26 Watermelon Recipes to Serve This Summer

Watermelon, Cucumber, and Feta Salad
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Lydia Pursell; Food Styling: Toni Brogan

There are many things that remind Southerners of summertime. At the top of the list, you'll find a cold, juicy slice of watermelon. Some love it plain, others with a sprinkling of salt. Either way, it's a delicacy enjoyed by everyone in the South all summer long.

And while watermelon is delicious enough to stand alone, it makes just as strong of a showing as a main ingredient in summer salads, salsas, desserts, and cocktails. We're making it easier than ever to celebrate the South's favorite melon by sharing the tastiest watermelon recipes ever.

Start with one of our watermelon salads that serve as the ultimate cookout side dishes, or perhaps try one of our refreshing watermelon cocktails that cool off the hottest of summer days.

In between, plenty of watermelon dishes like Watermelon Margarita Pops, Watermelon-Braised Pork Shoulder Steaks, and even a juicy Watermelon Pie will give fresh flair to your summer menu. Make the most of this summer staple with these best-ever watermelon recipes.

01 of 26

Watermelon Ice Cream

Watermelon Ice Cream
Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners

Recipe: Watermelon Ice Cream

This rich and creamy ice cream is the prettiest shade of pink. The best part? It only requires four simple ingredients: watermelon, sweetened condensed milk, fresh lime juice, and salt.

02 of 26

Watermelon Pie

Watermelon Pie
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Watermelon Pie

My, oh my—watermelon pie! You never knew you needed this summer dessert until now. This pie is finished with a mixture of heavy cream and mascarpone cheese that is thick and rich. Plus, it won't melt as easily as plain whipped cream in the summer heat.

03 of 26

Marinated Watermelon and Tomato Salad

Marinated Watermelon Tomato Salad
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Marinated Watermelon and Tomato Salad

This isn't your basic watermelon salad. Tomatoes and melon soak up the tangy lime-ginger-mint vinaigrette, while goat cheese crumbles add a nice creamy note.

04 of 26

Watermelon Daiquiri

Watermelon Daiquiri
Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners

Recipe: Watermelon Daiquiri

We took a classic favorite and added a splash of summer that we're sure will make you fall in love. Light, refreshing, and bursting with the best flavors of the season, you'll be making these watermelon daiquiris all summer long.

05 of 26

Watermelon Gazpacho

Watermelon Gazpacho
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Cat Steele

Recipe: Watermelon Gazpacho

Cool off with your new favorite chilled watermelon soup. We've swapped traditional tomatoes for watermelon in this gazpacho, adding a touch more sweetness to the tangy and spicy cold soup.

06 of 26

Watermelon-Braised Pork Shoulder Steaks

Watermelon-Braised Pork Shoulder Steaks Recipe
Stephen DeVries; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen

Recipe: Watermelon-Braised Pork Shoulder Steaks

This unexpected watermelon recipe will get the dinner table talking. Pork shoulder is braised in a blend of miso, Sambal, mirin, and juicy summer watermelon, for a salty, savory, and sweet main dish.

07 of 26

Watermelon, Cucumber, and Feta Salad

Watermelon, Cucumber, and Feta Salad
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Lydia Pursell; Food Styling: Toni Brogan

Recipe: Watermelon, Cucumber, and Feta Salad

This watermelon salad strikes the right balance of sweet and savory. Cucumbers add a welcome crunch and mint adds a refreshing, herby bite to this easy summer side dish.

08 of 26

Watermelon-Ginger Mojitos

Watermelon-Ginger Mojitos
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Watermelon-Ginger Mojitos

Watermelon, spearmint, lime, and ginger come together to make this wonderfully refreshing pitcher drink. Ginger beer gives these mojitos a spicy kick and nice effervescence, but you can substitute ginger ale if you prefer something milder.

09 of 26

Pickled Watermelon Rind Slaw

Fried Catfish Sandwich With Pickled Watermelon Rind Slaw
Southern Living

Recipe: Pickled Watermelon Rind Slaw

Ginger and star anise add warm notes of flavor to this summer slaw. It's no-brainer side for anything salty and fried, from chicken to catfish, but would also be great with summer grilling staples like burgers and hot dogs.

10 of 26

Watermelon Margarita Pops

Watermelon Margarita Pops
Becky Luigart-Stayner

Recipe: Watermelon Margarita Pops

Everything you love about the classic cocktail, in popsicle form. Serve with a sprinkle of sea salt, or Tajin, if you want a little spice, for that authentic margarita taste.

11 of 26

Pickled Watermelon Rind

Pickled Watermelon Rind
Caitlin Bensel, Food: Victoria Cox, Props: Kathleen Varner

Recipe: Pickled Watermelon Rind

Don't let your watermelon rind go to waste—enjoy this fresh and easy recipe to get the most out of this delicious summer fruit. Add it to your summer relish tray, slide it next to a platter of deviled eggs at the cookout, or throw it on a crisp summer salad with crumbled, thick-cut bacon.

12 of 26

Watermelon Slushies with Key Lime-Mint Sugar

501634_Watermelon_Slushies_206.jpg

Recipe: Watermelon Slushies with Key Lime-Mint Sugar

These are slushies you will crave on a hot summer day. While the recipe is non-alcoholic, these are excellent spiked with your favorite hard liquor of choice.

13 of 26

Fried Watermelon Bites

Twain's Brewpub & Billiards Fried Watermelon Bites
Tori Allen PR

Recipe: Fried Watermelon Bites

Cubes of watermelon are marinated in lime, red wine vinegar, and chili sauce before they're coated in a cayenne pepper-and-IPA batter for frying. This creative take on watermelon comes from Chef Ryan Burke of Twain's Brewpub & Billiards in Decatur, GA, who frequently incorporates the restaurant's house-brewed beers into the spot's Southern-inspired menu.

14 of 26

Spicy Watermelon Refresher

Spicy Watermelon Refresher
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Spicy Watermelon Refresher

Serrano peppers are used in this cocktail recipe to give your drink some punch. Smokey tequila reposado and seltzer mellow the heat for a well-balanced cocktail.

15 of 26

Honeysuckle-Watermelon Cocktails

Honeysuckle-Watermelon Cocktails
Chris M. Rogers; Styling: Lydia Degaris Pursell

Recipe: Honeysuckle-Watermelon Cocktails

Watermelon cocktails are just about the most refreshing drink we can think of for summer, and this one is no exception. As a nod to Honeysuckle Farms, we used Mississippi's Cathead Honeysuckle Flavored Vodka as the base of this drink.

16 of 26

4th of July Punch

4th of July Punch
Jennifer Causey

Recipe: 4th of July Punch

This big-batch watermelon punch is great for summer bashes. The secret to this punch? Letting it sit. After blending and straining, let the ingredients get to know each other for at least two hours or up to two days.

17 of 26

Grilled Watermelon

Grilled Watermelon
Caitlin Bensel

Recipe: Grilled Watermelon

Grilling the watermelon enhances its natural sweetness and adds a touch of smoky flavor. Be sure to sprinkle both sides of the fruit with the sugar and salt mixture. Without it, the juicy melon won't char.

18 of 26

Smoky Watermelon-Mezcal Fresca

Smoky Watermelon-Mezcal Fresca
Becky Luigart-Stayner

Recipe: Smoky Watermelon-Mezcal Fresca

The bright pink watermelon drink is easy to whip together in a blender, and it has a few fancy touches that make it memorable. The rim of the glass is coated in a mixture of smoked sea salt and lime crystals (such as True Lime), for a bold smoky-tangy flavor, but you can use regular sea salt and lime zest if you prefer.

19 of 26

Watermelon-and-Feta Orzo Salad

Watermelon-and-Feta Orzo Salad
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Watermelon-and-Feta Orzo Salad

Watermelon and feta make a foolproof salad combo—but orzo, arugula, and a homemade lemony vinaigrette take this dish to delicious new heights. While we use orzo, other small pasta shapes like mini shells or bow-ties would work as well.

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Herbed Goat Cheese-Melon Party Bites

Herbed Goat Cheese-Melon Party Bites
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Herbed Goat Cheese-Melon Party Bites

Indulge in the warm days of summer with this refreshing watermelon and goat cheese appetizer. Just a handful of ingredients make an easy but impressive looking bite great for picnics or parties.

21 of 26

Watermelon-Mint Margaritas

Watermelon-Mint Margaritas
Southern Living

Recipe: Watermelon-Mint Margaritas

Use leftover watermelon to make this slushy summer drink. Garnish with fresh mint leaves, and if you like your watermelon with a sprinkle of salt, add a salt rim instead of sugar.

22 of 26

Tomato-and-Watermelon Salad

Tomato-and-Watermelon Salad
Photo: Oxmoor House

Recipe: Tomato-and-Watermelon Salad

This no-cook watermelon salad combines sweet, juicy watermelon chunks with peak season tomatoes for a dish that is an ode to the best of summer produce. Serve chilled with lettuce leaves, if desired or on its own. Either way, finish the salad with plenty of cracked black pepper.


23 of 26

Watermelon, Mâche, and Pecan Salad

Watermelon, Mache, and Pecan Salad
William Dickey

Recipe: Watermelon, Mâche, and Pecan Salad

Spiked with the sweet-sharp heat of a pepper-jelly vinaigrette, ice-cold cubes of watermelon team up with buttery crumbles of Gorgonzola cheese and toasted pecans. Mâche is a tender, heirloom variety of lamb's lettuce, but the salad is equally good prepared with a mix of baby lettuces.

24 of 26

Watermelon Sangria

Watermelon Sangria
Katie Jacobs

Recipe: Watermelon Sangria

This sangria gets a blush-colored upgrade with a mix of both still and sparkling rosé wines. This big-batch drink is perfect for parties, brunch, or sipping on a porch. For an extra Southern touch, serve it in mason jars.

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Yellow Tomatoes and Burrata with Watermelon-Beet Salsa

Yellow Tomatoes and Burrata with Watermelon-Beet Salsa
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Yellow Tomatoes and Burrata with Watermelon-Beet Salsa

This watermelon recipe celebrates all the best of summer's yellow produce, from heirloom yellow tomatoes, to golden beets, and yellow watermelon. For the unfamiliar, the fruit of yellow watermelon is sweeter than its red counterpart and tastes of honey and apricot.

26 of 26

Tequila Watermelon Spritzer

Tequila Watermelon Spritzer
Getty Images/SherSor

Recipe: Tequila Watermelon Spritzer

Think of this recipe as a watermelon margarita, but bubblier, easier to keep flowing, and not quite as tequila-forward. To keep the cocktail less boozy, use a sparkling water like Topo Chico, instead of sparkling wine.

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