Last Updated on September 20, 2023
Are you carving pumpkins, or perhaps cooking up a meal with fresh whole pumpkin? Don’t let the seeds go to waste! Instead, try our soaked and roasted pumpkin seeds recipe. Sure, you could skip the soaking and go straight to the roasting, and that is admittedly the quicker option. However, I think you’ll be intrigued to read more about the benefits of soaking pumpkin seeds before roasting them. It’s the only way we ever do it! Don’t worry, they’ll still be plenty crunchy. More crunchy than ever in fact.
Did you know? You can use this roasted pumpkin seeds recipe with any type of hard winter squash seeds. Butternut squash, acorn squash, hubbard squash, spaghetti squash – you name it! Like pumpkin seeds, all winter squash seeds are edible and highly nutritious.
Are roasted pumpkin seeds good for you?
Heck yes, and even more so once they’re soaked! Pumpkin seeds are notoriously rich in minerals, including magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, and zinc. They also contain notable amounts of protein, vitamins K and B2, folate, potassium, healthy (polyunsaturated) fats, and antioxidants. Compared to shelled pumpkin seeds you’re likely to buy in stores, homemade roasted pumpkin seeds with the outer shell still intact contain even more fiber. Fall season aside, we buy these organic sprouted pumpkin seeds to add on top of salads chili, soup, sautéed veggies, and other meals – all year long!
Why soak pumpkin seeds before roasting?
Fresh roasted pumpkin seeds can be a bit tough – both in texture, and on your belly. But soaking pumpkin seeds in a mild salt water brine before roasting them provides several benefits that help!
Increased nutritional value
Soaking pumpkin seeds reduces phytic acid content. Considered an ‘anti-nutrient’, phytic acid is a natural substance commonly found in grains, legumes, nuts and seeds – including pumpkin seeds. Phytic acid binds with minerals and thereby inhibits our bodies from absorbing those minerals, along with vitamins, proteins, and other nutrients in food. Phytic acid can also exacerbate unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms for some people, such as bloating and gas.
Yet when you soak pumpkin seeds in water, it activates the sprouting process and neutralizes much of the phytic acids along with other enzyme inhibitors. This means soaked and roasted pumpkin seeds are more nourishing – because all those stellar nutrients in them are now more bioavailable! They are also easier to digest. This follows the same reasoning as why sourdough is healthier than other bread, or why sprouted grains and seeds are popular ‘health foods’.
Better flavor and texture
While it may seem counterintuitive, soaking pumpkin seeds before roasting them actually results in crunchier finished pumpkin seeds! The soaking process helps soften the otherwise chewy exterior shell of the seed, enabling it to crisp up better in the oven. Combined with the reduced phytic acid content, this makes soaked and roasted pumpkin seeds more gentle on your stomach and more enjoyable to eat! Finally, soaking pumpkin seeds in salt water means that some of the salt is absorbed and helps to flavor the seeds more deeply.
Again, soaking pumpkin seeds before roasting is totally optional, but I find it worth the effort. And even though it’s technically an ‘extra’ step, I find it adds additional flexibility to your cooking schedule. Rather than rushing to roast the pumpkin seeds immediately after cleaning them out from the pumpkin, they can simply hang out in a bath until you’re ready for them. Or, you could even drain them after their extended soak, pop them in the fridge, and roast them a few days later.
HOW TO SOAK AND ROAST PUMPKIN SEEDS
Ingredients & Supplies Needed
- Fresh pumpkin seeds. You can use jack-o-lantern pumpkins, decorative pumpkins, baking pumpkins, or other hard winter squash seeds. For this particular batch of soaked and roasted pumpkin seeds, we used the seeds from several sugar pie pumpkins. The pumpkins were roasted too – to make a big batch of our favorite three-bean pumpkin chili (vegan) plus a few jars of homemade pumpkin puree to save and use in recipes later.
- Sea salt
- Water (enough to soak the seeds in a bowl)
- Seasonings of choice
- Mixing bowl and strainer
- A baking sheet
- Gather your fresh pumpkin seeds. Separate the seeds from the pumpkin flesh as much as possible. Rinse the seeds well in a colander. Then, transfer the pumpkin seeds to a clean bowl to soak in.
- Quick tip: Rather than scooping everything out of the pumpkin (guts and seeds included) I find it is easiest to pinch and pull the pumpkin seeds away from the pumpkin flesh by hand while it is still firmly attached inside. Then I scrape the seed-free ‘guts’ out after.
Soak the Pumpkin Seeds
- Next, create a mild salt water brine to pour over the seeds. Combine about 1/2 Tbsp of salt for every 2 cups of water used. The salt provides flavor, but also reduces the ability for any harmful bacteria to develop in the water, similar to a fermentation brine.
- Leave the bowl out on the counter and allow the pumpkin seeds to soak for 6 hours minimum, up to 24 hours. If we gut our pumpkins in the morning, we let the pumpkin seeds soak all day and then proceed to the next step before bed (letting them air dry overnight). Or, when we’re cooking or carving pumpkins in the evening, we soak the seeds overnight and drain them in the morning. (You could also drain them and then store them in the fridge for a couple days before roasting if that works best for your schedule.)
- Before roasting, it is best to let the soaked pumpkin seeds dry out a bit before they go in the oven. They’ll be the most crunchy this way!
- First, drain the seeds in a stainer and shake away excess water.
- Next, we dry our soaked pumpkin seeds by spreading them out on a clean, lint-free tea towel. Doing this on a baking sheet makes it easy to move them around as needed. If possible, let the seeds air dry for several hours, tossing them on occasion. We’ve also expedited the process by patting them dry and proceeding to the next step sooner.
- Now is the time to get creative and season your soaked pumpkin seeds however you see fit! Keep it simple with a sprinkle of sea salt, or go all out and add a tasty mix of several seasonings. In this particular batch, we used coconut oil, salt, and a sprinkle of paprika.
- Place the soaked pumpkin seeds (now fairly dry) in a bowl to toss with seasonings and evenly coat them.
- At minimum, I recommend using melted coconut oil, butter, or olive oil plus a sprinkle of sea salt. We don’t usually measure, but about 1 tablespoon of melted oil or butter per two cups of pumpkin seeds is a good ballpark.
- Sprinkle salt over as you would when seasoning vegetables or popcorn, but keep in mind they’re already mildly salty from the salt water soak. You can always add more later!
Ideas for roasted pumpkin seed seasonings
Create savory roasted pumpkin seeds with a sprinkle of paprika, garlic salt or garlic powder, onion powder, chipotle seasoning, curry powder, ‘everything but the bagel seasoning’, powdered ranch seasoning, nutritional yeast, or parmesan cheese. Get creative with it!
You could also go the sweet route and make candied pumpkin seeds by using cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and even a little ginger powder, brown sugar or maple syrup. Check out our Sweet & Salty Rosemary Roasted Mixed Nuts recipe as a similar idea!
Roast the Pumpkin Seeds & Enjoy!
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Spread the pumpkin seeds out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Optional: line the baking sheet with a silicone mat or tin foil for easy clean-up.
- Bake the soaked pumpkin seeds for approximately 30 to 45 minutes, until lightly golden and crunchy. Stir and toss the seeds several times throughout the process to promote even roasting, about every 15 minutes.
- Keep in mind that soaked and roasted pumpkin seeds will be more chewy straight out of the oven, but will crisp up as they cool!
- Once your roasted pumpkin seeds have fully cooled, transfer them to an airtight container with a lid for storage like this glass flip-top jar.
Can you eat whole pumpkin seeds?
Yes, you can absolutely eat whole pumpkin seeds. No need to remove the shell; just pop them in your mouth as-is! In the grocery store, you mostly see green-colored shelled pumpkin seeds. However, the outer shell of the pumpkin seed is 100% edible, and contains a lot of beneficial minerals and fiber too! And as we’ve already explored, soaking pumpkin seeds in salt water before roasting helps to make the normally tough, chewy outer shell more crunchy and much easier to digest.
That’s all there is to it!
All in all, you can’t go wrong with soaked and roasted pumpkin seeds. They’re delicious, extra nutritious, and incredibly easy to make. Not to mention, making homemade roasted pumpkin seeds is the perfect zero-waste solution to fall festivities or recipes that involve whole pumpkins. I hope you love this crunchy snack as much as we do!
Please feel free to ask questions, leave a review, or simply say hi in the comments below. Spread the love of pumpkins (and nutrient-dense foods) by pinning or sharing the post too!
Don’t miss these related recipes:
- How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree (and Freeze It)
- Healthy Sourdough Pumpkin Spice Bread or Muffins
- Roasted Sugar Pie Pumpkin 3-Bean Chili (vegan)
- Sweet & Salty Rosemary Roasted Mixed Nuts
- Creamy Roasted Butternut Squash & Sage Soup (vegan)
Crunchy Soaked and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
- Mixing bowl for soaking
- Baking sheet
- fresh raw pumpkin seeds
- sea salt, for soaking and seasoning
- melted coconut oil, butter, or olive oil (about 1 Tbsp per 2 cups seeds)
- additional seasonings of choice (optional)
- Separate the seeds from the pumpkin flesh/guts as much as possible. Rinse well in a colander. Transfer the pumpkin seeds to a clean bowl to soak in.
- Create a mild salt water brine to pour over the seeds. Combine about 1/2 Tbsp of salt for every 2 cups of water used.
- Leave the bowl out on the counter and allow the pumpkin seeds to soak for 6 hours minimum, up to 24 hours
- Drain the seeds in a stainer and shake away excess water. Allow the seeds to air dry for a few hours if possible, such as spread out on a clean lint-free tea towel. You can also pat them dry and move on to roasting more quickly if needed.
- Place the soaked pumpkin seeds (now fairly dry) in a bowl to toss with seasonings and evenly coat them. Add 1 Tbsp of melted coconut oil, butter, or olive oil per two cups of pumpkin seeds, plus a sprinkle of sea salt. *See more seasoning ideas in the notes below.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spread the pumpkin seeds out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Optional: line the baking sheet with a silicone mat or tin foil for easy clean-up.
- Bake the soaked pumpkin seeds for approximately 30 to 45 minutes, until lightly golden and crunchy. Stir and toss the seeds several times throughout the process to promote even roasting, about every 15 minutes. (Note: they'll crisp up even more as they cool down)
- Once your roasted pumpkin seeds have fully cooled, transfer them to an airtight container with a lid for storage. Enjoy!