Can You Eat Squash Seeds?

Tips and Recipes for Using Squash Seeds

Spooning seeds from halved butternut squash
Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images

Question: Can You Eat Squash Seeds?

Squash is easy to grow and can be used in many different recipes. But when you clean a squash, you are left with the seeds. Do you need to toss them or can you eat them as well? Are you leaving good nutrition and an enjoyable snack in the trash?

Edible Squash Seeds

Yes, all squash seeds are edible and have useful nutritional value. You can eat the seeds from butternut squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, You can use them just like pumpkin seeds because pumpkins are also a variety of squash.

Squash seeds have a nutty flavor. They can be roasted and salted or spiced to enjoy for snacking.  While the shell is edible, you can hull them after boiling or roasting to use just the kernel, known as pepitas. The kernels are often used in soups, salads, and desserts such as pepita brittle.

Roasted squash seeds can be stored for long periods, so you don't have to eat them right away. They keep at room temperature for up to three months. You can use them for up to a year if you refrigerate or freeze them.

Nutrition in Squash Seeds

Squash seeds are a good source of fiber and protein, definitely worth saving and roasting for snacks rather than discarding. They also have iron and calcium and are considered to be high in magnesium and zinc. The oils in squash seeds are 75% linoleic acid and oleic acid, naturally polyunsaturated and monounsaturated.

Data from Calorie Count: One cup of whole, roasted squash seeds has 285 calories, with 104 calories from fat.

It includes 34 grams carbohydrate, of which 12 grams are fiber, 12 grams of protein and 12 grams of fat. A cup provides 12% of your daily recommended value for iron and 4% for calcium, with a trace of Vitamin A. 

Preparing Your Squash Seeds

The seeds of squash are embedded in the pulp in the middle of the squash.

It's often stringy or slimy and will get discarded in the trash or compost. Remove the seeds from the pulp. You don't have to worry about getting them too clean before you roast them, any leftover pulp will simply add a little more flavor.

Roasting Squash Seeds in the Oven, Skillet or Microwave

All you need is a heat source to toast your squash seeds. People have been doing it for thousands of years using fire, and you have your choice of using the oven, toaster oven, skillet or even the microwave. You can spice them while roasting in many different ways and prepare them salted or unsalted.

Hulling Squash Seeds for Pepitas

Thre are two methods for hulling squash seeds so you can use just the kernels as pepitas.

  • Boil squash seeds in salted water for 10 minutes. Allow them to cool and then pinch out the seed.
  • Take the roasted, cooled squash seeds and pound them lightly between two sheets of wax paper. Remove the seed from each hull.