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Hemp Seed – What You Should Know and Tips for Baking With It

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Hemp seed is misunderstood.  While hemp has been accepted for use as a fabric (I love my hemp sheets), hemp products – like hemp seed – have yet to become mainstream in our kitchens.  Certain assumptions are made about hemp seed simply because it comes from the cannabis plant.  The most frequent question that I received when I mentioned my hemp seed cupcakes was, “Are those like pot brownies?”  The question was typically followed by a devilish looking smirk.

Let’s clear one thing up about hemp seed right away: Hemp seed is produced from a different variety of cannabis than marijuana, one that won’t chill you out and give you the munchies.  If you were expecting a recipe for getting high – sorry.

What Does Hemp Seed Taste Like?

Hemp seed tastes like a cross between a pine nut and a walnut, with maybe a dash of quinoa.

Why Eat Hemp Seed?

Why not?  If you enjoy other nuts and seeds, there is no reason not to add hemp seeds into the mix.  For more specifics on the health value of hemp seeds, check out the well-researched article on hemp seeds at The Nourishing Gourmet.  Here’s a quote from the article:

Hemp is a high protein seed containing all nine of the essential amino acids (like flax). It also has high amounts of fatty acids and fiber as well as containing vitamin E and trace minerals. It has a balanced ratio of omega 3 to 6 fats at around a three to one ratio. This won’t help correct your omega balance if it’s off, but it gives you the right balance to start with.

Don’t give me a quiz about that quote, because I would fail.  When I read something like that, I just process it in my head as, “Hmm… this stuff is healthier for me than cupcakes!”

How to Use Hemp Seeds in Baking

Hemp seeds can be used in baking in any recipe that calls for chopped walnuts or pine nuts and could possibly be used in recipes that call for other varieties of nut.  To enhance the nutty, hempy flavor of your dessert, replace the recipe’s milk with hemp milk and consider using hemp oil as the recipe’s fat.  I’ll be sharing two hemp recipes this coming week – a hemp cobbler and hemp cupcakes!

Where To Buy Hemp Seed


Hemp seeds are sold as a health food product.  You can find them at health food stores or in the health food section of your grocery store.  I found my hemp seeds at Whole Foods in the bag shown above near the vitamin supplements.  You can also buy hemp seed online.

My Dream for Hemp

Selling hemp seeds only in health food stores in medicinal looking bags (looking at the tub of hemp seed on Amazon, doesn’t it seem as though it would taste like a pill?) gives hemp seed about as much of a chance at popularity as a child’s toy sold on a top shelf in a black box with no photo.  If hemp seed were sold in serve-yourself bins like sesame seeds and nuts, it would at least have a fair shot of going mainstream.

Have you baked with hemp?

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15 comments on “Hemp Seed – What You Should Know and Tips for Baking With It”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Most important baking tip about hemp… don’t bake at over 350F. Temperatures above 350 harm the beneficial oils in the hemp seed. Thanks for the nice blog post about the great seed.

  2. eaglerose88 says:

    Hello! Thanks for the post. Its nice to see products like that getting more popularity. You have a good point about the marketing of it; the average consumer wouldn’t try it if its not promoted more of a regular seed/nut.
    I have been using it a bit lately; I’ve been putting a few tablespoons in a batch of cookies. Last week I made a batch of apple cinnamon hemp cookies and served them to friends. They said they were delicious…I’d have to agree. Moist, tasty…mmmm!

  3. Very interesting! I haven’t cooked with hemp seeds yet although I think I’ll try it now especially with it’s high protein content.

    Thanks for the post!

  4. Tom Murphy says:

    Anonymous @ May 20, 2011 8:13 PM is correct, but please note that the interior temperature of bread is about 190 degrees when it’s done, so the essential fatty acids in hemp seeds and oil are not degraded. If you are making something like granola which is relatively dried out I would not set the oven above 300 degrees. Remember, it’s the temperature of the finished baked goods that matter.

  5. Anonymous says:

    We often use the whole seed for our baking as it also adds a nice crunch. It also then becomes fibre and protein with a nice nutty taste. When using hulled seed, we often only use it for cool recipes or add it to baking after the majority of the heating has occurred by sprinkling it on top. Not sure where the previous commenters got their info but the smoke point of hemp oil is @160 C/320 F but damage has occurred long before that. At those temps you have burnt the seed. You would want to keep the oils at below room temperature to maximize your EFA intake from hulled seed so think smoothies not cookies.

    I buy my hemp seed at http://www.hempseed.ca as they seem to always have the best prices, the best quality, they sell organic and I can buy in bulk.

  6. Chels says:

    Hello! I came across your article while researching what I can use hemp seed for. I wanted to let you know, regarding your dream, that I purchased my hemp seed in an alternative foods and holistic medicines store from a serve-yourself bulk bin! It is right along side my chia seeds, caco nibs, and coconut flour which is PRECISELY why I purchased it! The weird medical bags and such would be a turn off, and it’s always weird for me to see chia seeds in the vitamin aisle at Walgreens. After researching, both items should be in the grains aisles everywhere. Thank you for the wonderful information.

    • Mill says:

      I feel I need to point out that hemp seeds (especially hulled) should never be stored in clear bins that make the seed visible. While this is very convenient for shoppers, light can cause the oil in the seeds to go rancid and can create free radicals. Hemp seeds should always be refrigerated or stored in cool, dark containers. Sorry. :(

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  8. Lisa says:

    Thanks for the info! I was looking for information on whether or not you can cook with it and it seems they other commenters have cleared that up for me. I want to make sure that my kids are getting the full benefits so maybe I will leave it out of my granola:)

  9. Tony Lee says:

    The hulled seeds are great in the hearth breads both straight dough and sourdough I make at home. I purchase them at Walmart in the baking isle along with chia seeds and quinoa.

  10. Jeanne Willgrubs says:

    Thank you for clarifying that hemp seeds come from a different variety of cannabis than marijuana. I am working at replacing unhealthy ingredients with healthier ones, and I definitely do NOT need the munchies!

  11. judy says:

    I am trying to find a recipe for pastry! We make pies and tarts – how do I substitute Hemp flour with all purpose flour? Will use shells to make butter tarts!

  12. Alexandra says:

    Yes! Thank you for this. I love adding Hemp seeds to, well, everything. Cookies, Muffins, salads, bread, sandwhich toppings, you name it. I have had some questionable looks when I said my toddlers love Hemp seeds…. No, I am not getting my kids high – I’m keeping them healthy!

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