27 Cool and Refreshing Watermelon Ideas

Nothing's Better Than Watermelon on a Hot Summer Day

Watermelon Popsicles

Emily Hawkes/The Spruce Eats

Few things remind us more of summer than a sweet, juicy bite of fresh watermelon. These days, we're finding ourselves putting watermelon in salads, mixing it into barbecue marinades, turning it into pickles, drinking it in cocktails, enjoying its sweetness in desserts, and even deep-frying it (yes, really!). We've rounded up the most creative summer recipes that are easy to make and allow you to savor every last bit of this delicious fruit, including ways to prepare the rind and seeds.

  • 01 of 27

    Watermelon Granita

    watermelon granita

    Leah Maroney 

    Watermelon granita is a delightful cross between a summer slushie and a sorbet and makes a refreshing dessert. It packs a wallop of watermelon flavor with fresh lime adding fantastic brightness. With only three ingredients, it's an easy treat to whip up on hot summer days. Bonus: it only requires a blender and a kitchen sieve to make.

  • 02 of 27

    Watermelon Fruit Basket

    watermelon fruit basket filled with berries and pineapple

      Leah Maroney

    Create a gorgeous watermelon fruit bowl for cookouts, pool parties, and other backyard gatherings this summer with easy step-by-step instructions. Fill it with your choice of juicy, fresh fruits in season, for a healthy dessert option that looks gorgeous on the table.

  • 03 of 27

    Whole Vodka-Spiked Watermelon

    How to Make a Vodka-Spiked Watermelon

    S&C Design Studios

    Instead of supplying six packs, why not create a vodka-infused "drunken watermelon" for adult cookout guests this summer? This crafty cocktail project is fun for parties and takes less than a day to create. Just be sure to let visitors know that the fruit is spiked before serving.

  • 04 of 27

    Watermelon Cosmopolitan

    Jennifer Levy

    Cosmos, anyone? The Cosmopolitan—popularized by Sex in the City—gets a summer makeover in a delicious drink that proves you don’t need to be a bartender to serve fancy cocktails right from your home kitchen. 

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  • 05 of 27

    Watermelon Gazpacho Soup

    A delicious and refreshing watermelon gazpacho, ready to serve
    Steven Krug / Getty Images

    Spanish-style watermelon gazpacho is a healthy, no-cook soup that's ideal for enjoying on hot days when you don't want to turn on your stove. Cubes of seedless watermelon float in a delicious puree infused with fresh lime juice and zest for added zing.

  • 06 of 27

    Watermelon Beer

    Homemade Watermelon Beer
    S&C Design Studios

    In only minutes, you can turn a regular wheat beer into a fruity shandy-style concoction that deserves to be sipped slowly on a shady porch. Muddled watermelon and vanilla syrup are all you need to makeover your quaff.

  • 07 of 27

    Watermelon and Mozzarella Salad With Basil

    Easy Watermelon and Mozzarella Salad Recipe

    Enjoy a sweet twist on the classic Italian caprese salad when you swap the tomatoes for juicy chunks of watermelon. They make a lovely flavor complement to fresh, soft mozzarella cheese balls, and aromatic basil leaves. Drizzle with balsamic syrup for serving.

  • 08 of 27

    Watermelon, Feta Cheese, and Fresh Mint Salad

    Stuart West

    Cool, crisp watermelon pairs beautifully with fresh mint and tangy feta cheese in this refreshing summer salad. The recipe offers tips for customizing the party-perfect dish to suit your personal tastes.

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  • 09 of 27

    Healthy Watermelon Popsicles

    Watermelon Popsicles

    Emily Hawkes/The Spruce Eats

    Watermelon popsicles could not be easier to make and are a wonderful summertime treat. Watermelon chunks are pureed in the blender, then poured into popsicle molds or ice cube trays and frozen, with or without the optional added flavorings as suggested in the recipe.

  • 10 of 27

    Watermelon, Prosciutto, and Feta Salad

    Cool, refreshing salad of watermelon, prosciutto, and feta.
    Stuart West

    Refreshing watermelon, tangy feta cheese, and salty prosciutto combine wonderfully in this protein-packed summer salad that makes an elegant starter at dinner or a lovely light lunch. The salad is dressed in a delicious honey vinaigrette and finished with sesame seeds and fresh mint leaves for a pretty presentation.

  • 11 of 27

    Deep-Fried Watermelon

    Deep-Fried Watermelon

    Charlene Collins/Getty Images

    If you've never tasted fried watermelon, it's time to give it a try! You can prepare watermelon triangles for frying much like you would many other foods. It's first dipped in a simple batter, then placed in hot oil until it turns golden. Enjoy warm with a dusting of powdered sugar as a fun appetizer or dessert.

  • 12 of 27

    Roasted Watermelon Seeds

    Roasted Watermelon Seeds

    DigiPub/Getty Images

    Did you know that watermelon seeds can be roasted to turn them into a tasty snack, much like sunflower or pumpkin seeds? These often-tossed fruit seeds take on a yummy flavor that is reminiscent of caramel when toasted in a pan, then boiled with salt. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month.

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  • 13 of 27

    Watermelon Martinis

    Ivan Grubacki / EyeEm

    When summer guests are expected, it's a great time to try out this sophisticated watermelon martini recipe that puts a seasonal spin on a the classic cocktail. Fresh watermelon juice is combined in a cocktail shaker with vodka, lime juice, simple syrup, and ice, for straining into martini glasses.

  • 14 of 27

    Sweet and Tangy Watermelon BBQ Sauce

    Ribs cut from beef, coated in barbecue sauce, close-up
    Ian O'Leary / Getty Images

    Watermelon barbecue sauce has all the tangy spicy flavor you crave during summer cookouts with a little added sweetness to make it even more delicious. Use it as a versatile marinade, glaze, or sauce for pork ribs, roasted chicken, chicken wings, or grilled vegetables.

  • 15 of 27

    French Grilled Watermelon

    Fresh summer grilled watermelon salad with feta cheese, arugula, onions on blue background
    sveta_zarzamora / Getty Images

    Summer is a great time for grilling all sorts of foods, including watermelon! Grilling this favorite summer fruit with a little bit of olive oil and salt brings out its sweetness and adds a smoky flavor that's out of this world. Enjoy it straight from the grill or add it to fruit salads and salsas at cookout parties.

  • 16 of 27

    Old-Fashioned Watermelon Rind Pickles

    Watermelon rind pickles recipe

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

    Wondering what to do with watermelon rinds leftover from preparing fruit plates, smoothies, and salads? This Southern-style recipe pickles them in a nicely-spiced brining liquid for a treat that makes a delicious alternative to fruit cups on hot summer days.

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  • 17 of 27

    Watermelon Sorbet

    Sara Rosso

    Use your ice cream maker to whip up a light watermelon sorbet this summer. It makes a lovely dessert after summer dinners or a refreshing palate cleanser between cookout courses. You only need three ingredients, including watermelon, sugar, and a lime.

  • 18 of 27

    Watermelon Pie

    Paulo Simao

    Bake up a flaky double-crust watermelon pie that's a great way to use up leftover watermelon rinds. The rinds are peeled, chopped, and combined in a nicely-spiced batter with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, raisins, and pecans. Use the included recipe for a homemade, buttery pastry crust, or save time with prepared pastry sheets.

  • 19 of 27

    Watermelon Iced Tea

    Dmitry V. Petrenko / FOAP

    Here's a refreshing Southern-inspired drink that you can serve proudly to family and friends this summer. Loaded with fruit, garnished with herbs, and bursting with flavor, you'll go through a pitcher in no time.

  • 20 of 27

    Frozen Watermelon Smoothie

    Watermelon Smoothie

    The Spruce

    This foolproof summer recipe for a watermelon smoothie gets extra sweetness maple syrup and creaminess from a milk and yogurt base.

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  • 21 of 27

    Frozen Watermelon Coconut Mojitos

    The Spruce

    Get the pool party started this summer with a grown-up slushy that puts a tropical twist on the classic mojito. Frozen watermelon chunks and creamy coconut milk are blended with coconut rum, lime juice, and fresh mint leaves. Garnish with more fruit, mint, and optional shredded coconut for a cute presentation.

  • 22 of 27

    Frozen Watermelon Margarita

    Malcolm P Chapman

    Fruit-flavored margaritas are a classic summer party cocktail. These frozen watermelon drinks put a sweet twist on the traditional marg that will be welcome at all of your outdoor parties.

  • 23 of 27

    Grilled Watermelon Salad with Mint

    Grilled Watermelon with Mint
    Alexandra Grablewski/Getty Images

    Use your grill to make this refreshing fruit salad for serving at backyard soirees. Tossed in a simple sweetened syrup with finely chopped fresh mint leaves, it can double as a side dish or light dessert.

  • 24 of 27

    Greek Watermelon and Feta Salad

    Greek Watermelon and Feta Salad

    Ron Purdy/Getty Images

    Juicy watermelon and salty, tangy feta cheese are a chef-favorite ingredient combination for summer salads. This salad with only four ingredients could not be easier and makes a lovely low-calorie side dish for cookout plates. Add a little fresh chopped mint as garnish for added brightness.

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  • 25 of 27

    North Sea Mackerel With Pickles, Watermelon and Wasabi Mayo

    Mackarel with pickles watermelon wasabi mayo recipe

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    Seafood chef of the year Rob Green created this gorgeous, budget-friendly recipe that makes a visually impressive fish course for dinner parties or a healthy lunch. Fresh mackerel fillets are pan-fried and plated with brined vegetables, watermelon, wasabi mayonnaise, and baby herbs.

  • 26 of 27

    Grilled Halloumi and Watermelon Sandwich

    Grilled Halloumi and Watermelon Sandwich

    The Spruce Eats

    Watermelon, tomatoes, and fresh mint are piled between two grilled slabs of halloumi cheese, in this creative recipe. These miniature Mediterranean-style cheese-and-fruit sandwiches are super-tasty and make a great hand-held summer party appetizer.

  • 27 of 27

    Spiked Watermelon Fruit Punch Lemonade

    Spiked Watermelon Fruit Punch Lemonade

    Westend61/Getty Images

    Whip up a glass of this spiked fruit punch on hot days. It's made with vodka, muddled watermelon, pink sparkling lemonade, parsley, agave nectar, and lemon juice. Go ahead and multiply the recipe to make a pitcher for adults to enjoy at backyard summer gatherings.