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This is How to Select and Recipes to Make with Watermelon

This is How to Select and Recipes to Make with Watermelon

Use these tips to choose a perfectly ripe watermelon at the store, plus 17 watermelon recipes the whole family will love


There's nothing better on a hot summer day than biting into a slice of perfectly ripe watermelon! So use the below tips to pick a ripe watermelon at the store and store it properly at home. Then choose a watermelon recipe to put a new spin on summer's favorite fruit, including a watermelon feta salad recipe, watermelon salsa recipes, watermelon cake recipes, and watermelon barbecue recipes—all courtesy of the National Watermelon Promotion Board and Planet Hollywood Time Square. Whether you're grilling up a feast or want to make your summer backyard barbecue healthier, everyone in your family will love these unique watermelon recipes!

How do I pick a ripe watermelon and store it properly?

Watermelon may be a classic summer favorite for kids and parents, but choosing a perfectly sweet and juicy one from the bin-full at the local grocery can be difficult. Use the following tips to ensure your watermelon is a prime pick and then use it to make the delicious recipes at the bottom.

Ripe watermelons are heavy.
Look the watermelon over. You are looking for a firm, symmetrical watermelon that is free from bruises, cuts, or dents. Lift it up. The watermelon should be heavy for its size. Watermelon is 92% water; most of the weight is water. Turn it over. The underside of the watermelon should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun

Store watermelon on the warm side.
Compared to most fruits, watermelons need a more "tropical" climate - a thermometer reading of 55° F is ideal. However, whole melons will keep for 7 to 10 days at room temperature. Store them too long, and they'll lose flavor and texture. After cutting, store watermelon in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Lower temperatures can cause chill injury.
After two days at 32° F, watermelons develop an off-flavor, become pitted, and lose color. Freezing causes rind to break down and produces a mealy, mushy texture. Once a melon is cut, it should be wrapped and stored at 36-39°F.

Use safe handling practices.
According to the FDA, you should wash all fruits and vegetables, including all melons, in clean, running water before eating them. This is true of all fruits and vegetables, rinds or not. You should also use clean knives and cutting surfaces. Additionally, persons preparing melons, fruits, vegetables, or other foodstuffs should thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water prior to preparing the food for eating.

Removing seeds is a breeze.
Although a majority of watermelons available are seedless, these instructions will remove seeds quickly and easily: Wash and quarter a whole melon, then cut each quarter into three or four wedges. Cut lengthwise along the seed line with a paring knife, and lift off the piece. Using a fork, scrape seeds both from the removed piece and the remaining flesh on the rind. Use for cubes or continue with the recipe.

Watermelon Breakfast Recipes

Watermelon Breakfast Lasagna

Try this breakfast lasagna made with watermelon, corn flakes, and other fruits for a healthy, hydrating meal.

watermelon breakfast lasagna

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups corn flakes
  • 2 cups minced watermelon
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries or sliced strawberries
  • 2 cups vanilla yogurt

Directions:

  1. Place of the corn flakes in an even layer in the bottom of an 8-by-8-inch serving dish.
  2. Mix together the watermelon, blueberries, and yogurt in a separate bowl.
  3. Spoon half of the fruit and yogurt mixture over the corn flake layer evenly. Sprinkle another layer of corn flakes over the yogurt and then layer the remaining yogurt over that. Finish with a sprinkling of the remaining corn flakes.

Watermelon Dip, Salsa, and Sauce Recipes

Spicy Watermelon Hummus

While a great partner to pita chips or raw veggies, this hummus also makes a great sandwich spread or topping for bruschetta. The heat of the spices is balanced by the cooling addition of watermelon juice.

spicy watermelon hummus

Makes: 1½ cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 2 heaping Tablespoons diced red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • cup watermelon juice (liquify watermelon in a blender)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1½ Tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon lemon peel
  • ¼ teaspoon each: ground cumin, coriander, ground ginger, paprika, and turmeric
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup diced watermelon
  • Parsley sprigs

Directions:

  1. Mince garlic in a food processor. Add onion and parsley and blend until fully minced. Add remaining ingredients (except watermelon and parsley sprigs) and blend until smooth.
  2. Refrigerate for at least half an hour to allow flavors to blend. Garnish with diced watermelon and parsley sprigs. Serve with pita bread, baked chips, or baby carrots.

Watermelon Fire and Ice Salsa

Use watermelon in place of tomatoes to create a spicy and sweet salsa for your next backyard barbecue.

spicy watermelon salsa

Makes: 3 cups

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups de-seeded and chopped watermelon
  • ½ cup diced green peppers
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon diced cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon diced green onion
  • 1-2 tablespoons diced jalapeño peppers

Directions:

  1. Combine ingredients; mix well and cover.
  2. Refrigerate 1 hour or longer. Serve with chips or as a garnish for chicken and fish.

Watermelon BBQ Sauce

watermelon barbecue sauce

Makes: 1½ cups

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup watermelon juice
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. Stir all ingredients together.
  2. Pour enough sauce over vegetables, chicken, pork, fish, or shellfish to marinate. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  3. Baste with additional sauce while grilling or broiling.

Note: Sauce not used for marinating or basting can be spooned over cooked vegetables and meats.

Watermelon Crunch Salsa

watermelon salsa

Serves: 12-16 

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups ¼-inch cubed seedless watermelon
  • 2 cups ¼-inch cubed jicama
  • 1 cup ¼-inch cubed carrots
  • 2 cups minced purple cabbage
  • 1 cup minced sweet yellow banana or bell peppers
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
  • 6 limes (juice from the fresh squeezed limes)
  • Sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Prepare each ingredient and toss together just before serving.

Watermelon Salad and Slaw Recipes

Watermelon Feta Salad

New York City's only Planet Hollywood, located in the heart of Times Square, shares its easy-to-make summer watermelon salad recipe that features summer's refreshing fruit.

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag baby arugula
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • 2 cups tomato, cubed
  • 2 cups watermelon, cubed
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup feta cheese crumbles

Directions:

  1. Combine arugula and spinach in a large bowl
  2. Add tomatoes and watermelon
  3. In a small bowl, mix lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and sugar
  4. Toss gently with your hands.
  5. Transfer to a chilled serving bowl.
  6. Top with crumbled feta.

Watermelon Mediterranean Salad

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups torn mixed salad greens
  • 3 cups cubed seeded watermelon
  • ½ cup sliced onion
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • dash cracked black pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except oil and pepper.
  2. Just before serving, toss salad mixture with oil and garnish with pepper.

Watermelon Rind Coleslaw

Makes: 4 cups

Ingredients:

Dressing:

  • ¼ cup fat-free, plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1½ Tablespoons stone-ground mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Slaw:

  • 4 cups grated watermelon rind with fruit and green peel removed
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1½ cup diced fresh pineapple

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, blend dressing ingredients thoroughly. Set aside.
  2. Place watermelon rind on several layers of paper towels to soak up excess fluid.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, place dressing, rind, carrot, and pineapple and toss to thoroughly coat. Serve.

Watermelon Pomegranate Tossed Salad

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Dressing:

  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar (Pomegranate vinegar is the best)
  • 1½ Tablespoons orange zest
  • 1 Tablespoon agave syrup
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon stone-ground mustard
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Salad:

  • 8 cups baby spinach (one 6-ounce bag or carton)
  • ¾ cup diced red onion
  • 2 cups diced watermelon (placed on paper towel to drain excess fluid)
  • 1 clamshell (6 ounces)
  • fresh raspberries
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds

Directions:

  1. Place juice in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and simmer until reduced to about 3 tablespoons and liquid is a thick syrup. Set aside. When cool, add remaining dressing ingredients, from vinegar to salt and pepper. Whip. Set aside for flavors to blend.
  2. Place spinach in a large serving bowl. Top with onion, watermelon, raspberries, and pomegranate seeds. Divide onto 4 salad plates and drizzle with dressing.

Watermelon Main Dish Recipes

Red, White & Blue Cheese Sliders

Slices of watermelon add a cool juiciness to these turkey burger sliders. Add creamy blue cheese and you've got a triple threat on a bun!



watermelon turkey sliders

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2-4 drops Tabasco
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 celery stalks, diced (approximately ½ cup)
  • ½ medium yellow onion, diced (approximately ½ cup)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 2 Tablespoons bread crumbs
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 8 whole-wheat slider buns
  • 8 leaves bibb lettuce
  • 8 slices watermelon (cut into 4-inch squares, each ½-inch thick)

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, blend blue cheese, mayo, and Tabasco. Cover and refrigerate to let flavors blend.
  2. Spray a medium, nonstick skillet and heat over medium-high. Add celery and onion and cook until onion is almost transparent, approximately 10 minutes. Add thyme and parsley. Toss and continue to cook for 4 minutes, or until parsley begins to wilt. Cool slightly.
  3. In a medium bowl, blend turkey, bread crumbs, and celery mixture, as well as salt and pepper to taste, until thoroughly mixed. Divide into 8 small, flat patties.
  4. Spray a nonstick skillet or griddle and heat on medium-high. Add patties and cook, turning once, until the burger is cooked through, approximately 5 minutes per side (internal temperature should be at least 165° F).
  5. While patties are cooking, toast the buns on a griddle or pan.
  6. Assemble sliders: Place ½ Tablespoon blue cheese mayo on the bottom of each bun. (Note: Pictured is a slice of blue cheese instead of blue cheese mayo). Top with burger, a slice of watermelon, bibb lettuce leaf, and other half of the bun.

Grilled Watermelon & Pork Kabobs

Savor some grilled goodness with these colorful fruit and veggie kabobs. Healthy, hydrating watermelon is the star ingredient of these colorful skewers, along with marinated chunks of pork, zucchini, and peppers.

watermelon and pork kabobs

Servings: 8

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 6 Tablespoons diced red onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon ground thyme
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 pound boned, lean pork chop, cut into 1-inch cubes (approximately 38-40 pieces)
  • 32 cubes watermelon (1 inch each), plus extra for garnish if desired
  • 16-24 zucchini rounds (½ inch thick)
  • 16 pineapple chunks, fresh or canned (1 inch each)
  • 24 yellow or orange peppers chunks (1 inch each, approximately 3-4 peppers total)

You’ll also need:

  • 8 skewers
  • Cooking spray
  • Sesame seeds for garnish

Directions:

  1. Combine sugar, soy sauce, onion, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, thyme, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Pour into a resealable bag and add pork pieces. Seal bag, shake to coat the pork pieces thoroughly, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, turning bag periodically.
  2. Remove pork from the bag and reserve marinade. Thread 5 pork pieces, 4 watermelon cubes, 2-3 zucchini rounds, 2 pineapple chunks, and 3 peppers on each of the 8 skewers, alternating the order.
  3. Spray the cooking surface on a heated grill and place kabobs on the grill. Grill for 12-15 minutes or until pork is cooked (internal temperature should be between 145° and 160° F), turning and basting frequently with reserved marinade. Garnish with sesame seeds and chunks of watermelon.

Note: If using wooden skewers, be sure to soak in warm water for 10-30 minutes before grilling, to prevent from burning.

Shrimp Watermelon Sate

Perfect for a hot summer night, this recipe combines shrimp and Asian flavors with seedless watermelon for a refreshing twist on dinner.

shrimp and watermelon sate

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • ½ cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce or to taste
  • 1 couple of dashes of hot pepper sauce or to taste
  • 16 jumbo shrimp, cleaned, poached and chilled
  • 16 (2-inch) cubes seedless watermelon
  • Fresh basil leaves or baby romaine leaves for garnish

Directions: 

  1. Slowly blend the seasoned rice vinegar into the peanut butter until completely blended.
  2. Stir in the garlic, ginger and soy sauce until mixed well. Season with hot pepper sauce to taste.
  3. Pour all but 2 tbsp. of the dressing over the shrimp and toss to coat them well. Chill for 1 hour.
  4. To serve, alternate shrimp and watermelon cubes on 4 skewers and baste with the remaining dressing. Serve over fresh basil leaves or romaine leaves.

Watermelon Sandwich Wraps

Add watermelon to your sandwich! These 10 recipes will have you wrapping up the juicy fruit with ingredients like chicken, feta cheese, guacamole, and a host of other tasty combinations.

watermelon sandwich wraps

Ingredients:

  • Tortillas: wheat, flour, corn, spinach, or sun-dried tomato
  • Spreads: chive cream cheese, hummus, guacamole, or Greek yogurt
  • Meats: turkey, ham, chicken breast, roast beef, or pepperoni
  • Sauces (marinades and salad dressings): barbecue, ranch, pesto, Thai peanut sauce, teriyaki, or ginger
  • Cheeses: feta, pepper jack, mozzarella
  • Veggies and other toppings: watercress, olives, scallions, cilantro, romaine, jalapenos, fresh mint, basil, shredded carrots, spinach, sprouts, and cucumber slices
  • Star ingredient: 1 watermelon spear, about a half-inch thick, 1-inch wide, and as long as your tortilla

Directions:

Create your own combination, or try one of the suggestions below. Start with a spread to help the other fillings stick together. Place toppings in the center of the tortilla with the watermelon spear on top. Roll tortilla over watermelon spear, tucking in all ingredients. Fasten with a toothpick if needed.

  • English Tea Sandwich Wrap: flour tortilla, chive cream cheese, ham, watermelon, watercress
  • Greek Wrap: spinach tortilla, plain Greek yogurt, feta cheese, watermelon, black olives
  • Latin Watermelon Wrap: flour tortilla, ham, watermelon, cilantro, guacamole, scallions, pepper jack cheese, jalapeno
  • Southwest Chicken Wrap: corn or flour tortilla, guacamole, pepper Jack cheese, spicy chicken, romaine lettuce, watermelon, bacon ranch dressing, salsa
  • Watermelon Caprese Wrap: flour tortilla, pepperoni, watermelon, mozzarella, basil, pesto sauce
  • Thai Peanut Chicken Wrap: wheat tortilla, roasted chicken, Bibb lettuce, Thai peanut sauce, carrots, watermelon, cilantro
  • Southwest Veggie Wrap: spinach tortilla, cucumber, watermelon, cilantro, Swiss cheese, BBQ ranch dressing, guacamole
  • Mideastern Veggie Wrap: wheat tortilla, hummus with pine nuts, mint, thin cucumber slices, watermelon
  • Ginger Chicken Wrap: wheat tortilla, teriyaki ginger sauce, chicken, sprouts, watermelon, sweet chili and ginger, Bibb lettuce
  • Hawaiian Wrap: spinach tortilla, pineapple cream cheese, sweet chile with ginger, ham, watermelon

Watermelon Dessert Recipes

Watermelon 'Cake'c

This gorgeous "cake" is actually made from heart-healthy watermelon decorated with yogurt and berries. It's a refreshing, gluten-free twist on dessert that's perfect for Fourth of July festivities or a summer birthday.

watermelon cake

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 seedless watermelon
  • 1 cup vanilla-flavored yogurt
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries

Directions:

  1. Place watermelon on a cutting board. Cut 3-5 inches off each end to create a large center slice between 3-5 inches thick. Trim off the outer rind.
  2. Cut watermelon slices into 6-8 pie-shaped wedges. Blot edges with paper towels to absorb excess moisture.
  3. Dip the back (curved) side of each slice in yogurt and then almonds, re-assembling pieces on a serving platter as each piece is completed.
  4. Frost top of reassembled watermelon with remaining yogurt and then decorate with berries. Serve cold. 

Watermelon 'Doughnuts'

This "recipe" is more of a step-by-step guide to cutting your perfectly ripe watermelon into fun donut shapes and finishing them off with sweet toppings. It's an easy, reduced-guilt dessert idea that might just become your summer party go-to.

watermelon doughnuts

Ingredients:

  • Watermelon slices shaped like doughnuts
  • Sour cream
  • Sugar to taste
  • Vanilla to taste
  • Slivered almonds

Directions: 

  1. Cut out donut shapes from 1½-inch thick slices of seedless watermelon.
  2. Sweeten sour cream with sugar and a touch of vanilla to taste.
  3. Frost half of the watermelon doughnut slices and sprinkle with almonds. Add another layer of watermelon slices and top with sweetened sour cream.
  4. Sprinkle toasted slivered almonds and serve.

Watermelon Syrup

Whip up this sweet topping to serve over vanilla ice cream, mix into sparkling water to make watermelon "soda," or use it in a creative cocktail for the adults in your brood.

watermelon syrup

Makes: 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups puréed seedless watermelon
  • 1 cup sugar

Directions: 

  1. Place the puréed watermelon and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir while bringing to a simmer. Adjust the heat to maintain a simmer.
  2. Stirring occasionally, simmer until the mixture has reduced by one half in volume and becomes syrupy.
  3. Remove from heat to cool and then place in a glass bowl or jar, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Keeps up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Watermelon 'Cupcakes'

Whether for a birthday or a fun summer soiree, these mini watermelon cupcakes make a healthful, hydrating, and delicious snack.

watermelon cupcakes

Servings: 8

Ingredients:

  • 8 pieces cupcake liners
  • 8 pieces cupcake shaped pieces of seedless watermelon
  • 2 cups pineapple cream cheese frosting
  • 1 piece sprinkles for garnish

Directions:

  1. Place the liners in an 8-cup cupcake tin.
  2. Cut 3-inch thick slices of seedless watermelon. Cut round cupcake sized pieces from the slices.
  3. Put a watermelon ‘cupcake' in each liner. Place a dollop of frosting on each cupcake. Decorate as desired with sprinkles.

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