What Is A Yellow Watermelon?

Use a yellow watermelon the same way you would use a red one, and you will enjoy it just as much.

yellow watermelon
Photo: Akepong Srichaichana/EyeEm/Getty Images

When the dog days of summer set in and you are facing an afternoon filled with haze, humidity, and languid breezes (if there is even a breeze at all), the one thing that will coax you out onto the back porch is the promise of a sweet, juicy, and crisp watermelon.

There are few things more refreshing than biting into a watermelon wedge, letting the juice trickle down your arms, and seeing how far you can spit the seeds. While the most popular way to eat a watermelon is to just dive in, they are also delicious blended into cocktails, paired with tomatoes in salads, and even turned into a creamy, frozen pie. You may be lucky enough to grow your own watermelons in your garden or you might visit a farmers' market for your favorite varieties, such as the Sugar Baby or Crimson Sweet.

The traditional varieties all have red or pink flesh, but have you run across the yellow watermelon? With over 1,200 varieties of watermelon on the market today, from seedless to pink to melons with a black rind, you shouldn't be surprised to find a yellow fleshed melon. Read on and see what makes it so different.

Yellow watermelons stacked on each other with a cut watermelon in the middle

The Spruce / K. Dave

What Makes Them Yellow

Some fruits and vegetables, such as cherries, blueberries, grapes, and purple sweet potatoes, contain anthocyanins, a flavonoid which provides their rich color. Traditional watermelons get their pinkish to red hues from lycopene, the same powerful antioxidant that makes tomatoes red. Watermelon varieties that do not contain lycopene will often have a yellow flesh.

Hundreds of watermelon varietals are cultivated in the United States and in South America. Complementary growing seasons yield a supply of watermelon year-round with multiple choices in shape, color and size. Varieties are often categorized according to their characteristics, like shape, rind pattern, and size. There does exist in the world an orange watermelon as well, and the flavor is closer to the yellow variety than the red.

They Look The Same On The Outside

You can't judge a book by its cover, and you can't judge a watermelon by its rind, because a yellow watermelon has a green rind, just like every other watermelon. So, unless the produce is labeled correctly at the market, you will have to cut into a melon to determine if it is yellow or red. There are as many varieties of yellow watermelons as there are red ones, both with seeds and seedless.

Ripe Yellow Watermelons

Kaipungyai/Getty Images

Use A Yellow Watermelon The Same Way

Aside from the obvious color difference, the fruit of the yellow watermelon is sweeter than its red-fleshed counterpart, described as having notes of honey and apricot. Yellow watermelon fruit is now widely available and can be used in the same recipes as you would use a red watermelon, you may want to even mix red and yellow melons in a recipe for added visual appeal.

Choosing A Ripe Watermelon

A ripe watermelon has a patch of yellow rind on its underside. This is called the ground spot—or belly spot or field spot. It's the part of the melon that touched the ground and wasn't exposed to sunlight as it grew. If you are unable to find the ground spot, it's likely the melon was harvested too soon and didn't have a chance to fully ripen. Or, if there is a ground spot but it's more white than yellow, that is also an indication that it may have been picked from the vine too early. 

Watermelon Recipes From Southern Living

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

Watermelon Braised Pork Shoulder Steaks

You'll be the talk of the BBQ this season with this unexpected watermelon dish that is a surprising and tasty alternative to ribs and other pork roasts. Pork shoulder steaks are braised in a blend of miso, Sambal sauce, mirin, and yes, juicy summer watermelons.

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

Fried Watermelon Bites

This unique appetizer recipe soaks watermelon in a zesty marinade of lime, red wine vinegar, and chili sauce before dunking into a cayenne pepper-and-IPA batter. Using the yellow variety will bring a little more vibrance to you picnic table, along with just a little more sweetness.

Grilled Watermelon
Caitlin Bensel

Grilled Watermelon

We're guessing you may have never grilled fruit before. But, like grilled peaches, a quick kiss from the grill works by enhancing the flavor, changing the texture and adding a little smoke to the naturally sweet fruit. Set yourself up for success by cutting the melon into one-inch triangle wedges or quarter slices before grilling. 

Tequila Watermelon Spritzer
Getty Images/SherSor

Tequila Watermelon Spritzer

Next time you're fashioning up a porch cocktail or big-batch cookout drink, skip the Aperol and try this watermelon spritzer with tequila instead. Think of this recipe as like a watermelon margarita, but bubblier, easier to keep flowing, and not quite as tequila-forward.

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

Watermelon, Cucumber, And Feta Salad

Cucumbers add a welcome crunch to this refreshing summer salad of cubed watermelon, fresh herbs, and crumbled feta cheese. You can replace the fresh mint with basil if you prefer, or use a combination of both herbs. A personal-sized seedless watermelon is just the right size for this salad, but you can also use pre-cut melon or a portion of a larger watermelon. 

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

Pickled Watermelon Rind

Add this pickled watermelon rind 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. Sweet and spicy, pickled watermelon rind is one of those summertime delicacies we Southerners hold dear, and this is the simplest pickled watermelon rind recipe to try.

Smoky Watermelon-Mezcal Fresca
Becky Luigart-Stayner

Smoky Watermelon Mescal Fresca

Freezing watermelon cubes amps up the chill of this frothy refresher right out of the blender. This drink is a mash-up of a watermelon aqua fresca and a Paloma cocktail that gets its fizz from sweet grapefruit soda—like Squirt or Jarritos. For a less sweet drink, use club soda or grapefruit flavored sparkling water.

WATCH: Why Southerners Love To Salt Their Watermelon

Interested in growing your own yellow watermelons? Check out the seed selections available online. If you are anxious to try one right now, look for these varieties at your farmers' market: Yellow Flesh Black Diamond Watermelon, Desert King, Yellow Crimson, Yellow Doll, Buttercup and Tastigold.

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  1. https://www.watermelon.org/audiences/foodservice/types-availability/#:~:text=More%20than%20300%20varieties%20of,of%20shapes%2C%20colors%20and%20sizes.

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