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Substitutes for Pepitas

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They are known as pepitas in Mexico and other parts of North America. They are known as pumpkin seeds in other areas of the globe. These fresh pumpkin seeds will provide a delightful taste to any dish. Pepitas leave a sweet, nutty taste left whether they are added to sauces, consumed as a snack, or used to create oil.

These pumpkin seeds are prominent in Mexican cuisine and may enhance the taste of any dish in which they are used. It can also be eaten as a fast snack, but if you don’t have pepitas or have run out, the natural option would be to get some from a speciality shop, which isn’t always in stock. Do you know whether there is a suitable substitute for pepitas that would make you forget they are missing?

What is Pepita?

Substitutes for Pepitas

Pepita is an abbreviation for Pepita de calabaza, which translates to “little squash seed.” It refers to the edible seeds of a certain pumpkin or related squash kinds. The seeds are packaged in a white husk that may be removed to expose a deeper green seed. They have a flat oval shape, similar to sunflower seeds. Some varieties are huskless, and the most common pepitas are huskless.

The Aztec society used Pepita in the mid-14th century; the ancient Mesoamericans thought that every part of a squash save the shell should be eaten. Pepitas were eaten raw or as an ingredient in sauces; presently, pepitas are packaged and sold in supermarkets throughout North America.

Pepitas Nutrition Facts

Substitutes for Pepitas

Uses of Pepitas in recipes

Pepitas may be used for a variety of reasons and are often used as a garnish in salads. They may be used to add crunch or thicken soups and sauces, as well as in prestos and baked dishes like muffins and cookies, which are popular in Mexican cuisines and can be used in the famous mole sauce.

Pepitas may be eaten raw, but they are much more delicious when marinated and grilled. You may fry them in olive oil or whichever method works best for you.

Below are some ways you can prepare pepitas;

  • Simple roasted pepitas
  • Stuffed poblano chiles with black beans, pepitas, and cheese
  • Spicy roasted pepitas
  • Stovetop spicy-sweet pepitas
  • Fresh guacamole and pepitas
  • Pumpkin seed brittle
  • Parsley-pepita presto
  • Gazpacho with smoky pepitas
  • Kabocha squash soup with toasted pepitas
  • Tamari roasted pepitas
  • Seasoned pepitas and peanuts
  • Pepita Pumpkin seed butter
  • Crab in Pepita sauce
  • Microwave-toasted pepitas
  • Roasted pumpkin puree with glazed pepitas

Substitutes for Pepitas

Pepitas are delicious as a snack, but you can also incorporate them into other dishes, such as sauces, or use them as a garnish for salads and baked goods. There is no disputing that pepitas are quite adaptable, but you may not always be able to obtain these seeds in your local grocery shop, so have a backup on hand in case you run out of pepitas.

Some recipes ask for hulled seeds, while others do not, so keep this in mind when substituting.

1. Sunflower Seeds


Sunflower seeds may readily substitute pepitas in any recipe since they have a similar structure and flavor, and they are also very nutritious. They may be eaten as a snack, used as a garnish, or utilized as a component in a variety of cuisines. They may be roasted, toasted, fried, or used in sauces, according on your preferences.

In Asia and southern Europe, in-shell sunflower seeds are popular, and they are roasted and widely consumed as street food, although in America, they may be purchased as packed seeds, freshly roasted, and eaten as a snack. If you want to use sunflower seeds in your soup recipes, remove the shell and use the same amount as pepitas.

2. Pine Nuts

Pine nuts, also known as pinon, pinoli, or pignoli, are edible seeds similar to pepitas, however they are not derived from pumpkins. Instead, they are pine seeds from the Pinaceae family, genus Pinus. Roasted pine nuts may be used in lieu of pepitas in certain recipes and added to salads, vegetables, meat, and fish.

The pine nut has a mellow nutty taste with sweet overtones that makes it great for snacking or incorporating into hummus or pesto. When replacing, use a one-to-one ratio everywhere, and it would be helpful if you had pepitas on hand.

3. Whole Pumpkin Seeds

While pepitas are often sold without husks, entire pumpkin seeds come with a yellowish-white husk that is more difficult to remove, hence roasting is the recommended cooking method. Furthermore, pepitas vary somewhat from entire pumpkin seeds. Pepitas seeds, for example, originate from the calabaza pumpkin, but entire pumpkin seeds come from regular pumpkins (the ones used to construct jack-o-lanterns).

They have a similar nutty taste and may be used similarly as snacks or as a component in a meal when roasted. When replacing, use the same measures.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can you substitute walnuts for pepitas?

Pepita has a light nutty taste comparable to walnuts and may be used as a garnish or snack without the shell of walnuts.

What can I use if I can’t afford pine nuts?

Pine nuts are highly pricey, thus procuring any may be difficult for some people. If you can’t find pine nuts, another fantastic option is cashew nuts, which have a similar nutty taste to pine nuts but a stronger nutty flavor than Pepita.

 What are the health benefits associated with eating pumpkin seeds?

Pumpkins are high in zinc, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Eating a modest amount may boost your general health, and they include antioxidants that help fight against cancer-causing radicals.


Pepitas give crispness to soups and sauces. They are ideal for a crunchy, healthful snack while watching TV; you could also toast them or use them in salads; however, if these calabaza pumpkin seeds are not accessible to you, comparable replacements may be used in their stead.


What can I use as a substitute for pepitas?

Pepita Seed Substitute: While it is feasible to make a replacement in a recipe that calls for these delectable tiny seeds, the general rule is that while pepitas may always be substituted for ordinary pumpkin seeds, it is better not to. It’s both a texture and a taste issue. Pine nuts would be a better replacement.

What nut is similar to pepitas?

Pepitas are an excellent, low-cost alternative to pine nuts in pestos and salads. They’re both seeds, but they’re not the same. They both have a sweet, mild taste and a lot of oil, but pepitas are pumpkin seeds while pine nuts are edible seeds from pine trees.

Can I substitute pine nuts for pepitas?

You can enjoy pesto even if you have a nut allergy or sensitivity by replacing traditional pine nuts with pumpkin seeds. 👉 Four reasons why you should be making nut-free pesto with pepitas: It’s flavorful!

Is there a difference between pumpkin seeds and pepitas?

Pepitas and pumpkin seeds seem so similar that you can mistake them for the same thing. However, although they are not identical, they are closely related. Pepitas are shell-less pumpkin seeds, while pumpkin seeds are complete seeds with their shells still on.

Do pepitas taste like pumpkin?

No, not exactly. Pepitas and pumpkin seeds have a crunchy bite and a nutty, somewhat sweet taste in common, but they are not the same thing. While both are made from pumpkins, pepitas are made from a single cultivar and have a distinct look and feel.

What are Mexican pepitas?

In the United States, pepitas and pumpkin seeds are interchangeable, however in Mexico, pepitas generally refers to hulled pumpkin seeds. These guys may be found within the shell of some types of pumpkin seeds: This is the pumpkin seed’s nutrient-dense core.

Why are pepitas so expensive?

This is partly owing to a persistent problem with onlookers. As you may know, spectators in China own vast quantities of pumpkin seeds and may therefore determine market prices. This has had an effect on exports as well, since prices continue to rise, which is unsustainable.

What are pepitas called in English?

Pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, are a popular component in Mexican cooking and are widely available at outdoor markets around the country. While pepitas are pumpkin seeds, not all pumpkin seeds are pepitas.

Why are pumpkin seeds called pepitas?

A pepita seed receives its name from the Spanish phrase meaning “small squash seed.” They resemble oval-shaped pumpkin seeds without the shell, and they are green. Pepita seeds, on the other hand, are only found in hull-less pumpkin cultivars known as Styrian or Oil Seed pumpkins.

Are pepitas the same as sunflower seeds?

Pumpkin seeds, often known as pepitas, are the edible seeds found in the pumpkin fruit. They are a sort of squash seed that is used in a variety of cuisines. Sunflower seeds, on the other hand, are not seeds at all. They are, instead, the seeds of the sunflower plant.

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