Do pumpkins seeds need to be refrigerated?

Quick Answer

Pumpkin seeds can be stored without refrigeration for several months if stored properly. The best way to store pumpkin seeds is in an airtight container in a cool, dark place like a pantry. Refrigeration can extend the shelf life for up to a year. However, refrigeration is not required if the seeds will be used within 2-3 months.

Do pumpkin seeds need to be refrigerated?

Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are a popular snack and ingredient that can last for months if stored properly. While refrigeration can extend the shelf life, it is not required. Here is a more in-depth look at whether or not pumpkin seeds need to be refrigerated and how to best store them.

Shelf life of pumpkin seeds

The shelf life of pumpkin seeds depends largely on how they are stored:

Storage Method Shelf Life
Room temperature in airtight container 2-3 months
Refrigerated 6-12 months
Frozen 1-2 years

Properly stored, pumpkin seeds can last for 2-3 months at room temperature when kept in an airtight container in a cool, dark place like a pantry. If you plan to use the seeds within a few months, refrigeration is not necessary.

Refrigerating the seeds or freezing them can extend the shelf life considerably. In the refrigerator, they can last for 6-12 months. In the freezer, they can be good for 1-2 years.

How to store pumpkin seeds without refrigeration

To get the most shelf life out of pumpkin seeds without refrigerating them, follow these tips:

  • Store seeds in an airtight glass, plastic, or metal container. This prevents moisture and air from getting in, which can lead to premature spoilage.
  • Keep container in a cool, dark place like a pantry or cupboard. Heat and sunlight degrade pumpkin seeds faster.
  • Check for signs of moisture in the container. Discard seeds if moisture develops.
  • Use seeds within 2-3 months for best quality and flavor.

An airtight container is key, as it keeps outside air from oxidizing the seeds. Glass jars, plastic containers, and metal tins all work well. Store the container somewhere away from heat and light but where it won’t get forgotten.

How refrigeration extends shelf life

While not required, refrigerating or freezing pumpkin seeds can extend the shelf life significantly by slowing the rate of natural degradation:

  • The cool temperatures of the refrigerator (40°F/4°C) slow the growth of bacteria and mold.
  • It also slows down the oxidation process that leads to stale flavors and rancidity.
  • The low, constant temperatures also prevent temperature fluctuations that can accelerate spoilage.
  • Frozen storage (0°F/-18°C) preserves pumpkin seeds even longer by nearly halting bacterial growth and chemical reactions.

Proper refrigerated storage can maintain quality and fresh pumpkin seed flavor for 6-12 months. Frozen, they can last for 1-2 years.

Signs pumpkin seeds have spoiled

Check pumpkin seeds periodically for any signs of spoilage:

  • Mold growth – Toss seeds at first sight of fuzzy mold.
  • Shriveled appearance – A shriveled, deflated appearance could indicate dried out, old seeds.
  • Rancid odor – Discard any seeds that smell unpleasant or rancid.
  • Bitter, stale taste – Stale flavors indicate seeds are past their prime.

If refrigerated, pumpkin seeds may last past their quality peak while still being safe to eat. However, the texture and flavor will degrade. Always inspect and taste a few seeds before using.

Using pumpkin seeds in recipes

Pumpkin seeds can be used in a wide variety of recipes. Here are some of the most popular ways to use this versatile ingredient:

Baked goods

Pumpkin seeds provide texture and nuttiness when added to:

  • Breads – Add 1-2 tablespoons per loaf. Try incorporating into multigrain or pumpkin bread.
  • Cookies – Add 2-3 tablespoons to cookie doughs. Works well in oatmeal cookies.
  • Muffins – Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons on top before baking.
  • Granola bars – Add 2-4 tablespoons to the dry ingredients.

Snacks and trail mixes

Sprinkle roasted pumpkin seeds on:

  • Yogurt parfaits
  • Fruit and veggie salads
  • Hot and cold cereals
  • Trail mixes – Combine with nuts, dried fruit, pretzels, etc.

Vegetable dishes

Toast pumpkin seeds and then use to top:

  • Green salads
  • Steamed or roasted vegetables
  • Soups – Garnish bowls of chili or stew


Add toasted pumpkin seeds to:

  • Rice pilaf or risotto
  • Stuffed peppers or squash
  • Enchiladas
  • Casseroles
  • Veggie burgers or meatloaf

The nutty crunch of the seeds makes them a perfect topping for entrees.

Health benefits of pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds provide a number of important nutrients and potential health benefits:


Pumpkin seeds are packed with nutrients including:

  • Zinc – Helps immune system and cell growth. 1 oz. has over 2 mg zinc.
  • Magnesium – Assists bone health and heart function. 1 oz. has over 150 mg magnesium.
  • Healthy fats – High in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
  • Fiber – 5 grams per ounce, including both soluble and insoluble.
  • Antioxidants – Contain antioxidant phenols and lignans.

They provide substantial amounts of key minerals, vitamins like vitamin K, and plant-based proteins.

Possible health benefits

Research on pumpkin seeds has shown they may provide these potential wellness benefits:

  • Prostate health – Compounds may help prevent enlarged prostate.
  • Bladder function – Linked to fewer bladder problems in women.
  • Blood sugar – Helps control blood glucose levels.
  • Reduced inflammation – Antioxidants can lower inflammation risk.
  • Heart health – Good source of monounsaturated fats and magnesium for the heart.
  • Better sleep – Tryptophan content may help with sleep.

While more research is needed, pumpkin seeds show promise for improving several aspects of health especially for men.

Are roasted or raw pumpkin seeds more nutritious?

Both raw and roasted pumpkin seeds provide lots of nutrients, but there are some differences:

  • Raw seeds – Higher in certain antioxidants, vitamin E, and healthy fats. Retain more moisture.
  • Roasted seeds – Deeper nutty flavor. Some studies show greater antioxidant availability from roasting.

During roasting, temperatures can break down fatty acids and decrease vitamin and mineral content slightly. However, nutrients like zinc, iron, magnesium, and fiber remain stable.

Overall, raw and roasted pumpkin seeds are nutritionally similar, so the choice comes down to texture and flavor preferences. Roast at low temperatures (300°F or less) to maximize retention of nutrients.

Tips for roasting pumpkin seeds

It’s easy to roast pumpkin seeds for a crunchy, flavorful snack:

  • Toss seeds with a little oil (1 tablespoon per cup of seeds).
  • Season as desired with salt, pepper, spices, or sweeteners.
  • Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Roast at 300°F for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
  • Stir and flip seeds halfway through for even cooking.

Store roasted seeds in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks. Enjoy pumpkin seeds roasted or raw!


Pumpkin seeds offer great nutrition and long shelf stability. While refrigeration can extend shelf life up to a year, it’s not required if the seeds are stored properly in an airtight container in a cool, dry location. They can last for 2-3 months at room temperature. Monitor seeds for moisture, mold, staleness, and rancidity. If refrigerated or frozen, check periodically for quality. Pumpkin seeds can be used roasted or raw in a wide variety of recipes, from baked goods to salads and snacks. They provide important nutrients like zinc, magnesium, fiber, and antioxidants and research shows they may benefit prostate health, bladder function, blood sugar, inflammation, heart health, and sleep. Overall, pumpkin seeds are a tasty and healthy addition to any diet.

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