Pepitas Substitute Options: 7+ Ideas

The nutty taste of pepitas makes it a great snack and an excellent addition to your sauce or salad. You can eat pepitas seeds raw, but you get a richer taste and texture when you roast or fry them.

Pepitas are the edible seeds of a specific pumpkin type. Their use dates back to the 14th century, when the ancient Mesoamericans ate every part of squash except the shell. The squash seeds come with a white shell that you remove to reveal the green seeds.

While using pepitas in Mexican cuisine is popular, you might not always find these seeds in stock; therefore, pepitas substitutes are your next option. This post explores different substitutes for pepitas that will make your meal taste better. 

Substitutes for Pepitas

1. Sunflower Seeds

When seeking great pepitas substitutes, sunflower seeds should be your first stop. Though native to America, it’s common in Asia and Southern Europe and is used in several dishes and other preparations. 

Sunflower seeds can easily substitute for pepitas due to their small and similar taste. They even have a higher nutritional value than pepitas, and some might even prefer it in their recipes. If you want to use them, remove the hull and measure the same quantity as you would have with pepitas.

2. Whole Pumpkin seeds

Since these are from pumpkin, they’re perfect pepitas substitutes. These come from your typical pumpkin dominant in Mexico, unlike pepitas from Calabaza pumpkin. You’ll find that both have a similar appearance and undergo similar processes when removing the hulk.

Both share a similar taste, and you might not even notice the difference when you use them in different dishes. As a result, you use the exact measurements that you should when using pepitas. The only significant difference is that its yellowish husk is harder to remove than pepitas, which is stressful.

3. Pine Nuts

If you’re familiar with pine nuts, you should know they’re fantastic substitutes for pepitas. Originally from Europe, they come from the Pinaceae family, not pumpkin seeds.

Despite this, there’s a similarity in taste though pine nuts have richer undertones that make them ideal in several dishes. You can add them to your baked foods or vegetables. Since they have high mineral levels, you shouldn’t worry about their health effects. 

4. Chia Seeds

When searching for healthy pepitas substitutes, Chia seeds should be one of the options. The seeds come from Central America, where they were an integral part of the Aztec diet. They are common in several parts of the world as they make a great addition to most meals.

One thing you’d love about these seeds, aside from being a great substitute, is their nutritional value. These seeds are excellent sources of fiber, protein, Vitamin C, and mild anti-aging substances. Mix these seeds with your breakfast for a healthy energy boost.

5. Wild Rice

Another great pepitas substitutes that are packed with nutritional elements are Wild rice. Wild rice grows mainly in the United States’ Great Lakes region, where it’s been a staple crop of Native Americana. However, most of the “wild” rice we consume is a farmed type primarily grown in California.

This pepitas substitute boasts more vitamins, fiber, and minerals than most salad toppings or soup ingredients! You can also add some Wild Riced Veggies to your favorite dish to make it more creative. It’s delicious when coupled with tomatoes when making unique holiday dishes.

6. Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are perfect pepitas substitutes if you’re on a diet and want to reduce your salt intake. Hemp was documented in 2800 BCE in China and was used in the Mediterranean countries in the Christian era. During the middle ages, it extended throughout the rest of Europe.

Hemp seeds have a unique taste compared to pepitas. They make a tasty addition to your cookies and muffins and still contain several beneficial nutrients. Hemp seeds also contain healthy fats, reducing cholesterol and improving the heart’s condition.

7. Quinoa 

Quinoa is one of the best pepitas substitutes to use in your favorite dishes. The plant is indigenous to South America’s Andean highlands, where it has been a staple crop for millennia. Quinoa is currently grown in several places but majorly in Peru and Bolivia.

It contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, and it has a delicious flavor in meals. These seeds also taste terrific when uncooked and have additional benefits like reducing cancer cell growth. However, it’s best to boil them beforehand to ensure that you get all the nutrients within.


Now that you have fantastic options to use instead of pepitas, you can go ahead and make that tasty dish. Select any of these pepitas alternatives based on your meal and health requirements.