Yes, You Can Roast And Eat Watermelon Seeds. Here's How

Watermelon seeds get a bad rap. When you're snacking on this refreshing fruit, you're either spitting them out or shopping for seedless watermelon in the first place. If you're using your fruit to make a spicy watermelon cocktail or a watermelon lemonade, you're definitely removing those seeds first. But don't throw them away — they can become a tasty treat on their own if you roast them just like you would do with pumpkin seeds. Watermelon seeds taste a bit like popcorn kernels. There's concentrated crunch with a nutty, caramelly flavor. 

You can season them with just about anything, too. Cook them on the stove, in the oven, or in your air fryer. Whatever method you choose, thoroughly rinse the seeds first and then dry them on a baking sheet. To take the stovetop route, roast the seeds in a frying pan until they get a golden tint and crisp texture, stirring them constantly so they don't burn. Right before you remove them from the heat, take a cup of water with salt stirred in, pour it into the pan, and stir until the water evaporates.

To use your oven, you can place that baking sheet of seeds in at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes. When you take them out, spritz them with cooking spray and dust them with salt, let them cool, and then enjoy. You can take a similar approach using your air fryer, taking time and temperature cues from roasting pumpkin seeds: Cook for five minutes at 160 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring about halfway through.

Ideas for seasoning watermelon seeds

You can take watermelon seeds in a sweet or savory — or even spicy — direction. Sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar for a simple, dessert-like approach. You could further play up their subtle caramel note by coating them in a mix of honey, melted butter, and brown sugar, or even take that flavor profile up a notch with a coating of whiskey, bacon drippings, and brown sugar. Cocoa powder and cinnamon would also create a sweet treat with a little heat, which you can boost with cayenne or chili powder.

On that note, there are plenty of options that are both sweet and savory, like a maple mix created for pumpkin seeds that works well for watermelon seeds, too, using the syrup with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cayenne, cloves, thyme, salt, pepper, and olive oil. To go fully savory, experiment with any spice or herb on your rack, from za'atar to rosemary to garlic powder to gochugaru flakes. This is where you can really get creative. 

Make your own spice blends inspired by Old Bay seasoning or herbs de Provence. Balance herbaceous or spicy concoctions with bright additions like lemon zest. You could also look to sauces for your seeds, coating them in Buffalo sauce, ranch dressing, or hot honey. Whatever flavor journey you take, roasted watermelon seeds are as healthy as they are delectable, being full of vitamins, minerals, protein, and amino acids. Eat them on their own or use them to top a salad.