Skip to Content

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pepitas

Have you ever heard of Pepitas? This green seed looks rather small and almost insignificant.

However, it packs a powerful flavor and nutrition punch.

There are many ways to use pepitas, from sprinkling them on salads to making pesto with them – the creative options are endless.

But maybe you’ve run out of Pepitas or simply don’t have access to them – this is where we come in.

We will show you how to substitute Pepitas and also provide some ideas for delicious dishes made using substitutes.

So get ready as we take you through an exciting adventure of cooking with factors other than Pepitas.

What are Pepitas?

Pepitas are the edible, green inner seed of the squash family.

This versatile ingredient can be found in cuisines both Mexican and Latin American.

Historically, indigenous Mexicans were known to have eaten the outer hulls of pepitas from pumpkin plants as early as 8,000 to 10,000 years ago.

The seeds have a mild and sweet flavor that complements many dishes.

When dried correctly, they are crunchy with an earthy, nutty taste.

In cooking, pepitas can be roasted as a crispy snack similar to peanuts or added to salads, granola bars, oatmeal cookies, and various baked goods for a unique flavor and texture.

People also incorporate them in sauces like pesto and hot sauce or char them lightly before adding them to mashed potatoes or rice dishes.

Pepitas certainly provide a tasty boost of nutrition when used in flavorful culinary masterpieces.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pepitas

If you’re looking for a substitution for pepitas, you have plenty of options.

Here are the five best ones:

1 – Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are a snack that is beloved all around the world, and for a good reason.

The small, nutty-tasting seeds boast a crunchy texture and a slightly sweet flavor.

Their classic taste pairs perfectly with salads and other dishes or in their simplest form when roasted or raw.

Sunflower seeds can be substituted for pepitas in many recipes, but the toasty flavor of sunflower seeds adds an extra layer of flavor that can’t be matched by pepitas.

Whether eaten alone or paired with another food, sunflower seeds are always an enjoyable treat.

2 – Pumpkin Seeds

The nutty and crunchy appeal of pumpkin seeds makes them a great addition to salads, snacks, and recipes.

They have a unique buttery flavor that balances the sweetness of other ingredients in many dishes.

Pumpkin seeds also have amazing texture – their nutty crunchiness has a way of elevating any meal or dish.

If you are looking for a different option – something other than pepitas, you can use pumpkin ones as a substitute.

Simply replace pepitas with equal amounts of raw pumpkin seeds for added crunch and flavor to your meals without having to compromise on the taste or texture.

3 – Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are an extremely versatile food packed full of protein and omegas.

They have a mild nutty flavor and a slightly crunchy consistency – great as a topping or as a binder in energy bars or balls.

Chia seeds can also replace up to 50 percent of the sweat pumpkin seeds normally used in recipes, such as pestos and granolas.

This makes chia seeds an ideal substitution for those trying to either reduce their sodium intake or find delicious alternatives to traditional pepitas.

Not only are they much easier to come by than pepitas, but they are also cheaper per pound.

No matter how you’re using your chia seeds, one thing is for certain – you’re getting a powerhouse of nutrition that adds tons of health benefits and taste to whatever dish you’re serving up next.

4 – Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are an excellent source of nutrition and are gaining in popularity as a health food.

They have a mild, nutty flavor that complements many dishes, whether it is sweet or savory.

The texture is soft, yet with a crunchy outer shell that adds interest and texture to salads, cereals, smoothies, and even desserts.

Furthermore, hemp seeds can easily be used as a substitute for pepitas; all one has to do is combine equal parts of both the hemp seed and pepitas to get their desired outcome.

Adding the combination of hemp seeds and other seeds in salads or granolas can give that extra bit of flavor and crunch you never knew you needed.

5 – Flax Seeds

Flax seeds may be small and easily overlooked, but they’re definitely worth your attention.

With a sweet, nutty flavor and crunchy texture, flax seeds are an incredibly versatile ingredient.

They can be added to baked goods, smoothies, salads, or whatever else you can dream up.

If you find yourself needing a substitution for pepitas, try substituting the same amount of flax seeds – it’s sure to give you the delightful crunch that you’ve been looking for.


In conclusion, there are many great alternatives to pepitas that can be used in recipes and dishes.

Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds are all viable options for those looking for something different from traditional pepitas.

Each of these substitutes provides a unique flavor, texture, and nutritional profile that add an extra layer of nutrition and flavor to any meal.

Whatever you choose, be sure to experiment with different combinations and flavors – the possibilities are endless.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pepitas

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pepitas
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Flax Seeds


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Skip to Recipe