Halloween is certainly over, but I’ve managed to score a few pie pumpkins to roast and make puree. While pumpkin puree is an awesome preserve to have stored in your freezer for pies, cakes, donuts or ice cream (pumpkin pie ice cream…..it’s as good as it sounds), Sean was more excited about the amount of seeds we scooped out of these little squashes and the prospect of spiced pumpkin seeds.

Pie pumpkins or sugar pumpkins are smaller than the traditional jack-o-lantern we use for Halloween. They are perfect for roasting and making puree as they are less fibrous then their larger counterparts.


If you manage to pick up a sugar pumpkin, here is a recipe for spicing up those seeds. I split the batch into two: one to accommodate Sean’s love for all things spicy and another, sweeter, savoury batch for those of us that can’t handle the spice.

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Make sure the seeds are washed. Don’t worry if you have a few pumpkin fibres hanging around.

Pumpkin seeds
All clean!

Boil the seeds in salted water for about 10 minutes. I had read somewhere that boiling the seeds for 10 minutes helps give it a crispier shell.

Drain the seeds. Pat the seeds dry. Add the melted butter…

Who doesn't love butter?
Who doesn’t love butter?

…add the cayenne…

Cayenne...not Caillou. Big difference.
Cayenne…not Caillou. Big difference.

…add the smoked paprika

Smoked Paprika
Smoked Paprika

…and add salt and mix, ensuring the seeds are coated.

Just a weeee bit of salt...
Just a weeee bit of salt…

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Evenly distribute the seeds onto the baking sheet. You want to ensure the seeds are in a single layer on the sheet in order for them to bake properly.

Smooth them all out on a tray
Smooth them all out on a tray

Place in oven at 325F and bake for 10-15 minutes. Half way through the baking, just give them a quick toss. You want to ensure the outside is crispy. Don’t over cook them as it tends to dilute  the flavour and potency of the spices. If you’re not sure, just give one a taste. 

Voila! Some great tasting pumpkin seeds
Voila! Some great tasting pumpkin seeds

Sweet and Savoury Pumpkin Seeds

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Follow the same directions as above. You can certainly stray from the measured ingredients above. Depending on the amount of seeds you have, you can add or reduce the spices.  I sometimes give them a quick toss in a bit more maple syrup and cumin after they’ve finished baking. Makes oh so sticky and sweet!

There are so many flavour combinations that are possible. Just go through your spice drawer and get creative.