Hemp Seeds vs. Hemp Hearts: What Is the Difference

By: Bob's Red Mill | October 22 2022

If you enjoy cooking with hemp but are often confused by the difference between hemp seeds vs. hemp hearts, you are not alone. Hemp is a plant that can be used in many ways. It can be used to make industrial and commercial products like rope, textiles and clothing. Or, it can be consumed and enjoyed in recipes like this Deliciously Addictive Hemp Pesto. Hemp seeds and hemp hearts are vital ingredients in several recipes, and knowing the difference between the two can save you from recipe disaster. Continue reading to learn more about these two hemp products and how you can use them to create great tasting meals.

What Is Hemp?

hemp protein

Hemp is a plant that has been around for thousands of years. A botanical class of cannabis sativa cultivars, hemp is grown for several different uses and can be used to create many products. In fact, hemp was one of the first plants to be spun into usable fiber nearly 50,000 years ago. In addition, because hemp plants are fast growing and nutritious, they are often used to create nutritional supplements like hemp protein, hemp seeds and hemp hearts.

What Are Hemp Seeds?

So, what are hemp seeds? Hemp seeds are exactly what they sound like—the seeds of the hemp plant. While the hemp plant is often associated with cannabis, hemp seeds have very little to no amounts of THC and are safe to consume regularly.

While most hemp seeds you find on shelves are hulled before being packaged and sold, they are safe to eat with their shells intact. And some people even prefer the crunchiness of the whole hemp seed.

What Are Hemp Hearts?

Wondering how hemp hearts differ from hemp seeds? Hemp hearts are the soft inner part of the hemp seeds once they have been completely unshelled. The texture is much more delicate and somewhat squishy, and like hemp seeds, they do not contain CBD or THC. Hemp hearts are packed with nutrients and are easy to digest, making them an excellent nutritional supplement for individuals with sensitive stomachs.

Hemp Seeds vs. Hemp Hearts: Uses

hemp products

While the products are often used interchangeably, hemp hearts are more popular when it comes to cooking. While some people like the added crunch that a hemp seed's shell provides, it doesn't always benefit the texture of a dish. Therefore most hemp based recipes call for products like hemp protein and hemp hearts instead.

Hemp Seeds vs. Hemp Hearts: Nutrition

Hemp seeds and hemp hearts have remarkably similar nutritional values. However, the crunchy shell of hemp seeds is an excellent source of fiber. When ground into a hemp powder, shelled hemp seeds make a perfect supplement in smoothies, sauces and soups.

Directly derived from the hemp seed, hemp hearts boast the same nutrients. However, they contain less fiber, as the shell has already been removed.

Benefits of Hemp Hearts

Curious to learn how adding hemp to your diet will benefit you? Here are a few reasons we enjoy adding hemp hearts to our meals.

A Source of Protein and Healthy Fats

Not only are hemp hearts a source of plant based protein, but they also contain healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids. When combined with a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidant compounds, hemp hearts are a nutritional powerhouse that can benefit cardiovascular and metabolic health.

Contain Potassium and Iron

Hemp hearts offer beneficial amounts of iron and potassium—two nutrients that many individuals tend to lack. Iron and potassium may help reduce blood pressure when consumed in healthy amounts, making them a fantastic option for people with high blood pressure levels. Incorporating hemp hearts into your daily diet can ensure you meet your nutritional requirements while enjoying great tasting meals.

Source of Fiber

We mentioned that hemp seeds are a good source of fiber due to the shell surrounding the seed. While much of that fiber is lost when the seeds are hulled, there is still some fiber that remains. Though hemp hearts are not as rich in fiber as seeds, they are still a quality source. In fact, just one serving of hemp hearts provides nearly 3 grams of fiber or 11% of the daily recommended amount. Though many people may benefit from the high amounts of fiber found in hemp seed shells, not everyone can digest the intact seeds easily, making hemp hearts a fantastic alternative.

Where to Buy Hemp Seeds

hemp seeds

A few years ago, finding hemp hearts wasn't an easy task. At one time, hemp seeds were often only found in specialty stores. Now, hemp hearts are more widely available and can be found in most grocery stores and online retailers. 

When searching for hemp hearts, you will typically find them in the nut and seed section. However, they may also be located in the health food section of some stores. A healthy addition to any meal, hemp hearts can be used to spice up a yogurt parfait or baked into your favorite cookie recipe—the possibilities are endless!

To purchase Bob's Red Mill Hulled Hemp Seed Hearts, buy online or find them in store at local retailers using our store finder.

Hemp Based Recipes

Would you like to begin cooking with hemp? Check out the mouth watering recipes below for inspiration.

Dried Fruit Cashew Granola

Have you always dreamed of making homemade granola but found the thought of mixing all those ingredients overwhelming? Good granola doesn't have to include a million ingredients. In fact, good granola is simple to make. By using a handful of flavorful and wholesome ingredients like Gluten Free Old Fashioned Rolled Oats, Hulled Hemp Seed Hearts, Organic Chia Seeds and dried cranberries, you can create a granola that is bursting with flavor and texture. Try out this Dried Fruit Cashew Granola, and let us know what you think in the comments below.

Vegan Baked Oatmeal

Earlier, we mentioned that Hulled Hemp Seed Hearts were an excellent ingredient to add to your favorite baked goods, and we weren't joking. Baking hemp hearts into a delicious meal like this Vegan Baked Oatmeal is a fantastic way to take the texture and flavor of the dish up a notch. Plus, this breakfast will leave you feeling better than ever when combined with other good-for-you ingredients like Flax seed Meal and Organic Thick Rolled Oats. Simple to make and great tasting, this oatmeal is gluten free and vegan!

Vegan Savory Mediterranean Muffins

Vegan Savory Mediterranean Muffins

If you have been waiting for a savory option, now is the time to stop scrolling. The versatile flavor and texture of hemp hearts make them easy to incorporate into all kinds of meals, even savory ones. To use Hulled Hemp Seed Hearts to create a delicious on-the-go treat, follow this Vegan Savory Mediterranean Muffin Recipe. Ideal when enjoyed as a lunch or snack, the base of these muffins is made with Almond Flour, oats and Hulled Hemp Seed Hearts and combined with flavorful ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes and chopped black garlic. Gluten free and vegan, it's a treat that everyone can enjoy.

Gluten Free Quinoa Carrot Cake

To make a dessert recipe that is sure to be the life of the party, there are two things that you'll need to bring to the table—a gluten free dish and lots of flavors. Most dessert tables lack gluten free options because they are harder to make. Without the gluten helping to bind the ingredients together, a gluten free dessert may turn out crumbly or flavorless. Luckily that's not the case with this Gluten Free Quinoa Carrot Cake. A tender and flavorful dessert, this carrot cake tastes just as great as traditional versions and has the added nutrition of tricolor quinoa. Topped with cream cheese frosting for even more great flavor, it will undoubtedly have everyone talking. 

Red Pepper Hemp Smoothie

We couldn't end this list of delicious hemp-based recipes without adding a smoothie recipe for you to try at home. Hemp can be added to any smoothie as a fun, tasty and nutritious addition to a great breakfast or snack, and this Red Pepper Hemp Smoothie proves it. Made with our Hemp Protein Powder, red bell pepper, lime juice and mango, it's a thick and nutritious smoothie you can enjoy as you head out the door.

While there are slight nutritional differences between hemp seeds and hemp hearts, both supplements contain fantastic health benefits. Review the information and recipes above to help you decide which meals you'd like to begin adding hemp hearts to. One thing is for sure, no matter what you choose to create with hemp hearts, it's bound to be delicious. From everyone at Bob's Red Mill, have a healthy and happy day!

Do you cook with hemp hearts often? We'd love to hear about the recipes that you create. Share your favorite hemp-based dishes with us in the comments below.



  1. Ronda Bednarz
    I bought your flaxseeds. I noticed you also sell sesame seeds. Is there any way the sesame seeds could have cross contaminated the flaxseeds? I am deadly allergy to sesame and need to know.
    1. Elisabeth Allie
      Hi Ronda, please email [email protected] for assistance.

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