3 Smart Ways to Upgrade Pumpkin Seeds

updated Oct 13, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Roasted pumpkin seeds take me straight back to childhood. I knew it was October when my best friend’s mom would pick us up in her station wagon to take us to dance class and bring along a fresh batch of seeds she roasted after pumpkin carving.

The seeds I ate in the back of that car were seasoned very simply — with nothing but oil and a generous shower of salt. And they were delicious. But I’m an adult now, and the seeds I roast are dusted in a variety of complementary seasonings, making them all that much better.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

First, roast your pumpkin seeds.

It’s easy enough to discard the seeds inside a pumpkin when carving it, but it’s well worth the tiny bit of extra effort it takes to clean and roast them. The result is a savory snack that — trust me — you and your kids will think fondly back on.

Now let’s jazz them up!

Seasoning roasted pumpkin seeds with nothing but salt is classic, but if you’re craving something more, it’s quite easy to take them in another direction.

Sweet Pumpkin Seeds

Use less salt than the recipe above calls for or omit it completely and roast the seeds on a parchment-lined baking sheet, to prevent sticking. Let cool, then toss with a bit of brown sugar, a little maple syrup, or honey — just enough to lightly coat the seeds. You can stop there, or add a few generous pinches of warm baking spices like ground cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, or pumpkin pie spice. Toss well to coat evenly. Return the tray to the oven and continue to roast for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Sweet & Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

Follow the same method for the sweet seeds but when tossing the seeds with a little honey or maple syrup, add a bit of Sriracha, cayenne, or red pepper flakes. You could also add a generous pinch of curry powder, garam masala, or ground cumin for added depth.

Savory Pumpkin Seeds

Add herbs such as chopped fresh rosemary, dried Italian seasoning, or spices such as curry powder, za’atar, smoked paprika, chili powder, or ground cumin to the seeds before roasting. Just keep a close eye on the seeds to be sure the herbs or spices aren’t browning too quickly or at risk of burning. If so, lower the oven temperature to between 250°F and 275°F.