Roasting Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds

Roasting sunflower seeds is a great way to prepare the seeds for snacking or long-term storage. Raw sunflower seeds offer the best nutritional profile, but roasted seeds are still very healthy. They provide the body with potassium, vitamin E, magnesium, B vitamins, and minerals such as zinc, calcium, iron, and phosphorus.

Roasting Sunflower Seeds

There are two ways to roast sunflower seeds-salted or unsalted.

Salted

  1. Dissolve about 1/3 cup salt in 2 quarts of water.
  2. Soak the sunflower seeds, either shelled or unshelled, overnight in the salted water.
  3. If you don't have a full night to spare, you can boil the seeds in the salted water for a couple of hours instead of soaking them.
  4. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Drain the seeds in the morning, and dry them by patting with a dish towel or letting them sit on absorbent paper towels.
  6. Spread the sunflower seeds evenly on a baking sheet. You can coat the bottom of the sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper, but it's not necessary.
  7. Roast the seeds for 30 to 40 minutes, stopping halfway through to turn and jiggle them in the pan for more even cooking.
  8. When the seeds are finished, let them sit until they are cool. Shell them if you did not do so prior to roasting.
  9. Store the roasted seeds in an airtight container.

Unsalted

  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place shelled or unshelled seeds evenly on a baking sheet, with or without aluminum foil or parchment paper underneath.
  3. Roast the seeds for 30 to 40 minutes, stopping halfway through to turn the pan and jiggle the seeds for even cooking. The seeds should be a rich golden brown color when they are done, and they may have small cracks in them.
  4. Remove the seeds from the oven, and let them sit until they are cool. Shell them if you did not do so before.
  5. Store the roasted seeds in an airtight container.
  6. If you like, sprinkle salt on these seeds before you serve and eat them.

Variations

  • Before or after roasting sunflower seeds, stir in 1 teaspoon of melted butter to each cup of seeds. The flavor will add richness and body.
  • Sprinkle the seeds with chili powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, red pepper flakes, or a mixture of all of them to add spice to the roasted seeds.
  • Mix shelled seeds with a small amount or oil or melted butter and cinnamon-sugar, nutmeg, or ginger.
  • Add a few teaspoons of taco seasoning to unshelled seeds before you roast them.

Using Roasted Sunflower Seeds

Several unshelled sunflower seeds.

There are lots of ways to serve and enjoy your roasted sunflower seeds.

  • Sprinkle seeds on a piece of toast spread with peanut butter or on a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich for some added crunch and a little saltiness.
  • Add seeds to the top of any salad. The seeds work well even on a sweet salad, such as cottage cheese with berries and honey.
  • When pasta, stir-fries, or casseroles are fully cooked and ready to serve, garnish them with a few roasted sunflower seeds.
  • Coat them with chocolate or mix them up with softened chocolate and coconut for a treat.
  • Add them to trail mix or granola.
  • Try baking them into bread, rolls, or biscuits.
  • Serve them with dried fruit.
  • Add seeds to cooked oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, hot rice cereal, or another hot breakfast cereal.
  • Eat them out of hand! Sunflower seeds are great for snacking. However, they are high in calories, so don't go overboard. Treat them as you would nuts, and enjoy just a small handful at one time.
Roasting Sunflower Seeds