13 Refreshing Watermelon Recipes to Serve All Summer Long

We'll show you how to freeze, puree, and pickle this versatile, crowd-pleasing fruit.

Delicious Watermelon Recipes
Photo: Getty Images

Watermelon arrives in summer like a refreshing drink on a hot day. Just when the sun is strongest, this delicious fruit pops up, plump and ripe in gardens.

Thanks to its versatility and juicy crunch, watermelon offers a plethora of opportunities for creative culinary uses all summer long. What's more, the health benefits of watermelon make squeezing in every last wedge a worthy endeavor.

Our collection of watermelon recipes goes well beyond slices (not that there's anything wrong with fresh slices). We feature unique watermelon-focused drinks, delicious salads and sides, and heat-busting frozen desserts. Turn to these recipes anytime you want a taste of summer, no matter what time of year it is.

01 of 13

Watermelon Mai Tais

Watermelon juice
Flavia Morlachetti/Getty Images

This take on the classic Polynesian cocktail takes a walk on the summery side. To make a 50-ounce pitcher, blend 4⅔ cups cubed watermelon, 2 peeled oranges (halved), ⅔ cup chilled pineapple juice, ¼ cup triple sec, and 1 teaspoon grenadine. Puree for 15 seconds (or until smooth), strain into ice-filled glasses, and garnish with watermelon wedges.

02 of 13

Ginger-Lime Melon Salad

Ginger-Lime Melon Salad
Jennifer Causey

Watermelon isn't the only melon that peaks in the summertime. Cantaloupe and honeydew also come into their own, with their buttery textures and richly floral flavors. A simple coating of lime zest and fresh ginger allows the fruity goodness to shine.

03 of 13

Tomato-Watermelon Granita

Tomato-Watermelon Granita
Greg DuPree

Tomatoes, watermelon's little summer costars, can be used in myriad ways. But if you thought they didn't belong in a frozen dessert, this granita—a refreshing Italian shaved iced—is here to prove you wrong. No need for an ice grinder or special equipment, granita is made by just freezing juices—tomato and watermelon, in this case—and then stirring regularly to create a light and icy texture.

04 of 13

Watermelon Salad With Pickled Rind

Watermelon Salad with Pickled Rind
Victor Protasio

Didn't know that watermelon rind is edible? You're in good company. Use this recipe to learn how to quick-pickle the rinds in a chili-spiked mixture to toss in this arugula-based salad with feta and pistachios, or to just eat them plain. Don't throw away the fleshy inside of the watermelon: It's good too!

05 of 13

Spicy Watermelon Margarita Ice Pops

Spicy Watermelon Margarita Ice Pops
Emily Kinni

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

06 of 13

Minted Watermelon Salad

Spicy Beef Kebabs With Watermelon Salad
Christopher Baker

Another ingredient that's highly abundant in the summer is mint, a leafy herb that's a prolific grower. It's always a good idea to find ways to use watermelon and mint together, as evidenced by this simple, understated salad. Keep this as a back-pocket recipe and pull it out on a hot summer night to round out grilled steak, chicken kebabs, or lightly sautéed fish.

07 of 13

Watermelon-Mint Agua Fresca

Watermelon-Mint Agua Fresca
Greg DuPree

It's the crisp refreshing bite of watermelon slices turned into a refreshing drink you can enjoy all summer. This recipe uses fresh watermelon to flavor water and then combines it with a simple syrup for a sublime drink you'll want to serve at every summer soiree.

08 of 13

Watermelon Pizza

Watermelon pizza with non-dairy fermented raw cheese from nuts
Aamulya/Getty Images

Yes, watermelon pizza is a thing, thanks to TikTok. Our recipe (more like a guide, really) offers ideas for making sweet and savory "pies". Create your version of these pizzas to serve as an appetizer, side, snack, or dessert to delight family and friends.

09 of 13

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. It blends watermelon, rum, and (of all things) mint jelly, and then freezes it. Stir regularly (to keep the watermelon juice mix from hardening) and you have a fluffy icy dessert that resembles a snow cone with grown-up mojito flavors.

10 of 13

Watermelon Poke Bowls

Watermelon Poke Bowl
Victor Protasio

Poke (pronounced poh-kay), the Hawaiian import that's growing in popularity in the continental 48, traditionally features ahi tuna or sometimes octopus. This recipe replaces the protein with a refreshing dose of watermelon cubes marinated in a mixture of sesame oil, mirin, lime juice, and soy sauce with spicy ginger and chile-garlic sauce.

11 of 13

Boozy Watermelon Frozen Slushie

Getty Images

Toss up your heels and settle in for a night of watching the sunset with this refreshing watermelon cocktail in hand. Pureed watermelon, citrus (orange and lime juice) and a simple syrup make this a well-rounded summertime sipper. For a mocktail, just leave out the rum or vodka.

12 of 13

Feta and Watermelon Grain Bowls

Feta and Watermelon Grain Bowls Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

This feta-and-watermelon dish features farro, an ancient grain from the Middle East that's become a popular ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine. Watermelon gives this dish a sweet, light lift, making it a nutritious side for just about any grilled protein.

13 of 13

Frozen Watermelon Margarita

Frozen Watermelon Margarita
Sarah Karnasiewicz

Cinco de Mayo is the official start of watermelon margarita season. To make one, blend 1 cup frozen watermelon, 1 ounce triple sec, 2 ounces blanco tequila, and ½ ounce lime juice until smooth. Pour into a margarita glass and garnish with a wedge of lime. Warning: You'll need to make more than one.

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