Which method produces the best pumpkin seeds? The oven? The stove top? Or the microwave? We investigate all three ways to achieve pumpkin seed perfection.
Roasted pumpkin seeds are one of the best parts of making jack-o’-lantern, but waiting for them to come out of the oven can seem like it takes an eternity. We wondered if there was a better way to make our favorite salty fall snack, so we tested out three different methods to see which reigned supreme.
We tested out the traditional oven-roasting and compared it with seeds toasted in a skillet and pumpkin seeds from the microwave. The microwave? Yes. You might remember that we loved the discovery that you can do DIY microwave popcorn with a regular paper bag. That fabulous microwave result made us want to try it out again.
For each method, we used:
- ¾ cup clean, dry pumpkin seeds
- 1½ tsp. oil (we used canola)
- ¼ tsp. salt
Of course, you can add spices to your pumpkin seeds to jazz things up, but to keep things scientific here, we stuck with the basics.
Method 1: Traditional Oven Roasting
Preheat the oven to 300⁰F. Toss the pumpkin seeds with oil and salt, and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 35-45 minutes, until golden brown. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool the seeds.
Method 2: Stovetop
Heat the oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and toast, stirring frequently, until golden brown and fragrant, 10-15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle with salt. Cool the seeds in the pan.
Method 3: Microwave
Place the pumpkin seeds on a microwave-safe plate or in a microwave-safe baking dish. Drizzle them with oil and toss to coat. Spread the seeds out evenly. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 2 minutes, then stir. Repeat this process for 6-8 total minutes, until the seeds are golden brown and fragrant. Sprinkle with salt and cool the seeds on the plate.
As much as we wanted lightning fast roasted pumpkin seeds, slow and steady won the race here. While the stovetop seeds came in as a close second, the oven-roasted seeds had the deepest, most nuanced flavor. Plus, the stovetop seeds had the disadvantage of needing constant monitoring. The microwaved seeds had the weakest flavor, and they required lots of stirring. They also felt drier than both the oven-roasted and stovetop seeds. Sometimes traditions are traditions for a reason!