Pumpkin Seeds in Cooking

Along with great health benefits, pumpkin seeds can be used in a whole variety of ways in cooking. They add a whole new flavor to the food on the kitchen table. These seeds can be used:

  1. Roasted

To roast seeds, place them in q bowl. Sprinkle with your favorite seasonings and oil and mix well. Next, spread them evenly over a large baking tray. Bake at 350 F for 10 to 20 minutes or until lightly brown. Stir the seeds frequently to avoid burning. Cool the pumpkin seeds, then store them in an air-tight container. When choosing a seasoning for your seeds, the options are many, depending on the flavor you desire. The outer part of the pumpkin seed can be removed (hulled) after roasting. The inner part is a green color and is a great addition to breads and muffins. These are some ways to include pumpkin seeds in traditional roast. When using this method, different spices can be used to give the seeds flair. Here are some combinations:

  1. Cinnamon toast pumpkin seeds: 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, 3 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil.
  2. Chili pumpkin seeds: 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon tamari sauce, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt to taste.
  3. Spicy pumpkin seeds: ½ teaspoon paprika, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil.
  4. Ginger zest pumpkin seeds: 2 tablespoons ground ginger, 2 tablespoons sugar, ½ teaspoon orange zest, 2 tablespoons melted butter or oil.
  5. Parmesan pumpkin seeds: ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, 2 tablespoons melted butter or oil.


  1. Garnish

Raw or slightly toasted pumpkin seeds make a great garnish for soups, dips, spreads, salads, and stir-fry. For this method, try out these instructions:

This pumpkin garnish soup makes around ¾ cup. You will need:


½ cup pumpkin seeds

2 cloves garlic

¼ cup parsley

¼ teaspoon sea salt

3-4 tablespoons olive oil


Heat a dry skillet to medium. Add pumpkin seeds and keep them moving with a wooden spoon.  After a few minutes they will begin to pop, puff up, and give off a nutty aroma. Remove from heat. Place toasted seeds with all other ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times until you have a course mixture. The toasted seeds, garlic, and parsley can also be finely chopped by hand.


  1. Butternut Squash

Squash is a staple for many Native American tribes. Young squash are baked or boiled, blossoms are battered and fried, and leaves are wrapped around other foods for cooking. Pumpkin seeds are often formed into balls with dried fruits, nuts and maple syrup in what’s known as pemmican, the trail mix of many tribes. To make this dish follow the following instructions:

  1. Place squash in a heavy saucepan and cover with water. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes; drain and reserve liquid.
  2. Purée squash, in batches, in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add some reserved liquid to the processor if the squash becomes too thick to purée.
  3. Return puréed squash to saucepan in which it was cooked and slowly reheat. If soup is too thick, stir in some of reserved cooking liquid. Season to taste with a pinch of salt, and sweeten with honey if necessary (sometimes the squash is not as sweet as it should be).
  4. Place pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven and roast about 10 minutes until fragrant.
  5. Ladle soup into warm bowls and garnish with pumpkin seeds and chives.



  1. Pipian rojo

2 tablespoons neutral oil, like olive oil

3 dried guajillo chilies

2 dried ancho chilies (or two more guajillos)

3 garlic cloves

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 cups water

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

2 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Pull the stems from the chilies and shake out and discard their seeds. Tear the chilies into pieces the size of a postage stamp.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add the torn chilies, garlic and onion, and toss to coat them in the oil. Sweat the vegetables until the onion and garlic are soft and the oil has turned red from the chilies, about 8 minutes. Stir in the bay leaves, oregano, cumin, paprika and cinnamon. Continue cooking, stirring often, until the spices have melded and give off a heady aroma, about 2 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and gently simmer until the sauce base has reduced by half (to about 2 cups), about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place the pumpkin seeds in a medium skillet and set over medium-low heat. Warm the seeds, tossing them in the pan so that they toast evenly, until they have darkened a few shades, 3 to 4 minutes. A few will pop and dance in the pan. Slide them onto a plate and add the sesame seeds to the pan. Toast the seeds, shaking the pan, until they are a dirty blond, about 2 minutes. Slide them onto the plate with the pumpkin seeds and let cool.
  4. Carefully puree the hot sauce base and cooled seeds in a blender or with an immersion blender until very smooth. Return the sauce to the pan and bring it to a simmer. Simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes, and season with the salt. The pipian can be eaten immediately but will taste best after being cooled and stored in the fridge for a couple of days. Reheat it gently, adding splashes of water to loosen the sauce if needed.