17 Ways You Need To Try Eating Watermelon

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Although you'll be eating the best watermelon during its summertime peak season, thanks to a wide reach it's available year-round. Nonetheless, there's nothing like biting into a juicy sweet watermelon at the height of its ripeness to make you forget about every other type of fruit. Perhaps you only distinguish it by size, but according to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, there are over 1,200 different varieties! Chances are you'll mainly find a handful: seeded, seedless, mini, and yellow.

Even mini watermelons pack in a lot of volume, so it's worth exploring the numerous ways you can use it up since once sliced, the fruit should be consumed quickly. According to a study described by the NWPB, cut pieces can last in the refrigerator for up to seven days but will commonly start deteriorating around day four. Once you get through our list of ideas, chances are you'll be finished with the giant fruit before you know it.

Create a dessert pizza

A tomato and cheese pizza is a familiar menu item, and the occasional dessert option with melted chocolate isn't unheard of either. How about rethinking the concept of a flour-based dough and using thick slices of watermelon as your base? Yes, a watermelon pizza doesn't feature the same ingredients as the classic dish, but it's hard to think of a better way to enjoy the bounty of summer fruit.

For starters, you'll want to cut the fruit into fairly even-sized rings; avoid making them too thick or it will get tricky to eat once the toppings go on. You can make communal pizzas by sprinkling the ingredients over the entire disc and then cutting it into pie slices, or cut it first and let everyone garnish their own piece.

There are lots of directions to take this treat: Consider drizzling melted chocolate, caramel, or frosting over top. Pop the watermelon into the fridge briefly if you want the sauces to solidify. Meanwhile, coconut flakes, chocolate chips, toasted nuts (choose candied varieties for added sweetness), and even granola will all provide textural contrast and plenty of flavor. Keep it fresh by adding small fruits like berries, slicing rings of kiwi to imitate pepperoni, and adding a few sprigs of basil or mint. Spray on some whipped cream for a decadent final touch.

Cool down with a granita or slushy

When it's hot outside, nothing is more tempting than a frozen treat to cool you down. Ice cream is the obvious choice, but watermelon's consistency lends it far more to being made into a granita. If you've never come across it before, granita is an icy dessert from Sicily, typically made with water, fruit juice, and sugar. The result is similar to a slushy drink although the former is slightly grainier.

The refreshing dish is the perfect way to deal with the heat, and it is even served for breakfast on the southern Italian island. To make watermelon granita at home, simply blend it up along with water and seasonings like lemon juice and a pinch of salt to make the flavor stand out. Fresh herbs like mint or basil can also be incorporated for added complexity.

If your fruit isn't at its peak, you'll want to add more simple syrup or sugar accordingly. On the flip side, if you're dealing with the sweetest and juiciest watermelon you've had all summer, this semi-frozen treat can be whipped up with very little added sugar. Since the mixture needs to sit in the freezer for a few hours, be sure to get an early start.

Harness your inner mixologist

The watery nature of this giant fruit makes it an excellent ingredient for beverages. Whether you're mixing up a liquor-laden cocktail or making a fresh concoction to stay hydrated, watermelon will bring you far. Given its sweetness, the fruit works especially well with contrasting sour ingredients. A simple watermelon lemonade recipe is a no-brainer, and you can easily enhance the flavor (and the aesthetics) by garnishing it with sprigs of fresh mint.

Meanwhile, if you want an extra kick, our spicy watermelon cocktail recipe is a must-try. Watermelon is blended with agave syrup, fresh mint, and lime juice, followed by the addition of vodka and vermouth. Top it all off with sparkling rosé wine and serve in salt and cayenne rimmed glasses — does it get any better than that?

For another non-alcoholic idea to wow your party guests (or treat yourself), our adaptation of a drink created at Riverpark in Manhattan is the way to go. The watermelon chamomile mocktail recipe keeps it basic with a unique twist: A simple syrup made with chamomile leaves is combined with watermelon and lime juice for a layered taste.

The options are vast so be sure to get creative with syrups, fresh fruit, and liquors when mixing up your own renditions.

Whip up sorbet or popsicles

If you're not so fond of the grainy texture of granita, watermelon sorbet or popsicles are sure to satisfy the desire for something ice cold. You can explore dozens of flavor combinations to satisfy whatever craving strikes. Blended watermelon is the base for it all to guarantee a smooth and sweet result.

Enhance your watermelon sorbet recipe with the addition of frozen bananas, and create the ultimate sweet and creamy treat. Simply puree the fruit combo in a blender with lime juice, maple syrup, and water, then freeze for 12 hours. You'll need to plan ahead so that your fruit is frozen and the final product spends sufficient time chilling in the freezer. This sorbet could easily be transferred into popsicle molds for individual portions. As well, incorporating other fruits such as berries, mango, and pears would make an equally delicious treat.

Meanwhile, if you want to have some fun in the sun, our boozy watermelon lime mint popsicle recipe is the obvious go-to. Tequila mixes with popular summer ingredients for a hard popsicle you'll want to enjoy all day. And you can — although you'll taste the tequila, the quantities are minimal so you won't risk overdoing it.

Spike it with vodka

For anyone looking to go beyond a boozy popsicle or a mixed cocktail, you can spike your watermelon directly. With a water content of around 90% (via Healthline), it follows that it has an excellent capacity to absorb liquids. Vodka is a commonly used spirit for this boozy concoction thanks to its relatively neutral flavor. However, other options like gin, tequila, and rum work too if you prefer.

To give the fruit the opportunity to properly soak up the alcohol, you'll want to cut a hole in the top surface, while ensuring that your watermelon is set up in such a way that it can't roll away. Then, tilting the fruit toward you, carefully place the open liquor bottle upside down into the hole and turn it vertical so that the liquid can slowly drip in. After about 12 hours, your vodka-spiked watermelon is ready to slice and serve.

Since you're loading it up with extra fluids, it's best not to leave the fruit hanging around too long. If you can't finish it the same day (with help of course), consider freezing it in cubes and turning it into mini popsicles.

Turn it into a condiment

You've probably never used watermelon as a condiment, but Susan Olayinka's refreshing watermelon curd recipe will probably change that fact. Considering that lemon curd is a fairly common spread (especially in England), using other types of fruit isn't so far-fetched.

To make watermelon curd, you'll need to puree and sieve the fruit to thin it out. Meanwhile, egg yolks, sugar, butter, and corn flour are combined and added to the watermelon juice. The mixture is heated in a saucepan with extra lemon juice until it thickens into a gravy-like texture (that's the only similarity between the two!)

Think of curd like jam or jelly; it is typically used to top bread or scones, or as a pastry or cake filling. There are plenty of ways to incorporate watermelon curd into your favorite treats, whether you use it as a sweet layer in a pie or serve it on a cheese board.

Blend it up to make gazpacho

With its hefty water content, watermelon is a great candidate for recipes that require a blender. And while we've looked at delicious drinks and frozen treats to whip up, we can't fail to mention gazpacho. The southern Spanish chilled soup is traditionally made with a tomato base, but variations abound, including some made with watermelon.

We took the basic recipe a step further and created a watermelon gazpacho recipe with tequila, but the alcohol is purely optional. The other ingredients stick closer to the classic style, and will easily guarantee that this soup becomes your new favorite summertime dish. Watermelon, tomato, cucumber, yellow bell pepper, onion, basil, mint, vinegar, olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper make up this harmonious blend. Once you taste it, you'll be set up to experiment with your own renditions. Serve it with crusty bread (or mix it right into the gazpacho) for a refreshing and satisfying appetizer or light meal.

Toss it into a salad

The concept of adding fruit to a savory salad is nothing new, but if you have yet to use watermelon then you're in for a treat. Juicy yet delightfully crisp, this watery fruit complements a range of ingredients. Somewhat surprisingly, cheese is often the ideal component to balance it out — and the saltier, the better!

Our watermelon, halloumi, and za'atar salad recipe combines the sweet fruit with black olives, grapes, cucumber, and halloumi, a deliciously chewy cheese from Cyprus with a high melting point that makes it a suitable candidate for grilling. Fresh za'atar leaves, shallots, sumac, citrus, and olive oil are whisked together for the dressing. The result is salty, tangy, and the perfect contrast for watermelon.

Meanwhile, if you're looking for a star dish at your next barbecue, our grilled watermelon salad recipe should do the trick. The charred fruit is combined with fresh basil, mint, red onions, and cotija (a salty, crumbly cheese from Mexico). The salad is served over a bed of spinach and dressed with a succulent balsamic reduction. Feta works just as well thanks to its flavor and consistency while goat cheese provides the saltiness with a creamier texture.

Use it in baked goods

Although it might not be as popular as say apples, you shouldn't avoid watermelon when it comes to baked goods. In fact, recipe developer Kristen Carli at Mashed provides easy step-by-step instructions to make a refreshing watermelon pie. It's the perfect treat for a sweltering summer day when you have little time to spare and the thought of turning on a hot oven is enough to make you sweat.

A graham cracker crust is used for the base, and a watermelon whipped cream topping will surprise and delight you with every bite. Given the fruit's crisp and watery consistency, combining it with a rich and creamy ingredient puts a decadent spin on the sensory experience. Keep in mind that due to the high water content, you're best off finding a recipe specifically designed for watermelon — simply swapping it into your favorite baked fruit dessert might be a recipe for disaster!

Chill it for a refreshing snack

Blending watermelon with assorted ingredients and freezing them is one way to make an icy popsicle treat. However, given its high water content, simply chilling the sliced fruit provides another opportunity to hop on the refreshing trend. That's not to say you can't get creative with add-ons, and our white chocolate watermelon pops recipe offers a delicious compromise.

Cut the watermelon into pie slices and poke a popsicle stick through the rind (make a slit with a knife to facilitate this step). We took this recipe a step further by making lavender sugar and coating the slices with the floral seasoning. Then, we drizzled melted white chocolate over the surface and added toasted almonds for a crunchy contrast. The final step is to cool the slices in the refrigerator (or freezer) until the chocolate sets before digging in.

The options for toppings are endless, and it's worth decorating each slice differently to experiment with the possibilities. Dark or milk chocolate are obvious choices, and salted caramel is another tasty way to highlight the sweet fruit.

Add it to a salsa

Tomato salsa is a popular favorite, yet the classic condiment lends itself well to experimentation. Our grilled chicken with watermelon salsa recipe is an adaptation from a menu item at the now-closed Graham Bistro in Chicago. And while this salsa makes an excellent accompaniment for poultry, it's a great option to keep in mind for your next taco night or to serve with chips.

Aside from diced watermelon, the other components involved are red onion, cucumber, Kalamata olives, jalapeño, and assorted fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, and mint). Rice wine vinegar, olive oil, honey, and lime juice tie it all together for a sweet and tangy salsa you'll want to serve all the time. Other fun add-ins like bell peppers and mango are welcome, and herbs like basil or oregano make a good match too.

Since watermelon contains so much liquid, avoid making the salsa too far ahead of time or you'll end up with plenty of extra fluid.

Toast the seeds

Seedless watermelon is often praised by fans of the fruit, but they're missing out on a tasty crunchy snack by avoiding the seeds. If you're worried that eating the seeds will make you sick, set your preoccupations aside because the opposite is actually true. Thanks to a healthy omega-3 content, they offer a number of benefits such as enhancing your skin's appearance (via Organic Facts). Additionally, the range of vitamins and minerals contained in the tiny seeds deliver advantages to various facets of the human body, including cell development, fertility, energy levels, blood sugar, cholesterol, and the immune system.

Nonetheless, chewing on raw watermelon seeds won't win any prizes in the flavor department. Instead, roast them in the oven at 325 F for about 15 minutes until they become crispy. Then, season them with olive oil, salt, and your choice of spices for a simple and nutritious crunchy snack.

Pickle the rind

Though your instinct might be to toss the watermelon rind out as you cut through the giant fruit, we bet that won't be the case once you taste pickled rinds. Yes, you read that right. If it's your first time pickling anything then it might take you a moment to get everything prepared, but we promise the hardest step is actually slicing up the pieces. Keep in mind that you'll only be using the white part of the rind, so the green skin will have to be removed.

Our pickled watermelon rind recipe highlights the watery flavor with a sweet and sour combination. Salt, lime juice, maple syrup, rice wine and white wine vinegar, cinnamon, and makrut lime leaf are combined to make the pickling solution. You can incorporate other spices such as cloves and peppercorns for added layers of flavor.

Aside from being an excellent way to eliminate food waste, the rinds actually have a number of benefits. They're packed with hydrating water, while simultaneously loaded with fiber which helps keep blood sugar and cholesterol levels stable (via Healthline). Not to mention, they contain an amino acid that was found to have effects similar to Viagra, per a 2011 study published in Urology.

Throw slices on the grill

It might be an unexpected candidate for a barbecue, but grilled watermelon slices are the snack you didn't know you needed in your life. We've recommended grilling watermelon to mix into a salad, but firing up the slices to munch on solo or as an alternative to a meat burger is equally delicious. If you're going the burger route, feel free to load up on typical toppings like cheese (feta, halloumi, or goat cheese are favorites), tomatoes, and lettuce.

Even if you'll be discarding it, do yourself a favor and leave the rind on when grilling your watermelon slices. This sturdy component does wonders in maintaining the structural integrity of the fruit so that it doesn't start to break apart on your grill. Heating watermelon already brings out rich caramelized flavors, so not much is required to enhance the experience. Try a squeeze of lime, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, or a sprinkling of chili flakes or sea salt to highlight the taste of the juicy fruit.

Blend it into a sauce

Given its liquid-heavy consistency, watermelon can be a great ingredient to blend into a sauce. Considering the delicious flavor of grilled watermelon, using it to make a barbecue sauce is high on our list. Along with watermelon, you'll want to combine some type of vinegar, brown sugar or molasses, and other add-ins like garlic, ketchup or tomato paste, soy sauce, and your choice of seasoning. The best part about this sauce is you'll be able to use it as a marinade for proteins like pork, chicken, and fish, and as a dipping sauce.

Meanwhile, if you like your condiments to carry some heat, take a cue from Nadine Horn and Jörg Mayer, the co-authors of "VBQ: The Ultimate Vegan Barbecue Cookbook," and add some fruit to your hot sauce. Opt for your favorite chili peppers (jalapeño or cayenne are other good choices), and blend them with watermelon, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. Serve it with light proteins for a fiery and tangy kick.

Season it to enhance the sweetness

Though salt may be an entirely unexpected seasoning to sweeten up your watermelon, sprinkling it on slices of the fruit manages to do the trick. The mechanism is actually fairly complicated but essentially, a protein uses sodium as fuel to transport glucose to cells, according to Science. In turn, this relationship also affects the way that sweetness is perceived, creating a heightened reaction when salt is involved. The result? Your salted piece of watermelon tastes extra sweet and flavorful. 

Additionally, salt decreases the perception of bitterness in food, further elevating the sensation of sweetness. While the ripest juiciest watermelons might not require the boost, consider sprinkling some salt over slices of average-tasting fruit. It won't be quite as noteworthy in peak season, but you'll definitely be glad for the extra sweet flavor when your watermelon's freshness isn't quite up to par. That being said, a little goes a long way!

Dust it with pork rinds

This probably isn't in the realm of food pairings you're used to, but TV chef Alton Brown promises this unexpected ingredient combo is a must-try. Pick a bag of fried pork rinds and crush them to a breadcrumb or panko-like consistency, then sprinkle them over a watermelon salad or fruit slices. According to Brown, the ingredient adds the perfect element of salty crisp and crunch you didn't know the sweet fruit was missing.

It's certainly not vegetarian-friendly, nor will it appeal to everyone, but if you're open to combining a meat-based topping with the refreshing summer fruit, it's an undoubtedly novel way of serving watermelon. Before brushing off the idea, consider that bacon bits are regularly added to salads with apple slices, grapes, and dried cranberries, among other fruity components. Why not try another sweet, salty duo with Brown's favorite watermelon topping? You'll get both a flavor and textural boost with one simple ingredient.