You may not be in the habit of keeping pepitas on hand, but that might change after roasting a batch and spicing them up.
The simple act of roasting pumpkin seeds produces most of their flavor potential, so even that alone is worth trying out if you’re new to it, but if you spice up the pepitas and add some proper seasoning then you can really make them come alive.
Roasted Pepitas Recipe
Pepitas are surprisingly common in Mexican cuisine. They’re the secret ingredient in a traditional Green Mole sauce, and you’ll also see them used in Sikil P’ak and even as a seasoning for some homemade Tortilla Chips.
I think it’s easiest to buy the hulled variety, as shown below, but you’ll also see them sold with the shells on.
As mentioned, giving these raw pepitas a quick roast will get you pretty close to the finish line, you really don’t need to do much more than that. But we’ll add some seasoning to make them even more rewarding.
So in the above pic we’re using:
2 teaspoons New Mexican chili powder
1/2 teaspoon Chipotle powder
1/8 teaspoon Ancho powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
And you’ll need a single tablespoon of oil to coat two cups of pepitas.
Before we roast them I want to mention something about those chili powders…
The next time you’re in the kitchen, take a look at the ingredient list for your pantry’s chili powder. It will probably look something like this:
Most store-bought chili powders are loaded with unnecessary ingredients. I tend to stay away from these diluted versions and head straight for the real thing, i.e. 100% ground chilis. It’s becoming more common to find pure chili powders in the bigger supermarkets, but if you strike out there don’t forget that there are loads of good online options to choose from (see our Chili Powder article for details.)
But you don’t need pure chili powders for this recipe. Just keep in mind that if you’re using traditional, store-bought chili powders you won’t need to add as much salt (and maybe garlic) because it probably already has some in it.
Okay, got the oven heated up? Give the mixture a good stir and form an even layer on a baking sheet. I used parchment paper for this batch to make clean-up easier. (What is Parchment Paper?)
These will need about 12-15 minutes in a 350F oven. I usually give ’em a stir halfway through the baking period.
Once they’ve turned golden brown they are officially roasted!
Let these cool for a bit and then serve immediately.
If all went according to plan you’ve got some light, crunchy, flavorbomb roasted pepitas on your hands. Nice!
They are addictive especially when they are just out of the oven.
They also have some serious kick so feel free to dial back on the chili powders if you want a milder batch.
Store them in an airtight container in the fridge and you can munch on them for the next few days, if they last that long. (Lately, I’ve been using them to make some wicked Avocado Toast.)
Okay, don’t forget to take a peek at your chili powder label the next time you use it. If you want some options for upgrading it then check out the Chili Powder article, or feel free to send me an email with any questions.
Here's a simple but delicious recipe for a batch of Spicy Roasted Pepitas. They have some kick so feel free to dial back on the spices if you want a milder version.
- 2 cups hulled pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 2 teaspoons New Mexican chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Chipotle powder
- 1/8 teaspoon Ancho powder
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon oil
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Add 2 cups of hulled pepitas to a mixing bowl along with 2 teaspoons New Mexican chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon Chipotle powder, 1/8 teaspoon Ancho powder, 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. Combine well and then add 1 tablespoon of oil (I used olive oil). Mix well.
Form a single layer of pepitas on a baking sheet. I typically use parchment paper for easier clean-up.
Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes or until the pepitas have turned golden brown. I usually give them a stir halfway through the baking period.
Once they are roasted, let them cool for a few minutes before serving. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Keep in mind that most store-bought chili powders are loaded with extra ingredients. I think it's worth seeking out chili powders that don't have any other additives.
To prevent clumping, I usually give the pepitas and chili powders a good stir before adding the oil.
The garlic powder can easily overwhelm them so I tend to go easy on it, but I do like having a little in there.
Our latest recipe is a batch of finger lickin’ Chipotle Mayo.