These spiced pumpkin seeds make a curious nibble to set out at cocktail parties as well as a satisfying nosh to grab by the handful or sprinkle over salads or creamy puréed soups. We’re not the only ones to think so. Folks are calling these “quite addictive” and “divine” and “healthy and tasty” and “super easy” and “definitely a recipe I’ll be making more often.” Sorta makes you wanna try your hand at a batch, eh?–David Leite

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds FAQs

How do you clean pumpkin seeds?

If you’re using pumpkin seeds scooped from inside a pumpkin, they’ll come with stringy pulp attached. Dump them into a colander and rinse, using your fingers to help separate them and rinse the pulp away. Shake well, then spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and let them dry.

How long do roasted pumpkin seeds keep?

Stored in an airtight container, these will last for 3 to 4 days. If you make a large batch, they can be frozen for longer storage.

A layer of toasted, spiced pumpkin seeds.

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

5 / 9 votes
Spiced pumpkin seeds are a spicy snack made with pepitas and chili powder and not a lot of effort. Simple and satisfying and curiously addictive.
David Leite
Servings4 servings | 1 cup total
Calories93 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time45 minutes


  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (hulled or unhulled)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil or mild vegetable oil, plus more for the baking sheet
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder (any variety you prefer)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • Pinch cayenne pepper, (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper and slick it with olive oil.
  • In a bowl, combine the pumpkin seeds, oil, chili powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper if using, and mix well.
  • Spread the seeds in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until aromatic and golden brown at the edges.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: The seeds may start to make a popping sound after a few minutes in the oven. Don’t be alarmed!

  • Immediately slide the sheet of parchment and the pumpkin seeds off the baking sheet to cool. Taste, and add more salt, if needed. If you have any leftover spiced pumpkin seeds, store in an airtight container.
Soup for Two Cookbook

Adapted From

Soup for Two

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 0.25 cupCalories: 93 kcalCarbohydrates: 2 gProtein: 5 gFat: 8 gSaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3 gTrans Fat: 0.01 gSodium: 309 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 0.3 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2014 Joanna Pruess. Photo © 2014 iStockphoto. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

HOLY cow. Thank you for introducing me to my latest addiction. This simple roasted spiced pumpkin seeds recipe just changed everything. I’m obsessed with nutty, savory snacks and this is my new favorite. The little seeds were perfectly seasoned with just a tad of heat, of which I might add more next time. I can’t stop thinking about using them in a salad of charred corn, tomatoes, cilantro, and lime, but for now, I’ll just munch on them alongside my beer, thank you.

After adding the chili powder and cumin, I thought that the pepitas were going to be really spicy (they were totally coated with chili powder). However, after roasting them to a nice crispness, I found the spice to be subtle, which is a good thing.

For the record, a run-of-the-mill McCormick “chili powder” works just fine. It’s tricky to know when they’re done. The darkened color lends a clue, but the seeds were pretty dark even after 15 minutes, so you’ve no choice but to take out a few seeds, wait 2 minutes, and test. After 25 minutes of roasting, the seeds were smoking the slightest bit, so I had a strong feeling they were done. I was right—25 minutes was perfect timing.

This is a super easy way to dress up pumpkin seeds for a soup garnish or snacking. I made the recipe using equal parts chipotle chile pepper and a mild chil powder, which yielded a pretty bright spiciness. If you plan on using this as a garnish, this adds a nice smokiness and serious heat in small doses. If you plan on making this as a snack, you might want to use Ancho or another mild New Mexico red pepper.

I use parchment paper for these sorts of jobs and it makes cleanup a snap. Don’t wander off too far—at just over 20 minutes in the oven, the pumpkin seeds were taking on some nice brown color, and you don’t want to char the batch.

This 1 cup recipe will spread over a half-sheet pan, so plan accordingly if you’re thinking of doubling it as a party recipe.

These made a great accent to posole, adding a smoky character, although I could also see them sprinkled on cinnamon or vanilla ice cream. These spiced pumpkin seeds would be brilliant sprinkled over butternut squash soup or tossed on salads.

It’s impossible to just eat one handful! I wouldn’t change a thing with this simple spiced pumpkin seeds recipe. I’d just bought a small pie pumpkin to make a homemade pumpkin pie so I was automatically drawn to this tasty recipe. My husband said he normally doesn’t like roasted pumpkin seeds, but these he totally loved! The results of the cumin, salt, chile powder, and cayenne pepper blend were just spicy enough and made these roasted pumpkin seeds quite addictive.

In terms of roasting time, I baked them for 25 minutes and they were just right; once I began to smell their spices coming from the oven about that time, I checked on them and they were lightly toasted and smelled divine. I used a smoky chipotle chile powder.

I served them as a snack before dinner, but I could see these being a nice addition to a salad for a bit of spice and crunch or on top of pumpkin soup, perhaps? A quick and lovely fall recipe that I will be hanging onto.

As the pumpkin seeds cooled on the parchment paper, I could still hear them crackling, and I couldn’t resist snacking—and snacking some more—on them. (Warning: They’re a bit addictive.)

They continue cooking after they leave the oven, so I wouldn’t recommend going beyond the 25-minute mark, unless your oven runs cold. I knew these were done because I could smell the spices. These spiced pumpkin seeds make a zesty snack or garnish for soup.

The chili powder I used was Penzey’s medium hot and I did add a pinch of cayenne. After I finished snacking on them, the rest were a garnish for curried pumpkin and lentil soup.

This was an awesome project to do with both my daughters this past weekend as we were carving pumpkins for Halloween. This was so incredibly easy to do that my 6-year-old could have done it without me. Within 30 minutes, we had a great snack that is healthy and tasty, not crazy spicy (which is perfect for a family with kids), easy enough, and a perfect recipe to use as a base to start creating your own flavors.

This is definitely a recipe I’ll be making more often. We ended up with about 3 cups seeds so I tripled the recipe.

These spiced pumpkin seeds are as easy to make as they are to eat. Mix everything in a single bowl, pour it onto a sheet pan, and bake. After 5 minutes in the oven, the pumpkin seeds began to make a popping sound. I checked on them but they looked fine. I was concerned that they might get too dark. I started checking them every 10 minutes, just to make sure that they were okay. I also stirred them every time I checked on them. They were in the oven for 30 minutes total and were done nicely.

I think that these would be great with certain soups. A pumpkin or butternut squash soup comes to mind. They would also be very good with tortilla soup. I can see having a bowl of these on the table along with a taco, guacamole, and salsa set-up.

The problem is that these are very addictive to eat. I would have to make them at the last minute or make them and hide them from myself if I expected them to last for a meal. They disappear very quickly. I used ancho chili powder as well as the optional cayenne pepper. Next time I will add a larger “pinch” of cayenne.

YUM! This spiced pumpkin seeds recipe is exactly what it purports to be. The seeds come out tasting exactly like tasty little chile-covered pumpkin seeds. What we really liked is that the spices (we used ancho and cayenne, which weren’t spicy to my palate) adds flavor without overwhelming the pumpkin seed taste.

These spiced pumpkin seeds were fabulous—so easy to make and so versatile in terms of what you can do with them once they are made.

These spiced pumpkin seeds were a big hit two nights in a row at two different potluck-type evening meetings! Today, a week after one of these meetings, I received this request from my wonderful colleague Ana: “Our family loves your spiced pumpkin seeds! Are you willing to share the recipe?” She’s waiting patiently for her turn to make this tasty autumnal snack.

At her house, we used them as a soup garnish, although they were also eaten out of hand. I think they’d be great on a salad, adding a nice bit of crunch and flavor, especially if tossed atop at the last minute. One of my go-to appetizers is to have several varieties of roasted and flavored nuts and nut mixes, each with a different personality and all lovely served as a complementary or contrasting duo or trio. Mix and match for a delightful appetizer at upscale or casual events!

I made two batches, the first without cayenne and a baking time of 25 minutes. I was concerned they’d baked a bit too long, and I was seeking a bit more oomph!, so my second batch added a pinch of cayenne pepper and baked for 20 minutes. Additionally, I stirred the seeds more frequently while baking the second batch. Then I mixed them together. I think they definitely benefited from the addition of that pinch of cayenne. I used a mild chile powder, so I might have felt differently if I’d started with something hotter. I knew they were done because they were golden in color and they also puffed up; each cup of seeds grew from one cup raw to one and a quarter cups after roasting.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

Hungry For More?

Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Grab your spoons. Whether you crave sweetness or sustenance of a different sort, this simple childhood pleasure may at least bring you a little pleasure in the moment at hand.

15 mins

Peppery Cheese Straws

For these easy homemade cheese straws, the rich, peppery bite of cacio e pepe is married with flaky puff pastry to create an unforgettable hors d’oeuvre.

35 mins

Shrimp Toast

Crispy, golden, sesame-topped shrimp toast that’s just like what you’ll find at your favorite Chinese restaurant.

50 mins

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    With Halloween yesterday and pumpkin carving, my husband always wants pumpkin seeds to snack on. He usually prefers only salt, but this year, I tried this delicious recipe. What a difference. This snack is now kicked up a notch! So simple and so good. Give it a try!

    1. Fantastic, Vicky! We’re so pleased that they turned out so well and everyone enjoyed them.

  2. 5 stars
    Oh. My. These are highly addictive and oh so good. I used pepitas and chipotle chili powder, because let’s be honest, it makes everything taste better. (Seriously, try it in brownies. Popcorn. You name it.) I have a lovely spicy pumpkin soup I make for Thanksgiving and this will be the topper, for sure! Would love a wine recommendation for noshing on just the spiced pepitas, though. I can see setting these out every time I have company!

    1. Kristen, right?! Love this and love what the way you slipped in some chipotle. As for wine, I’m thinking Chenin blanc or a really dry riesling if white, maybe carmenere or a not-too-spicy garnacha or syrah if red? But you tell me…!

  3. 5 stars
    Very tasty! My seeds never did turn a golden brown but I left them in the oven longer and they were a lovely light and dry texture, not chewy.