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How to Cook Pumpkin Seeds for Halloween and Beyond

Posted Sep 14 2010 8:03pm

We recently talked about the sweet Omega 3 and antioxidant benefits of pumpkin seeds. Since the autumn is upon us and Halloween fast approaches, I thought it appropriate to discuss some Pumpkin Seed Recipes.

Every time you carve a jack-o-lantern you end up with a Halloween decoration and a bowl full of stringy, slimy, pumpkin guts that don’t look the least bit appetizing. To make them appetizing, follow these instructions, and you’ll end up with a really healthy Halloween snack that everyone can enjoy.

Once considered to be trashcan fodder, we now know you can roast them, toast them, or nuke them; and you can season pumpkin seeds with a wide variety of flavors. Check it out!


You will have to prepare the seeds before cooking them, but it only takes a minute or two. Also consider that some pumpkin seeds, such as those from carving pumpkins, have much harder shells than those of sugar pumpkins. Sugar pumpkin seeds are wholly edible, but some folks, specifically kids, might not enjoy the harder shell of carving pumpkins.

  • Retain some of that fresh pumpkin flavor by simply wiping the seeds off with a damp towel, or…
  • If you don’t care, feel free to rinse the seeds in the sink.
  • Perhaps you like a saltier pumpkin seed. In that case consider boiling your seeds in water and sea salt, and let them simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Always finish up your prep work by drying the seeds – pat them down with a kitchen towel.

Oven Roasting – Bake your pumpkin seeds in the oven.

Oven Roasting Variations – Add other flavors in addition to salt.

Skillet Toasting – Toast your pumpkin seeds on a skillet or frying pan.

Kids should not attempt to cook much of anything in hot oil or butter. This is a recipe for the experienced stove top chef.

Microwaving - Nuke your pumpkin seeds into oblivion.

Although this is the easiest and safest recipe to follow, microwaving your pumpkin seeds does not toast or roast them. Ease of use is almost always a trade-off for quality. Many people enjoy microwaving their pumpkin seeds, but I personally think they should be roasted or toasted.

As I mentioned before, let the seeds cool so you won’t burn your mouth. Eat up!

If the shells are too hard, peel them off first. Next time use the seeds from a sugar pumpkin instead. Seriously though, most people enjoy the seeds from carving pumpkins just fine.

Cooked pumpkin seeds keep for about a week in a tightly sealed container.

Add pumpkin seeds to any number of dishes, including:

  • Salads
  • Cookies
  • Muffins
  • Breads
  • Soups
  • Trail Mix
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