Roasted spicy-sweet pumpkin seeds

August 1, 2012 § 13 Comments

The fashion and design industries are notorious for the phenomenon I call “season creep” as evidenced by heavy cabled sweaters appearing in early August, when the thought of wearing wool is about as appealing as donning chain mail and standing in the center of an unshaded parking lot. The food world seems to be a bit more resistant to season creep, I suppose because it is at the mercy of perishable produce.

However, there’s something to be said for the anticipation of the season and foods to come. Thus, these roasted spicy-sweet pumpkin seeds serve as a sneak preview; they’re rather like that cute dress you wear now with sandals that transitions perfectly into fall with tights, wedge boots, and a cardi. Why yes, I have been shopping online rather a lot lately…

Much like that dress, these roasted pumpkin seeds are great because they’re so versatile. They are at once smoky, spicy, and sweet. Maple syrup, together with melted butter, creates an almost lacquered coating for the pumpkin seeds, with chili powder contributing subtle heat, rosemary adding an herbal freshness, and my tweak, a pinch of onion powder rounding everything out with an extra hit of savoriness.

Simple to make yet packed with complex flavors, these pumpkin seeds pair well with all sorts of drinks and foodstuffs: with beer at the dusky beginnings of a casual late-summer barbecue, or at a cocktail party with wine, olives, and cheese. (Though truthfully I’ve been indulging in the latter while planning out my fall knitting by the glow of my laptop!)

But for now abandon thought of fall, and back to the realities of summer: if you’re appalled at the notion of turning on the oven to make a tray of roasted pumpkin seeds in this heat, I can happily report that you can easily make these in a toaster oven. However, even with the additional heating time of a full-size oven, these are still a quick, decently healthy, and satisfying snack to make at any time.

Roasted spicy-sweet pumpkin seeds

Adapted from The Homemade Pantry

Makes two cups

  • One and a half tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Two teaspoons maple syrup (Grade B preferably)
  • One teaspoon sea salt, plus a bit more to taste
  • One tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • Two cups (300 grams) raw (but still dried) pumpkin seeds

1. Preheat the oven (or toaster oven) to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius). Place the butter on a rimmed baking sheet that will fit in the oven of your choice, and place it in the oven while it preheats (pull out the butter once it has melted).

2. Meanwhile, mix together the chili powder, onion powder, maple syrup, sea salt, minced fresh rosemary, and pumpkin seeds. Once the butter has melted, pour that over top the mixture and stir again to combine. Then, with a spatula, smear the dregs of the melted butter around the bottom of the baking tray. If you are using a toaster oven and have a second shelf in it (and a second baking sheet) dribble a bit of excess onto the second tray, again smearing it around to grease the second one. (Otherwise you will need to bake these in two batches, and you may need a bit of extra butter to grease the tray for its second go round.)

3. Divide the pumpkin seed mixture between the two now-greased trays, and with the spatula spread the seeds out roughly evenly. Bake for fifteen minutes, then remove the tray(s) and stir around, again evenly distributing the seeds. (If you are using two trays in the toaster oven, swap their positions now.) Bake again for fifteen to twenty minutes or until the pumpkin seeds are glossy and almost appear lacquered.

4. Remove the tray(s) from the oven. Sprinkle over more sea salt to taste and stir again, letting the pumpkin seeds cool for at least five minutes before eating, or let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Note: roasted pumpkin seeds can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week, in the refrigerator for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to six months. You could get started now and have holiday gifts already squirreled away…wishful thinking for me at least!


Chernila, Alana. “Mixed Roasted Nuts.” The Homemade Pantry. New York: Clarkson Potter, 2012 (69).


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§ 13 Responses to Roasted spicy-sweet pumpkin seeds

  • Kiki says:

    Having a dinner party in a couple of weeks and think I might make this as I also have a huge bag of pumpkin seeds, bought accidentally, that’s taking up space in my food cupboard.

    • kristina says:

      Oh do I have a lot of stuff bought accidentally, a pound of crystallized ginger (what was I thinking?!) is one, and I have no idea what to do with it. I totally understand that feeling, and pleased that you’re going to make these. Hope you and your guests enjoy them!

      • Vinny Grette says:

        Crystallized ginger is a favorite ingredient of mine. One thing i do often is chop it into little bits and add them to a little peach jam. Heat gently in the micro until melted, swirl, and add to fresh sliced strawberries. It adds a really nice bite :)

      • Kiki says:

        Hi Kristina, I made these yesterday, and they were great, the guests enjoyed them, too. Although they did turn out quite dark, even though I stuck to your temperature and timing instructions. It didn’t make them any less yummy, though!

        • kristina says:

          So pleased they worked out well!

          My most recent batch came out a bit darker too, I wonder if it has anything to do with the new brand of honey I bought? In any case, glad you liked them :)

  • whatnomints says:

    Oooo yum. You had me at “pumpkin”. Since it’s not quite autumn, I think I need to pick up a large container of seeds at the market and make these.

  • Eileen says:

    Yay toaster oven snacks! I have to say it’s going to be a serious while until CA starts feeling like fall–like, until late November probably–but at least I can imagine it’s fall while eating these!

    • kristina says:

      Aren’t toaster ovens great?

      Also, I can’t imagine having summer last all the way to November, but then again, I miss when I lived in Michigan and we had snow for five months almost.

      Hope you like the pumpkin seeds!

  • […] recipes, except for the starter. For a welcome drink we had Pimm’s, accompanied by Roasted Spicy-Sweet Pumpkin Seeds from MD […]

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