What Do Sunflower Seeds Taste Like?

Sunflower seeds have a mild nutty flavor, are nutritious, and can be enjoyed in various ways. Be cautious of potential drawbacks like high sodium levels.

Nutritious sunflower seeds fill a wood bowl, accented with a metal scoop and yellow sunflower

Some of us like sunflower seeds in their fibrous shell and some of us would rather them naked.

And some people have never tried them at all.

While a sunflower may taste different for you, for the majority of us, they have a nutty flavor that’s mild. The texture itself is rather firm but tender enough that it won’t break a tooth.

Sunflowers are super diverse and easy to use. And they’re more affordable than cashews and almonds.

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Why should you eat sunflower seeds?

Anthony's Organic Hulled Sunflower Seeds, 2 lb, Raw, Unsalted, Batch Tested and Gluten Free, Keto Friendly

Sunflower seeds are tiny, but they pack a nutritional punch. The nut is a fantastic source of vitamins and minerals that bolster your immune system, which allows you to fight bacteria and viruses.

A sunflower also contains zinc and selenium, which help your body produce and maintain immune cells.

How are you supposed to eat a sunflower seed?

First, ask yourself, do you want to eat sunflower seeds like a normal person, or do you want to be an expert seeder?

Let’s just look at both.

The Normal Person’s Way to Eat Sunflower Seeds

  1. Roll your tongue around the salty shell. You’re doing this to enjoy the shell’s seasoning but also to soften it up.
  2. Pick the top and bottom set of teeth and crack them between them.
  3. You’ll then spit the fibrous shell before attempting to chew the seed.
  4. Just keep doing this until your tongue goes numb from the excessive salting.

Be a Master Seeder

  1. Choose your flavor – plain, salty, BBQ, chipotle, etc.
  2. You’ll want to start with one seed at a time until you perfect the technique. 
  3. Get your tongue in place – either vertically or horizontally. Make sure the outer edge is making contact with your teeth.
  4. Apply enough pressure until you feel or hear the sunflower seed crack. If you bite too hard, you’ll destroy the sunflower seed inside. 
  5. Let off of the shell and allow the seed to fall onto your tongue.
  6. Using your tongue, you’ll separate the seed from its shell. The seed will feel smooth, and the shell will have a rough texture.
  7. Spit out the shell. Keep the seed.
  8. Repeat until you become a perfect sunflower seeder.

Do sunflower seeds go bad?

Any seed can spoil. When a sunflower seed turns, it tastes bitter or sour, like rancid olive oil.

To get the longest shelf life, store sunflower seeds in dry, cool places in sealed containers or bags. You don’t want them exposed to sunlight, either.

Why do sunflower seeds taste rancid?

When exposed to air, sun, or moisture, sunflower seeds go bad, and as a result, they taste horribly rancid due to the oxidation of oils.

Oh, and weevil larvae can burrow inside a sunflower seed shell, leaving holes and a bad, bad taste.

Is it okay to eat expired sunflower seeds?

You can eat expired sunflower seeds after the expiration date as long as they’ve been stored safely in cool, dry conditions.

If you’re suspicious, toss them out. And certainly, get rid of them if they’re rancid and burnt tasting.

Can you eat sunflower seeds straight?

You can pluck sunflower seeds and eat them straight from the beautiful yellow flower. 

Many gardeners enjoy sunflower seeds’ extra earthy taste straight from the source.

How do I get the bitterness out of sunflower seeds?

If they’ve completely gone bad, you can’t. But, sometimes, you just get a batch that has a hint of bitterness.

Add a pinch or two of sea salt, or you can sweeten it up with brown sugar, maple syrup, fruit, etc.

How to Roast Sunflower Seeds

  1. Crank your oven to 350℉.
  2. Keep the raw sunflower seeds in the shell and arrange them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Roast the seeds for 7 to 10 minutes.
  4. You’ll want to shake the sunflower seed pan so you can guarantee they roast evenly and don’t burn.

Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are fun as hell to eat and pack a nutritional punch.

  • Help with short-term and chronic inflammation.
  • Sunflower seeds decrease the odds of heart disease.
  • For people with diabetes, sunflower seeds can reduce fasting blood sugar by about 10% over the span of six months.

The Drawbacks of Sunflower Seeds

Don’t you ever wish that we could enjoy things without hearing about the bad stuff? 

So do we, but it must be done.

High In Calories

It’s really not something you need to worry about unless you’re consuming bags and bags of sunflower seeds.

And the entire process of cracking and spitting will get tiresome before you intake too many calories.

High In Sodium

The sodium level of sunflower seeds is something to worry about because they are sometimes coated with up to 2,500 mg of sodium.

You can find low-sodium sunflower seeds or go with unflavored if you’re worried about sodium intake.


We will file this under unless you eat a crapton of sunflower seeds; you’re probably okay.

But they do contain cadmium – a heavy metal that can damage kidneys in super high amounts over a lengthy period of time.

Unseen Invaders

Bacteria tend to invade all portions of life, and sunflower seeds are no different. Samonella has a way of thriving in warm and moist conditions, which means they can begin sprouting. 

Drying sunflower seeds at 122℉ (50℃) will kill any bacteria that’s snuck in.

If you hear about a sunflower seed recall, check your stock so you can toss them out ASAP.

Stomach Problems

Any seed in excess can cause serious constipation. That’s why moderation in all things is always the way to go.

Always make sure you spit out the shells and avoid swallowing fragments. Your body can’t digest them.

Nut Allergies

Sunflowers qualify as nuts and should be avoided at all costs if you have nut allergies.

How many sunflower seeds should you eat a day?

You don’t want to exceed 30 grams of sunflower seeds a day. The salt-coated sort just has too much sodium to eat, much more than that.

Can you eat raw sunflower seeds straight from the flower?

You can eat raw sunflower seeds straight from the flower by cracking the shell with your teeth and savoring the natural flavor of the seeds.

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