17 Watermelon Recipes Sure to Sweeten Your Summer Menu

Raymond Hom

There's nothing more satisfying than biting into a wedge of cold watermelon on a hot day. But why stop there? Thanks to its crispy texture and refreshing taste, the summer fruit can be enjoyed in a plethora of delicious ways. Watermelon works well in entrées (like salads) and beverages (like punch), along with treats like ice pops. It also boasts a light crunch that complements more filling ingredients, like pork cutlets or seafood. If you need inspiration on how to enjoy this fruit all summer long, you're in luck—our collection of tasty watermelon recipes will elevate your seasonal spread, whether you're planning a garden picnic or poolside barbecue.

Watermelon, after all, is in season between May and September. This means summer is the best time to experiment with watermelon dishes, as the fruit will be sweeter and fresher. If you're lucky, you might even be able to buy watermelon at your local farmers' market. This is an excellent way to connect with the people that grew your food—which, if we're being honest, makes eating the fruit that much sweeter. While you're at it, pick up a few cucumbers (another summer fruit) for Melon-Cucumber Salad and Watermelon Cucumber Coolers.

Besides, a summer soirée simply doesn't feel complete without watermelon. It's right up there with ice cream sandwiches, fresh squeezed lemonade, and savory grilled kebabs. Like these foods, watermelon has become a mascot of the summer season, sparking memories of sunshine and hot weather with every crispy bite.

If you typically enjoy watermelon on its own, you're in for a real treat. From Watermelon Mojitos to Oysters on the Half Shell with Watermelon Granita, these options are equal parts creative and enticing. Read on for our favorite ways to eat this iconic summer fruit.

01 of 17

Cool and Crunchy Melon-Cucumber Salad

Cool and Crunchy Melon-Cucumber Salad
Aaron Dyer

Beat the heat—and stay hydrated—by pairing melons and cucumber in a light salad. Yuzu juice adds a bright and sunny flavor, but lemon or lime juice work just as well. Enjoy this cooling dish with toothpicks or serve it with protein, like grilled shrimp or chicken.

02 of 17

Peach Salad with Melon and Lillet

peach salad with melon and lillet
Paola + Murray

This vibrant salad might sound fancy, but it's so easy to make. Marinate peach wedges and melon chunks with the French aperitif wine Lillet Rosé and lime juice, then garnish with fresh basil from the garden. The result is a colorful, juicy salad that tastes as good as it looks.

03 of 17

Grilled Pork Cutlets with Watermelon-Cucumber Salad

Grilled Pork Cutlets with Watermelon-Cucumber Salad

If you're looking for an excuse to fire up the grill, this is it. The jalapeño chile offers a spicy kick, while the watermelon-cucumber salad lends a cool sweetness. Try this combo with chicken, salmon, or shrimp if you don't eat pork.

04 of 17

Boozy Melon

boozy melon fruit in glass bowls
Bryan Gardner

Sometimes, the best ideas are the simplest. Case in point: Soak watermelon cubes in a boozy syrup, then chill them in the refrigerator overnight. By the next day, you'll have a succulent alcohol-infused treat that can be served with toothpicks or in bowls.

05 of 17

Melon Milk Pops

melon milk pops
Marcus Nilsson

Long gone are the days of chasing after the ice cream truck. Make homemade ice pops by blending condensed milk with cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon in separate batches. Once layered and frozen into popsicle molds, the ice pops will create a natural tie-dye look. Food coloring who?

06 of 17

Iced Watermelon-Lemon Tea

watermelon lemon tea
Ren Fuller

For a seasonal riff on the classic Arnold Palmer, try this watermelon and lemon iced tea combo. Create a fun, crowd-pleasing visual by adding frozen melon balls instead of ice cubes. Turn it into a cocktail by adding vodka or rum, or keep it booze-free for the kids.

07 of 17

Swordfish with Watermelon and Lime-Ginger Citronette

Jonathan Lovekin

Impress your guests with this mouthwatering seafood recipe. Ready in just 25 minutes, this dish features grilled skinless swordfish steak on a bed of watermelon and lettuce. The lime ginger dressing adds a bright dash of tanginess, ultimately rounding out the meal.

08 of 17

Watermelon Smoothie

Mike Krautter

Perfectly creamy and sweet, this watermelon smoothie will hit the spot on a hot summer day. Make it dairy-free by using almond, cashew, or coconut milk—whatever suits your fancy. For a portable version, freeze the smoothie into ice pop molds for a delightful frozen treat.

09 of 17

Watermelon Punch and Bowl

Johnny Miller

Who needs a punch bowl when you have a melon? With a few clever cuts, you can turn a watermelon into an attractive zero-waste bowl. Purée the flesh in a blender, then mix it with seltzer for a fizzy punch. Serve it as is or add lemon juice and sugar for extra flavor.

10 of 17

Watermelon, Orange, and Feta Salad

Watermelon, Orange, and Feta Salad

Between the salty feta cheese and sweet watermelon, this salad will make your taste buds sing. Use French feta, Greek feta, or your favorite kind—any type of feta is fair game for this recipe. Add thinly sliced onions for a kick, or skip them if raw onions aren't your thing. Serve the salad with grilled meat or as part of a cheese board.

11 of 17

Watermelon Mint Sorbet

Watermelon-Mint Sorbet

If you have an ice cream maker, you'll want to add this homemade sorbet to your to-do list. It calls for nothing more than mint simple syrup, watermelon purée, and lime juice. Enjoy a scoop (or three) after lunch or whenever you're craving a frozen treat.

12 of 17

Oysters on the Half Shell with Watermelon Granita

Oysters on the Half Shell with Watermelon Granita

For a sweet take on the standard mignonette, blend frozen watermelon purée with pepper and lemon juice. Spoon the granita on top of oysters or serve it alongside other sauces for a crowd-pleasing DIY oyster bar.

13 of 17

Tabbouleh with Watermelon

Mikkel Vang

Give dinner a summery twist with this watermelon tabbouleh. Bulgur meets cubed watermelon and parsley, then mingles with scallions and goat cheese. Serve it in lettuce wraps or with grilled meat of your choice.

14 of 17

Yogurt-Marinated Chicken with Watermelon Salad

Yogurt-Marinated Chicken with Watermelon Salad

Equal parts sweet and savory, this chicken and watermelon recipe boasts a medley of delicious flavors. The yogurt marinade makes the chicken extra moist, offering a texture that complements the crispy watermelon so well. The best part? It takes just 30 minutes to make.

15 of 17

Watermelon and Tomato Salad Basil Oil

Christopher Baker

For another savory option, toss watermelon cubes with a robust basil-infused olive oil. Make the most of summer produce by adding cucumber and tomatoes, plus more basil for good measure. Chunks of goat cheese adds a tangy touch, but you can also use crumbled feta or dollops of ricotta.

16 of 17

Watermelon and Coconut Sorbet Parfaits


Creamy coconut sorbet is the perfect partner for crunchy, juicy watermelon cubes. Layer the ingredients in clear glasses, then top off with toasted coconut flakes and lime zest. The red and white layers will create a beautiful visual that screams summer.

17 of 17

Watermelon Mojitos

This summer, cool down with a batch of watermelon mint mojitos. Purée watermelon in a blender, then mix it with lime juice, fresh mint, and sugar. Maple syrup and honey also work well. To make it kid-friendly, skip the rum and add seltzer or club soda instead.

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