Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Recipe Connection: How to Make Crispy (Soaked) Pumpkin Seeds

October 19th, 2010 · 44 Comments · Recipes

You can make soaked, “crispy” pumpkin seeds, Nourishing Traditions style, from your Halloween jack-o-lantern pumpkin seeds. Making pumpkin seeds hardly takes a recipe, and the soaking process will decrease nutrient inhibitors and increase nutrition immensely (see my series on soaking grains for more).

Pssst! Have you seen this easy, NO SUGAR Halloween party plan? Games and food included, easy to just grab it if you’re planning a classroom Halloween party!

How to Make Crispy Pumpkin Seeds

The best part about carving pumpkins isn’t the gooey mess all over your hands (and up to your armpits, practically), it isn’t the scummy mold that forms well before you think it should on your creations, and it isn’t even the frustration of forcing a 2mm thick knife through two inches of solid rind to make detailed designs around the eyes. Oh no, friends, such as rarely happens in the real food kitchen, you’ve got an opportunity for free nutrition, better than you can buy at the store, and for far less money.

Pumpkin seeds make great snacks! If you’re in a snacks rut, you’ll love Healthy Snacks to Go, an eBook with over 30 recipes for grab and go snacks that will nourish your family’s bodies, including the famous homemade granola bars, homemade Larabar-style treats, and even kid-friendly beef jerky.

I coughed up the cash for pumpkin seeds at the health food store lastsoaked pumpkin seeds year because I happened to drag my son in there on his birthday. (Yes, I got Paul pumpkin seeds for his birthday. We’re boring like that. He got other, normal {ahem – bought at garage sale} toys, too!) I can’t remember how much they were, possibly because that part of my memory is permanently scarred. They were lots of dollars per pound. And not even soaked or sprouted!

Whether you’ve never actually captured the seeds from inside your jack-o-lantern, or you’ve been roasting them forever and wondered if you could make them “crispy” pumpkin seeds, I’m here to give you all the lazy shortcuts.

soaked pumpkin seeds

5.0 from 2 reviews
The Basic Recipe: Crispy (Soaked) Pumpkin Seeds
 
I know, “crispy” and “soaked” seem a bit oxymoronic, but after soaking and drying, the seeds will be crispy. Nourishing Traditions recommends the soaking process to reduce antinutrients and make seeds more digestible. Two delicious spice options...
Author:
Recipe type: snacks, appetizer
Ingredients
  • The seeds from one large pumpkin
  • 2-3 Tbs. olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. sugar, optional (unrefined is fine)
  • scant tsp. salt Pumpkin Pie Version:
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • OR
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. cloves
  • ⅛ tsp. ginger
  • Spicy Version:
  • 1 tsp.+ chili powder
  • (I often use much more than what’s called for….)
Instructions
  1. Start by rinsing the seeds in colander and try to get the bulk of the orange pulp off. This will take slightly longer and be slightly slimier than you hope, but you’ll get through it.
  2. Cover the seeds with warm water and some salt, maybe 1 Tbs to 4 cups if you’re measuring (but I usually don’t). Allow them to sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
  3. Drain water off and lay out on cookie sheets to dry for 8 hours to overnight, if you have the time. It still works out if you don't.
  4. NOTE: if not soaking the seeds, just start here & decrease bake time by 10-30 minutes, depending on what temperature you choose to bake.
  5. In a bowl, toss seeds with oil and spices listed above.
  6. Once the seeds are coated, you have two options: preserve the enzymes or kill them for flavor.
  7. *Option A: Preserve the enzymes, which help digestion and are all around good for you, by dehydrating the seeds at no higher than 150F. This may take anywhere from 12-24 hours. Sometimes more. You’ll know they’re done when you taste one and it crunches satisfyingly in your mouth.
  8. *Option B: Flavor, but less nutrition. In my book, the flavor of the roasted pumpkin seeds can’t be beat. I choose to roast our seeds in the oven. It takes at least an hour at 300 degrees. If you're baking other things anyway, put a tray of seeds in, too, for about 30-40 minutes at 350F or 20-30 minutes at 400F.
  9. Stir every 10-20 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is. There's great variation in seed size, so this process includes some guessing and checking...which is a delicious way to cook. :)
  10. I recommend the lower temperature, because you’re baking the soaked seeds for a longer period of time to fully dry them out, and burnt pumpkin seeds are no good at all. There's less margin for error with a lower baking temp. If the pumpkin seeds get dry but not toasty, you can always turn the temperature up to 400F for 5-10 minutes at the end of the baking time.

 how to make pumpkin seedsFAQs

Mostly how many corners you can cut and get away with it!

    1. Q – Can you leave them in the fridge for a day if you’re not ready to roast them?
      A – Yes. Probably even longer. I tested this one just for you guys.
    2. Q – Can you soak the seeds before you rinse them, say, if you’re in too much of a hurry to do that part and just want to get slimy the following night?
      A – Yes. Again, tested that just for you.
    3. Q – Can you leave the seeds more than 24 hours?
      A – I know none of you would forget your seeds or get too busy to finish the job, but yet, more than 24 hours won’t hurt anything. You could also drain the seeds and allow them to stay wet in the colander. Shucks, leave them there a few days, keep them moist, and see if they’ll sprout! I wouldn’t recommend combining #2 and #3 though.
    4. Q – What if you forget to allow the seeds to dry out a bit overnight?
      A – Turns out that’s no problem! You might do that if you’re going by memory from last year…
    5. Q – Can you overbake the seeds?
      A – Try really hard not to. They burn and taste pretty badly.
    6. Q – Can you overdehydrate the seeds?
      A – I don’t think it’s possible. They’ll just get crispier, but not burnt. If you’re going to forget about them, use the dehydrator! crispy pumpkin seeds nourishing traditions

  1. Q – Does this method work for other seeds that remind me of pumpkin seeds, like squash and cantaloupe?
    A – Absolutely! I roasted some buttercup squash seeds last week, and they turned out quite nicely. A little chewy and dense, but definitely a success. Spaghetti squash seeds are perfect and butternut are also good, although I wouldn’t recommend melon seeds, as we found them so tough as to be almost inedible, and certainly not fun to eat at all.

added bonusKitchen Tip: Need help cutting a tough pumpkin or squash? Put it in the oven whole for about 10 minutes while the oven heats up (or even at full temperature for dinner). It will soften just enough to get your knife through it.

exclamation_32x32Organizational tip: (I don’t give many organizing tips, so cherish these!) Keep the recipe in your “October” or “fall” file, or with the pumpkin carving equipment with your holiday decorations. I organize recipes by season sometimes.

Other Pumpkin Recipes:

Other Halloween posts:

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44 Comments so far ↓

  • Shannon

    I tried soaking and dehydrating mine a couple weeks ago and they did not end up very tasty and I threw them out. I am thinking I will have to roast them instead to make them edible.

  • Tammy

    Great tips, Katie! :) We love roasted pumpkin seeds.

    The skin on pumpkin seeds is so thick… I am surprised that soaking for 24 hours like that even does anything to them. I mean… does it really? Can you tell a difference after that time? :)

    Katie Reply:

    Tammy,
    The phytic acid that you’re trying to combat with soaking is IN the hull/skin itself. That said, I’m not one whose system notices a difference between soaked and unsoaked seeds. I wonder if people who are aggravated by unsoaked nuts would be able to tell you if it “works”. I suppose sprouted pumpkin seeds would be the ultimate best in nutrition, actually. Hmmm…might try that next week when we carve! :) Katie

  • Samantha

    Can the crispy pumpkin seeds be frozen, and if so, for how long?

    Katie Reply:

    Samantha,
    They’re a pretty hot commodity at our house, so I’ve never tried, but all my other nuts and seeds can (at least 6 months?), so I would think these would be fine, too. :) Katie

  • Amanda Y.

    I used to LOVE LOVE LOVE pumpkin seeds roasted from our pumpkins, but somewhere done the line I developed an allergy, and not just a normal allergy, an anaphalatic reaction to them…so someone enjoy some for me I hope!

  • Winni

    Hi there, this looks yummy! Doesn’t roasting also reduce the anti-nutrients? I can’t remember and I may be confused…

    Katie Reply:

    Winni,

    Conflicting research on that one, but most say “not much,” at least for phytic acid. :) Katie

  • kim

    Thank you for such great info! Love your site.

    Kimberle @ Nurturedpath.com

  • Sheila

    You don’t actually have to wash off all the pumpkin strings. My mom always used to leave them on for a bit of pumpkin taste. I tried mine that way yesterday and they’re just fine!

  • Miranda

    I have a “dumb” question: Can the hulls of the pumpkin seeds be eaten, or are they supposed to be “shelled” first?
    I have seeds drying right now and will roast them with that pumpkin pie seasoning you shared!

    Katie Reply:

    Miranda,
    We just eat the whole thing! :) Katie

  • Beth

    Miranda-you can actually do both. I believe the little seed inside is called a pepita. We just eat the whole thing, though.

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  • Grace via Facebook

    Fantastic! I will be doing this this week. Yay!

  • Michelle

    Is there any reason, nutritionally, you rinse off the goop? I have a book on carving pumpkins that suggests that the goop helps the seasonings stay on and gives it more flavor, which I’ve found to be true. It’s not the sort of resource that would be concerned with the digestability of the gunk on the seeds (phytic acid, etc).

    Katie Reply:

    Michelle,
    Huh, I always just did it b/c it was…well…goopy and gross. Now I want to try it this way this year (we haven’t carved yet). How interesting…
    :) Katie

    Barb Reply:

    I do rinse the seeds first, but the “goop” is my favorite part–it gets nice and crispy and seems extra-flavorful.

  • McKenzie

    This was the best recipe ever

    Thanks
    McKenzie

    Katie Reply:

    Awesome, thanks!

  • Holly

    Oops…forgot to add salt when I soaked my pumpkin and sunflower seeds yesterday! Do I still get the benefit of breaking down the enzyme inhibitor? Also, I frequently forget the seeds and soak them for more than 24hours, is that ok?

    Thanks,

    Holly

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Holly,
    I think you’re okay on both…the soaking with seeds should have as much to do with starting the sprouting process as the salt content. ???

    So sorry it took me so long to respond…I got absolutely behind on comments when I released the second edition of the snacks book and truly have never caught up.

    :) Katie

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  • sarah

    Soaking makes a huge difference for me. My belly kills me if I eat them raw, but soaked… awesome!

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  • Cheryl

    The seeds from three pie pumpkins lasted a weekend here. Can I use raw seeds from the store or do they need to be fresher than that to soak?

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Cheryl,
    Any raw seed is good to go for the soaking process! Enjoy! :) Katie

  • Alice via Facebook

    Question: I usually stick the whole pumpkin in the oven and roast it (no jack-o-lanterns here; I can’t bear to waste a perfectly good local farm pumpkin!). Anyway, can I soak and dehydrate the seeds if they’ve been roasted (steamed, I suppose) in the pumpkin first?

  • Pamela via Facebook

    I have the same question as Alice.

  • via Facebook

    Alice Benham and Pamela Gosnell – people keep telling me about the bake-the-whole pumpkin thing, but I do think that would make it so that we can’t soak, since the seeds would be dead. ??? I’d just roast ‘em and say like Modern Alternative Mama – “we don’t eat enough of them to worry about it!”

  • Lola Bielke

    You article is well written. I enjoy reading your blog.

  • Anna

    Soo happy to find this! Wasn’t sure if I should soak and dehydrate pumpking seeds. Just started eating them to get more magnesium in my diet.

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  • Clare

    Thank you for the recipe, I have my seeds soaking right now. And if anyone lives in the city like me, that has nasty city water that is chemically treated, I just put my seeds in a mason jar, with my clean water:) and rinsed them twice and that really cleaned them up nicely.

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  • heather

    I have always soaked my seeds overnight because that is what my mom did to get a little extra salt flavor. I didn’t even know it had a health benefit. Good to know, thank you.

  • Holly

    Will be trying this this weekend after pumpkin carving. Have always been disappointed that my seeds were chewy. Looking forward to crispy!

  • Karrie

    For some reason my brain is having a hard time accepting that the pepita inside gets soaked/activated through the shell! But I’m encouraged by the response from someone saying they can tell the difference!

    So excited about this because I thought I wouldn’t be able to roast shelled pumpkin seeds anymore after everything I have learned about food! YAY!

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Karrie,
    I don’t think the soaking is as much to “activate” anything about the pepitas inside, but rather to neutralize some of the hard-to-digest parts IN that outer crunchy shell…

    :) Katie

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  • Beth

    Made these yesterday. Soaked them, tossed them with olive oil, spices and instead of sugar, used some Grade B Organic Maple Syrup. Dehydrated for about 12 hours or so on about 125. Took them out, threw them on a baking sheet and toasted them for a few minutes, till brown. OHHH MYYY! Wonderful! Thanks for the fab recipe and all you do to keep us going!

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  • Stephanie

    I’ve tried roasting pumpkin seeds before and they always end up a little chewy and just ok. These are SO crispy and yummy! I roasted them at 300 and I think my oven’s a little hot because they were done (and maybe a very tiny bit over done) after 30-35 minutes. but I am really excited that the soaking makes such a difference in crispy-ness.

Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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