shelling hemp seeds

Shelling Hemp Seeds: A Step-by-Step Guide

Whole hemp seeds are great sources of fiber in addition to the health benefits of the inner hemp hearts. However, for some recipes, you’ll want to remove the shells and just keep the hemp hearts.

While shelled hemp seeds are available (hemp hearts), whole hemp seeds often cost less, especially if you’re buying in bulk. Shelling at home also allows you to process some seeds while leaving others whole for different uses.

This article will show you two methods for shelling hemp seeds – Muscle Power and Electrical Power. Both methods include a two-part process where the seeds are first ruptured (part 1), and then separated from the shells (part 2).

BTW, if you’re looking to buy hemp seeds, make sure you read our review of the best hemp seeds on the market.

Method One: Muscle Power

This is the old-fashioned way of shelling hemp seeds and is also a great workout for your arms.

  • Serving: Makes 1 pound shelled hemp seeds
  • Time: About 15 minutes


  • 1 pound whole hemp seeds

Pro Tip: A pound is a good amount for this method. Much more and it will feel like a chore, but less might not feel worth the effort.

Equipment Required

  • Sturdy flat surface
  • Rolling pin
  • Clean dish or tea towel
  • Medium to large pot of water
  • Large spoon
  • Sieve or strainer

Instead of a rolling pin, some people use a wooden mallet or another implement for smashing the shells open.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Spread out the seeds in a single layer but close together, then cover them with a towel to keep them from skittering away.
  2. Proceed to crush the seeds with the rolling pin. Make several passes over the seeds.
  3. Pour the seeds into a pot of water and stir to separate the hearts and shells. The shells will float to the top, and the hearts will sink.
  4. Skim the shells out of the water. Continue stirring and skimming until all the shells are gone.
  5. Pour the water into a strainer/colander in the sink. Examine the seeds for any remaining shells.
  6. You can use the seeds right away or spread them out on a towel to dry.

Method Two: Electrical Power

This method comes from a hemp seed aficionado named Ken Gtwo who demonstrates this method in the video below. This way of shelling produces fine, ground hemp hearts.

  • Serving: Makes 1/3 cup shelled hemp seeds
  • Time: About 10 minutes


  • 1/2 cup whole hemp seeds

The exact amount of seeds you can shell with this method will depend on the size of your processor.

Equipment Required

  • Bladed electric food processor/blender
  • Spatula
  • Mesh sieve
  • Bowl

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Pour the whole hemp seeds into your processor.
    • Pro Tip: Don’t pile the seeds much higher than the blades of your appliance. This way as many seeds as possible will be split.
  2. Run the processor until you see bits of the hearts accumulating on the sides. It shouldn’t take more than 20-30 seconds.
  3. Scrape everything out of the processor into a mesh sieve over a bowl.
  4. Shake the sieve. The hemp hearts, being softer, should have been chopped fine enough to fall through while the bigger pieces of shell remain in the sieve.
  5. You can use the spatula to push down to get as much of the hemp hearts through.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to shell hemp seeds, you should have no problem including hemp hearts into your everyday diet. 

We hope you enjoyed this article on shelling hemp seeds. If you did, please share this page and leave your comments or questions.