Is It OK to Eat Watermelon Seeds?

updated May 31, 2020
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(Image credit: Katya K)

Watermelon is the perfect summertime treat, but stopping to spit out the seeds can dampen enthusiasm for the fruit. Skittish adults might get nervous about choking on the seeds; kids fear that a rogue seed will cause a watermelon to grow in their stomachs. No need to worry, though! Experts say you should have zero fears — watermelon seeds are perfectly safe to eat.

If you get a mouthful of seeds along with that sweet, juicy watermelon flesh, it’s totally fine. Of course they won’t taste like much, so if you want something a little more interesting keep reading.

3 More Ways to Eat Watermelon Seeds

1. Make sprouted watermelon seeds.

Like chia and flax seeds, watermelon seeds contain nutrients such as vitamin B, potassium, magnesium, and zinc, which studies have linked with various health benefits. They are also a good source of healthy fats and protein.

There’s a catch, however: To get the full dose of protein, you have to eat the seeds when they’re sprouted, and after you’ve gotten rid of that tough black shell. And that process takes at least a few days.

First the seeds have to soak in water overnight, and then you have to wait for a few days until they’re visibly sprouted. At that point, they’re ready to get dried in the oven, dehydrator, or under the sun. And after that, you can eat them as a healthy snack.

More on Sprouting

2. Buy watermelon seed oil.

There are other ways to consume watermelon seeds to get their nutritional benefits. In West Africa, people make watermelon seeds into oil. Also known as ootanga oil or kalahari oil, you can cook with it, drizzle it on salads, or even use it topically on the skin. Note: It’s not particularly cheap!

Buy: Watermelon Oil, $28 for 8 ounces at American Spice

3. Roast your watermelon seeds.

You can also roast your seeds — after spreading the seeds on a baking sheet, they need about 15 minutes in the oven at 325°F to make them brown and crispy. You lose some of the nutritional content that way, but they’re still a tasty snack — especially when enhanced with a bit of olive oil and sea salt.

What do you do with your watermelon seeds?