Today’s recipe for pumpkin spiced pepitas is super easy, but it’s also extremely delicious! This spiced pepitas recipe will score you crunchy, toasted, lightly sweet, pleasantly salty, pumpkin spiced little nuggets that are perfect for mixing into your yogurt or just for snacking out of hand.
For me, their main purpose is to be a part of my pumpkin spice caramel corn, so if that’s your thing too, you’re going to definitely want to make these!
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What Makes These Guys So Great
Unlike candying pumpkin seeds on the stove top, you don’t really have to worry about burning these guys, so that’s a definite bonus.
Using an egg white as a binder is a sneaky way to get crispy seeds as well as to make all the deliciousness stick to your pepitas.
You can vary the sweetness and saltiness to suit your taste, and of course you can use whatever kind of spice you want.
The lovely balance of salt and sweet make these punkin seeds equally at home sprinkled over an autumn salad or mixed into muffins or cookie dough.
The Difference Between Pepitas and Pumpkin Seeds
In a word: hulls.
Pumpkin seeds that many Americans are used to seeing when they cut a pie pumpkin or carve a Jack O’Lantern have hulls, or fibrous coverings that protect the seeds inside.
Pepitas come from pumpkins that produce seeds without these hulls or “shells.”
For me, there’s no contest. Pepitas are always the way to go.
But if you like the tough outer shells of regular pumpkin seeds, you can cook those the same way as you do these pepitas.
How to Make
If you have 5 minutes to mix some ingredients and then about 40 to hang out near the kitchen so you can stir these bad boys every once in awhile, you too can have delicious, crunchy “candied” pumpkin seeds for pretty minimal effort.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- pepitas: I find these either in the produce section with crunchy salad toppings or with Bob’s Red Mill products. You could also use regular pumpkin seeds if you’d rather
- egg white: this is the magical ingredient that makes the spices and sugar stick to the seeds and bakes up nice and crispy
- brown sugar: provides the sweetness. You can use light or dark, or you could even go with regular granulated sugar
- pumpkin spice: just one of an endless array of spicing possibilities, but always delicious. And what makes more sence than pumpkin spice with pumpkin seeds?
- salt: brings out the flavor in the seeds and spices and provides a nice balance to the sweetness. I use kosher salt
- vanilla (not pictured): The vanilla is technically optional, but it adds some lovely mellow, floral notes to the baked pepitas. Plus it smells marvelous in the oven!
These are so easy to make, friends. Here’s the rundown.
- mix egg white with sugar, salt, pumpkin spice and optional vanilla. Whisk together really well.
- Add pepitas and stir to coat.
- Spread evenly onto a Silpat-lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 325F for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
- At the end of 40 minutes, remove the pan to a cooling rack. Break the pepitas apart into small “nuggets” as they cool
Tips and Tricks for Success
If you have a convection oven, you can speed up the process by about 10 minutes.
You’ll have to watch them during the last 10 minutes of baking to make sure they aren’t browning too much.
As your pepitas bake, the egg white mixture will become pretty thick and stodgy. Make sure to scrape all of it off your pan and keep it mixed in with the seeds where it belongs.
While parchment works great for cookies, the sugary egg white mixture can still stick, so Silpat is definitely the answer.
Your pepitas will definitely want to clump together, so keep them as spread out as you can and then break the clumps up into smaller nuggets as they cool.
Q & A
Yes. Substitute 1/4 cup aquafaba for the egg white. You may need to bake them for a bit longer, and they might not be as crisp as with egg whites, but they’ll be very tasty!
Yes, as written, they are gluten-free. Do check all your labels to make sure your ingredients haven’t been processed on shared lines.
Keep them at room temperature in an air-tight container or a zip top bag with all the air pressed out of it. They’ll stay nice and crisp for a week or so.
Spread them out on a Silpat-lined baking sheet and refresh them at 350F for 3-4 minutes. They’ll soften more but then recrisp as they cool to room temperature.
No need. They have almost zero moisture and will stay crisp at room temperature for a good long while. If they do start to soften with longer storage, recrisp according the the above directions
Aside from eating out of hand, here are some ways to incorporate this spiced pepitas recipe into your life:
- Mix them into streusel and top pumpkin muffins before baking
- Sprinkle them on top of your morning cereal or oatmeal
- Garnish pumpkin pancakes with them (or mix them into the batter)
- Top your yogurt or pumpkin ice cream with these crunchy little nuggets
- Press on top of pumpkin quick bread–loosely tent with foil if they brown too quickly
- Top caramel pumpkin mousse or maple pumpkin pudding
- Add them to your favorite granola mix
- And, of course, use them in my caramel corn recipe. You must!
A Note About Measurements
Don't let its small price and small size fool you. The Escali Primo is an accurate and easy-to-use food scale that I have used for years. It's easy to store, easy to use, has a tare function, and easily switches between grams and ounces/pounds for accurate measurements.
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Pumpkin Spiced Pepitas Recipe
- 1 egg white
- ¼ cup brown sugar packed
- 1 Tablespoon pumpkin spice
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup raw pepitas
- Heat oven to 325F. Line a half sheet pan with Silpat or other silicone baking mat.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the egg white, brown sugar, pumpkin spice, salt, and vanilla.
- Stir in the pepitas until they are evenly coated.
- Spread the pepitas out into a thin layer on your Silpat.
- Bake for 40 minutes, stirring the pepitas every 10 minutes and then spreading them back out as best you can.
- After 40 minutes, remove your sheet pan to a cooling rack. Break up the pepitas into smaller and smaller nuggets as they cool.
- Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Refresh in a 350F oven for 4-5 minutes if they begin to soften.
Did You Make Any Changes?
To Make Them Easier to SeparateIncrease the amount of pepitas by up to 1/2 cup to have a lighter coating of egg white. This will make them easier to separate when cooled. You may want to increase the salt and spice by just a smidge.
VariationsAdd the zest of 1 orange or lemon, or one of each. Switch up your spicing however you’d like. Use just cinnamon, or use apple pie spice. Add some cayenne or ground chipotle for a touch of heat and/or smoke. Add a couple of shakes of liquid smoke for another way to add a bit of smoke.
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