15 Watermelon Recipes That Make the Most of the Season’s Sweetest Fruit


Everyone knows that when the weather heats up, watermelon comes out. Not only does this fruit taste its best during the summer months, but watermelon recipes are the perfect companion for poolside fun and all things outdoors. Whether you’re craving a savory salad with fresh, juicy slices or perhaps a sweet treat to end the day, this list has everything you could dream of.

Before we get into the best watermelon recipes this summer, there are a few important details to keep in mind when preparing and selecting your fruit. You won’t want to miss these steps, as going up against a whole watermelon without some fruit-cutting experience can be daunting. Never fear, however—look no further for everything you need to know for an easy breezy watermelon experience.

How to Pick the Best Watermelon

There are a few key ways to ensure you’re picking the ripest, sweetest, and tastiest watermelon of the bunch. Aside from the fact that watermelon thrives in the summer, below are more considerations to keep in mind during your farmer’s market trip.

  1. Shape and Size. A good rule of thumb—the heavier the watermelon, the juicier it is. They are made of 90% water, after all! Additionally, the best watermelon will be symmetrical in shape, whether it’s round or oval. Irregular shapes can indicate that during the growing process, the watermelon received inconsistent amounts of sun or water.
  2. The Field Spot. When picking your melon, consider where your fruit grew. A yellowish spot on the watermelon, known as the field spot, can indicate where the watermelon grew and ripened on the ground. If the spot is a darker shade of yellow, the watermelon is likely to be sweeter and more mature.
  3. The Sound Test. Once you’ve picked a good-looking melon, tap the fruit with your knuckles. A ripe watermelon will have a deep, hollow sound, while an unripe watermelon will produce a flat or dull sound when tapped.
grilled watermelon salad

How to Cut and Prep Watermelon

There are a couple of ways to go about cutting a watermelon. If its size is overwhelming, these methods may help to simplify the process.

Slices

  1. Slice off both ends of the watermelon.
  2. Stand the watermelon upright and halve the watermelon.
  3. Place each half flat-side down and cut it in half again to quarter the melon.
  4. Slice the quarters into 1-inch slices or whatever size you prefer.

Cubes/Sticks

  1. Slice off both ends of the watermelon.
  2. Stand the watermelon upright and halve the watermelon.
  3. Place each half flat-side down and cut it in half again to quarter the melon.
  4. Place each of your quarters flat side down, and carefully slice along the rind to remove it.
  5. Once you’ve removed your rind, cut the watermelon flesh into sticks and then into cubes if preferred.

15 Watermelon Recipes for a Sweet Summer

watermelon chopped greek salad

Watermelon Chopped Greek Salad

Why We Love It: Until recently, I didn’t understand how versatile watermelon could be, which meant that I hadn’t explored including it in my summer salads. If you’re looking for a healthy and tasty side salad to present at your summer gatherings, this chopped Greek salad is the perfect crowd-pleaser.

Hero Ingredient: A bit of feta goes a long way.

grilled watermelon salad_watermelon recipes

Grilled Watermelon Salad

Why We Love It: Grilled fruit is one of my summer cooking secrets. Paired with a crumbly cheese of your choice, such as feta or goat cheese, this recipe is simple and loved by guests of all ages. Plus, the grill time is less than five minutes, which means more time for fun in the sun.

Hero Ingredient: The cheese is the key.

watermelon vodka cocktail

Watermelon Vodka Cocktail

Why We Love It: We all know and love watermelon bevs, but this vodka cocktail is delicious and absurdly easy to make. Inspired by the cocktail recipe from chef/owner Helene Henderson of Malibu Farm, it’s the ultimate drink to sip on this summer. Simply shake all four ingredients together and serve it up!

Hero Ingredient: Fresh lime juice adds a bit of tang to this cocktail.

watermelon punch

Watermelon Punch

Why We Love It: If you’re looking for a NA option to serve up, this watermelon punch is for you. With a healthy amount of watermelon chunks, paired with lime juice and bubbly club soda, it’s the perfect way to stay hydrated and refreshed in the heat.

Hero Ingredient: Club soda makes this drink feel elevated and light.

watermelon tomato caprese salad_watermelon recipes

Watermelon Tomato Caprese Salad

Why We Love It: Caprese salads are my go-to for summer, as they consist of everything that I adore during the warmer months. Creamy mozzarella cheese, juicy cherry tomatoes, and crunchy cucumbers are the savory elements that work to complement fresh watermelon in this stunning salad. Needless to say, I’m a bit obsessed.

Hero Ingredient: A high-quality EVOO can give this salad a rich addition.

watermelon mint margarita

Watermelon Mint Margarita

Why We Love It: It wouldn’t be summer without a margarita recipe to quench your thirst. It’s hard to resist the slushy combination of fresh fruit and tequila after a day in the heat, and this recipe is sure to satisfy your craving for the frozen bev.

Hero Ingredient: Fresh mint and watermelon are an elite duo.

watermelon salad with cucumber and feta

Watermelon Salad with Cucumber and Feta

Why We Love It: If you’re like me, you’re always on the hunt for a new summer salad recipe that incorporates seasonal flavors. Paired with a simple limey olive oil vinaigrette, this watermelon salad takes less than an hour to throw together, including time spent chilling in the fridge.

Hero Ingredient: Baby arugula adds a bit of green goodness to this fresh fruit salad.

spicy watermelon salad_watermelon recipes

Spicy Watermelon Salad

Why We Love It: With a spicy Indian-inspired kick to complement cool summer flavors, this is one of the watermelon recipes that you can’t go without this season. With additions like paneer and chaat masala to boost your fresh sliced fruit, this is a bowl of sweet, tangy flavor.

Hero Ingredient: Paneer as a salad ingredient? Yes, please.

crispy salmon with watermelon mint salsa

Crispy Salmon with Watermelon Mint Salsa

Why We Love It: This is the summer of salmon recipes. The fish is easy to prepare in a pinch and can be paired with a wide variety of sweet and savory toppings that you may even have lying around in your fridge or pantry.

Hero Ingredient: I’ll be adding this watermelon mint salsa to just about everything for the foreseeable future.

watermelon skewers

Watermelon Skewers

Why We Love It: These skewers can serve as a sweet snack or a light dessert. Either way, they’re a must-have for summer. Simply add all your fruit to skewers, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and basil, and enjoy!

Hero Ingredient: There’s just something about watermelon and basil.

watermelon salad with kale and avocado_watermelon recipes

Watermelon Salad with Kale and Avocado

Why We Love It: Packed with handfuls of curly kale and crispy veggies like sliced fennel, cucumbers, and crunchy radishes, this is THE summer salad. With sliced avocado and crumbled feta to balance out the bold textures in this bowl, it’s hard to resist.

Hero Ingredient: I’m a bit fan of avocado on just about anything.

watermelon agua fresca

Watermelon Agua Fresca from Isabel Eats

Why We Love It: This agua fresa recipe is a foolproof drink that all ages and tastebuds can enjoy. All it takes is watermelon, water, and a bit of sugar, and you’ve got yourself a simple summer bev that’s perfect for the sunniest days.

Hero Ingredient: When it comes to a brewing up a refreshing bev, finishing things off with a sprig of fresh mint is always the answer.

strawberry watermelon sorbet

Strawberry Watermelon Sorbet from Minimalist Baker

Why We Love It: Perhaps the most famous watermelon dessert is sorbet. It consists of an ice cream-like texture, minus the dairy and the copious amounts of sugar. Made by blending frozen watermelon with your alt milk of your choice—along with frozen strawberries and bananas—it’s the ultimate dessert recipe to get the most out of your summer fruits.

Hero Ingredient: Incorporating an alternative milk such as almond or coconut gives this sorbet a nice mouthfeel while still being dairy-free.

watermelon salsa

Watermelon Salsa from Recipe Girl

Why We Love It: Everyone loves a good salsa recipe to snack on pre-dinner or throughout the day. This watermelon salsa is a sweeter take on the traditionally tomato and pepper-based appetizer. Bonus: with only six ingredients, it can be thrown together in 15 minutes.

Hero Ingredient: Fresh jalapeños add a good, spicy kick.

chocolate dipped watermelon_watermelon recipes

Easy Chocolate Dipped Watermelon Bites from The Glutenless Maximus

Why We Love It: This is one of those “don’t knock it ’till you try it” watermelon recipes. But if the flavor combo seems up your alley, this is a stunning and simple dessert that’s sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Simply dip your ripe watermelon pieces in dark or milk chocolate and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. 

Hero Ingredient: Whatever chocolate you opt for, it gives a nice bit of decadence to this virtuous dessert.





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