Fall has definitely arrived, even in this semi-arid part of Central California. Leaves are falling off trees and the sun sets long before 7pm. I miss long summer days, but am enjoying a much needed break from the blazing heat of summer. I carved up a pumpkin for Elliott’s ten month photoshoot, photo below, and decided to give homemade roasted pumpkin seeds a try.
I loosely followed a few “recipes” online and I think they turned out pretty good for my first batch! Crispy outside, not at all burned inside. Nothing like store bought pumpkin seeds I’ve had in the past.
How to Perfectly Roast Pumpkin Seeds:
Step 1: Clean your seeds. Separating the seeds from the rest of the pumpkin guts might be a bit time consuming, especially with little hands trying to “help” but it is well worth the effort. I picked them out of the garbage pile after I cleaned out the pumpkin for my project, but in the future I will likely collect the seeds and then get to scraping out the guts. Either way works.
Tip: Preheat your oven now to 350 degrees! Bonus points if you remember to check that it is empty first. (My mom often stores winter squash in her oven.)
Step 2: Rinse, rinse, rinse in a colander with cool water. I ran my finger through the seeds mixing them up and collecting stray pumpkin bits to be washed down the drain.
Step 3: Lightly dry pumpkin seeds on a kitchen towel or with a paper towel. They don’t need to be bone dry, but they won’t crisp up well if they’re sopping wet from having just been rinsed.
Step 4. Spread seeds evenly over a baking sheet and salt generously. I used a sea salt grinder on a fine setting and it worked well. I did not find the need to use any oil to get the salt to stick, but if your seeds are too dry from the previous step, pour a little olive or coconut oil and mix well before salting.
Tip: Use non-stick foil lining on the baking sheet for a 15 second clean up!
Step 5: Get to roasting! I chose to roast the pumpkin seeds at 350 degrees for 10 minutes before stirring and baking for another 10 minutes. Stay close to your oven and taste often in the last five minutes of roasting. This taste testing let me know my seeds needed another two minutes or so after the second ten minutes was up. Any less and they wouldn’t have been perfectly crispy, but much more and they would have burned!
Tip: Don’t wait for your seeds to brown as a sign they are done! Only a few of mine were golden brown in appearance. Most just had a very lightly toasted look.
Step 6: Enjoy! Remove the seeds from the oven, pour into a bowl or onto a plate and dig in. There is no need to remove the outer shell because it’s probably the best part of homemade roasted pumpkin seeds. Not at all over-salted or processed-tasting like the kind you can buy in the store.
So there you have it, my version of perfectly roasted pumpkin seeds. A new favorite fall recipe. I have a small sugar pumpkin on the counter waiting to be turned into fresh pumpkin puree for a pumpkin loaf. Will need to do a bit of tinkering to create the perfect diary free version. I would also love to make a diary free pumpkin pie so that Elliott can try a bit for Thanksgiving, but I’ll save that for another day. (Backstory on the dairy free thing here.)
Have you made home-made roasted pumpkin seeds before? Have any tips, tricks or tried and true fall recipes to share? I’d love to hear from you!