What is the healthiest way to eat pumpkin seeds?

Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are the edible seeds of pumpkins. They are highly nutritious, rich in antioxidants, magnesium, zinc and fiber. Pumpkin seeds have been linked to many health benefits including improving heart health, prostate health, and sleep.

There are many different ways to eat pumpkin seeds that can maximize their nutritional value. Here are some of the healthiest ways to eat pumpkin seeds:

Eat Pumpkin Seeds Raw

Eating pumpkin seeds raw, right out of the shell, is one of the best ways to get the most nutrition. Roasting pumpkin seeds can damage or destroy some of the healthy fats and reduce their nutritional content. The shells add fiber that can also benefit your gut health.

When eating raw pumpkin seeds, look for organic, unsalted varieties to avoid pesticides, additives and extra sodium. You can flavor raw pumpkin seeds simply with a dash of salt or spices like cumin or chili powder.

Add to Salads and Yogurt

Another healthy way to enjoy pumpkin seeds is adding them as a topping for salads, yogurt, oatmeal or cereal. This is an easy way to incorporate more nutrition into your meals.

The crunchy texture of pumpkin seeds makes them a perfect addition to leafy green or grain-based salads. They pair well with creamy yogurt and add a boost of protein too. Mix them into your morning oats or sprinkle them on top of Greek yogurt with fruit for extra nutrients.

Make Pumpkin Seed Butter

You can make your own pumpkin seed butter at home by blending raw pumpkin seeds into a smooth, nutritious spread. Pumpkin seed butter offers a great source of plant-based protein, magnesium, zinc and other healthy fats and compounds found in pumpkin seeds.

Unlike peanut butter which can contain hydrogenated oils and unnecessary additives, homemade pumpkin seed butter just contains pure pumpkin seeds. It has a rich, nutty taste that can be enjoyed on toast, with apples or celery sticks for dipping.

Blend Into Smoothies

Adding pumpkin seeds to smoothies is an easy way to increase the nutritional value of your blended drinks. Their mild flavor pairs well with both fruit and veggie smoothies.

For fruit smoothies, try blending pumpkin seeds with bananas, berries, coconut, spinach and nut milk. For green veggie smoothies, blend pumpkin seeds with kale, cucumber, celery, parsley, lemon and ginger.

Aim for 1-2 tablespoons of seeds per smoothie. The protein, fiber and healthy fats will help keep you full.

Make Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

While raw is healthiest, roasted pumpkin seeds can still provide nutrients and make for a tasty snack when prepared properly.

To roast, rinse seeds, then toss with just a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast at 300°F for 20-30 minutes until lightly browned, stirring halfway. Avoid high heat and over-roasting which can damage the oils.

For maximum nutrition, avoid coated or candied roasted seeds which contain unnecessary sugar and preservatives. Stick to roasting plain or adding some cinnamon or chili powder for extra flavor.

Add to Granola and Trail Mix

Pumpkin seeds pair perfectly with nuts, dried fruit and whole grains in homemade granola and trail mixes.

Try mixing toasted pumpkin seeds with almonds, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries. Or add them into your favorite granola recipe with oats, coconut flakes, cinnamon and honey or maple syrup.

The protein and healthy fats in pumpkin seeds can help balance blood sugar when paired with carbohydrates like grains and dried fruit.

Make Pumpkin Seed Milk

You can make non-dairy milk at home using raw pumpkin seeds. Simply blend seeds with water then strain. This creamy, nutrient-dense milk is perfect over cereal, in smoothies or for drinking plain.

Pumpkin seed milk is free of additives and preservatives found in store-bought versions. It’s also far more affordable. Just a cup of seeds and some water is all you need.

The magnesium, zinc and antioxidants in pumpkin seeds will be retained in the milk. Avoid adding unnecessary sweeteners and stick to plain for maximum benefits.

Use in Pestos and Sauces

Pumpkin seeds can be used as an ingredient in homemade pesto, hummus, salad dressings and other savory sauces.

Try adding toasted pumpkin seeds to traditional basil pesto for extra nutrition. You can also use raw pumpkin seeds in nut-free pesto recipes. Blend pumpkin seeds with olive oil, basil, garlic and nutritional yeast for a healthy vegan pesto.

The mild, nutty flavor of pumpkin seeds also works well blended into bean dips and hummus. Add some seeds to your next batch of homemade hummus or white bean dip.

Sprinkle on Soups and Stews

Adding pumpkin seeds to soups, stews and chili is an easy way to boost nutrition. Try sprinkling toasted pumpkin seeds over a steaming bowl of vegetarian chili or lentil soup.

You can also add raw pumpkin seeds to liquid soups and stews as they cook. This helps soften the seeds so they blend into the dish easily. Just avoid overcooking them, which can damage nutrients.

Add to Baking and Desserts

Pumpkin seeds can be used in healthy baked goods and desserts too. Their subtle sweetness pairs nicely with both savory and sweet ingredients.

Try adding raw pumpkin seeds to your next loaf of quick bread, zucchini bread or banana bread recipe. You can also use pumpkin seeds in homemade granola bars, healthy oatmeal cookies or muffins.

For dessert, sprinkle toasted pumpkin seeds over non-dairy yogurt with fruit or chocolate for extra crunch. Or try adding them into homemade healthy ice cream.

Make Pumpkin Seed Flour

You can grind raw pumpkin seeds into a flour to use for baking gluten-free goods. Pumpkin seed flour is high in protein, fiber, magnesium and zinc.

Try substituting some pumpkin seed flour for regular flour in recipes for muffins, breads, pancakes or waffles. You can use up to 1/4 cup pumpkin seed flour blended with other gluten-free flours like almond flour or tapioca.

Using pumpkin seed flour adds nutrition compared to all-purpose flour. Just avoid overdoing it, as pumpkin seed flour has a distinctive, nutty taste.

Use as a Coating

Crushed raw pumpkin seeds make an excellent gluten-free coating for fish, chicken or tofu. Simply coat prepared meat or fish fillets with a thin layer of seeds for extra crunch.

Pumpkin seeds contain zinc and magnesium, which are important nutrients many people lack. Using pumpkin seeds as a coating helps you absorb more of these minerals compared to taking supplements.

For best results, gently roast plain seeds first to enhance the flavor. Then grind and use as a crispy, nutritious breading.

Make Pumpkin Seed Oil

While not as common as olive or coconut oil, pumpkin seed oil provides a wealth of nutritional benefits.

Cold-pressed pumpkin seed oil contains healthy fats, antioxidants like vitamin E, zinc, magnesium, iron, copper and manganese. It has an intense, nutty flavor perfect for drizzling over salads, grains and vegetables.

You can easily make your own pumpkin seed oil at home. Simply blend raw seeds, heat gently, then strain through a cheesecloth to remove the solids.

Homemade pumpkin seed oil retains more nutrients compared to store-bought, helping fight inflammation, boost immunity and benefit heart health.


Pumpkin seeds offer many health benefits when consumed in whole food form. Maximize their nutritional value by eating seeds raw, blending into smoothies and sauces, sprinkling on finished dishes or using to make pumpkin seed flour.

Avoid overly roasting and opt for organic, unsalted varieties whenever possible. Pumpkin seeds pair well with both sweet and savory ingredients so get creative with adding them into homemade meals and snacks.

With their impressive nutrition profile and delicious taste, pumpkin seeds are one powerhouse ingredient worth enjoying often.

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