Pepitas and pumpkin seeds: the terms are frequently used interchangeably, but are they really the same thing? Well, not exactly. With a crunchy bite and a nutty, slightly sweet flavor, pepitas and pumpkin seeds do indeed share some similarities, but they are not the same thing.
While both come from pumpkins, pepitas come from just a specific variety and have a different appearance and texture. Read on to learn more about the difference between pepitas and pumpkin seeds.
A common misconception is that pepitas are what you’re left with after the outer shell, or hull, of the pumpkin seed is removed. That’s not actually the case. Pepitas (which translates to “little seeds of squash” in Spanish) are a type of pumpkin seed, and they’re only found in a couple varieties of pumpkin. That’s right — you won’t find pepitas inside just any pumpkin you open up. Pepitas are naturally hull-free and are only found in oilseed or Styrian pumpkins.
Unlike most pumpkin seeds, which need to be prepped and roasted before eating, green-hued pepitas have a thin skin, delicate crunch, and are delicious eaten raw or roasted. They’re wonderful enjoyed as a snack, and are also great for cooking. Pepitas can be added to everything from granola and muesli to pesto to salads to snack bars, and so much more.
Try Pepitas in These Recipes
Remember the last time you carved a pumpkin, and removed the top to find a ton of creamy-colored, flat seeds inside? Well, those are pumpkin seeds! Unlike pepitas, pumpkin seeds have hulls (that’s the white-ish outer cover), aren’t as tender, and can’t always be used the same way.
You won’t want to eat pumpkin seeds raw — they’re far too chewy and tough. Clean and roast pumpkin seeds, however, and well, that’s an entirely different story. Roasted pumpkin seeds are crunchy, delicious, and perfect for snacking, or even as a garnish on salads and soups, and topper for quick bread and muffins.
Try These Recipes with Pumpkin Seeds
Can You Substitute Pepitas for Pumpkin Seeds and Vice Versa?
Here’s what you want to remember: Pepitas are pumpkin seeds but not all pumpkin seeds are pepitas. So with that in mind, if a recipe calls for pumpkin seeds, you can always use pepitas instead, but the swap doesn’t work the other way around.
The Bottom Line on the Difference Between Pepitas and Pumpkin Seeds
The distinguishing trait that sets these ingredients apart is that pepitas are a naturally hulless type of pumpkin seed found in just a couple types of pumpkin and can be eaten raw or roasted, while pumpkin seeds have hulls and need to be cooked before eating.