Wondering what to do with all those pumpkin seeds you’ve harvested from inside your baking pumpkins this season? We used to bake them, but the air fryer is a much faster way to make these Crunchy Air Fryer Pumpkin Seeds.
I really love pumpkin seeds and never let them go to waste, so I’m always trying out new spices and versions of these tasty snacks. It’s one of the reason I love fall so much.
But it can be a pretty big pain to bake the seeds in the oven because it takes quite a while and you have to continually be reaching into the oven to scatter them around so they cook evenly. The air fryer is a fantastic alternative that’s faster and provides a more even result.
What You Need
- Pumpkin seeds – You’re going to need a bunch of pumpkin seeds, so get to digging them out of the pumpkins you’re using for carving or cooking. It’s best to use about one cup of seeds in the air fryer, so they can sort of weigh each other down.
- Olive oil or butter – Your preference here. I like both.
- Seasonings – I really love the flavors of smoked paprika and garlic on pumpkin seeds, so that’s my go to seasoning. You can just use salt and pepper if you like, or get creative and use any type of spice you love. See below for a few creative ideas.
How to Air Fry Pumpkin Seeds
- Cut open a pumpkin and scoop out the insides. Put the seeds into a colander and wash away any remaining pulp. You want them to be pretty clean and no longer slimy.
- Lay the seeds out on a kitchen towel to dry for at least 20 minutes. This will help them get crispy faster. If you don’t have the time or patience for this, you can skip it. I’ve done it both ways, though drying them for at least a little while yields a slightly better result.
- Coat dried seeds with 1 teaspoon of olive oil then sprinkle with smoked paprika, garlic powder and salt. Stir it all up so each piece gets seasoning.
- Pour the seeds out in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Cook at 350° F for 10-15 minutes. Check at 10 minutes, shake, then add 5 minutes increments until browned.
Why Use an Air Fryer
An air fryer is an incredibly easy way to cook just about anything. You place the food in a fryer-style basket and hot air rapidly circulates all around the food, making the food crisp – much like deep-frying, but without the oil. You can cook anything you’d make in the oven.
- I use a Ninja MaxXL air fryer (pictured left). If you don’t have an air fryer yet, check out these options to find one that fits your needs.
- See reviews and prices for air fryers on Amazon.
- Here’s a printable Air Fryer Cooking Times Cheat Sheet to get you started.
- Click to find more recipes to make in your Air Fryer.
- Learn how to make fun things in the air fryer, like potato wedges, pork belly bites, and chicken wings.
Are Pumpkin Seeds Good For You?
According to WebMD, pumpkin seeds “have an impressive nutrient profile that benefits many aspects of your health. They’re a rich source of protein, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that reduce risk factors of chronic diseases, including cancer.”
Furthermore, “Pumpkin seeds are rich in vitamins and minerals like manganese and vitamin K, both of which are important in helping wounds heal. They also contain zinc, a mineral that helps the immune system fight bacteria and viruses.”
Most of us are going to scoop out the side and then carve the pumpkin to display for Halloween. If you would like to eat that pumpkin instead try one of these delicious recipes.
Additional Tips & Questions – FAQ
How do I clean pumpkin seeds?
The pumpkin seeds will have a little bit of pumpkin slime on them when they come out of the pumpkin. The pulp and slime is all natural matter and doesn’t have to be scrubbed from the seeds. You just want to get as much of it off as possible so the seeds can roast and not burn.
When you take the seeds from the pumpkin, separate them from the pumpkin guts as well as you can. Put them in a colander and pick out as much extra matter as you can. Then run them under cold water, rubbing them between your hands, until they’re clean.
Should pumpkin seeds be boiled before roasting?
I’ve seen many recipes suggesting that it’s important to boil the pumpkin seeds before roasting them, but I don’t agree with that advice. I don’t think it’s necessary at all. I’ve only ever boiled them once, just to see what it would turn out like and to see if it actually would make a difference, but I just don’t think it does.
How long do pumpkin seeds need to dry before cooking?
Similarly to boiling before roasting, I don’t think the seeds need to be dried before cooking. We dried a batch for 24 hours, another batch for just 30 minutes, and then cooked a batch straight away and they all turned out very much the same.
If you aren’t planning to cook the seeds straight away, you can set them out on a paper towel or kitchen towel to dry until you are ready to cook them, but it’s not a necessary step to take.
More Seasoning Ideas
- Ranch powder
- Seasoning salt
- Old Bay seasoning
- Dill and salt
- Cinnamon and sugar
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Air Fryer Pumpkin Seeds
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds, wash and dried
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Cut open a pumpkin and scoop out the insides. Put the seeds into a colander and wash away any remaining pulp.
- Lay the seeds out on a kitchen towel to dry for at least 2 hours or overnight until fully dry.
- Coat dried seeds with 1 teaspoon of olive oil then sprinkle with smoked paprika, garlic powder and salt. Stirring to coat.
- Spread the seeds out in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Cook at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes. Check at 10 minutes, shake, then add 5 minutes increments until browned.
All air fryers have different wattage and may cook at different rates. You may need to adjust the time or temp for the best results.
🥧 If you’re interested in more great recipes, I share all my favorite recipes over at A Food Lover’s Kitchen, and you’ll find Instant Pot recipes at A Pressure Cooker Kitchen, and cocktails and drinks at Savored Sips. Check it out today!
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Angela is a talented home cook and passionate advocate for healthy, flavorful cooking in the air fryer. She shares her favorite air fryer recipes and helpful tips for using this versatile kitchen appliance to create delicious, nutritious meals.