Recipe Review

I Tried the Popular “Watermelon Pie” and It’s the Best Cool Whip Dessert for Hot Days

published Jul 18, 2023
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Watermelon pie with whipped cream topping and watermelon triangles on each slice
Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

There’s nothing like a classic summer heatwave to put a serious pin in your baking plans. If you’re like me and don’t have central AC, then you get why turning your oven on when it’s 90 degrees outside isn’t in your best interest.  

Now that we’re halfway through the summer, I’ve missed the baking I did during the cooler months (or even just a few weeks ago, like testing these viral upside down pineapple pastries.) I needed to find a refreshing treat that could satisfy my sweet tooth but not turn my apartment into a Finnish sauna in the process. 

Well, I think I found the answer: a recipe for Watermelon Pie from Mallory at The Palatable Life. Yes, watermelon pie. Though the recipe still required turning on the oven, it was only for 10 minutes, which seemed worth it for a sweet slice. 

Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

How to Make Watermelon Pie

You need just a few ingredients for your watermelon pie: graham crackers, brown sugar, melted butter, Cool Whip, sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and watermelon.

Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

Preheat the oven to 350°F and add the graham crackers to a food processor or blender. Pulse until only crumbs remain, then add brown sugar and melted butter, and pulse until fully combined. Alternatively, you can dump the crushed graham crackers into a mixing bowl and incorporate the brown sugar and melted butter using a spatula. 

Next, transfer the mixture into a 9- or 10-inch pie dish or tart pan (really whatever you’ve got will work). Press the mixture into the bottom and sides of the pan using your fingers, making sure not to leave any gaps or holes. When ready, transfer the pie dish into the oven and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool completely. 

As the crust cools, slice the watermelon into 1/2-inch cubes (this tool makes it infinitely easier), lay them out onto a paper towel, and let them drain off excess water. While the watermelon drains, add the Cool Whip to a bowl with sweetened condensed milk and lime juice, stirring until well combined. Add the drained watermelon and stir until evenly distributed. 

Once the crust has cooled, scoop the watermelon mixture into the crust and evenly spread it. Once you have your pie looking presentable, transfer it to the fridge to cool for at least 2 hours before serving. 

Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

My Honest Opinion of Watermelon Pie

I’ll have to admit, I had some trouble with the crust: the sides began slouching down the sides of the pan, and I almost lost it — I was proud of my work up until this point! I was able to salvage it, and this is truly one of the most delicious graham cracker bases. The thickness of the crust is on point.

Watermelon pie is the key lime pie alternative I didn’t know I needed. Now, I’m a huge fan of watermelon, but I was worried that I wouldn’t love how it tasted when mixed with so much Cool Whip. Creamy watermelon?! I wasn’t so sure.

Well consider me a convert. This pie has everything going on: creamy texture, citrusy tang from the lime juice, refreshing sweetness from the watermelon, buttery crunch from the crust. If watermelon pie can get me to eat more than a couple spoonfuls of Cool Whip, then truly anything is possible.

Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

4 Tips for Making Watermelon Pie

  1. Pick out a ripe watermelon! We just learned about the “two-finger” rule when choosing a perfect watermelon, and now we’ll always remember it when we’re at the supermarket.
  2. Eat it within the first day. Watermelon pie is best enjoyed within the first day of making it. Even though you drain the watermelon, the fruit has such high water content that it will cause the crust to turn soggy if it’s left in the fridge for a couple days. If you need to make the pie ahead, prep each step separately and store individually. 
  3. Easy with the butter. While making the crust, I added a little too much melted butter to the mix, which made the walls of my pie crust slip down while baking. Be sure to add the butter to the graham cracker mix incrementally. This will help you avoid adding too much butter and having a too-wet batter. You want the graham cracker mixture to resemble the texture of wet sand.
  4. Quick cool the crust. Running short on time? Pop the crust in the refrigerator to firm up faster.