Sweet and Spicy Pepitas

Sweet and spicy pepitas (pumpkin seeds) #pumpkin #seeds @mjskitchen mjskitchen.com


These Sweet and Spicy Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) are so good and quite addicting!  A batch can disappear as quickly as it can be made and that’s fast!  These make a great snack, but can also be used in a variety of dishes from salads to soups.  Suggestions on different ways to use them are provided in the Kitchen Notes.

I played with sweet and spicy pepitas for a couple of months before getting it perfect.  The original recipe in one of Jane Milton’s Mexican cookbooks was good, but needed some adjustments for my tastes.  For one thing, she mentions that the seeds are best when consumed immediately after applying the lime juice.  Bobby and I found them very messy and not very appealing texturally.  So after changing the spices, the cooking process and adding a drying period, I came up with a great sweet and spicy snack.  If I plan to use them for something other than a snack, I have to hide them. They’ll disappear very quickly if I don’t.

Sweet and Spicy Pepitas

Sweet and Spicy Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds) Recipe
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins

Inspired by Jane Milton's recipe in her cookbook Mexican - Healthy ways with a favorite cuisine.

These seeds only have a 10 minute prep time, but then they need to sit out for a few hours to dry and to become crunchy.

"*" See Kitchen Notes for more information or links to special ingredients.

Course: Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian
Cuisine: Mexican
Yields: 1 cup
  • 1 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed and broken into seed size pieces or smaller
  • ½ tsp. red chile powder
  • ½ tsp. chipotle powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • Juice from ½ lime
  1. Toast the pepitas in a hot, dry skillet over medium heat. Shake or stir until they begin to swell and pop.
  2. Add the garlic and continue to stir until seeds have a nice toasted color. Be careful not to let the seeds nor the garlic burn.
  3. Remove from heat. Add the chile powder and salt and stir to coat the seeds. Continue stirring for about 15 seconds, but no more. The powders will burn in the hot pan if you leave them in too long.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and add the sugar. Stir.
  5. Add the lime juice and toss to coat. Spread on a cookie sheet or transfer to a large bowl. Let sit for about 4 hours until dry or overnight, stirring about every 30 minutes for the first couple of hours.
  6. Once the seeds are dry, transfer to an airtight container.
Kitchen Notes

Pumpkin seeds – Use shelled pumpkin seeds,  Just be careful because, as they heat, they do pop out of the pan and all over the kitchen.


Chile powders  - As you can see, there is a lot of flexibility on the chile powders.  I’ve made these with all NM red chile powder (too mild), all chipotle (too hot) and then half and half (just right). I’m sure you could use whatever chile or chili powders that you have in your spice drawer, adjusting the flavors and the heat level to your liking.


Garlic – When you add the garlic, make sure that the garlic pieces come in contact with the pan so they too will brown. The garlic combines with the seeds to impart a slight garlic flavor, but my favorite thing is when I get a piece with the seeds – a little burst of spicy toasted garlic – SO good!


The drying period – You’ll need to stir the seeds as they dry because the sugar causes them to clump.  But not to worry, they separate easily even after clumping because there isn’t that much sugar in them. I find that 4 hours is minimum and overnight is best.  Once dry transfer to an airtight container. I have no idea how long they’ll last because ours never make it past 3 days.


Substitution - If you happen to have this Red Chile Spice Blend already made up, then substitute the garlic, chile powders, and salt with 2 tsp. of the blend.



Nutritional value of pepitas – According to Whole Foods and LiveStrong.com pepitas are a good source of the minerals magnesium, manganese and phosphorus, and a good source of iron, copper, and protein.


Great snack for parties or the football playoffs 🙂
Topping for


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61 Responses to “Sweet and Spicy Pepitas”

  1. Karenlee March 23, 2017 at 10:39 am #

    I am so excited to try these, I’m always looking for a snack that is both crunchy and has a bit of a kick! Can’t wait!

    • mj March 23, 2017 at 7:24 pm #

      Thanks Karenlee! A warning – they are very addicting. 🙂

  2. Javelin Warrior December 11, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    These sound fantastic, MJ – I can totally see why you’d make them around the holidays as a nice munchy for guests 🙂 I’ve made pumpkin seeds with a spicy mix before, but I’ve never tried it with any sugar or citrus and I need to do this the next time I roast a pumpkin (and have seeds lying about). Thanks so much for sharing…

  3. Michelle October 17, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

    These sound delicious. We love pumpkin seeds but I’ve never toasted my own. I will now 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up to Creative Thursday. Can’t wait to see what you share this week! Have a wonderful week.

  4. Swathi October 8, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    Delicious Love to try this one.

  5. Lisa May 24, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    These look delicious! Thanks so much for sharing at Mix it up Monday 🙂

  6. Miz Helen April 27, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    Your recipe looks delicious, we would love it. Hope you have a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  7. Katherine Martinelli February 4, 2012 at 3:21 am #

    Oh yes, these are right up my alley! Thanks so much for linking up at my game day blog hop! Can’t wait to try these.

  8. Kelly February 2, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    Oh I absolutely LOVE these! Thanks so much for linking these up! 🙂

  9. Beth @ Aunt B's Kitchen January 31, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

    What a great combination of flavours! I’m looking forward to trying this recipe.

  10. Judy@Savoring Today January 31, 2012 at 6:32 am #

    Sweet and spicy is a favorite combo for me, love this idea! This would be a great addition to a Super Bowl party spread–wonder what it would be like with dark chocolate chips added in? Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  11. Jen at The Three Little Piglets January 26, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    Pepitas are one of my favorite go-to snacks! They’re the perfect little salty bite, and SO good in salads and oatmeal. The spices on these sound incredible – they’d be perfect to nibble on during the big game coming up.

  12. Biren @ Roti n Rice January 24, 2012 at 7:33 am #

    These sweet and salty pepitas will be so good on all kinds of salads if there are any left overs from the snacking. They sound so tasty!

  13. Melssa Placzek January 20, 2012 at 9:43 pm #


  14. Melssa Placzek January 20, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

    This looks fabulous! Can’t wait to try it!

    ~Melissa Placzek

  15. Nami | Just One Cookbook January 19, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

    It’s my first time hearing Pepitas. Such a cute name. My husband loves pumpkin seeds. I think he’ll love this!

  16. Bibi January 19, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    I was intrigued by what Pepitas were…..Now that I know….I love roasted pumpkin seeds and this is one winning recipe. I can’t wait to try it!

  17. Kristy Lynn @ Gastronomical Sovereignty January 19, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    i love your combination of flavors! I did some of these not too long ago but put curry powder on them. They were fantastically delicious and so healthy. Love it!

  18. Sawsan@chef in disguise January 19, 2012 at 12:34 am #

    Oh MJ this sounds amazing! can’t wait to try it
    I love pumpkin seeds but your recipe really takes it to the next level

  19. Cucina49 January 18, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

    I can see where these would be addictive–I’d be afraid to have them around, because I’d eat too many of them!

  20. Tina (PinayInTexas) January 18, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    I love munching on pumpkin seeds, MJ! I will surely enjoy your sweet and spicy pumpkin seeds!

    Btw, I have some awards waiting for you… http://bit.ly/yjpNgG

  21. lavieenfribourg January 18, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    I can almost taste them by looking at the picture!

  22. mj January 18, 2012 at 8:01 am #

    Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments! If you try these please let me know how you like them!

  23. wok with ray January 17, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    I would definitely like those seeds especially without the shell. This could be a great Superbowl snacks. Very nicely lit photo there, MJ. 🙂

  24. sally January 17, 2012 at 10:14 am #

    Yum! I actually have some pumpkin seeds leftover from a pumpkin recipe that I made. The seeds have shells on them, but I think this recipe would still work. I’ll have to give it a try.

  25. Giulietta | Alterkitchen January 17, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    MJ, I love (and I mean really love) pumpkin seeds, and I love your spicing!!
    You always share simple and great recipe 🙂

  26. Aimee from ItsOverflowing.com January 16, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    Looks so delicious!! Thanks so much for linking up! Just wanted to make sure that you signed up for my $50 stencil giveaway…

    XO, Aimee

  27. Manu January 16, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    Aaaawww I love pepitas! They used to be one of my favourite snack as a child. They sell them salted in Italy, so yummy! I haven’t had them in ages!

    I love this sweet and spicy version MJ! Great idea!

  28. Bake Up, Little Suzy January 16, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

    I’m making these for game night — thanks!

  29. Sylvia @ Peaches and Donuts January 16, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    Am always looking for tasty snack ideas so Thanks for sharing Mj!

  30. Soni January 16, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    Lovely and crunchy!I love garlic in almost anything and can tell just by looking, that these are super-delish!Thanks for sharing.

  31. Reiko January 15, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    These look and sound delicious! I love spiced seeds and nuts, but I’ve never tried pumpkin seeds. Reading the recipe, I was thinking where I can get raw pumpkin seeds, but I guess Whole Foods probably has them?

    • mj January 15, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

      Whole Foods should have them. Check out the bulk items. That’s where I find them at my local co-op. Hope you like them!

  32. Food Jaunts January 15, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

    I’ve got some pepitas in my pantry just begging to be used in this. So half chipotle chile powder and half mild New Mexican? Bookmarked!

    • mj January 15, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

      I hope you do try them! Yes, I use half and half chipotle and mild NM chile powder, but if you don’t have the chile powder you could substitute something as mild a paprika or go really, really spicy and use cayenne. WOW! That would be hot! 🙂

  33. balvinder January 14, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

    I love to snack on seeds and nuts. Will sure to try with your way.

  34. Geraldine Saucier January 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    These pepitas look delicious. I was just at Whole Foods and I got some pumpkin seeds. Can’t wait to try your recipe.

  35. Wendy (The Weekend Gourmet) January 14, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    These look so good…I LOVE pepitas! These sound very versatile…make a batch and then find all sorts of fun ways to use them. I would love them in a salad with some mango and goat cheese!

    • mj January 18, 2012 at 8:01 am #

      Yum – mango and goat cheese with these seeds – that does sound good!

  36. Gerlinde in Dallas January 14, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    These pumpkin seeds look delicious. I bet it’s hard to stop eating them!

  37. vianney January 14, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    This would great for our football family get togethers.. we ALL love pepitas! Thanks!

  38. Magic of Spice January 14, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    We roast pepitas frequently and spice them up sometimes. I love the flavors here and will give the stove top style a try. I bet they are incredibly addicting 🙂

  39. Suzi January 14, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    Great little snack here MJ. I like it. Love the garlic in there too. I just bought chipotle powder for the first time. Have a great weekend.

  40. David January 14, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    Pepitas have just started showing up in the ethnic sections of the stores over here and I have been trying to figure out what to do with them. Thanks for the ideas!

  41. Laura @ A Healthy Jalapeño January 14, 2012 at 7:57 am #

    seriously these are my FAVORITE snack, right next to homemade popcorn. They can have so many different flavors… nice job.

  42. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles January 14, 2012 at 6:50 am #

    What a great idea for a healthy and supremely tasty snack! I love your Mexican inspired flavourings MJ – particularly the chipotle and how neat that you were able to incorporate the lime juice successfully. I’ve got to try these! As always, your kitchen notes and serving suggestions are appreciated.

  43. Sissi January 14, 2012 at 5:51 am #

    What an original and healthy snack! I love pumpkin seeds, but have never had them seasoned. I have recently tried making something similar with cashew nuts, but exagerrated with the syrup I added as a “glue” for spices and they were extremely sticky and impossible to eat without wiping fingers all the time (but it was delicious). I will see if your recipe works with cashew nuts too.

    • mj January 18, 2012 at 7:59 am #

      Spicy cashews sounds quite interesting. I might have to try that myself. Let me know if you try it. Thanks for stopping by!

  44. easyfoodsmith January 14, 2012 at 3:17 am #

    Lovely pepitas. The flavours are wonderful. Can’t wait to try them!
    There is an award waiting for you at my blog.

    • mj January 14, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

      Thanks so much!!!

  45. Julia January 13, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

    I love pepitas! My husband is from New Mexico and loves to make them. We have some waiting to be cooked right now, so I think I will just try out your recipe. Thanks for the inspiration! Love your blog.

  46. Kim Bee January 13, 2012 at 11:38 pm #

    I am not sure I should admit I did not know pepitas where pumpkin seeds. I don’t eat pumpkin anything but hubs loves it. I have to try this for him. They look and sound really delicious. I may even try them myself they look so tasty. Great photo.

  47. Anne@FromMySweetHeart January 13, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

    MJ….what perfect timing with this recipe as I bought some pepitas a couple of weeks ago for another recipe that I didn’t have the time to make. This will be easy and I’m sure addictive! (I love sweet and spicy together). And your picture is so pretty….I just love the lighting you’ve captured….just lovely! : )

    • mj January 14, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

      Thanks Anne! I hope you do make them and enjoy them! Please let me know. Have a great weekend.

  48. Treat and Trick January 13, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    Love this sweet and spicy snack, most importantly no fat is being used!

  49. Charles January 13, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    What a great snack MJ – I can totally see these vanishing as fast as they’re put out… I could eat them by the handful. Chipotle chilli powder isn’t something you see much in France, so I’m glad you added the note about using different varieties! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  50. Italian Notes January 13, 2012 at 5:07 am #

    I have to try these. I take it you don’t use oil or other fats for skillet toasting, right?

    • mj January 13, 2012 at 7:42 am #

      That’s right. No oil or fats. Just toast in a dry skillet. I hope you like them, We love them! Thanks for stopping by!

  51. Ramona January 13, 2012 at 4:41 am #

    Wow, MJ… I would eat the whole bowl!! I love pepitas.. but spiced up like this… you’ve got my number! 🙂 Have a great weekend!! ~ Ramona


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