What’s the Difference Between Pepitas and Pumpkin Seeds

A pumpkin seed is a pumpkin seed is a pumpkin seed, right? Well, kind of. We investigate whether pepita is just a cooler way of saying pumpkin seed or if it’s something different.

The difference between pepitas and regular pumpkin seeds

Are pepitas just pumpkin seeds? Or are they something entirely different? Let’s answer this pressing culinary question.

Technically, yes pepitas and pumpkin seeds are the same thing. But pepitas (which mean “little seeds of squash” in Spanish) don’t have a shell and are found in only select pumpkin varieties.

Generally, the seeds you dig out of your jack-o’-lanterns are just plain old pumpkin seeds with shells and all. If you felt adventurous and tried to shuck them you’d find a small seed, or pepita, inside. But why would you do that when there are better things to do to them, like roasting and eating.

If you want pepitas and you don’t want to have to shell them, you can try growing some of the pumpkin varieties that have shell-less seeds. They have cool names like Lady Godiva Pumpkin, Austria Oil Seed Pumpkin, Gleisdorfer Naked Seeded Pumpkin and Kakai Hulless Pumpkin. But if you’re like me, I can never ever get anything to grow. So this isn’t an option.

Thank goodness lots of grocery stores sell pepitas. They even sell them on Amazon! These babies you can eat by the handful without doing any work. You can purchase already roasted pepitas or you can buy raw and roast them yourself. Once roasted they’re a delicious snack or crunchy topping for all kinds of recipes. Here’s a very delicious salad that uses them along with an easy delicious pumpkin dressing.

Christine Pittman

Christine is the Senior Editor and Owner of The Cookful, COOKtheSTORY and IsThisThatFood. Her sites reach over a million readers per month, which means that things can get a bit crazy. She's constantly writing, taking pictures, editing, managing contributors, and, oh yeah, cooking. To say that she wears many hats is an understatement - there are many hats, and also many shirts, shoes, pants, and even the odd cape!