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Pepitas in ramekin

Stovetop Spicy Sweet Pepitas

Try these spicy sweet pepitas with a cool drink for a lovely way to snack or start a meal. They're slightly addictive, so don't be surprised if you need to make more soon. 

Servings 1 cup
Author Laura


  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds See note for substitution.
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup shelled pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (either light or dark brown)


  1. Dry roast the cumin seeds in a small, heavy (preferably cast iron) pan for about 6 minutes on medium-high heat, tossing/stirring them frequently.  As soon as they begin to smell fragrant and pop, remove the pan from the heat, put them in a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle to grind them 

  2. Mix all the spices together and set aside. 

  3. Heat the oil in a heavy (preferably cast iron) pan until it is hot but not smoking. See note on pan size. Make sure to spread the oil by tilting the pan. The small amount of oil will make a light film with a bit extra that rolls around the pan as you tilt it. Add the pepitas and cook them, tossing/stirring them frequently for about 7-10 minutes. Many will pop and turn brown. Although the process will not cook them to a perfectly uniform color, they should mostly be more brown than green. 

  4. Remove the pan from the heat, immediately add the brown sugar and toss the pepitas in the (melting) sugar to fully coat them. Quickly add the spices and toss the pepitas again. 

  5. Spread the now-coated (with sugar and spices) pepitas on parchment of a large plate. Cool them completely before serving. If you spread them out in a thin layer, they will cool in less than 15 minutes. 

Recipe Notes

You can substitute an equal amount of ground cumin, but if it is not roasted, the cumin will not have the smoky goodness of the roasted and freshly crushed variety. 

The best size pan is about 8" measured on the outside bottom, so the pepitas can spread out in a thin layer. If the pan is too small, they will take longer to cook and it will be more difficult to brown them evenly