When it comes to the flavors of summer, watermelon is the MVP! The beloved red-and-green fruit is refreshing and versatile and has just enough sweetness to satisfy any sugar cravings.
How to Tell When a Watermelon is Ripe
Next time you head to your closest farmers market or grocery store, find the most promising melons by giving them a big thwack. Watermelons that are heavy and give off a slightly hollow sound when thumped will be the ones that are at their peak juiciness.
After choosing the perfect watermelon, get ready to get creative. While watermelon is delicious on its own, there is no shortage of unique ways to incorporate this fruit into any festive menu. Check out these fresh watermelon recipes for your next summer soiree!
Fresh Watermelon Recipes
Kick up the flavor at your backyard BBQ by adding some grilled watermelon to the menu! While fresh watermelon wedges make the perfect starter or dessert, spice your slices up by marinating them in white balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and rosemary, and then throw them on the grill. Once your watermelon steaks have gorgeous grill marks on both sides, top them with a heaping of walnut gremolata and serve this upscale take on a summer classic.
No matter the occasion, no summer celebration is complete without the appearance of everyone’s favorite duo: chips and dip. Put a spin on this popular appetizer by serving your chips of choice with a peach and watermelon salsa. This fresh and fruity garnish pairs perfectly with classic tortilla chips as an appetizer, or sweeten things up by making your own cinnamon tortilla chips and serve the combo as a delicious dessert.
Bright, fresh, and colorful, there isn’t a summertime combination more delicious than sweet wedges of watermelon paired with thick juicy slices of heirloom tomato. Elevate your salad with a generous helping of fresh greens — think arugula, basil, and mint — and top it off with pieces of salty ricotta salata and thin slices of red onion for a colorful and fresh twist on the classic summer salad recipe .
Summer celebrations are all about barbecues, and no two ingredients shine on the grill quite like watermelon and shrimp. For your next outdoor fiesta, marinate your shrimp in a mixture of lime juice, chopped Thai basil, olive oil, honey, and minced garlic. Then spear each shrimp with a cube of watermelon, and throw your skewers on the grill for about five minutes, or, until your shrimp reach the perfect shade of pink. Serve your summer kebabs immediately for a mouthwatering burst of the season's best flavors.
Show off your culinary skills and expand your guests’ palates by using the part of the watermelon that most people toss in the trash. Use up every bit of the sweet summer treat by simply pickling the watermelon rinds! Just brine your rinds overnight, then boil them in a vinegar-and-spice blend for about 40 minutes. The result is a tasty treat that can be eaten on its own, served on the side of a hearty supper like roasted pork, or saved for the winter months when memories of watermelon season seem like a distant dream.
The versatility of watermelon is demonstrated in this recipe by pureeing the summer fruit into a chilled watermelon soup. Blended with papaya and a lemon coriander cream, this summer soup offers a little bit of jalapeño heat with a sweet lemon garnish. It works on either end of the meal — as a starter or a fruity dessert.
Cool off this summer with homemade watermelon ice pops. Combine chopped watermelon, McCormick Strawberry Extract, and homemade sugar syrup in the blender, then pop the slushy goodness into your favorite molds and freeze them overnight for the perfect watermelon dessert. The best part about freeze pops? You can get creative with fun add-ins like chopped mint, a dash of lemon extract, or even an artistic basil leaf as a frozen garnish.
If you’d rather avoid the drip of a popsicle, you can sip on your iced watermelon treats instead. Just cube your seedless slices and throw them in a blender with your choice of fruit and herb pairings to make frozen fruit smoothie combos like basil watermelon or lemon watermelon slushies. If your guests are of age, get the party started by mixing in some vodka or even your fruity liqueur of choice for a perfect summer cocktail!
A shrub, or a fruit-and-vinegar syrup, can help add a tart twist to a sweet fruit cocktail. This pickled watermelon shrub cocktail calls for you to first marinate wedges of watermelon in a delicious concoction of gin, white balsamic vinegar, McCormick’s pickling spice and sweet melon liqueur. The mixture forms the base of the cocktail that is finished off with a dash of fizzy club soda and a pickled watermelon slice as a garnish that can also be eaten as an after-drink treat. Bottoms up!
There is nothing quite like enjoying an al fresco happy hour during the hot summer months with a chilled frozen margarita in hand. Add some watermelon into your favorite summer cocktail to make things even more refreshing. Sub a cup of summer’s favorite melon in for the strawberries in this recipe and garnish each glass with a wedge of lime and a lightly salted rim. Tequila and frozen watermelon is a guaranteed recipe for beating the heat and spreading the summer love.
Looking for non-alcoholic drink recipes to add watermelon too? Discover new mocktail recipes here!