Watermelon is as intimidating as it is delicious. It's the ultimate summer fruit, yet its refreshing charm can be diluted by the sheer obstacle of dealing with one. Lugging it, chopping it, storing it—it can be daunting. The hulking melon, like most things in life, is always scarier before you dig in. Quarter it, put your apprehensions aside, and consider your options. These 22 watermelon recipes for summer make such quick use of the seasonal fruit that you might even want to buy two.
Cool off on a hot summer day with this refreshing fruit (yes, fruit!) salad made from two kinds of tomatoes—cherry and heirloom varieties—plus an entire pound of watermelon. Dress it up with a light citrus vinaigrette accented with fresh mint leaves.
Grilled watermelon? We know what you’re thinking—things have gone too far. But trust us. The charred, juicy fruit is the ultimate summertime treat. And when you pair it with an assortment of colorful heirloom tomatoes, mixed greens, and a genius summer vinaigrette made from red wine sangria and olive oil, it’s gone just far enough.
Our summer watermelon recipe is easy on the eyes and tastes delicious to boot. Over a smear of lime-infused yogurt, a combination of melon cubes, cherry tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, and prosciutto are scattered about.
Instead of the usual cabbage, chopped watermelon rind is fermented with garlic, ginger, gochugaru, and shredded carrots for a summery twist on a Korean classic.
On a hot summer day, this watermelon cocktail recipe hits just right. Shake up a refreshing combination of watermelon purée, gin, lemon juice, and fresh basil leaves for a crowd-pleasing summer drink.
No matter how old we get, pink lemonade is always a sugary-sweet delight. But we felt like it was time for a little bit of an adult upgrade, which is why we used watermelon purée for a natural pink hue and added fresh herbs for an accent of earthy flavors.
Sometimes the best recipes are the ones that are a little spontaneous and of course perfectly summery. This watermelon salad recipe checks both boxes, since recipe developer Loli picked and chose a few ingredients to add as she created this seasonal side. The result feels totally meant to be.
“This is the taco recipe that made me stop hating tacos, finally,” says recipe developer Eric Kim. Even though we love tacos, this made our ears perk up. A spicy watermelon-lime salsa dresses up roasted chicken thighs, which are tucked into soft flour tortillas.
“Made with a simple preparation, this pudding relies only on three main ingredients: fresh watermelon juice, cornstarch, and sugar. The result is a slightly wobbly but set pudding to eat by the spoonful,” writes recipe developer Emiko.
Instead of the usual grapefruit juice which makes a Paloma, well, a Paloma, this version calls for watermelon juice for a fun and fruity spin on the traditional tequila cocktail.
All you need for this delightful watermelon dessert is three ingredients—watermelon (of course), sugar, and Campari, which is a bitter Italian liqueur. When mixed together and frozen, they create one cool treat.
An upgrade on a party classic, tequila-soaked watermelon is seasoned with chili powder and salt and grilled until each slice of fruit forms beautiful grill lines. It’s then topped with a zesty crème fraîche.
Pair this pickled watermelon salad with grilled meats and vegetables on a hot summer day, as suggested by recipe developer Dee.
Not exactly our kid-friendliest lemonade, this watermelon-based drink recipe also introduces some serious spice thanks to a habanero pepper.
Watermelon is juicy, watery, and sweet on its own. It hits the spot on a hot day, but we loved changing it up by adding a salty, sour vinaigrette made with preserved lemons on top.
“This salad is exactly what I want to make and eat during the heat of summer—either as a light dinner or a side to grilled meat,” says recipe developer EmilyC. Same here, Emily.
Here’s a fabulous upgrade to your morning toast—a chunky, fruity jam made from the rind of watermelons, sugar, and a touch of lime juice.
Strawberry, mango, peach...there are so many varieties of daiquiris to sip on, but why not make a batch with frozen watermelon cubes? With a gentle simple syrup infused with Chinese five-spice powder, it’s the ultimate summer cocktail.
Black beans aren’t exactly colorful, but they bring heartiness and a nourishing amount of protein to many different dishes. In this summer salad, they’re paired with bright pink watermelon, cucumbers, and feta cheese.
Come fall, we’re all about roasted pumpkin seeds but those aren’t the only baked and salted seeds that you can enjoy. Here, you’ll find directions for how to roast both watermelon and muskmelon seeds.
Normally, gazpacho is made with tomatoes and red peppers, but for a sweet summer spin, why not add loads and loads of cubed watermelon, too?
A vibrant, colorful trio of bright greens, oranges, and pinks are so enticing for a light summer salad. Juicy watermelon, heirloom tomatoes, creamy avocado, and Persian cucumbers create the vegan dish of our dreams.
What are your favorite ways to cook with watermelon? Share your best ideas in the comments below!