Egusi seeds are flat ovoid seeds with a tapering pointed end, milky to white in colour, very rich in protein and a special type of highly nutritious plant oil, used in preparing the popular Nigerian egusi soup.
It is used in making cakes and other fruit snacks. A very health cholesterol free oil is also made from this seeds.

You can buy egusi seeds either in whole or ground form online and get it delivered to your door by clicking on to your African food shop here.

Also learn about egusi soup recipes as well as other uses of here.

Egusi refers to the seeds of a highly nutritious type of water melon found widely in Africa, called Citrullus lanatus. It is popularly used in soups in West and Central Africa. It is also called melon, agushi or guna shanu (Hausa), ikpoghiri (Itsekiri), neri niri (Ghanaians)or ibara (Congolese). They have a very long shelf like and are quite versatile in the ranges of uses they can be put into both in human and livestock feeding, as well as manufacturing.

It is called sesame seed in French speaking regions of the world. These names will be used interchangeably here.

Several other seed plants that look like this seed are erroneously called egusi too.

They grow on dry land, and have a light brown shell or husk covering the whitish seed. They look like the pumpkin seed in appearance, and are often swapped for them where not available. It is not uncommon to find families sitting around a tray full of this seed, removing husk from it.

Agusi or melon prominently features in most African foods, especially Nigerian, Ghanaian, Sierra Leonian and Congolese soups. They are also largely grown in Northern Namibia. They are very rich in protein and oils.

It is widely used as soup thickener in various other soup preparations as well as used in making puddings and as ingredient in making pizza.

It also has medicinal use.

Nutritional Value of Agusi

Egusi is very high in nutritional value. It is made up of 30 – 40 % protein, and about the same proportion of oil. The oil is cholesterol free.

The news get even better: 78 % of the fat is unsaturated fatty acid, which is protective to the heart. In terms of vitamins, it contains alpha-tocopherol, a component of vitamin E that helps in maintaining smooth young skin and good fertility.

It also contains palmitic, stearic, linoleic and oleic acids important in protecting the heart too, and very small amount of carbohydrate and calcium. No wonder the Centre for Cover Crops Information and Seed Exchange in Africa decries the gross under researched and utility of egusi. It could greatly help to wipe off malnutrition.

Like most African foods grown in Africa, agusi is organically grown.


Recipes from this melon are incredibly varied, depending on which part of Africa you come from. If you are reading about this melon seed for the first time, do not waste time. Try something new today. You will really enjoy it. It is also nutritionally rich. Learn these recipes by heart and a great culinary delight awaits you.

Here, we shall touch on the main and widely known ones. Egusi recipes include:

  • Agusi Soup

    If you are new to African foods, and looking for one recipe or African food item to taste, this soup served with pounded yam is a must eat!

  • Banga Soup thickener

  • Agusi Rice Sauce

Where To Buy Egusi

Melon or agushi seeds come with the shell or husk still on in traditional African markets. It is removed and sold as the seed, or grounded by blending, and sold as grounded melon.

You can buy egusi or melon from most African food stores outside of Africa, especially in the US and UK. If you live in the UK, can get agusi delivered to your door next day. You can order the already grounded or whole melon seed here.