

Myscha Theriault's picture

Kayaking first is of course, advisable. BTW, we just came home with one of the last three pumpkins available from the closest store that sells them for carving. Getting ready to try your technique today.

Myscha Theriault's picture

Hey Linsey. Just took the preboiled seeds out of the oven . . . they really are WAY crispier this way. Much yummier. Thanks!

Linsey Knerl's picture

Great to hear that it worked out better for ya, Myscha!

Myscha Theriault's picture

It really did work out WAY better. We are now hooked on this new pre-boiling technique. It was like eating a whole different snack!