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Posted by on Nov 10, 2015 in fall | 0 comments

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds + Salted Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Salted Pumpkin Seed Brittle + How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds |

I recently learned the secret to roasting pumpkin seeds. I’m going to tell you, but first let’s have a mini science lesson:

There are two varieties of pumpkin seeds you’ll see: whole whites ones and shelled greens ones (sometimes called pepitas). The green inside part is what grows into a pumpkin plant, and the white shell acts as protection when the seed first germinates. Even though the shell’s toughness is great agriculturally, it makes the seeds difficult to roast. If you get the shell perfectly roasted, the more delicate inside will often be overcooked. So what’s the secret? Boiling the seeds before roasting! It softens the exterior so the whole seed will roast more evenly. Now that the “secret” and science are out of the way, let’s have a little fun!

This principle applies to all sorts of winter squash seeds: big pumpkins, little pie pumpkins, acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, etc. So you can save any of those seeds (and tag a photo #NoWasteNovember), then roast and toss them with whatever seasoning tickles your fancy. I love smoked paprika with lemon zest, or cinnamon and cayenne with sugar, or rosemary and sea salt.

You can also go one step further and turn your roasted seeds into a salted caramel brittle. In about 10 minutes, sugar and sea salt transform plain pumpkin seeds into crispy, salty-sweet bits of caramelized goodness. They are great little treats for a party, but I especially like to use pieces of the brittle as a garnish for cupcakes, custards, or tarts.

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds + Salted Pumpkin Seed Brittle


  • pumpkin seeds (or other winter squash seeds)
  • salt
  • water
  • For the brittle:
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup dry roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • flaky sea salt


To roast seeds:
  • 1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • 2. Once seeds are scooped out of the pumpkin, place in a bowl of water. Separate seeds from pulp and set cleaned seeds aside. Bring a small pot of 3-4 cups water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and pumpkin seeds to water, then simmer for 7-10 minutes or until seeds become somewhat translucent. Strain seeds from water. Rub dry on a clean kitchen towel or paper towels, making sure to remove any lingering pulp.
  • 3. Spread the seeds on a lined baking sheet in a single layer. Roast at 350°F for 10-20 minutes, depending on the size of the seeds. Shake the pan after about 6 minutes, then keep a close eye on them until they just barely begin to brown. Taste test a couple of seeds (after letting them cool slightly) to make sure they're totally crisp.
  • 4. Allow roasted seeds to cool to room temperature, then store in an airtight container. (If making seasoned seeds, lightly coat in oil and toss with desired seasoning.)
  • Salted Pumpkin Seed Brittle:
  • 1. Prepare a tray with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set the lined tray, an offset spatula, pumpkin seeds, and salt nearby; you'll need to work quickly once caramel is ready.
  • 2. Place sugar in a cold pan (ideally a light colored pan so you can better see the color change). Heat over medium heat; do not stir. After 3-5 minutes, the edges of the sugar will begin to melt. Drag melted sugar to middle of pan with a heat-proof spatula until all sugar is melted. Continue to stir until the sugar reaches a medium, caramel-y brown (this should only take about 1 minute, so keep a close watch!). The caramel will continue to cook and darken when you take it off the heat, so take it off when it's a shade lighter than you want.
  • 3. As soon as you remove the caramel from heat, stir in roasted pumpkin seeds (they will sizzle and pop). Stir a couple of times to coat seeds, then immediately pour onto prepared pan. Quickly spread caramel into a thin sheet (1/4" or less) with offset spatula. Sprinkle generously with flaky sea salt. Set aside to cool.
  • 4. Once brittle has cooled to room temperature, break into pieces (the base of a knife, your hands, or a good whack with a metal spoon all work well). Store in an airtight container at room temperature, separating layers with sheets of wax paper or parchment.
  • Notes

    Any type of roasted seeds or nuts can be used with this technique.

    I prefer the dry method of making caramel, as described in the recipe. If you have better luck with the wet method (which combines water and sugar), by all means, go for it!

    DO NOT LICK THE HOT SPATULA. I know it's tempting, but your tongue will hate you. I've learned the hard way.

    A quick soak in hot water should take care of any spills or caramel-coated dishes/utensils.

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