Sugar, spice and everything nice: 3 ways to add extra flavor to your roasted pumpkin seeds

From a chocolate drizzle to a zesty ranch spice pack, make pumpkin seeds even more snackable

By Ashlie D. Stevens

Food Editor

Published October 24, 2021 5:30PM (EDT)

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds in a Cast Iron Skillet (Getty Images/rudisill)
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds in a Cast Iron Skillet (Getty Images/rudisill)

Few things feel more seasonal than opening up a roasting pumpkin and carefully extracting the seeds from the tender, golden flesh. 

The number of seeds a pumpkin has is, of course, dependent on the size of the pumpkin. A giant one, the likes of which science reporter Nicole Karlis investigated, could have up to 1,000, while your average supermarket pumpkin could have around 250. My grandmother always told me that you could estimate the amount by counting the "ribs" of the pumpkin and multiplying that number by a dozen, which has never rendered me too far off. 

Regardless, that's a lot of seeds and while the basic roasting method — drizzled with olive oil and a pinch of salt — is delicious, maybe you'd like to change things up a bit this fall? 

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If so, try one of these three recipes for roasted pumpkin seeds that will leave you reaching for more. There's a smoky brown sugar variety that gets a little kick from paprika, a play on ranch-flavored sunflower seeds and a chocolate-drizzled variety. Each recipe is made for 1 cup of pumpkin seeds, but feel free to multiply as needed. 

Smoky brown sugar pumpkin seeds 

In a small pot or a microwave-safe bowl, melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Transfer to a large bowl, followed by the pumpkin seeds. Stir until the seeds are completely covered, then spread them onto a prepared sheet pan. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of salt. 

Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over the pumpkin seeds, flip the seeds and season again. Place in a 350-degree oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, flipping at least once. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely. 

Zesty ranch pumpkin seeds 

In a large sealable plastic bag, place 1 tablespoon of dried buttermilk powder, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 1 teaspoon of dried parsley, 1 teaspoon of dried dill (optional), salt and pepper. Shake to combine. 

Coat pumpkin seeds with 1 tablespoon of olive or avocado oil, then add to the bag. Shake until the seeds are coated and transfer to a prepared sheet pan. Place in a 350-degree oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, flipping at least once. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely. 

Chocolate-drizzled pumpkin seeds with sea salt

If you have leftover, unseasoned roasted pumpkin seeds, this is a great way to amp them up. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt 3 tablespoons of dark chocolate chips. Spread the seeds on a sheet pan covered in parchment paper, then drizzle them with the chocolate. Sprinkle them with a light dusting of flaky sea salt. 

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By Ashlie D. Stevens

Ashlie D. Stevens is Salon's food editor. She is also an award-winning radio producer, editor and features writer — with a special emphasis on food, culture and subculture. Her writing has appeared in and on The Atlantic, National Geographic’s “The Plate,” Eater, VICE, Slate, Salon, The Bitter Southerner and Chicago Magazine, while her audio work has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered and Here & Now, as well as APM’s Marketplace. She is based in Chicago.

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