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Spiced Candied Pumpkin Seeds

Photograph by Christina Chavez

If fresh pumpkin (or any winter squash for that matter) is on your Thanksgiving menu, don’t throw away one of the best parts: the seeds.

After you open the squash, you’ll see pulp with the seeds in the center. Scoop it out, place it in a bowl and separate the seeds. This is a great time to enlist the help of one of the younger kids by telling them they get to play with “slime” (because, let’s face it, that stringy pulp is pretty slimy).

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Make sure all the pulp is off the seeds. Rinse them in a colander and lay them out flat on a towel to dry completely. Once they are dry, put them in a re-sealable plastic bag until you’re ready to use them (they’ll keep for about a week).

There are so many ways to use these little gems. You can roast them with a little olive oil and chili powder, add them to granola bars or chop them up and sprinkle them into a muffin mix.

My fave way to prepare them is to “candy” them in the oven with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. After they are completely cool, store them in a re-sealable plastic bag. These also make sweet little hostess gifts!

RECIPE: Candied Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Makes about 3 cups

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Photograph by Christina Chavez


  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1½ cups water
  • ½ pound cleaned and dried pumpkin/squash seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon each: ground nutmeg, ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon allspice


Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place oven rack in center of oven. Heat to 275°F.

Combine 1 cup sugar, water and seeds in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the seeds.

Mix the remaining sugar and spices together in a medium bowl. Add the seeds and toss gently to coat completely.

Spread the seeds on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 60 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Cool completely before serving or storing in an airtight container.

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