Reduce your food waste and make this crunchy snack in the air fryer. Air fryer pumpkin seeds are a great snack to make after you’ve carved pumpkins for Halloween. Ideal for on the go snacking, salad toppers and a fall inspired addition to your next cheese board. The flavor possibilities are endless and the air fryer makes quick work of getting a good crunch.
Tips and Tricks
How do you store cooked pumpkin seeds? Store cooked pumpkin seeds at room temperature in an airtight container (affiliate link) or in the fridge. Storing in the fridge may result in loss of some texture.
How long can you store pumpkin seeds? Stored at room temperature, they can be stored for up to two weeks. If you want to make them last longer, you can store them in the fridge for up to two months.
What do you serve with pumpkin seeds? Pumpkin seeds make for a satisfying crunchy snack. Serve them with something soft like fresh or dried fruit, cheeses or with hummus. They are great as a seasonal addition to homemade trail mix.
How do you use pumpkin seeds? I like to eat them as a snack but if you end up with a lot of crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds they are great as toppers for soup, salads and creamy dips. Another idea is to add them to your favorite fall inspired cheese board, party mix or snack mix.
These are also a great snack to add your Halloween Party along side Halloween Buffalo Chicken Dip or to snack on while handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.
- Pumpkin seeds - from a sugar pumpkin or carving pumpkin
- Olive oil - any of your favorite fat will work here
- Diamond Crystal Kosher salt (affiliate link) - If you’re using another type of salt, use significantly less salt and season to taste
See recipe card for quantities.
What type of pumpkin should you use? The bigger pumpkins meant for decorating and carving found on the outside of the grocery store or at a farm stand are the best to use.
These usually have more pumpkin seeds. The small pumpkins found at the grocery store inside with the produce are more often used as roasting pumpkins. They contain seeds but probably not as many.
How do you make pumpkin seeds in the air fryer? Start by scooping out pumpkin seeds and separating the pumpkin meat and fibrous from the seeds. In a medium pot, bring about six cups of water to a rolling boil.
Add in pumpkin seeds and cook for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally and keep an eye on the pot to avoid it foaming over. After 10 minutes, drain the pumpkin seeds in a colander and dry in a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Remove any of the extra meat and fibrous strands that are stuck on the seeds.
Preheat the air fryer to 375F. Toss in olive oil and kosher salt to taste. Cook for seven to eight minutes and then toss pumpkin seeds. Cook again for another six to ten minutes until crispy and crunchy.
Pumpkin seeds are done when they are darker in color, dry and turning golden brown. It is okay if the pumpkin seeds are flying around the air fryer or fall through the grate. Allow to cool and enjoy as a snack or a crunchy topping on salads, soups or dips.
How long do you air fry pumpkin seeds? Since you par-boil the pumpkin seeds, it will only take 15-20 minutes to cook depending on how crunchy you like them.
How do you know when they are done? Once the pumpkin seeds are dry, golden brown and crunchy, they are done cooking. Take one out, let it cool and give it a taste. If you like the taste and texture, they are done! If not, give them a few more minutes.
Why do you have to boil the pumpkin seeds? Boiling the pumpkin seeds helps remove the pumpkin meat and fibrous strands and also partially cooks the pumpkin seeds. When you partially cook them before the air fryer, they cook faster in the air fryer.
Hint: Toss the pumpkin seeds half way through roasting to get an even cook on the entire batch.
What flavors can you make pumpkin seeds? The base recipe uses just salt and olive oil as flavoring but the possibilities are truly endless. Anything that might be tasty on popcorn, pretzels or chips would be a good idea here!
- Cajun seasoning (affiliate link)
- Lemon pepper
- Italian seasoning
- Nutritional yeast
- Garlic and onion powder
- Old Bay seasoning (affiliate link)
- Cinnamon and sugar
- Pumpkin pie spice (affiliate link)
- Chile lime seasoning
- Tajin (affiliate link)
- Cheddar powder (affiliate link)
Why do you use an air fryer for this recipe? I find that it is much faster to make pumpkin seeds in the air fryer (affiliate link) instead of the oven. It’s also easier to make a small batch of different flavors if you want to!
The air fryer may also be easier if you have a hard time bending to reach in and out of the oven. An air fryer can be used in many applications and if you have more questions, my frequently asked question post of air fryers is a great place to start.
Dry the pumpkin seeds well to get the best color and crunch in the air fryer.
Homemade Crunchy Air Fryer Pumpkin Seeds
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 - 3 teaspoons Diamond Crystal Kosher salt if using another brand, start with ½ the amount and season to taste
- Scoop out pumpkin seeds and separate seeds from pumpkin meat and fibrous strands.
- In a medium pot, bring about 6 cups of water to a rolling boil. Add in pumpkin seeds and cook for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally and keep an eye on the pot. Sometimes the proteins in the pumpkin meat and fibrous strands can cause the foam to boil over the pot. If this is happening, reduce the heat and keep stirring.
- After 10 minutes, drain the pumpkin seeds in a colander and dry in a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. It’s important to remove as much moisture as you can to get a good texture. Remove any of the extra meat and fibrous strands that are stuck on the seeds.
- Preheat the air fryer to 375F.
- Toss in olive oil and kosher salt to taste and if using another seasoning, add it here. Cook for 7-8 minutes and then toss pumpkin seeds.
- Cook again for another 6-10 minutes until crispy and crunchy. Pumpkin seeds are done when they are darker in color, dry and turning golden brown. It is okay if the pumpkin seeds are flying around the air fryer or fall through the grate.
- Allow to cool and enjoy as a snack or a crunchy topping on salads, soups or dips.
Notes and Accommodations
- The best pumpkin to use for pumpkin seeds are the large carving pumpkins. They usually contain the most seeds!
- Boiling the pumpkin seeds partially cooks them and also helps remove the pumpkin meat and fibrous strands much easier.
- Be careful when boiling pumpkin seeds since they can foam up and make a mess. Reduce heat if you’re seeing too much foam.
- Dry pumpkin seeds well after boiling to get the best color and crunch from the air fryer.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or in the fridge for up to 2 months. Storing in the fridge may result in loss of crunch.
- It’s okay if the pumpkin seeds are flying around the air fryer or fall below the cooking grate, they’ll still cook! They are very light and as they dry they get lighter.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove