How to Shell Pumpkin Seeds

Updated February 21, 2017

Pumpkin seeds make a nutritious snack, but you may find the rough shell of the seeds --- even though they are edible --- unappetizing. If you don't mind putting in a little work, you can remove that tough outer shell to enjoy the soft inner seed. Shelling a pile of pumpkin seeds is a time-consuming job, though, so have some friends or family members help you with your project.

Spread the pumpkin seeds over a flat baking tray. Crush the hard shells of the seeds using a rolling pin. Don't crush them so hard that you flatten the seeds themselves, though.

Fill a pot with 3 cups of water and place it on the stove. Set the temperature to medium-high and bring the water to a boil.

Place three handfuls of pumpkin seeds into the boiling water and cover the pot. The boiling water makes the shell shards rise to the top of the water while the seeds sink to the bottom of the pan. Run a hand-held strainer over the top of the water to extract the broken pieces of shell.

Drain the shelled pumpkin seeds into a colander. Rinse them with cold water. Shake the colander to force out all the water.

Pour your seeds into a bowl. Place it on a table along with a second bowl. Pick out any remaining bits of shell and put the fully shelled seeds in the second bowl.


Save your seed skins for birds or your compost pile. For a sweet treat, sprinkle the shelled seeds with brown sugar and cinnamon. Place the seeds in the oven until the heat lightly toasts them.

Things You'll Need

  • Pot
  • Water
  • Colander
  • Bowl
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About the Author

Shae Hazelton is a professional writer whose articles are published on various websites. Her topics of expertise include art history, auto repair, computer science, journalism, home economics, woodworking, financial management, medical pathology and creative crafts. Hazelton is working on her own novel and comic strip while she works as a part-time writer and full time Medical Coding student.