Don't Throw Out Your Cantaloupe Seeds — Roast Them Instead

This may blow your mind, but pumpkin seeds aren't the only seeds you can roast. Melon seeds, like cantaloupe, are also delicious when roasted, providing all the crunchy, umami yumminess craved in a snack. Not only does this tip take advantage of local in-season produce during the non-autumnal months (peak season for melons is typically May to September), but it also utilizes a part of the cantaloupe that's commonly thrown away, reducing waste.  

Plus, the seeds are nutrient-packed, meaning you're never more than a few minutes away from a satisfying, nutritious snack that contains protein, fiber, and essential amino acids. 

If you're still not sold on the idea, consider this: Melons, including cantaloupe, plus honeydew and watermelon, are actually part of the same gourd family as pumpkin (Cucurbitaceae). And, as demonstrated on TikTok, the process of roasting cantaloupe seeds is very similar to pumpkin seeds but arguably easier since the skin of the melon is less challenging to cut.


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Once the seeds are separated from the flesh, they're rinsed and thoroughly dried so the seasoning sticks, and so they can crisp in the oven. Flavor them with olive oil and salt, or go big and pull out your favorite spice blend, making the seeds sweet, savory, or even spicy. Roast in the oven or the air fryer for a few minutes and enjoy. 

Roasted cantaloupe seeds aren't just for snacking

Roasted cantaloupe seeds are great for snacking, but they are also the ideal finishing touch for many recipes, especially since they can be enjoyed sweet and savory. Try tossing a handful on a basic Caesar salad or replace the hazelnuts with cantaloupe seeds in a tricolor salad recipe. (But, to keep them crunchy, add the seeds just before serving.) Roasted cantaloupe seeds also work well on cooked vegetables, like asparagus with shaved pecorino and freshly-squeezed lemon juice

For a heartier option, substitute melon seeds for the sesame seeds used in a sesame tuna steak recipe. Flavor them with an umami-rich mixture containing soy sauce and sesame oil. Then, sear the cantaloupe seed-encrusted tuna for an easy upgrade that's delicious over a salad or roasted veggies. Or, when you want a cozier meal, add some contrasting texture to pureed soups by sprinkling a few seeds on top. 

To take advantage of the long shelf-life of roasted cantaloupe seeds, make extra and keep them on hand to add a layer of texture and flavor to dishes. An average-sized cantaloupe will yield roughly ¼ cup of seeds, so you may need more than one melon for certain recipes (especially once you factor in reserving some for snacking). Seeds can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month or placed in the freezer for up to six months. 

Tips for roasting additional types of melon seeds

In addition to cantaloupe, all types of melon seeds can be roasted, and like the flesh, each variety tastes and looks a little different. Like cantaloupe, honeydew is a muskmelon and contains a lot of seeds. Small and tender, honeydew seeds are roasted in a similar way and will absorb the spices you add. Keep it simple with olive oil and salt, or add a layer of smokiness by tossing the seeds in bacon grease or adding liquid smoke to your seasoning. 

Watermelon is by far the most popular melon variety in the U.S., providing lots of opportunities to try roasting its seeds. They taste very similar to pumpkin seeds, developing a nuttiness that's frankly irresistible. Since watermelon seeds are harder than other melons, there are a few best ways to prepare them. You can treat them like cantaloupe seeds and give them a quick roast. However, their coats will be too tough to consume. You'll need to crack open the shell to enjoy the tender part inside. 

Alternatively, you can soak the seeds in salty water for an hour before roasting. They will have a pleasant salinity and the shells will then be soft enough for you to pop the whole thing in your mouth by the handful. The only downside to roasting watermelon seeds is that there's less yield. The average 10-pound watermelon will only deliver about 2.5 tablespoons worth.