Roasted In-Shell Sunflower Seeds

Growing sunflowers? How to harvest and roast the sunflower seeds from your sunflowers.

If you grow your own sunflowers, the flowers will tell you when they are ready. They'll be droopy, and the petals around the center will be dried. The seeds should be clearly visible. The best seeds for eating come from the larger varieties of sunflowers. Just cut away the flower head from the stalk, place the flower head on a flat surface, and rub the center to dislodge the seeds from the flower. If squirrels and birds can get to these seeds, so can you!

These directions are for salted, roasted sunflower seeds. If you don't want them salted, just rinse them off and roast them. Because they aren't soaked through with water, they'll roast much more quickly, perhaps only a few minutes at 400°F.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Makes one cup of roasted sunflower seeds.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw in-shell sunflower seeds
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt, or 2 Tbsp table salt*
  • 1 quart water

* Add more or less salt to taste, up to 1/4 cup Kosher salt for 1 quart of water.

Method

roasted-in-shell-sunflower-seeds-1 roasted-in-shell-sunflower-seeds-2

1 Place sunflower seeds, salt, and water into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

2 Drain the water from the seeds and spread the seeds out in a single layer in a sheet pan. Place in a 400°F oven on the top rack and roast for 10 to 15 minutes.  Starting at about 10 minutes, I recommend taking a few out of the oven to test. If they are not roasted yet to your satisfaction, return them to the oven for another 2 to 5 minutes.  Keep checking every few minutes until they are dry enough and roasted to your satisfaction. The seeds can quickly go from done (dry and easy to bite to open) to charred (browned on outside and black on the inside). So as the time gets closer, keep an eye on it.

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Comments

    • Elise

      That’s how you get the salt to infuse to the seeds. If you don’t want them salted, you can skip the boiling. Just roast them for a few minutes (less than if you are starting with seeds that are soaked through from the boiling.)

  1. Sarah

    The tiny birds eat everything from my feeder except the too-big-for-them sunflower seeds, so I have random sunflowers from the cast-offs growing all over my yard. I’m excited to have something to try with them, besides just enjoying the view. Thanks!

  2. Tina

    Oh Elise….thank-you. The sunflower seed post reminded me of a wonderful childhood memory. Had a wonderful Aunt that grew them, I had spent the night at her home and we had fun harvesting and roasting the sunflower seeds growing in her garden. The memory left me with a big smile on my face and in my heart. Many blessings to you and yours!

  3. shaylee

    well im 13 years old and I planted sunflower seeds and they turne white seeds in steade can I still roast or cook the plzzz anwers need help!!!!!

    • Bear

      They’re not ripe yet, give them a little while longer til they start to turn black like the sunflower seeds you see on the ground or in the store.

  4. Louisa Sargent

    I have roasted my sunflower seeds but they are quite chewy & I end up with a mouthful of chewy pulpy stuff which seems inedible- what did I do wrong? I roasted them for about 25 mins at 180°.

  5. Chris

    When I was a child, my older cousin gave me a book called The Kid’s Kitchen Take Over. One of the activities was growing sunflowers. I didn’t have a backyard until 25 years later. I started growing sunflowers immediately, but never harvested. Today, at age 44, I finally harvested them, and roasted them! They needed a lot more salt, I think, but they are quite pleasant. Thanks!

  6. paul

    I bought some Sunflower seeds for feeding parrots in my back garden. Didn’t realise they were salted and the birds wouldn’t touch them. Says something?

  7. Kit

    I cut my sunflower heads last fall and left them to dry. The seeds are quite edible. Do you have any experience with roasting them after they’ve been drying all winter?