20+ Must-Make Watermelon Recipes for Summer

updated May 28, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

Among the fruits and vegetables I can’t get enough of this time of year, watermelon ranks high — like, top-of-the-list high! From now through the end of summer, join me in adding a watermelon to the grocery cart every chance you get.

But first, because it’s probably been a while, a small refresher on how to pick a good watermelon is probably helpful. A good watermelon should always feel heavy for its size, with a firm surface and no soft spots, and a yellow-ish patch (this is called a field spot). It’s also a good idea to give watermelon a tap with the palm of your hand. Good ones will have a deep hollow sound. And no matter what size melon you’re buying, or if it’s a seedless or seeded watermelon, the same tips apply.

Ready to see all the delicious things you can do with summer’s favorite fruit? We’re sharing over 20 of the best watermelon recipes to prove just how versatile this fruit is.

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Esquites-Inspired Watermelon Salad
This dish is inspired by a Mexican street corn salad. It’s sweet, spicy, refreshing, and all too easy to eat. Another great option? Our watermelon salad with feta and mint, which takes just about five minutes to make.
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Watermelon Arugula Salad
Combine peppery arugula with sweet and juicy watermelon, salty hunks of feta, and cooling mint leaves, and you have a salad that’s so much more than the sum of its parts.
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Smoked Watermelon Agua Fresca
Smoked salt and paprika, give this refreshing summer drinks notes of smoke like it melon just came off the grill.
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Halloumi and Melon Skewers
Thredded with charred melon and briny halloumi, and brushed with a honey-lime glaze, these skewers, are the ultimate way to turn watermelon is a summery appetizer.
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Watermelon Salsa
Watermelon salsa is as refreshing as it sounds, and it couldn’t be easier to throw together.
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Watermelon Margarita
Watermelon margaritas are about as refreshing as it gets when it comes to easy-sipping summer cocktails. And better yet, this version calls for just three basic ingredients.
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Sweet and Salty Watermelon Fruit Salad
Made with blackberries, sliced cucumber, lime juice, and feta, this watermelon fruit salad is equal parts sweet, salty, and savory.
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Watermelon Mint Frosé
This refreshing frozen cocktail requires a little prep the day before, but once everything is ready it only takes about about a minute to come together.
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Grilled Watermelon
Grilled watermelon can play side dish or dessert, depending on your mood. Either way, it’s a sweet and smoky treat for summer.
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2-Ingredient Watermelon Sherbet
All you need is watermelon and sweetened condensed milk to make this creamy no-churn sherbet. That means you’ll likely be making it on repeat until Labor Day.
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Minted Summer Couscous with Watermelon and Feta
On its own this refreshing grain salad made an easy side or light lunch we want to eat on repeat all summer. To make this salad into a full meal, grilled chicken or shrimp are a perfect match.
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Watermelon Mimosas
A fruit salad is a fine way to feature watermelon at a summer brunch, but turning it into pink-hued mimosas is even more fun.
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Watermelon Cake
This four-ingredient watermelon cake is super fun and whimsical, but so much easier to make than the ones you’ve seen floating around Pinterest. For example, it’s made with meringue instead of a whipped cream frosting, which is so much easier to spread.
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Watermelon Caramel Sauce
This recipe is pure magic: Cook down watermelon juice until it’s thick and pourable and you’ve got a caramel-like sauce that’s deeply sweet.
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Credit: Maria Siriano
Chocolate-Dipped Watermelon Wedges
This two-ingredient dessert is super-refreshing, while also satisfying your chocolate cravings. Simply slice, freeze, dip, freeze, and enjoy.
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Watermelon Prosecco Punch
The next time you pop open a bottle of bubbly, go ahead and dress it up with some watermelon cubes and fresh mint leaves.
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Credit: Maria Siriano
Tajín-Sprinkled Watermelon
Fresh and juicy watermelon slices are one of the best ways to experience the flavors of Tajín, a classic Mexican seasoning made with chili powder, salt, and dehydrated lime juice. You’ll be hit with spicy, sour, and salty notes all at once.
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Credit: Maria Siriano
Watermelon S’mores
Thick slabs of watermelon are smothered with Cool Whip and sandwiched between graham crackers for a surprisingly delicious twist on s’mores. The best part? There’s no campfire required.
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Credit: Maria Siriano
The One Fruit You’re Forgetting to Put on Your Yogurt
Skip the berries and add watermelon to your breakfast parfaits instead. Sweet chunks of watermelon pair delightfully with tangy yogurt, crunchy granola, and a honey drizzle.
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Watermelon Popsicles
You only need two ingredients for these refreshing summer Popsicles: watermelon and lime juice. But if you want them a bit sweeter, feel free to add honey, too.
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Sparkling Watermelon Sangria
Watermelon is the star of the most refreshing sangria you'll want to sip all summer.
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Watermelon Rind Bhaji
This basic side dish is one of the best, tastiest ways to repurpose watermelon rinds. It's quick to throw together, and perfect as part of a hurried weeknight dinner. 
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