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Roasted green hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas) in a glass bowl

Pumpkin Seed (Pepitas) Sauce

Course: Mexican
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Pepitas, Pumpkin Seed
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 196kcal
This Pumpkin Seed (Pepitas) Sauce is a classic Central Mexican sauce that is so versatile. We love it with chicken, pork, and of course...Veracruz Shrimp Enchiladas. Really, really amazing. Find epazote at your local Mexican/Latin food market. NOTE: This sauce can be made (without adding the pureed cilantro) 1 day ahead. Add cilantro puree just before serving.
Print Recipe


  • 1/2 lb raw green hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas) about 1 2/3 cups
  • 1 lb fresh tomatills
  • 1/2 cup white onion chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic minced
  • 2 to 3 fresh green serrano chiles coarsely chopped (including seeds), to taste
  • 2 tbsp fresh epazote chopped*
  • 1 tbsp Kosher salt or to taste
  • 1 cup cilantro chopped
  • 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup corn oil
  • *Found in Mexican/Latin Food Markets
  • You will need a coffee or spice grinder for this recipe


  • Heat a wide 4 - 5 quart heavy pot over medium heat until hot, about 5 minutes, then toast the pumpkin seeds, stirring constantly, until slightly puffed and beginning to pop, 3 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
  • While seeds are cooling, discard husks from the tomatillos and rinse under warm water to remove any stickiness.
  • Coarsely chop tomatillos, then puree in a blender with onion, garlic, chiles (to taste), epazote, salt, 1/2 cup cilantro, and 1/2 cup water until very smooth.
  • Grind pumpkin seeds to a fine powder in small batches, then stir together with 2 cups water in a medium bowl.
  • Heat oil in cleaned pot over medium heat until hot but not smoking, then cook pumpkin seeds mixture, stirring constantly, until thickened to a thick consistency that will pull away from the side of the pot, 10 to 15 minutes, careful to not brown, or start to burn.
  • Add tomatillo puree and simmer, stirring, 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the 1 1/2 cups water, and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes (large streaks or pools of green oil from the pumpkin seeds will appear on the surface).
  • Just before using, puree remaining 1/2 cup cilantro with 1/2 cup water in blender until smooth and add to the sauce. If necessary, thin with a little more water and return to a simmer.


Calories: 196kcal