I have a recipe I want to use that calls for "hulled pumpkin seeds (the green ones)". I have pumpkin seeds saved from carving pumpkins. Do I just... peel them? Any fast way to do this? Is there any other preperation needed?

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    It's practically impossible when they are raw. You have to bake them first. But I don't know any fast way, the normal way is to pop them out of the hull just like sunflower seeds, one after the other. – rumtscho Oct 31 '11 at 14:55
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    @rumtscho "Bake them first" is exactly the kind of advice I'm looking for :) I've never purchased pumpkin seeds (always just toasted fresh ones) so I have no idea what processing is done before using them in candies or baked goods. – Yamikuronue Oct 31 '11 at 14:57
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    Actually, you can eat them without toasting first. The taste is slightly different, but not bad. The problem is that you can't really get them out of the hull when raw, you have to scoop out pieces of them with your front teeth. So, for candy, you have to bake first if you want a chance of getting them out in one piece. I'm not making this a complete answer, because I hope somebody can offer advice on how to make this easier - I would buy hulled seeds before I spend half a day on hulling to get a handful of them. – rumtscho Oct 31 '11 at 15:31
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    @rumtscho The main reason I'm looking for pumpkin seed advice is because I have a big bag of them sitting in my kitchen right now from carving pumpkins. If it's really that much work, I might just make toasted seeds, but I tend to make sweets each week for a get-together and I thought it'd be a nice change to do brittle. – Yamikuronue Oct 31 '11 at 15:41

10 Answers 10


Describing the only method I know, and hoping that somebody will come up with an improvement, because this one is quite time-consuming.

First, clean your pumpkin seeds and toast them. They cling to the hull when they are raw. When toasting, it is preferable to use lowish temperature for a long time, so you can prevent strong taste changes and burning. If I remember correctly, it is also a good idea to let them cool them first, because they are more likely to break when hot, but

When the seeds are ready, you want to pop them out of the shell. For this, hold a seed between your thumb and index finger. Apply pressure to the most prominent parts of the edge.

seed drawing

Ideally, the pointed part of the hull will split along the edge, and the seed will fall out, or you will be able to squeeze it out. Even if it goes like that seed after, it is a slow, monotonous work. Often, the hull will refuse to split, or the seed will break within the hull, or it will cling to the hull and refuse to come out after it has split. And then there is no guarantee that you'll get the beautiful plump seeds you see in the supermarket, because carving pumpkins aren't bred for nice seeds, it can happen that yours are very small and thin and not a particularly good decoration.

Conclusion: it is possible, but even if I had the seeds sitting around, I'd throw them out (or feed them to birds outside) and get hulled seeds for cooking, instead of spending half a day to get a handful of seeds out of their hulls. If it doesn't bother you, or if you can find a more efficient method, feel free to do it and share your process improvements here.


I found a method here: http://www.heritagefarms.com/recipies/recipie_pages/roasted_pumpkin_seeds.php

To hull seeds in quantity, first break them up with a rolling pin, hammer or food chopper, then drop the seeds into a large container filled with water. Stir vigorously to bring all the kernels in contact with the water and to break the surface tension. Kernels will sink to the bottom; the shells will remain floating

Anyone ever try this? I might experiment tonight..

I tried it. They cracked, but not enough to let out the seeds. I suspect I'd have to have less flat seeds for it to work. Oh well.

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    This works great! I used a food chopper and had the seeds finely chopped, the kernels sank to the bottom alright and the hulls stay afloat, after which you can easily scoop the hulls out of the container. It saves hours :D – Sicco Mar 7 '13 at 13:43

I spent a couple of hours in front of the television splitting dried pumpkin seeds with an exacto knife. Make sure you don't point the business end at yourself or the fingers that are holding the seed. Ended up with about a cup full of seeds. If you have the time that seemed to work the best for getting whole raw seeds which are better for you. I decided that buying raw pepitos (which I've found seems to be what they are usually labeled as) is worth the expense, so unless I end up with hulless seeds, or can find some sort of mechanical huller that doesn't cost $2000 or more, that's the way I will continue to get my hulled seeds.


When I was a kid we grew pumpkins for the pigs to eat during the winter. Most of the seeds were dried and sold, but we also ate some.

This is how we shelled them:

  • Clean and dry the seeds. (No need to wash, just separate seeds from pulp by hand).
  • Hold the seed between fingers similar to a guitar pick (plectrum).
  • Insert the seed between your front teeth and squeeze until it cracks. Start at the narrow point and squeeze your teeth 2-3 times moving towards the middle of the seed. By the time you reach the middle the flesh will be almost out of the shell, at that point you decide if you like to ate it or save it for a dish.
  • If you hull lots of seeds that way, your tongue might get a little sore from guiding the seed, so take it easy at first.

My grandma showed me this and it works very well.

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    You sold seeds that you put in your mouth? – Sobachatina Mar 6 '13 at 19:36
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    @sobachatina I think they sold seeds still in the hull, which customers then put in their own mouths to dehull. – rumtscho Mar 7 '13 at 8:37

This post is old, but surprised nobody has mentioned Kakai pumpkins. If you do gardening, just plant Kakai pumpkins. The seeds are grown without the shells. Can't get easier than already shelled.

  • I like it! Let nature do the hard work – Yamikuronue Jan 30 '14 at 18:18

Centrifugal dehullers are used commercially; something like this. Basically, you use a spinning rotor to throw seeds at a hard wall at about 100 mph (45 m/s). This cracks the shell, and releases the seed. All that reamains then is to separate seed from broken hulls. The same process may be used effectively for oats, rice, sunflower, pumpkin and etc. seeds. Rotor speeds run from 1200 to 5000+ rpm for smaller units. There are currently no consumer grade units on the market; but it's not impossible to build such a unit at home.

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    Sunflower seeds dehull nicely in a homebuilt centrifuge based on an angle grinder and a variac speed control. Haven't tried pumpkin seeds yet, but they should split as easily as sunflowers, perhaps a slightly higher rpm. – Wayfaring Stranger Apr 7 '15 at 10:52

If you grow naked-seeded or hulless seeded pumpkins, you don't have to remove the hulls. One variety is Kakai as mentioned above. Other varieties include Styrian, Lady Godiva, Streaker and Eat-all. After harvest, just cut open the pumpkin and you'll find green, tender seeds.


I used pliers to crack off the rim around the hull( roasted seeds), then the sides peeled away fairly easy. I had more whole seeds that way. It still takes awhile & I'll most likely buy the hulled seeds next time.


I wanted nice whole ones so I washed and dried them and then used my kitchen scissors to cut along the seam on one side. Then it wasn't hard to separate the hull.


Wikihow suggests using a rolling pin to crack the (cleaned, dry) seeds, then boiling for 30 minutes so the pepitas are released from the hulls.

Skim the empty hulls out of the water, then drain the water off of the pepitas and pat dry. Now you can eat the pepitas as is, or roast and flavor them.

  • This was mentioned above from another site, and did not work well for me – Yamikuronue Oct 3 '14 at 17:19

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