How to Cut a Watermelon Into Slices, Spears, Cubes, and Other Shapes
The heat of summer can be brutal, but there's always the refreshing balm of hot weather treats. Cooling off means ice cream, frozen cocktails, and perhaps the most ubiquitous summertime snack—watermelon. It appears in grocery stores and at farmers' markets starting in May. Most (80 percent) of the watermelons that make their way across the U.S. come from just four states: Florida, Georgia, Texas, and California. The good news is that a good watermelon can be found wherever you live.
Once you've managed to wrangle this beloved behemoth of a fruit home from the market and onto your countertop, you're faced with the task of cutting your watermelon into slices, cubes, or other shapes, and that can be an intimidating process. Use this guide to how to cut a watermelon to make the job easy.
What You Need to Cut a Watermelon
You'll be pleased to hear that you already have what you need to cut a watermelon. No gadgets necessary, the sole tool needed for the task is none other than the largest chef's knife you have—the bigger the better, and of course, it must be sharp.
If you'd prefer to work with a cutting board, we recommend using a plastic one because wooden cutting boards tend to warp in the presence of copious moisture, and you can only hope your watermelon is nice and juicy! What works just as well as an alternative to a cutting board is a slightly damp clean tea towel spread open across your work surface. The tea towel will absorb those errant juices, preventing your surface from getting too slippery, and also provides a textured surface so your watermelon is not at risk of sliding around. Once you're set up and ready to go, the various ways of cutting a watermelon couldn't be simpler.
4 Ways to Cut a Watermelon
A fully peeled melon lends itself best to being cut into large chunks for smoothies or smaller cubes for snacking. To rid the watermelon of its trademark rind before cutting it into your desired shape, trim the very ends (about 1/2 inch thick) off of each side of your fruit. Then, cut it in half crosswise. Place each half flesh side down, and with your knife, cut away the rind from the sides in large strips, following the natural curve of the melon.
Then, cut each peeled half into 1-inch thick slices. Lay those slices on their sides, and cut each slice into 1-inch thick strips. From there, cut each strip into 1-inch cubes.
For a party or picnic, long spears of watermelon are best for a crowd. With the rind still intact, hands don't get too messy and provide an easy handle for guests to grab onto from a platter. To cut your watermelon into spears, first cut the whole watermelon in half crosswise. Place each half flesh side down on your work surface, and cut each slice into 1-inch thick slices. Rotate your board or tea towel 90 degrees, and cut directly perpendicular to the slices in order to make spears.
For an attractive display, sharp triangular slices or wedges of watermelon are as classic as they come. To start, trim the very ends (about 1/2 inch thick) off of each side of your watermelon. Place your watermelon vertically on your work surface, and cut the entire watermelon into quarters lengthwise. Take each quarter and lay it on its side, and cut each quarter into 1-inch thick triangles.
Rounds and Other Shapes
Fun for kids and adults alike, watermelon slices are even more enjoyable when cut into shapes using cookie cutters. To give yourself a large diameter of space to cut out shapes, simple round slices of watermelon are most useful here. To stabilize the watermelon, position it lengthwise on your work surface, and cut a thin bit off the side. This will provide a flat surface to set on your board, and from there you can cut slices crosswise, 1-2 inches thick. Once shapes are cut out, save the scraps to use for smoothies, juices, or salads.