20 Watermelon Recipes for Summer

Publish Date May 8, 2024

Few foods say “summer” quite like watermelon. This juicy fruit can help add sweetness to your barbecue menu, and since it’s made up of 92% water, watermelon can help boost your water intake on a hot day.

It’s certainly a feel-good food, since it contains numerous vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. And it’s versatile, too – tasting great on its own or as an ingredient in dishes or drinks. Let’s break down how to pick and prepare watermelons and explore some of our favorite watermelon recipes.

Choosing a Watermelon

Check out these steps for identifying a ripe watermelon:

  1. Look the melon over and ensure that it’s firm and free from bruises or dents.
  2. Lift the melon to see how much it weighs. It should be heavy – if 1 melon seems lighter than others, it may have lost its water and spoiled.
  3. Turn the melon over. A healthy watermelon will have a rich yellow spot on its underside, which was formed during the ripening process as it sat in the sun. A common misconception is that stripes indicate ripeness. However, having stripes is just a characteristic of some watermelons.

After you’ve picked the perfect watermelon, it’s time to decide how you’re going to use and store it. A whole, uncut watermelon should stay at room temperature until ready to be used. Once cut open, it should be refrigerated in an airtight container and eaten within 3-5 days.

Shop Watermelon

Preparing a Watermelon

Using a serrated bread knife, carefully slice off the top and bottom of the watermelon. Then cut the melon into wedges or chunks. If your melon has seeds, you can scrape them out with a spoon. The rind is edible (once cooked), but if you want to remove it, hold your wedge steady and slice the melon away where the pink flesh begins to turn white.

How to Cut a Watermelon

Check out our best tips and tricks on how to cut watermelon.

Watermelon Recipes and Inspiration

Getting geared up for summer? Check out some of our favorite watermelon recipes and ideas.

Watermelon Steak Recipe

The flavors in this recipe are inspired by grilled ahi tuna salad, but it features watermelon as a great visual and flavor stand-in for fish.

Watermelon Salad Recipe

This fun salad combines fruit and vegetables for a refreshing meal that’s also quick and easy to make. The grilled chicken adds summertime flair, but it can also be prepared in a skillet off-season.

Watermelon Salsa Recipe

This watermelon salsa can add a touch of sweetness to its salmon counterpart. Plus, using cedar planks simplifies the grilling process, since the salmon won’t stick to the grates. Cedar also adds a delicious smoky flavor to each bite.

Watermelon Margarita and Cocktail Inspiration

Looking for a summer sip with a little kick to it? Heating agave syrup with sliced jalapeños makes a spicy-sweet syrup that’s easy to stir into mocktails or cocktails.

More Watermelon Recipes for Summer

More Summer Inspiration

Find more summer ideas with our best ideas for summer party foods, summer grilling, and even more party recipes and tips.