17 Refreshing Watermelon Recipes to Serve All Summer Long

Delicious Watermelon Recipes
Photo: Getty Images

Watermelon arrives in summer like a refreshing drink on a hot day. Just as the summer sun is strongest, this delicious fruit pops up, plump and ripe in gardens. Thanks to its versatility and juicy crunch, watermelon provides cooks a plethora of opportunities for creative culinary uses as long as the season lasts. What's more, the health benefits of watermelon make squeezing in every last piece a worthy endeavor. Research shows the fruit's vitamins and nutrients can lower inflammation, protect your eyes, even help you have stronger skin and hair.

This collection of watermelon recipes goes beyond salads and slices. This assortment features unique drinks, delicious grilled mains, even frozen desserts that spotlight watermelon well. Turn to these unique watermelon recipes all season long to make the most of every melon you bring home from the garden or the farmers' market.

01 of 17

Ginger-Lime Melon Salad

Ginger-Lime Melon Salad
Jennifer Causey

Watermelon isn't the only melon that peaks in the summertime. Cantaloupe and honeydew come into their own, with their buttery textures and richly floral flavors, so take advantage of the spoils of melon season with a unique salad. Only a simple coating of lime zest and fresh ginger are needed to make the whole dish coherent. The fruits get to shine in this dish.

Get the Recipe: Ginger-Lime Melon Salad

02 of 17

Watermelon Mojito Granita

Watermelon Mojito Granita
Antonis Achilleos

Not much about this watermelon dessert recipe makes sense, and that's precisely what makes it so special. You'll combine watermelon, rum, and (of all things) mint jelly, and blend them together. Then, that mixture is frozen. You will stir regularly as the watermelon juice mix hardens to help turn it into a fluffy icy dessert that resembles a snow cone but with the grown-up flavors of a mojito.

Get the Recipe: Watermelon Mojito Granita Recipe

03 of 17

Minted Watermelon Salad

Spicy Beef Kebabs With Watermelon Salad
Christopher Baker

Another ingredient that's highly abundant in the summer is mint. In the heat, the leafy herb is a prolific grower, so it's always a good idea to find ways to use up these summer stars together, as evidenced by this simple and understated watermelon salad. Keep this as a back-pocket recipe, one you can pull out any night you need something to round out grilled chicken, beef kebabs, or even lightly sautéed fish.

Get the Recipe: Minted Watermelon Salad

04 of 17

Grilled Watermelon and Halloumi Salad With Ginger-Lime Vinaigrette

Grilled Watermelon Salad
Kelsey Hansen

Watermelon is a great partner to grilled meats, but it's particularly excellent with the grilled cheese in this stunning summer main dish. Halloumi is no ordinary cheese, however. It's a semi-hard, unripened cheese that won't melt when heated, so it can be fried or grilled, as it is in this unique summer salad. For this recipe, it's important you know how to cut the watermelon so each slice is similarly thick and cooks evenly.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Watermelon and Halloumi Salad With Ginger-Lime Vinaigrette

05 of 17

Watermelon-Mint Agua Fresca

Watermelon-Mint Agua Fresca
Greg DuPree

Take the crisp refreshing bite of watermelon slices and turn it into an incredibly delicious beverage you can enjoy all summer. This watermelon recipe uses fresh watermelon to make a "water," then combines it with a bit of simple syrup for a sublimely simple drink you'll be eager to serve at every summer soiree.

Get the Recipe: Watermelon-Mint Agua Fresca

06 of 17

Spicy Watermelon Margarita Ice Pops

Spicy Watermelon Margarita Ice Pops
Emily Kinni

Watermelon's sweet flavor can take a bit of heat from cayenne pepper, as this frozen watermelon dessert confirms. The balance of boozy tequila, spicy pepper, and zippy lime juice wonderfully balances the tart, fresh watermelon juice.

Get the Recipe: Spicy Watermelon Margarita Ice Pops

07 of 17

Watermelon Salad With Mint and Crispy Prosciutto

Watermelon Salad With Mint and Crispy Prosciutto
Kana Okada

The salty kick of prosciutto makes the watermelon seem sweeter and the mint more herbaceous. Indeed, salting watermelon is a flavor trick for many cooks. A sprinkle of salt across the top of a slice makes the fruit taste sweeter at first bite, so use that trick (but with salty, dry-cured ham) in this wonderfully elegant summer dish.

Get the Recipe: Watermelon Salad With Mint and Crispy Prosciutto

08 of 17

Watermelon-Lime Cooler

Watermelon-Lime Cooler
Maura McEvoy

If you're hosting a backyard party this summer, consider this watermelon drink your go-to signature beverage. Everything is blended together, then chilled with ice. There's no need to strain. It couldn't be easier. If it's an adults-only event, certainly vodka is a welcome addition.

Get the Recipe: Watermelon-Lime Cooler

09 of 17

Tomato-Watermelon Granita

Tomato-Watermelon Granita
Greg DuPree

Alongside watermelon, tomatoes are a star of summer, and they can be used in myriad ways, from sandwiches to casseroles. But if you thought they didn't belong in a frozen dessert, this granita, or refreshing Italian shaved iced, is here to prove you wrong. You won't need an ice grinder or any special equipment. Granita is made by freezing juices—tomatoes and watermelon in this case—and then stirring regularly to create a light and icy texture.

Get the Recipe: Tomato-Watermelon Granita

10 of 17

Asian Pork Burgers With Minted Watermelon

Asian Pork Burgers With Minted Watermelon
Christopher Baker

The semi-sweet flavor of fresh watermelon and crisp juiciness of cucumber takes the bite off the tangy sauce of this unique burger spin. Make the watermelon salad ahead of time so the vinaigrette has a few minutes to soften the fruits and infuse them with more flavor. You might even find a reason to make this watermelon side dish again for another occasion, sans burger if you want.

Get the Recipe: Asian Pork Burgers with Minted Watermelon

11 of 17

Summer Shrimp Salad

Summer Shrimp Salad
Philippa Brathwaite

Against the heat and kick of jalapeños, watermelon stands sweet and firm. Against buttery avocado, the tart fruit breaks through. But altogether, these ingredients make for a truly special summer salad. What's more, this whole dish is ready in 30 minutes, so you can get a presentation-worthy dinner on the table for company in a blink when the need arises.

Get the Recipe: Summer Shrimp Salad

12 of 17

Watermelon Jelly

Watermelon Jelly
Quentin Bacon

Watermelon may not preserve well, the way beans and berries do, but you can use the fruit to make a treat that will last you through fall and possibly even until next watermelon season (if you use judiciously). Watermelon jelly is a delightful way to preserve the flavors of this sweet fruit long after the growing season has ended. You can use it as a spread on toast, a drizzle over angel food cake, or even sandwiched between two halves of a hot and buttered biscuit.

Get the Recipe: Watermelon Jelly

13 of 17

Three-Melon Mozzarella Salad

Three-Melon Mozzarella Salad
Christopher Baker

Watermelon, like many fruits, pairs well with cheese because of the stark sweet-floral versus salty-tangy flavor profiles of the foods. Mozzarella, because of its mild, milky flavor, works well with melons like cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew. These fruits aren't as biting as pineapple, apples, or even some berries, so the cheese helps mellow out the meal.

Get the Recipe: Three-Melon Mozzarella Salad

14 of 17

Watermelon-Mint Cooler

Watermelon-Mint Cooler
Yunhee Kim

Toss up your heels and settle in for a night of watching the sunset with a glass of this refreshing watermelon beverage in hand. Pureeing watermelon turns it into a thick, rich beverage, and adding lemonade layers in a bite of tartness for a well-rounded summertime sipper.

Get the Recipe: Watermelon-Mint Cooler

15 of 17

Watermelon Slices With Mint and Lime

Watermelon Slices With Mint and Lime
Christopher Baker

This wonderful watermelon recipe is one of the simplest ways to delight in the joys of fresh watermelon, as well as its beautiful contrast to a host of so many other great fresh food. A simple mint-lime sugar adds herby flavor with a just-right tart kick to make the fruit seem bright and sweet. Topping watermelon slices with a fancy mix of ingredients may look complicated, but guests won't know how easy it actually is. That can be your secret.

Get the Recipe: Watermelon Slices With Mint and Lime

16 of 17

Watermelon-Basil Iced Tea

Watermelon-Basil Iced Tea
Philippe Desnerck/Getty Images

There may come a time during your watermelon-eating phase each summer when you're running low on ideas of how to use up extra watermelon, and this recipe helps fill that void: Instead of making a watermelon-flavored drink, you can make refreshing tea, and simply add a bit of fresh watermelon and basil to the tea for a subtle but beautifully balanced beverage.

Get the Recipe: Watermelon and Basil Iced Tea

17 of 17

Watermelon, Lime, Ginger Ice Pop

Watermelon, Lime, Ginger Ice Pop
Jens Mortensen

If you're in charge of the neighborhood backyard barbecue, plan to make several batches of these watermelon frozen pops. The pairing of bright lime juice and tangy ginger offsets the watermelon's natural sweetness. The result is a one-of-a-kind treat that may soon be your most famous calling card in the neighborhood social circles.

Get the Recipe: Watermelon, Lime, Ginger Pops

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