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Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Pumpkin Seed Brittle

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Kick off the holiday sweet(s) season by sending guests home with this crunchy, easy-to-make-ahead brittle.


  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 cup raw shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt

Recipe Preparation


  • Spray a parchment-lined baking sheet with nonstick spray; set aside. Bring sugar, corn syrup, and 3 Tbsp. water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Fit saucepan with thermometer and cook until thermometer registers 290°, 3–4 minutes.

  • Stir in pumpkin seeds, butter, and kosher salt and cook, stirring often, until pale brown and thermometer registers 305°, 3–4 minutes.

  • Stir in baking soda and cinnamon (mixture will bubble vigorously), then immediately pour caramel onto prepared sheet. Using a heatproof spatula, quickly spread out and sprinkle with sea salt; let cool. Break brittle into pieces.

  • DO AHEAD: Brittle can be made 1 week ahead. Store airtight, layered between sheets of parchment paper, at room temperature.

Nutritional Content

Calories (kcal) 150 Fat (g) 7 Saturated Fat (g) 2 Cholesterol (mg) 5 Carbohydrates (g) 19 Dietary Fiber (g) 1 Total Sugars (g) 12 Protein (g) 5 Sodium (mg) 220Reviews Section

Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Every year I try to come up with a festive Halloween/Autumnal treat that has way less sugar than the giant bags of candy at every cash register in America this time of year. Last year it was these deceptively simple Chocolate Dipped Apple Slices. What if we didn’t give in to the candy, thus breaking down the door of what could be a holiday season gluttony freight train? What if we could make a nice homemade treat and keep the processed crap at bay?

This recipe, like all of my Sweets recipes, uses the least amount of sugar possible to make the recipe work. But it’s still a treat, not an every day indulgence. Please use common sense when making sweets recipes. You are welcome to substitute artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes, if that’s what you’re into. I personally prefer to rarely eat sugar, and when I do, I make recipes like this one.

Note: You can find coconut nectar in the alternative sugars section of the baking aisle. It has a much milder sweet taste than honey or regular sugar. You can also use honey if you don’t have access to coconut nectar. Also note, this recipe requires that the pumpkin seeds completely cool before you peel them off and break them into pieces.

Step-by-step photos for making Pumpkin Seed (Pepita) Brittle

Step 1. Assemble the ingredients:

  • roasted, salted, shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas) if your pumpkin seeds are raw, roast them in a 350° oven for 10 minutes
  • granulated sugar
  • salt
  • butter
  • vanilla
  • pumpkin pie spice (buy it or make your own with my easy recipe)

Step 2. Generously spray or butter a large baking sheet and set aside. Or, place a silicone mat (like a Silpat mat) in a large baking sheet--no buttering required.

  • TIP: Silicone mats are highly recommended! If you don't have a silicone mat, this might be the time to get one. They have many uses and are particularly helpful in making brittle. I've made this brittle both on a buttered baking sheet and with a silicone mat. The brittle is a breeze to effortlessly peel off of a silicone mat however, it can be difficult to get it off of a buttered pan if there are spots where you don't grease it enough. (I speak from experience!) The brittle always releases easily from the Silpat mat without any buttering or spraying at all. If you don't have a mat, be careful to grease or spray your pan really well.
    (half sheet) for half sheet pan (the "original" silicone mat) --HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (I recently purchased these, and love them--they have rounded corners for a perfect fit inside half and quarter baking sheets, and they are considerably more economical than the Silpat brand mats--3 mats for less than the cost of 1 Silpat)

Spray or butter a wooden spoon or spatula to use later for spreading out the finished brittle set aside.

Step 3. In a 2-quart saucepan, melt butter on low heat add salt, cinnamon, vanilla and pumpkin seeds and stir to evenly coat the seeds with the butter mixture. Keep the stove at it's lowest setting, stirring occasionally so that all of the seeds remain warm but don't scorch on the bottom of the pan. Keep these warm on the stove top while you make the syrup for the brittle.

Step 4. Add sugar to a large (12 inch) heavy skillet over medium heat. I have used both stainless steel and non-stick skillets for making this brittle, and they both worked fine.

  • TIP: Don't use high heat to speed up the process the mixture will burn if it cooks too quickly. Cook it the entire time at a medium heat setting. (I tried upping the heat on one batch, and the brittle had an unappealing burnt taste. Lesson learned!)

Stir the sugar constantly using a flat-ended wooden or silicone spatula for scraping the bottom of the pan as you stir. As pictured below, after a few minutes you will see the sugar begin to melt and form clumps. Gradually, the clumps will start to melt and stir into a smooth, amber brown syrup. Continue stirring to prevent burning. Be patient it shouldn't take more than 10-12 minutes for the sugar to completely dissolve. (Actual time can vary depending on your pan and stove heat.)

Step 5. As soon as the last lumps melt into the syrup, remove the skillet from the heat, add the warm nut mixture and stir to combine. Work quickly so the mixture doesn't burn. Immediately, pour it onto the prepared baking sheet. Use a greased/sprayed silicone or wooden spatula to quickly spread the mixture into a thin, even layer.

Step 6. Let the brittle cool completely and use your hands to break it into pieces. I normally get about 50 pieces from a batch.

Step 7. Combine sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl. Use a spoon to lightly scatter the mixture evenly over the tops of the broken brittle pieces. Shake off each piece to remove excess sugar mixture so that each piece is lightly dusted.

STORAGE: Store in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks (possibly longer if sealed well and not exposed to humidity or heat).

CLEAN-UP TIP: A soak in hot sudsy water is all you need to clean the skillet, pan, and utensils. The hardened brittle will dissolve and release.

A Fall treat that can be gifted. This is a perfect treat during the Fall holidays. Take it along to a party or work to share--a sure hit. The brittle can also be bagged in cellophane treat bags for party favors or gifts.

The combination of sweet, salty, nutty, and pumpkin pie spice makes for a recipe that has become a favorite around here. It's kind of dangerous that it's so easy to make because I'm warning you that this stuff is addictive!

How Do You Store Homemade Brittle?

The best way to store homemade brittle is to layer the pieces in a flat layer in a sealable container (I like Snapware!). It is important to make sure the brittle is completely cooled before you store it, otherwise moisture will collect in the container and your brittle will not last very long.

You can add multiple layers in each container as long as you place a piece of wax paper or parchment paper in between each layer. Then, place the lid on and seal and store in a cool, dry place.

How Long Will Homemade Brittle Keep?

Homemade Pumpkin Seed Brittle will last up to two months as long as you follow the instructions and tips for proper storage. Yeah, good luck getting your brittle to last that long. In our house it only lasted a few days!

Pumpkin Seed Brittle (Pepita Brittle) is an easy to make fun fall candy recipe. Of course, being made with the seasonal pumpkin seed, this recipe is quite festive for this time of year, but there are other reasons to make up a batch of this homemade fall candy over similar sweets. The candy is safe for many with nut or peanut allergies, since many with these intolerances can eat pumpkin seeds. It is also gluten free, and while still a candy to be eaten in moderation, at least has the protein and nutrients provided by the pumpkin seeds.

The Pumpkin Brittle will be hard, but not the tooth shattering hardness of many store bought brittles. It is heavy on the seeds, and has a bit more flavoring to the hard candy as well.

My exceedingly fussy daughter, thought this candy was the bomb. She ended out eating all the brittle she could get her little mitts on last weekend.

Warm Apple Cider Cake with Pumpkin Seed Brittle

In a saucepan, combine the cider, bourbon, brown sugar, corn syrup, vinegar, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean and seeds bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the cream. Cook over moderately high heat until reduced to about 1 cup, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a pitcher let cool slightly. Discard the vanilla bean and cinnamon stick.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper butter and flour the paper. In a bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a glass measuring cup, mix the apple cider with the canola oil and bourbon. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the brown sugar and vanilla seeds and beat until smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well between additions. Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the cider-bourbon mixture, until smooth.

Spread two-thirds of the batter in the prepared cake pan. Drizzle half of the cider sauce over the batter. Dollop the remaining batter on top, then spread the batter over the cider sauce, being careful not to mix them together. Bake the cake in the center of the oven for about 40 minutes, or until springy when touched. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn the cake out onto a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Peel off the parchment paper.

Rewarm the remaining cider sauce. Cut the cake into wedges and serve warm with vanilla ice cream, Pumpkin Seed Brittle and the cider sauce.

Spicy Pumpkin-Seed Brittle Recipe

Lightly grease an 18- x 12-inch jelly roll pan, the bottom of a second jelly roll pan, and a heatproof rubber spatula with oil. Arrange the first pan on trivets or a flat, heatproof surface.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add pumpkin seeds and cook, stirring constantly, until toasted and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. (The seeds will crackle as they toast.) Transfer to a heatproof bowl add cayenne, cinnamon, and salt and toss well. Set aside to let cool.

Place a heavy, medium saucepan (3-quart or larger) inside a medium cast-iron skillet. Add sugar and 1 1/2 cups water to saucepan and cook over high heat, gently stirring a few times with a wooden spoon, until syrup comes to a boil. Immediately cover pot with a tight-fitting lid and cook, without stirring or peeking, 3 minutes. Carefully uncover without dripping the lid's condensation into the pot. Reduce heat to medium-high and boil, without stirring, until mixture registers 350° on a candy thermometer and is light amber in color, about 30 minutes more.

Quickly remove saucepan from heat, stir in pumpkin seeds, and pour onto the first prepared jelly roll pan. Still working quickly, use prepared spatula to spread mixture evenly into a thin layer, tilting pan to spread candy out as much as possible. (Hold the pan with a towel or oven mitt, since it will heat up after the candy is poured onto it.) Top with second prepared pan and press to spread candy further. Let cool at room temperature 1 hour, and then give pan a tap on the counter to loosen candy. Using your hands, break brittle into pieces and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place up to 2 weeks.

Memories of Trick or Treat

While making this vegan pumpkin seed brittle I was thinking back on how much my sister and I enjoyed Halloween. My parents helped us celebrate the trick or treat season in a festive way. As most do, helping us with our costumes and making the evening a fun memory. We got so many trick or treaters at our house it was insane. My sister Katie and I tried to leave the house to do our own candy hunting and there was a mob at the door.

Furthermore my mom panicked because she ran out of candy but she was a caterer and acted quickly. So impressed with her quick thinking because she set up a table and popcorn maker on the front porch. It was too bad she didn’t make pumpkin seed brittle but that would have taken too long. We went to work and paused our own trick or treating to help mom and it was fun. We helped to put the popcorn in paper sandwich bags and the little goblins and ghosts were happy with their warm and crunchy treat. As my sister and I left hunting for candy we could still smell the popcorn from blocks away. Making homemade treats like this vegan pumpkin seed brittle or even popcorn will help make your Halloween party with your family so much more tasty.

The perfect Halloween party treat and it’s a nice break from store bought candy.

Pumpkin Seed Brittle

There are a lot of things I’ve never had before because of my peanut/tree nut allergy. Peanut brittle is one of them. Luckily, these days it seems like people are coming up with alternative ideas to traditional recipes, many of which use sunflower or pumpkin seeds instead of nuts.

When I saw Martha Stewart on the Today show a while back, she featured this Pumpkin Seed Brittle recipe, which I found very exciting. I’ve since seen it around a lot – even at Williams-Sonoma!

I thought this recipe was really good, although I can’t compare/contrast it to peanut brittle obviously. I took this to a party and people seemed to like it. The one comparison I heard was that it’s not quite as hard as traditional peanut brittle (maybe because of the honey). This recipe was so simple to prepare, especially since I had already roasted pumpkin seeds the week before (using THIS method).