Home Articles Pumpkin Seeds vs. Pepitas (What’s the Difference?)

Pumpkin Seeds vs. Pepitas (What’s the Difference?)

Both pumpkin seeds and pepitas come from pumpkins and offer similar nutritional benefits. However, there are plenty of defining differences between them. 

Pumpkin seeds can refer to any seed from any variety of pumpkin. Pepitas, on the other hand, are specific seeds. They’re small, have no hulls, and are typically greenish.

Pumpkin seeds are harder and nuttier than pepitas, which are more delicate. They’re also tougher to chew. 

Raw Organic Pumpkin Pepita Seeds in a Bowl

The following sections examine the key differences between pumpkin seeds vs. pepitas. I’ll also cover how to use each and whether you can substitute one for the other.

Key Differences Between Pumpkin Seeds and Pepitas

Let’s break down the differences between these two crunchy snacks.

Appearance

Appearance-wise, the two ingredients are noticeably different.

  • Pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds vary in size and thickness and often have tough outer shells. These shells are edible, but most people remove them before eating the seeds. The seeds (kernels) can vary in color from white to tan to brown while their hulls are intact.
  • Pepitas. Pepitas have no outer shells to remove. They’re also smaller, thinner, and flatter than most pumpkin seeds. Because they have no hulls, they’re always some shade of green.

Flavor & Texture

Both pumpkin seeds and pepitas have a nutty flavor. But pumpkin seeds have a stronger taste and are typically crunchy. 

Pepitas’ flavor is more delicate. They’re also smooth and tender.

Fiber content

Both ingredients are a decent source of protein and healthy fats. However, their fiber contents are different. 

Pumpkin seeds are higher in fiber because their shells are intact. Because pepitas don’t have hulls, they have less fiber.

Preparation 

You can use pumpkin seeds and pepitas in many of the same ways. They taste great in trail mixes and snack mixes. They also make good toppings for salads. 

However, the methods for preparing them for use are different.

  • Pumpkin seeds. Sometimes, pumpkin seeds come pre-shelled. In that case, you can simply roast them and toss them into your recipes. However, most of the time, you have to shell them yourself.
  • Pepitas. Pepitas come from specific pumpkins and naturally have no hulls. They’re ready for immediate use and taste great raw.

Cost

On average, pepitas are slightly more expensive than pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds can come from any pumpkin and are, therefore, easily sourced. 

Pepitas are harvested from only specific pumpkins, making them harder to get. This equates to a higher price tag.

Culinary Uses

As mentioned, you can use pumpkin seeds and pepitas in many of the same recipes. However, pumpkin seeds taste better roasted, while pepitas are great raw. 

Pepitas are better suited for salads, soup toppings, and snacking. Pumpkin seeds work better in baked goods, trail mixes, etc. 

Pepitas are also a common ingredient in many Mexican dishes.

Baked and Salted Pumpkin Seeds on a Wooden Spoon

What Are Pumpkin Seeds? 

Pumpkin seeds come from the insides of a pumpkin. You can source pumpkin seeds from any variety of pumpkin.

They’re usually oval-shaped and feature a protective shell around the kernels. The shell is edible, but most people hull or roast them before eating them.

They have a nutty taste and a crunchy texture.

Raw Green Organic Pumpkin Seed Pepitas in a Bowl

What Are Pepitas? 

Pepitas are a very specific type of pumpkin seeds that come only from certain pumpkins. They come primarily from Oil Seed or Styrian pumpkins. 

They feature a green color, a smooth and tender texture, and a nutty but delicate flavor. Most people eat them raw or tossed raw into other recipes. 

Can You Substitute Pepitas for Pumpkin Seeds and Vice Versa?

You can substitute pepitas and pumpkin seeds for one another in most recipes. However, the two have different textures and slightly different flavors. 

Additionally, pumpkin seeds taste better roasted, whereas pepitas are fine raw. So, yes, you can substitute the ingredients for one another. 

Just be aware that there will be a few noticeable changes in taste and texture.

A Heap of Salted Pumpkin Seeds on a Wooden Bowl

How to Cook with Pumpkin Seeds and Pepitas 

You can add pepitas raw to salads, soups, and other dishes. Pumpkin seeds also make a great addition to many dishes and baked goods.

Here are some of my favorite recipes using pepitas and pumpkin seeds: 

For even more ideas, check out these 25 Pumpkin Seed Recipes

Pumpkin seeds vs pepitas

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INSANELYGOOD

Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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