Spicy-Sweet Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

If you ask my friend Eric, I’m not the one to give anyone advice on how to roast seeds. One fall, years ago, in Eric’s West Virginia cabin dubbed “The Shack,” we roasted pumpkin seeds. For the record, I wasn’t the one who turned the oven to broil, which ignited the seeds, sending flames up through the burners. Yes, cooking can be dangerous.

Luckily, while six adults stood around debating what you throw on a kitchen fire (water=bad, wet towel=good), Eric quickly donned heavy-duty potholders, reached in the oven, grabbed the flaming pan and shouted, “Get the camera!” and “Get the door!” (in that order) as he headed outside to the grill, a perfectly safe place for flames.

I didn’t give specific quantities here because the amount of seeds you get from a pumpkin or squash will vary. Just eyeball it … a little of this and a little of that. Go easy on the cayenne pepper unless you really like it extra spicy.

Seeds from a pumpkin or winter squash
Olive oil
Cayenne pepper


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut squash in half and scoop out the insides. Separate the seeds from the stringy pulp. Don’t fret too much about getting all the strings, they won’t hurt you. Rinse the seeds.
  • Toss seeds in a bowl with olive oil, sugar, cayenne and salt.
  • Spread seeds in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet.
  • Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.