11 Watermelon Recipes to Make This Summer

Chile Coconut Watermelon Crudo Recipe
Photo: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Sweet, juicy watermelon is an iconic summer treat, delicious whether served simply sliced or used in a dish like Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint. Here, you'll find 11 recipes that celebrate this colorful fruit and will help you make the most of its short season, ranging from a Spicy Tomato-and-Watermelon Gazpacho with Crab that has some heat from habanero and poblano chiles, to this Peanut and Watermelon Chaat, which is sweet, savory, and gets a tasty crunch from roasted peanuts. Working with watermelon juice? Treat yourself to a batch of this Salted Watermelon Ice Cream, which is made with fresh juice (bottled works, too) and finished with flaky sea salt, lime zest, and fresh pieces of watermelon for a gorgeous dessert. Read on to find out how to make all of those recipes, and even more watermelon recipes to make this season.

01 of 11

Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint

Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint
Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

This easy summer watermelon salad is perfect to make for eating under the warm sun. Watermelon and mint add plenty of refreshing flavor, while briny olives and feta offer the perfect counterpoint. Although legendary chef Jacques Pépin cuts a small, seedless watermelon into rounds with a melon baller — adding the trimmings to the salad, too, so as not to waste them — you can also chop the watermelon into cubes.

02 of 11

Spicy Tomato-and-Watermelon Gazpacho with Crab

Spicy Tomato-and-Watermelon Gazpacho with Crab
Photo © Fredrika Stjärne

Cookbook authors and brothers Matt Lee and Ted Lee created this gazpacho as a riff on a recipe from The Virginia Housewife, a seminal Southern cookbook first published in 1824. They sweeten the cold tomato soup with watermelon and make it fiery with habanero and poblano chiles.

03 of 11

Tomato and Watermelon Bites

Tomato and Watermelon Bites
Greg DuPree

At Vicia in St. Louis, 2018 F&W Best New Chef Michael Gallina showcases his zero-waste approach with this elegant amuse-bouche. Tomato skins are dried to become an umami-rich flavored salt while the tomato seeds and pulp, plus the brine of pickled green tomatoes, become the base of another dish, a Tomato Water Gazpacho. For the finished dish, watermelon planks are topped with a mixture of tomato sofrito and goat cheese, pickled green tomato slices, the Tomato-Skin Salt, and mixed fresh herbs.

04 of 11

Grilled Cobia Salad with Corn and Watermelon

Grilled Cobia Salad with Corn and Watermelon
John Kernick

Chef Kevin Willmann of Farmhaus in St. Louis likes to grill cobia, a sweet, flaky whitefish, for this bright, refreshing salad. If you can't get wild cobia, mahi-mahi or even farm-raised cobia are also a sustainable choice. Fresh watermelon, a charred poblano, corn, and cilantro round the salad out. Garnishing the finished dish with plantain chips adds a nice crunch.

05 of 11

Watermelon and Snap Pea Salad with Mint

Watermelon and Snap Pea Salad with Mint
© Con Poulos

The secret ingredient to this refreshing watermelon salad from Food & Wine's Justin Chapple is the dressing, which gets an umami-rich flavor from fish sauce. It's ready in just half an hour, too, so it's perfect for summer entertaining.

06 of 11

Peanut and Watermelon Chaat

Peanut-Watermelon Chaat
Cedric Angeles

Every chaat has a little bit of sweetness, a little bit of tartness, a little heat, and a little crunch. That's what makes them so fun to eat. This chaat marries the fleeting succulent sweetness of watermelon with the hearty crunch and saltiness of peanuts. "It's a very Southern combination that I thought should work," says chef Vishwesh Bhatt. "And it did." Eating watermelon with a sprinkle of salt and a dash of hot sauce is popular in chef Bhatt's hometown of Oxford, Mississippi. This sweet-savory chaat recipe marries that inspiration with a sprinkle of chaat masala, a tangy spice blend often used as a seasoning for fruit in India.

07 of 11

Watermelon Daiquiri

watermelon daiquiri with watermelon wedge
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

Preparing fresh watermelon juice gives this blend-and-sip cocktail from Ten to One distillery CEO/founder Marc Farrell a burst of cool melon flavor, though fresh, high quality store-bought juice will work here, too. It's a rum drink for margarita lovers, with a salted rim that balances tart lime juice with sweet agave syrup. The recipe yields one drink, but you can easily scale it up to eight if serving a small crowd.

08 of 11

Marinated Watermelon with Whipped Feta

Marinated Watermelon with Whipped Feta
Eva Kolenko

Chef Joe Kindred of Kindred restaurant in Davidson, North Carolina, lets watermelon sit in a savory marinade for 30 minutes to draw out the juices from the fruit and intensify its flavor. It's served on top of a simple combination of feta whipped with extra-virgin olive oil.

09 of 11

Grilled Watermelon with Avocado, Cucumber, and Jalapeño Salsa

Grilled Watermelon with Avocado, Cucumber and Jalapeno Salsa
© Con Poulos

Grilling watermelon gives it a pleasantly smoky flavor. Here, F&W's Justin Chapple tops slabs of the sweet-smoky fruit with a cumin-spiked avocado salsa. Thin slices of jalapeño and lots of fresh herbs finish off the dish.

10 of 11

Chile-Coconut Watermelon Crudo

Chile Coconut Watermelon Crudo Recipe
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

This sweet, spicy, and punchy upgrade to classic slabs of salted watermelon is the palate-pleasing appetizer your cookout guests deserve. Fresh coconut water is much sweeter, and has a greater depth of flavor than bottled versions, so crack open a coconut if you can. If using store-bought, select a brand with no additives for the best tasting crudo. Reserve the strained spicy marinade to use as a fruity base for a tequila cocktail.

11 of 11

Salted Watermelon Ice Cream

Salted Watermelon Ice Cream
Jen Causey

You can use fresh or bottled watermelon juice to make this ice cream, which turns the concept of salted watermelon slices into a cooling, creamy dessert. Coconut milk infuses the ice cream base with its velvety-smooth sweetness, while lime intensifies the juicy watermelon flavor. Garnish the finished ice cream with flaky sea salt, grated lime zest, and chopped fresh watermelon for a dessert that's delightfully colorful and can keep in the freezer for up to three months.

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