How to Cook Pumpkin Seeds for Halloween and Beyond

Halloween Recipes – How to Bake Pumpkin Seeds

Jack O'Lantern

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!


Preparation

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.

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds

Oven Roasting – Bake your pumpkin seeds in the oven.

  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Put roughly 1-2 cups of seeds in a bowl. Toss with 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
    • You can also use PAM cooking spray for a low fat, but slightly less flavorful pumpkin seed.
    • You can use butter or margarine if you’d prefer a less healthy, but slightly more flavorful pumpkin seed.
  3. Spread seeds out evenly on a baking sheet.
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt (or regular salt if you prefer).
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until seeds start to turn golden brown. Do not overcook!
  6. Stir pumpkin seeds every 8-12 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool before eating; the seeds will be super hot at first.

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

  • Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
    • 2 cups pumpkin seeds
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons margarine, melted
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
    • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds #1
    • Note: You gotta bake the plain seeds then cook them in the peanut oil mixture. Click the link above to get the full recipe.
    • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
    • 5 tablespoons sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 ground ginger
    • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, to taste
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds #2
    • 2 cups pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried
    • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    • 2 drops hot pepper sauce
  • Mix it up with:
    • Honey
    • Maple Syrup
    • Curry powder
    • Tabasco Sauce
    • Nutmeg
    • Cinnamon
How to Cook Pumpkin Seeds
How to Cook, Bake, Roast, Toast, and Nuke Pumpkin Seeds for Halloween!

How to Toast Pumpkin Seeds

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.

  1. On medium heat, place one to two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, butter, or margarine in your skillet.
  2. When the oil is hot or the butter is melted, add your prepped pumpkin seeds.
  3. Flip and stir your seeds constantly while cooking so they don’t burn.
  4. Five minutes should do it!
  5. Remove pumpkin seeds from the pan when they are toasted brown.
  6. Place seeds on a paper towel to drain the excess oil, butter, or margarine. Be careful, they are hot!
  7. Season as desired. Consider some of the spices listed in the Roasting section above.
  8. As always, allow your pumpkin seeds to cool before serving.

How to Microwave Pumpkin Seeds

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.

  1. Nuke 1-2 tablespoons of butter or margarine for about 30 seconds, and for crying out loud, please use a microwave safe dish! I have not tried using oil with the nuclear recipe.
  2. Add prepped pumpkin seeds to the dish of melted lard, spreading them out flat.
  3. Sprinkle with sea salt or any of those other delightful flavor combinations mentioned above.
  4. Zap your pumpkin seeds for 8 minutes, but…
  5. Check and stir your seeds every 2 minutes until…
  6. At the 6 minute mark start checking your seeds every minute. Continue to stir.
  7. Stop this blasphemy once the color of the “cooked” seeds has mutated into a shade of gold.
  8. Now throw that garbage in the trash can and go roast or toast your pumpkin seeds like you should have in the first place, or…
  9. Allow the seeds to cool and start choking them down.

How to Eat Pumpkin Seeds

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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4 Responses to “How to Cook Pumpkin Seeds for Halloween and Beyond”

  1. You offer a couple of really great recipes on how to cook pumpkin seeds. When done correctly they are a truly tasty, healthy treat. Another place to find some great ideas is Better Recipes. Though I do work for them, I have honestly used them myself for years because they have a nearly endless supply of really tasty dishes. They are really worth checking out.

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