This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please see our affiliate policy.
An easy recipe for how to roast sunflower seeds in the oven or on the stove. Add to salads, snack mixes, and baked goods or blend into allergen-friendly sunflower seed butter.
Roasted sunflower seeds are delicious in homemade granola or on top of Asian brococoli slaw. Learn how to roast more nuts and seeds or make your own peanut butter, almond butter, or tahini.
Roasting raw sunflower seeds is an easy way to enhance their flavor and an extra step you should put on auto-pilot: Just do it. Roast the seeds.
Whether you roast them in the oven or on the stove top, it only takes a few minutes and you can dramatically improve the taste of your sunflower seeds.
Making sunflower seed butter? Roasting is crucial to avoid gray, unappetizing sunflower seed butter. But even if you’re just having a snack, roasting is the way to go.
How to Shell Sunflower Seeds
As fun as it is to crack sunflower seeds between your teeth and spit out the shells, that’s not going to work for your next baking project.
Here’s an easy method to shell sunflower seeds in bulk:
- Working with ½ cup sunflower seeds at a time, add the seeds to a plastic bag. Lay the bag on its side to ensure the seeds are in a single layer.
- Seal the bag and use a rolling pin to gently roll over the seeds. This will crack the shells.
- Pour the seeds into a bowl of water. The shells will rise to the top and the kernels will sink to the bottom.
- Skim the shells from the surface and drain the remaining kernels.
How to Roast Sunflower Seeds in the Oven:
- I generally dry-roast my sunflower seeds. When you roast them, some of their natural oils are released so they smell delicious and look shiny. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and arrange shelled raw sunflower seeds in a single layer.
- Toast sunflower seeds in a preheated oven on a rimmed baking sheet for 7 to 10 minutes. Stir or shake the pan occasionally so the nuts brown evenly without burning.
How to Roast Sunflower Seeds on the stove:
- Just like with the oven method, I dry-roast my sunflower seeds in a skillet. Add shelled raw sunflower seeds to a medium skill over medium heat.
- Roast until browned and fragrant, about 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often to prevent scorching.
How to store Sunflower Seeds
- Sunflower seeds raw – lasts 2 to 3 months in the pantry or 1 year in the freezer.
- Sunflower seeds roasted (shelled) – lasts 3 to 4 months in the pantry or 1 year in the freezer.
- Sunflower seeds roasted in the shell – lasts 4 to 5 months in the pantry or 1 year in the freezer.
How to Make Sunflower Seed Butter
I have a whole post on homemade sunflower seed butter. If you have a high-powered food processor or blender, all you need is sunflower seeds. And a little patience.
How to Roast Sunflower Seeds
- 12 ounces raw sunflower seeds (2 ¼ cups)
To roast sunflower seeds in the oven:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil for easy cleanup.
- Arrange sunflower seeds a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Roast until lightly browned and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool before storing covered in the pantry for 3 to 4 months. Freeze for up to 1 year.
To roast sunflower seeds on the stove:
- In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat sunflower seeds until lightly browned and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Remove from skillet and cool before storing covered in the pantry for 3 to 4 months. Freeze for up to 1 year.
Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.
I followed the directions precisely, heard the seeds cracking, but I wasn’t able to separate a single seed. Although cracked, the shells did not open up, they just had splits. The seeds are a recent harvest (10 days) from my garden. Could that have anything to do with it? Suggestions?
Hi Alan, this recipe is for shelled sunflower seeds. There are directions in the post on how I like to shell mine. Hope the next batch is more successful!
Keep an eye on these: mine were darker than usual even after 6 minutes in a convextion oven. I realize all ovens are different thoughdction cooks slightly quicker. For other batches I lowered to 300°F, and the cook time and evenness was much better.
Hi Ian, thank you for your comment. I agree, and I recommend using an oven thermometer since oven temperatures and recover time can differ. Take care! – Meggan
Thank you for great directions and the simplicity of the recipe.
You’re very welcome! -Meggan
What if you want to flavor them? Maybe with a ranch seasoning? Would you do that before or after the oven?
Hi Lana, I would add seasoning after the oven. Hope you enjoy! – Meggan
i would like to follow your blog. is it free?
Hi Suzanne, the site is 100% free to use, no account required. We also have a free email list that you can subscribe to for additional content. Thanks! – Meggan
After you crack and roast sunflower seeds when should you salt them?
Hi John, after roasting add salt to taste. Hope you enjoy! – Meggan
To remove the shells ,do they have to be roasted first?
Hi Robert, you would remove the shells before roasting the seeds. Thanks! – Meggan
Just like I made with my mum growing up…simple and delicious!
If you want the seeds to be salty on the inside of the seed you MUST boil the seeds in heavily salted water. I boil them for 30-40 minutes. You will find it makes a world of difference. I also use different seasonings to flavor my seeds. Bake time is longer unless you let them dry first. I hope this tip will help.
Very easy to do and fantastic! Used for homemade sunflower butter.