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How to Make Crispy (Soaked) Pumpkin Seeds

Crispy Pumpkin Seeds

That chewy, dense texture sometimes found in roasted pumpkin seeds can really turn people off from the whole Halloween tradition – but it doesn’t have to be that way.

You can make totally crispy pumpkin seeds from your jack-o-lantern (and other fall veggies) and the method might surprise you. The trick is to soak them in water first. Truly. It’s easy! And delicious. Readers rave about them!

reader made pumpkin seeds and shared her joy on Facebook - first time she ever managed CRISPY pumpkin seeds

Making pumpkin seeds hardly takes a recipe, and the soaking process has the bonus of decreasing nutrient inhibitors and increasing 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!

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.

Save Money on Crispy Pumpkin Seeds at Home

I coughed up the cash for pumpkin seeds at the health food store once 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.

Leah separates pumpkin seeds

I’ll take free over that any day, and having a cute helper to separate the seeds from the guts doesn’t hurt either! 😉

What Are the Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds?

In case free food isn’t enough motivation to try this out, we’re very well-rounded at Kitchen Stewardship®, helping you balance your budget, environment (no packaging on these!), time (see below the recipe) and nutrition.

How about these powerful health benefits?

  • High in zinc, which has many functions, my favorite of which is that it may help relieve depression by improving serotonin production. Our bodies can’t store zinc, so it’s important to consume zinc-containing foods or supplement with zinc often.
  • High in magnesium, which again is helpful for your mental health and sleep, improves motility (i.e. relieves constipation), and may even lower blood sugar, creating a preventative effect against diabetes. Most Americans are deficient in magnesium!
  • May weaken or kill parasites
  • 7 grams of protein in just one ounce, not bad!
  • High in antioxidants (those lovely things that push cancer farther away, you know)
  • Anti-inflammatory properties; people with arthritis sometimes eat them to relieve pain
  • Fight osteoporosis (because of the high levels of minerals linked to increased bone density)
  • Good for your heart with healthy fats and may even help reduce high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Let’s get started!

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 because they seem too mealy or chewy to you, THIS method will rock your socks off!

Super Secret Special CRISPY Method for Roasting Pumpkin Seeds

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Crispy (Soaked) Pumpkin Seeds

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.8 from 4 reviews
  • Author: Katie Kimball
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 60 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins
  • Yield: varies


I know, “crispy” and “soaked” seem a bit oxymoronic, but after soaking and drying, the seeds will be crispy. The soaking process should reduce antinutrients and make seeds more digestible. Two delicious spice options included!


  • The seeds from one large pumpkin (or 2 butternut or spaghetti squashes)
  • 23 Tbs. olive oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!) or melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. sugar, optional (unrefined is fine)
  • scant tsp. salt (Use the code kitchenstewardship for 15% off of your first purchase)
  • Pumpkin Pie Version:
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • OR
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. ginger
  • Spicy Version:
  • 1 tsp.+ chili powder
  • (I often use more than what’s called for….)

ship kroger


  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. If some orange stuff stays on the seeds, it’s really no big deal and will totally dry out when roasted.
  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 at all!
  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 (or on the cookie sheet), 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 (but watch closely!).
  11. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet while your family grabs tastes and burns their mouths, delightful! 😉 Store in an airtight container on the counter for many weeks, if they last that long. I tend to use a pint jar or washed jelly jar. 


I’ve been making seeds like this for so many years, I don’t even look at a recipe at all anymore. Here’s my cheater-super-quick method:
1. rinse
2. soak in water and dump some salt in
3. strain water off
4. spread on cookie sheet (toaster oven if I don’t have very many)
5. pour some olive oil on top, sprinkle salt and chili powder on, and bake at 300F until I can smell them a little bit in the house, then (optional) bake a few more minutes at 400F, watching closely for browning.

Crispy Pumpkin Seeds

You’re right if you’re thinking those don’t look big enough to be pumpkin seeds! They’re a mixture of spaghetti squash and butternut squash seeds, which is just a COOL way to get something from nothing. Cheap snack from whatever orange autumn vegetable you’re cooking with!

Note: some squash like buttercup just don’t work – their seeds are wayyyy too thick.

FAQs on Roasting Crispy Pumpkin Seeds & Saving Time

Mostly how many corners you can cut and get away with it! I’m here to give you all the lazy shortcuts:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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…
  • Q – Can you overbake the seeds?
    A – Try really hard not to. They burn and taste pretty badly.
  • 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!
  • Q – Does this method work for other seeds that remind me of pumpkin seeds, like squash and cantaloupe?
    A – Absolutely! I roasted some butternut squash seeds last week, and they turned out quite nicely. Spaghetti squash seeds are perfect too, 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.
  • Q – Is the method for soaking and roasting squash seeds the same as pumpkin?
    A – It really is. They might bake a little bit faster, but you should be checking regularly anyway.
Crispy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Kitchen 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.

Organizational tip: (I don’t give many organizing tips, so cherish these!) Keep the recipe right with the pumpkin carving equipment with your holiday decorations.

I definitely challenge you to find something with seeds, scoop them out, and give this a try. Don’t let it feel intimidating! In no time at all, you won’t need the “recipe” written down, because you’ll just know how to do it.

Other Pumpkin Recipes:

Other Halloween posts:



Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

58 thoughts on “How to Make Crispy (Soaked) Pumpkin Seeds”

  1. The seeds were crunchy and delicious the first few hours after roasting (used the 24hour method). Later that day they got chewy again. Not sure why…. humidity??? I would have to retoast them before eating.

    1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Hi Pavlina, They will get chewy again if you don’t keep them in an airtight container. The more humidity you have in your home, the faster it will happen. I’ve never tried to retoast them after that happens, but that could work!

  2. Whitney Kreitlow

    Hey! I soaked my seeds, then dried them overnight. They didn’t all get dry and they smell…like…you know…pretty ripe. Is that fine? Did I let them sit for too long? Maybe I didn’t rinse well enough after the soak?

    1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

      The seeds should dry fully when you dehydrate or roast them if they didn’t get dry overnight. Katie says in the FAQ that she’s accidentally left them out for 24 hours and they were fine. I don’t know about the smell though. I personally think pumpkin seeds don’t smell good unless they’re roasted, but it shouldn’t smell rotten or really terrible, just like raw pumpkin. I would finish the dehydrating or roasting and see if the smell improves once they’re finished. Hope that helps and your pumpkin seeds work out!

    1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Hi Lisa, You can use the same length of time and reduce the temperature by 25 degrees to convert standard oven directions for a convection oven. Hope that helps and you enjoy your pumpkin seeds!

  3. Didn’t see it mentioned in your recipe, but there are also varieties of pumpkins that are bred for pumpkin seed production, where the seeds are hull-less:

    They don’t have the thick outer hull that jack-o’lantern pumpkin seeds have, and why the ones you see in the grocery store are dark green instead of beige. If you have a garden, they’re absolutely as easy to grow as other pumpkins.

  4. Kathryn Grace

    Oh, thank you for this. Every year I try to save my pumpkin and squash seeds, but we never like eating the hulls. This is the first I’ve seen a combined soaking and drying method, though, so maybe this is the year we finally get to enjoy eating them! I’m sharing your recipe as my pick for Recipe of the Day on Twitter and on my Facebook page, “Cooking with whole grains & real whole foods.”

  5. Will you please indicate how long you soaked the butternut squash seeds and spaghetti squash seeds, and with how much salt? Also, how long did you dehydrate them? I hate to assume the same parameters as for the pumpkin seeds. Have you ever tried this with kobacha squash seeds or acorn squash seeds? Thank you!

    1. Tiffany,
      Same as the pumpkin seeds! Usually overnight. I just salt the tray with a generous sprinkle through the “big holes” on my shaker, so it’s probably about 1/2 tsp. for maybe 2 cups seeds? I haven’t measured in a long time, sorry! If I remember right, kobacha and acorn squash seeds are the thicker ones – I’ve tried them all, but only the ones that are thin like pumpkin or butternut seeds end up palatable. You can eat the others…but they’re so dense, it’s not a nice experience. 🙂 Katie

  6. 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.

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  8. 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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  11. 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!

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

  13. 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.

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  15. 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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  17. 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.

  18. 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!”

  19. 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?

  20. 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?

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Any raw seed is good to go for the soaking process! Enjoy! 🙂 Katie

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

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  24. 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?



    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      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

  25. 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).

    1. 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

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

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

  28. 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!

      1. Thanks for asking this, I was wondering the same thing. I have happy memories of shelling “pepitas” with my dad, but these days it seems more labour intensive than anything! Glad to know its not essential 🙂

  29. 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!

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

    1. Winni,

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

  31. 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!

    1. 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

  32. 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? 🙂

    1. 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

      1. Isn’t the phytic acid (also) in the nut itself? Otherwise we wouldn’t worry about soaking store bought pumpkin seeds, which are hulled. The hull is more like a shell than part of the nut itself, I think.

        1. Sarah – a good question – I guess I’m not 100% sure on pumpkin seeds as far as what part is what, but I know that for example with blanched almonds, you don’t have to soak them because the phytic acid is in the brown part. Not all seeds have that going on – walnuts and peanuts always need soaking. So maybe you wouldn’t have to soak pumpkin seeds from a store? Could you sprout storebought pumpkin seeds?

          Bottom line for me on this one is that soaked pumpkin seeds crisp up better and taste better, so I keep doing it! 🙂 Katie

  33. 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.

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