Saturday, October 29, 2011

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, 3 ways!

Oh gosh, I'm probably too late in posting this for most of you, as Halloween is the day after tomorrow so you've most likely already done all of your seed-roasting.  I promise to re-post next year in a more timely manner.

For some reason, I can never remember from one year to the next what I've done with pumpkin seeds that turned out well, and what failed.  So I seem to always go back to the drawing board when roasting my seeds.

This year, there were two things that I did before attempting any roasting/recipes.  They were:
1.  Soak seeds overnight in salt water.  Don't ask me how much salt--I just put enough water to cover (or float, actually), then sprinkled salt in.  Maybe a tablespoon for the 8 cups of seeds that I had?  No idea if that was enough, or too much--let me know if you know the right way to do it!

2.  Spread seeds out on paper bags to dry for a day.

So after we carved pumpkins one night, the seeds soaked in saltwater that night, then sat out drying the next day, then I began roasting after the kids went to bed that night.

I wanted a sweet/salty batch and a savory batch.  First up, the sweet/salty.

I chose this recipe for Pumpkin Pie Spiced Seeds, then proceeded to completely read the recipe wrong and do everything out of order.  I thought my seeds were done for, but lo and behold, they came out really well!  I did another batch where I followed the recipe correctly, and those were good too, but I secretly prefer my screwup batch.  Here's what you're supposed to do (copied directly from, the website I linked to above):

  • cup pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • teaspoons sugar
  • tablespoon vegetable oil


  1. 1
    spread the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a large baking sheet and roast them in a 250 degree oven for 45 minutes or until the seeds are completely dry and lightly browned (large seeds may take longer).
  2. 2
    In a large bowl, stir together the pumpkin pie spice, the salt and 2 teaspoons of the sugar and set aside.
  3. 3
    Heat the oil in a large non-stisk skillet over medium-high heat,.
  4. 4
    Add the seeds and the rest of the sugar to the skillet, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts, about 45 seconds.
  5. 5
    Scrape the seeds into the pumpkin pie spice mixture and stir to coat.
  6. 6
    Allow the seeds to cool before eating and store in an airtight container.

And here's what I did (same ingredients, except that mine was a quadruple batch)

1.  In a large bowl, stir together the pumpkin pie spice, salt, and ALL OF THE SUGAR.
2.  Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Add the seeds to the skillet, followed by the bowl of sugar and spices, stirring constantly with wooden spoons until the sugar melts, about a minute or so.
4.  Pour the sugar and seeds onto two baking sheets covered with parchment, and spread out into a single layer (which will be difficult because of the sticky sugar coating)
5.  Roast seeds in a 250 degree oven for 45 minutes.  Realize that they are nowhere near dried out and that you did the recipe totally wrong.  Decide to leave them in the oven anyway and just see what happens.  Stir them up every 15 minutes or so, taking a few out to cool so you can test them.  When they start to harden about 2 hours later, take them out and break up the huge clumps if you can, and allow to cool.

What you will have is almost like a pumpkin seed brittle.  So good, but they do take a really long time to roast.

On the left, the pumpkin seeds according to the original recipe.  On the right, my "caramelized" version.

On a more straightforward note, I made these savory pumpkin seeds, just like the recipe says, and they came out great.  They really have a nice rich butter flavor (most seeds use vegetable oils) that goes nicely with the garlicky/savory seeds--very umami, as my husband would tell you.

Mmmm.  Umami.

Finally, I made a smallish batch of spicy curry seeds. I just threw these together, no real recipe following involved, and I was pleased with the way they turned out.

1 cup seeds
2-3 Tb olive oil
2 tsp curry powder
1 Tb sugar
1.5 tsp salt

Combine olive oil and spices in a bowl and stir.  Add seeds and stir to coat.  Spread out on a cookie sheet and roast at 250 until dry and crispy (about an hour and a half).  Start to get impatient and turn the oven up to 350, then pull out quickly after about 10 minutes when you worry that you've burned them.

Let cool and store in an airtight container.
Almost burned spicy curry seeeds
So if you haven't roasted your seeds yet, give these a try!  I'd love to hear  your favorite recipes too.


  1. Actually, this is perfect timing for me! I just carved pumpkins today and was wondering how to do the seeds this year. However, I'm going to skip the soaking in salt water overnight. We'll see how it goes - I'm thinking the curry recipe is the way I'm gonna go. :) Thanks, Bethy!

  2. Let me know how they come out! I'm pretty obsessive about pumpkin seed crunchiness, I'll be curious to see if my efforts were necessary.

  3. So, unless yours were as crispy as chips, these turned out quite crunchy without soaking them overnight. I'm very pleased. I followed your curry recipe and love it! Thanks for sharing it. They'll be a hit at our friend's house party tonight.


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