How to Eat Watermelon Seeds: Roasting and Sprouting Methods

slice of watermelon on a plate with blur background
Pratima Chhetri Mangar / Getty Images
Overview
  • Working Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 - 3 hours
  • Yield: 200+ seeds
  • Estimated Cost: $3-5

Watermelon seeds are totally safe to eat. In fact, they’re great sources of minerals, protein, and essential fatty acids. And eating the seeds, which you may otherwise spit out and throw away, can help reduce your food waste. You can even make the most out of your watermelon by preparing and eating the rind. Talk about zero waste.

Watermelon seeds taste like sunflower seeds but are a little less nutty. Roast or sprout them and eat them like you would any other nut or seed—alone as a snack, tossed on a salad, or sprinkled on smoothies.

What You'll Need

Ingredients

  • 1 watermelon
  • Cool water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Tools/Equipment

  • Sharp kitchen knife
  • Cutting board
  • Colander
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Cloth tea towel
  • Baking sheet

Instructions

Black roasted watermelon seeds as a snack.

panida wijitpanya / Getty Images

How to Roast Watermelon Seeds

The quickest method to prepare watermelon seeds for eating is roasting them in the oven. They will still have their shell, so you'll need to crack and eat them like you would sunflower seeds.

  1. Preheat Oven

    Preheat your oven to 325 F.

  2. Remove Seeds From Watermelon

    A lot of people dislike watermelon seeds, so growers are supplying more seedless watermelons to grocery stores. But if you want to roast the seeds to make a tasty snack, make sure you buy a watermelon with seeds.

    Use a sharp knife to slice your watermelon into chunks onto a cutting board. Use your hands to pluck out any black seeds, avoiding white ones. White watermelon seeds are smaller than black ones and virtually tasteless, so they aren’t ideal for roasting. 

  3. Strain and Rinse

    Dump the seeds into a fine colander and rinse them thoroughly to remove any leftover melon. Then, place the seeds in a mixing bowl with a few cups of cold water and swish it around with your hands to remove any stubborn residue.

  4. Allow Seeds to Dry

    Strain the seeds and pat them with a tea towel. To get them completely dry, lay them on a baking sheet and set them in direct sun for an hour or two. Spread the seeds out as much as possible so there’s plenty of airflow around them. 

    The drier your seeds are, the crunchier they’ll get in the oven.

  5. Toss With Oil

    Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil onto the baking sheet with the dry watermelon seeds. You can use a different oil with a high smoke point, like avocado oil, as a substitute for olive oil if needed. 

    Toss the mixture with your hands to make sure each seed is coated in oil, which will impart a delicious buttery flavor and help them crisp up while roasting.

  6. Spread Seeds on Baking Sheet

    Once the seeds are coated with oil, spread them out again to maximize airflow. For the best results, try not to have more than two layers of seeds on one baking tray. Otherwise, your seeds may be soggy even after baking. If your watermelon has a ton of seeds, roast multiple batches.

  7. Sprinkle With Salt

    Sprinkle the oiled seeds with at least a half teaspoon of salt, or to taste. You can experiment with other seasonings if you want, too.

  8. Bake

    Place the watermelon seeds in your preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Check on them occasionally to make sure they aren’t burning and take them out when they’re at your desired level of toastiness. 

    Allow them to cool on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes before snacking on them or storing them for later. The seeds will crisp up even more as they cool.

  9. Enjoy

    Store the cooled roasted watermelon seeds in a reusable food storage container and use them however you like. They make a great snack by themselves and taste amazing in homemade trail mix, smoothies, and salads.

How to Sprout Watermelon Seeds

Sprouted melon seeds on a pink towel.

rukawajung / Getty Images

Sprouting is a natural process that allows seeds to germinate and produce tiny green shoots. The process, commonly used in a wide variety of seeds and grains, boosts nutritional value. As a bonus, it makes watermelon seeds even tastier and naturally removes their dark outer shell to reveal a creamy interior.

Sprouting takes a few days, but it’s worth the wait.

In addition to the supplies listed above, you'll need:

  • Cheesecloth
  • Glass jar
  • Warm water
  1. Prepare Your Container

    Get a glass mason jar large enough to hold as much of the seeds as you’d like to sprout (be mindful of the fact that you should eat them all within a few days of sprouting).

    Take out the center part of the jar lid, leaving only the outer ring. Replace the lid with a piece of cheesecloth to allow the mixture to breathe while the seeds sprout.

  2. Soak Watermelon Seeds

    Place your watermelon seeds into the mason jar and cover them completely with warm water.

    Set the jar aside and wait three to four days for the seeds to begin sprouting and emerging from their shells. When the sprouts are about a quarter-inch long, the seeds are ready.

  3. Rinse and Drain

    Pour the contents of the mason jar into a colander or mesh strainer and drain the water from the seeds. Rinse the seeds under cool running water.

  4. Dry the Sprouted Seeds

    Pat the sprouted seeds dry with a cloth. Moisture can allow them to sprout further and decompose quicker, so dry them as much as possible to help them last longer.

    You can also dry your sprouted seeds in a 200 F oven for two hours or use a dehydrator to get the seeds totally dry.

  5. Enjoy

    Eat your sprouted watermelon seeds within three or four days of sprouting them. They’re a deliciously nutritious snack on their own, and even better tossed in your morning bowl of cereal.

Warning

Sprouts are susceptible to contamination, which may allow bacteria such as E. coli to grow and cause food-borne illnesses. To minimize this risk, only purchase fresh, organic watermelons from a reputable source.

You should also wash your hands before handling the food and equipment and keep your kitchen clean throughout the process. And be sure to eat the sprouts within a few days.

Originally written by
Melissa Breyer
Melissa Breyer
Melissa Breyer is Treehugger’s editorial director. She is a sustainability expert and author whose work has been published by the New York Times and National Geographic, among others.
Learn about our editorial process
View Article Sources
  1. "Seeds, Watermelon Seed Kernels, Dried." U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Originally written by
Melissa Breyer
Melissa Breyer
Melissa Breyer is Treehugger’s editorial director. She is a sustainability expert and author whose work has been published by the New York Times and National Geographic, among others.
Learn about our editorial process
View Article Sources
  1. "Seeds, Watermelon Seed Kernels, Dried." U.S. Department of Agriculture.