How to Toast Pepitas

Before we get to the toasting part, let’s answer this question first: what’s the difference between pumpkin seeds and pepitas?

fresh pumpkin seeds

green pepitas

Is the first photo a pumpkin seed and the second photo a pepita? Technically, no. Both can be called either pumpkin seeds or pepitas. Pepita is the spanish word for pumpkin seed; a word we’ve adopted into the English language. The difference between the two is that one has the outer shell or husk removed. Although, I just learned there are some pumpkin varieties that produce hulless seeds – how cool is that!

While technically there is no difference, many people choose to call the seed with the husk as a pumpkin seed and the hulless version as a pepita.  For ease of communication, I will follow this practice.

While roasting pumpkin seeds is fun at Halloween, I prefer eating pepitas.  I know they’re higher in fiber and zinc if you eat the shell – but for use in baking, topping salads, granola or other dishes, I prefer pepitas. I buy raw unsalted pepitas.

into the pan

They’re even tastier when they’re lightly toasted.  They puff up, become a little more crisp and their flavor gets nuttier. Perfect!

pepita toasting in skillet

You can roast them in the oven or toaster oven, but I find that the direct heat of a skillet really makes them puff up and become nice and round.  In fact, some of them even pop a little.

pepitas toasted

Toasting them in a skillet is easy, but it goes fast so you have to watch carefully.  Here’s the “recipe”.

Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

How to Toast Pepitas

Toasting hulless pumpkin seeds or pepitas gives brings out their nutty flavor, puffs them up and gives them a little more crunch. Perfect for topping salads, adding to granola or using in baking.
Prep : 4 mins
Total Time: 4 mins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 to 1 cup hulless pumpkin seeds or pepitas

Instructions

  • Place a fry pan over medium high heat. NO oil.
  • Add only enough pepitas to cover the bottom of the pan.
  • Stay with the pepitas and give the pan a shake every so often.
  • As the pepitas heat, they will puff up, some might even pop - don't be alarmed.
  • Keep shaking the pan until they've turned mostly golden brown, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Pour out of the hot pan onto a plate to allow them to cool. Caution - if you leave them in the hot pan, they will continue to toast and may burn.

Notes

Crowding the pan will result in less even toasting. It's better to toast two batches than doing them all at once.
Yield 1/2 to 1 cup
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toasted pepitas

I use toasted pepitas quite often on top of salads like this orange, fennel and celery salad.

fennel orange salad

Yummy crunchiness.

Getty Stewart is an engaging speaker and writer providing tasty recipes, time-saving tips, and helpful kitchen ideas to make home cooking easy and enjoyable. She is a Professional Home Economist, author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, mom and veggie gardener.

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks for the instructions. I thought this would be the method, but needed the internet to confirm. I just made some bark with my leftover melted chocolate: cinnamon, ground cayenne pepper, toasted pepitas, and a little sea salt. I’m singing my own praises! This might not make it into the Christmas cookie plates.

    1. Oh my, Jamie that does sound delicious! May have to give that a try.

      Glad you found the instructions helpful, sometimes all you need is someone to confirm what you knew all along.

      All the best,

      Getty

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