Maybe you went a little overboard at the farmers’ market and purchased a lot of extra watermelon. Now what? How do you get the most bang for your buck from this giant fruit hogging all the refrigerator space? From its ruby red flesh to the bittersweet green rind, here’s how to savor the last days of summer with watermelon.  
Credit: Photo: Hector Sanchez

As summer marches on, finding new ways to use watermelon can be a challenge. We all love eating refreshing slices of plain watermelon. After a while though, eating those cubes and slices can just be plain boring, but it doesn’t have to be. The great thing about watermelon is its healthy and hydrating benefits, but its versatility also takes center stage. You can do practically anything with watermelon. From salads to sangrias, we’ve rounded up 10 ways to help you make the most of the summertime staple before apples start to take over for fall. Whether you chop it, grill it, or blend chunks into your morning smoothie, just don’t let it go to waste.

Get one last taste of summer by putting watermelon...

On the Grill

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey

Fun fact: The grill makes everything taste better. Yes, even watermelon. Grilled thick watermelon wedges or steak-shaped chunks with chile powder have become a hit at barbecue gatherings. The heat of the grill enhances the natural sweet flavor of watermelon. 

In a Salad

Credit: Jennifer Causey

Not much beats that first bite into a juicy slice of watermelon, that is until you’ve had it mixed in with all the delicious fixings of a leafy green salad. Unlike most salads where fruit often takes a backseat to chicken or flavorful dressings, the watermelon is the star ingredient in this Steamed Shrimp and Watermelon Salad. On a warm summer day, the bold combination of sweet watermelon, umami soy sauce, and spicy red pepper makes this an interesting side or main dish for dining alfresco. 

In Your Water

Credit: Photo: Teresa Sabga

Watermelon is already a great source of water, thus the name. It is one of the highest water-content fruits in the produce aisle. But for even more hydrating benefits, infused water is the way to go for summer. Drink your way to good health with this low-calorie watermelon infusion or a refreshing sip of watermelon agua fresca.

In a Condiment

Credit: Caitlin Bensel

Cool down a spicy dish with a sweet, minty watermelon salsa that's perfect for summertime picnics or parties.

In a Tortilla

Credit: Photo: Hector Sanchez

We’d seriously consider eating every day like it’s Taco Tuesday if it meant having our tacos filled with watermelon and steak. The juicy melon serves as the perfect contrast to this spicy and tender cut of beef, all wrapped in one crispy shell. Fresh, light, and deliciously cool, tacos packed with watermelon make for a simple summer dinner.

In a No-Cook Soup

Credit: Stephanie Frey

When it's jus too hot to eat or turn on the stove, gazpacho gets the job done. If you’ve ever had cucumber, strawberry, or tomato gazpacho, watermelon gazpacho is no different, except the fruit and veggie-packed soup has a slightly more chunky texture. This chilled soup, with its sweet and savory flavor combination, is the perfect first course of a summer meal.

Get the Recipe: Watermelon Gazpacho

In the Freezer

Credit: Photo: Caitlin Bensel

Probably the easiest way to enjoy watermelon outside of eating it raw is to freeze it in a deceptively simple granita. Don’t let the name scare you off. A granita is basically a glorified slushie or frozen dessert. Bright, slightly tangy, and sweet, one cup of this watermelon treat just screams summer. Scraping the granita until it’s snowlike and fluffy is key to the textural pleasure here. 

On a Stick 

Credit: Jamie Vespa


Nothing’s better on a hot summer day than a popsicle. Both kids and adults alike can enjoy an icy-cold treat. From these easy, kid-friendly watermelon and lemon ice pops to grown-up 3-ingredient boozy watermelon pops and watermelon-jalapeno ice pops—there's something for everyone when watermelon is involved. And of course we can’t forget about our warm-weather favorite: grilled kebabs. Threading chunks of watermelon on beef and veggie skewers offers a salty-sweet combo that’s light and healthy. Proof that food's better when it's on a stick.

In Your Drink During Happy Hour

Credit: Photo: Robbie Caponetto; Styling: Claire Spollen

What happens when cocktail hour and summer come together? Sheer bliss. Forget iced tea and lemonade—the tastiest summer beverage might just be sangria with fresh melon. Don’t drink alcohol? No worries! You can enjoy your poolside happy hour experience all the same with a watermelon and lime-flavored club soda. Drink up! After all, that summer thirst certainly won’t quench itself.

As a Cake

Credit: Aaron Kirk

These towering tiers of summer-ripe fruit will make a stunning centerpiece for your next cookout, potluck, or shower. Use your favorite fruits to customize the design; simply secure firmly with wooden picks. Although it’s tempting to try and make this ahead of time, don’t make it any earlier than 4 hours before you plan to serve it; the cut watermelon will get too juicy. We’ve offered sample sizes for the tiers in the recipe below; feel free to use them as a guide and scale the tiers up or down depending on the size of your watermelons.

Get the Recipe: Watermelon Cake