Can you eat the seeds in squash or zucchini?

Quick Answer

Yes, the seeds in squash and zucchini are edible and actually highly nutritious. Both squash and zucchini seeds are rich sources of nutrients like protein, healthy fats, fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. They can be roasted and eaten as a snack or incorporated into recipes like salads, soups, breads, and desserts. While some prefer to remove the seeds before eating squash or zucchini, the seeds are perfectly safe and tasty to eat if properly cleaned and prepared.

Are squash and zucchini seeds edible?

Yes, the seeds found in all varieties of summer squash, including zucchini, yellow squash, pattypan squash, and round zucchini, are edible. The seeds are surrounded by a thin fleshy coating and sit within the hollow inner cavity of the squash.

Winter squash varieties, including acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and pumpkin, also have edible inner seeds. These seeds are usually larger and flatter than summer squash seeds, but are similarly encased in a soft fleshy material inside the fruit.

So whether you are prepping zucchini for a baked dish or slicing into an acorn squash, know that those seeds can be eaten and provide excellent nutrition. The seed coats are entirely edible once cleaned off the pulp.

Are the seeds safe to eat?

Yes, squash and zucchini seeds are perfectly safe to consume. In fact, they have been eaten for thousands of years since squash cultivation originated in the early Americas.

The seeds develop as the squash or zucchini plant flowers are pollinated and the fruit forms and matures. The seeds do not contain any toxic compounds that would make them unsafe to eat.

However, proper handling of the fresh seeds is important to avoid contamination from bacteria, mold, or dirt. Make sure to separate the seeds from the stringy pulp and rinse, dry, and store them properly to maximize safety and freshness. With basic cleaning, the seeds can be roasted, sautéed, or consumed raw.

Some people choose to remove the seeds before cooking as a matter of personal preference. But leaving the seeds in or scooping them out to use in other recipes poses no safety risk when done properly.

Are there any health benefits to eating squash and zucchini seeds?

Yes, squash and zucchini seeds are highly nutritious and provide some great health benefits, including:


A 1 ounce serving of squash or zucchini seeds contains 9-10 grams of protein, providing 18-20% of the recommended daily intake. The seeds are especially high quality since they contain all 9 essential amino acids required in the diet.

Healthy Fats

The seeds are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid and polyunsaturated fatty acids like linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3s). These healthy fats help reduce inflammation and benefit heart health.


With around 5 grams of fiber per ounce, squash and zucchini seeds can improve digestion and gut health. The fiber also helps stabilize blood sugar levels.

Vitamins and Minerals

The seeds are high in B vitamins, vitamin K, zinc, magnesium, potassium, iron, and phosphorus. This nutrient profile supports bone health, blood cell formation, immune function, and enzyme activity.


Compounds like lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene found in the seeds display antioxidant activity that prevents cellular damage and may lower disease risk.

Nutrition facts

Here is the nutrition breakdown for 1 ounce (about 30 grams or 2-3 tablespoons) of roasted squash or zucchini seeds:

Calories 158
Fat 14 g
Saturated fat 2 g
Polyunsaturated fat 4 g
Monounsaturated fat 7 g
Protein 10 g
Carbohydrates 5 g
Fiber 3 g
Vitamin K 13% DV
Phosphorus 33% DV
Magnesium 37% DV
Manganese 30% DV
Iron 20% DV
Zinc 17% DV

DV = Daily Value

As you can see, the seeds provide substantial amounts of protein, healthy fats, minerals, and B vitamins compared to their small calorie content.

Tips for eating squash and zucchini seeds

Here are some tips for enjoying squash and zucchini seeds:

– Roast the seeds: Toss cleaned seeds in oil and spices and roast at 300°F until crispy.

– Use in trail mixes and granola: Toast the seeds and mix with nuts, dried fruit, and whole grain cereal.

– Blend into smoothies: Add a tablespoon of seeds into fruit or veggie smoothies.

– Bake into bread: Mix seeds into doughs for loaves, muffins, and bread rolls.

– Use in salads: Sprinkle roasted seeds over leafy green or grain-based salads.

– Make seed butter: Grind seeds into a spreadable butter to use like tahini or almond butter.

– Top yogurt or oatmeal: Add toasted seeds to yogurt bowls or hot cereal for crunch.

– Add to soups and chilis: Sprinkle seeds over hearty soups and chilis before serving.

– Coat veggie sides: Toss cauliflower, green beans, or brussels sprouts with oil and seeds before roasting.

– Make seed flour: Grind seeds into a gluten-free baking flour.

– Substitute for nuts: Use seeds instead of or along with recipes that call for almonds, walnuts, etc.

How to prepare and eat squash seeds

Follow these simple steps for enjoying squash and zucchini seeds:

1. Remove seeds: Cut open your squash or zucchini and scoop out the inner seeds and pulp.

2. Separate seeds: Rinse the seeds to remove excess pulp strands. Pick out the clean seeds.

3. Dry the seeds: Pat the seeds dry with a towel or allow to air dry for 1-2 days. Proper drying prevents mold growth.

4. Roast the seeds: Toss dry seeds with oil, spices, and salt. Roast at 300°F for 20-30 minutes until browned and crispy.

5. Taste and adjust seasoning: Sample the roasted seeds and add more salt or spices if desired.

6. Store properly: Place roasted seeds in an airtight container. They will keep for up to a week at room temperature.

7. Enjoy the seeds: Sprinkle roasted seeds over salads, in trail mix, blended into smoothies, baked into bread, or eaten by the handful.

With basic cleaning and roasting, it’s easy to take advantage of these nutritious and delicious squash and zucchini seeds.

Potential digestive issues

For most people, eating moderate portions of squash or zucchini seeds poses no digestive problems. In fact, the fiber, healthy fats, and nutrients make them beneficial for gut and heart health.

However, those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may experience some gut discomfort from the high fiber content. Consuming large quantities of seeds at once could cause gas, bloating, or diarrhea in sensitive individuals.

It’s also possible to have an allergy to squash seeds, though this is relatively uncommon. Symptoms of a food allergy can include hives, swelling, itching, abdominal pain, vomiting, or breathing issues. Those with a known seed allergy should avoid eating squash and zucchini seeds.

Additionally, the phytic acid or oxalic acid present in seeds could potentially hinder the absorption of some minerals like zinc, iron, and calcium if large amounts are eaten.

To minimize digestive upset, start with small portions of seeds (1-2 tablespoons at a time) and make sure to drink plenty of fluids. Properly preparing the seeds by roasting, sprouting, or soaking can help reduce phytic acid content as well. Those with IBS or a known seed allergy should exercise particular caution when adding seeds to their diet.

Purchasing and storage

Squash and zucchini seeds can often be purchased pre-dried and sometimes roasted at grocery stores, health food markets, and online. Check the bulk bin or nut and seed aisle for availability.

When buying packaged seeds, check for a “best by” or “use by” date and opt for bags free of moisture, mold, or damage. Unopened bags can be kept in a cool, dry pantry for up to a year.

For the freshest seeds, purchase squash and zuckinis whole and scoop out the seeds yourself. Dry the fresh seeds completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 months or the freezer for 6-12 months.

Proper drying and storage will maintain the seeds’ freshness and nutrient content. Refrigerating or freezing will help prevent premature spoilage.

Risks of eating seeds

For most people, eating squash and zucchini seeds does not pose any major health risks. However, there are a few things to be aware of:

– Choking hazard: Whole seeds could potentially obstruct the throat or airways if swallowed without chewing properly. This risk can be minimized by chewing well or grinding seeds into butters or flours.

– Allergies: Those with an allergy to the seeds should avoid eating them, as they may trigger potentially serious allergic reactions.

– Phytic acid: Unprepared seeds contain phytic acid that may hinder mineral absorption. Soaking, sprouting, or roasting helps neutralize phytic acid.

– IBS discomfort: The high fiber content may exacerbate gas, bloating, or diarrhea in those with irritable bowel syndrome. Smaller portions are recommended.

– Contamination: Eating raw or improperly cleaned seeds can introduce foodborne pathogens. Be sure to rinse and dry seeds thoroughly before eating.

– Choking hazard: Whole seeds could potentially obstruct the throat or airways if swallowed without chewing properly. This risk can be minimized by chewing well or grinding seeds into butters or flours.

As long as seeds are properly prepared and portion sizes are moderate, they make for an extraordinarily healthy, fiber and nutrient-dense addition to the diet for most people. Those with allergies or medical conditions that require dietary restrictions should exercise caution and consult a healthcare provider if concerns arise.


Squash and zucchini seeds are not only completely edible, but highly nutritious as well. They contain substantial amounts of protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protective plant compounds compared to their small caloric footprint.

Scooping out and preparing the seeds maximizes use of the entire vegetable. The seeds can be toasted, added to recipes, or blended into flours for an extra dose of nutrients and texture.

For most people, enjoying squash and zucchini seeds poses no risks and provides plenty of added nutritional value. However, those with irritable bowel syndrome may need to watch portions to avoid digestive upset. Anyone with a seed allergy should also avoid consumption.

As long as the seeds are properly cleaned, dried, and stored, they make for a crispy, flavorful, and healthy snack or recipe ingredient perfect for fans of all types of squash.

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