Wondering how to cut a watermelon? It's easy with these simple tips, step-by-step photos, and video! Plus, you'll learn how to pick a melon, store it, use it in recipes, and so much more!
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I don't know about you, but I LOVE watermelon. There isn't a more summery fruit. Anytime I take a bite, I feel like I'm being transported back to my childhood ... probably with that sweet juice dripping down my chin!
Dealing with a whole watermelon can be intimidating though. First, you need to pick the right one, then you have to cut it ... and what to do with all the leftovers?
After eating a lot of watermelon this summer, I have tons of easy tips to share with you. I'm breaking them all down below. Plus, I created a video, so you can see exactly how to peel a watermelon and cut into into four different shapes.
Ready to dive into all things watermelon? Then, keep reading for all the juicy details!
This guide covers everything you could possible want know about this favorite fruit. To read everything and become a watermelon expert, just keep scrolling. Otherwise, can use these links to navigate:
- How to Pick a Watermelon
- Peeling Watermelon
- How to Cut a Watermelon: Cutting Tools | Cutting Cubes | Slicing Triangles / Wedges | Cutting Sticks | Making Balls | Cutting Shapes | Making a Basket
- How to Store Watermelon
- How to Eat Watermelon (Recipes)
Watermelon is in season during summer. Peak season will vary depending on where you live, but look for it in stores and at the farmers market from May through September.
The most popular types of melon here in the U.S. are seeded, seedless, and mini. If you shop at specialty stores or farmers market, you may be able to find melons with yellow or orange flesh, too. If you grow your own watermelon, you can even buy special molds to shape them into hearts or squares!
Personally, I prefer seedless melons. In my experience, they taste just as sweet as the seeded kind. No seeds means they're so much easier to deal with though (especially for recipes).
Choosing the best watermelon may seem tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Try these simple tips the next time you go shopping:
- Don't rush the season. Can you find watermelon year round? Sometimes, but it's never going to taste the best. Save it for summer!
- Pick it up. A juicy melon should feel quite heavy for its size.
- Find the field spot. This is the spot where it rested on the ground in the field. A creamy, yellow spot (versus a pale, white one) is a sign that it was allowed to fully ripen before picking.
- Check the rind. The best melons will have a smooth, firm rind. Dry webbing and a few blemishes are okay, but you should avoid fruit with cracks, mushy spots, and bruises, as well as melons with irregular shapes and bumps.
- Look for a dried out stem. If the stem is attached, it should be dry, not green. This indicates that it was allowed to ripen on the vine and wasn't picked too early.
- Give it a thump. The surface should be firm, and a juicy watermelon should have a deep hollow sound. If it sounds dull, it may be mushy inside.
Tip: Did you find a crack in the watermelon flesh when you cut it open? Don't worry, it's still okay to eat, and it may even taste sweeter than usual. The crack most likely indicates that it was subjected to changing weather during growing season (such as a hot or cold snap).
Cutting through the thick rind is the trickiest thing about dealing with watermelon. To make it easier, you will need a knife with a long, sharp blade. I like to sharpen mine right before starting, which makes the job a million times easier.
There are different ways to peel a watermelon, plus lots of crazy hacks that you might have seen on YouTube or Pinterest. However, this is the easiest and safest method:
- Wash it under running water, then blot dry.
- Cut a thin slice off both ends.
- Slice the watermelon in half crosswise, through the middle. If your melon is longer than your knife, carefully rotate the melon as you cut it.
- Place one of the halves, cut side down, on the cutting board.
- Cut around the melon, slicing off the peel in strips.
- Repeat with the other half.
Check out the pictures below to see exactly how to do this step-by-step.
Tip: if you're working with a smaller melon, you can skip step three (cutting it in half crosswise). In which case, you'd stand the melon on one of its ends in step four before peeling it. In general though, it's easier (and much safer) to work with smaller pieces.
Now that you know how to peel a watermelon, let's talk about how to cut it. I'm showing you four easy cutting methods below (cubes, triangles / wedges, sticks, and balls), plus I'm sharing tips for cutting shapes (like stars) and making a basket.
By the way, you can use these methods on any melon, whether it has an oval, round, or mini shape.
Truthfully though, you really don't need any special tools. A sharp knife, preferably with a long blade, is the most important. The one I used has a thin (but very sturdy) 6-inch blade. I've had this knife for ages, and I'm not sure where I got it, but this Chicago Cutlery 6-inch knife looks pretty similar.
If you're planning to make a basket or would like to make balls though, this cutting tool set would come in handy for sure. Love gadgets? Two tools that get a lot of positive reviews are this Round Watermelon Slicer and this Windmill Cutter, which I have to admit, looks very fun to use!
Cubes are probably the most versatile shape. And they're as perfect for snacks, as they are for using in recipes.
To cut a watermelon into cubes, follow these steps:
- Cut the melon into slices.
- Stack slices, then make a series of cuts parallel to each other.
- Cut perpendicular to the first cuts you made to create the cubes.
Tip: You can easily change the size of the cubes, from a small dice to larger chunks, simply by slicing the melon thinner or wider.
Watermelon slices are the classic party shape that's so much fun to eat! Triangles and wedges are also incredibly easy to make.
I'd recommend keeping the rind on when cutting wedges. That way, you've got a natural handle, which makes them less messy to eat.
To slice watermelon, follow these steps:
- Starting with a whole melon, cut it in half crosswise. Then, cut the halves in half. You should have four quarters at this point.
- Place one of the quarters cut side down on your cutting board, then cut it into slices.
- Cut the slices into triangle-shaped wedges.
Sticks are a fun alternative to wedges, and they're equally great for parties and snacking!
Plus, they take minute minutes to cut ... here's how to do it:
- Cut watermelon into slices.
- Keeping slices intact, turn the melon, then cut perpendicular to original cuts.
Tip: You can leave the rind on sticks, if you'd prefer. That way, you have a built in handle, making them less messy to eat.
Cute balls are the perfect shape for all your summer fruit salads! They also make colorful, delicious ice cubes for drinks when frozen. Best of all, they're so easy to make.
You will need a melon baller or a rounded teaspoon, like I'm using below. Once you've gathered that, simply press the melon baller down into the surface of the watermelon, then turn it and scoop out the ball.
Don't worry if your balls aren't 100% round. One side will always be a little flat, but no one will notice.
Want to cut your watermelon into shapes? Stars, hearts, and more are very easy to make, and your kids will enjoy helping you out.
Simply cut a slice of melon, then press the cutter into it. You can find all sorts of fun shapes, like this set of eight cutters or these cute popsicles (check them out below). Another option is this Vegetit Fruit and Vegetable Cutter, which can even be used to make fruit bouquets!
When cutting shapes, the only thing you need to avoid is slicing the melon too thick ... if you do, the cutter won't go all the way through the slice. Experiment with one slice before committing to the whole fruit.
Baskets look impressive and are perfect for holding fruit salad for parties, plus they're a great way to use the whole melon.
To cut a basket without a handle, simply cut the watermelon in half vertically. Then, scoop it out. Remove a thin slice from the bottom to keep it from rolling around.
To cut a basket with a handle, check out this easy tutorial which has lots of helpful photos and tips.
Of course, the simple basket is just the tip of the iceberg. You can carve melons into many different shapes. The Watermelon Board's website has tons of cool carving ideas ... you'll find everything from cactus baskets to animals to BBQ grills!
A whole melon should keep for at least one week. I'd recommend refrigerating it, to be on the safe side, especially if it was refrigerated at the store.
Once cut, watermelon is good for about 3 to 5 days. Store it in an airtight container or zip top bag in your refrigerator.
You can also freeze watermelon. Cut it into chunks and remove the seeds, then place it on a foil (or parchment) lined pan in a single layer. Once frozen, transfer the fruit to a container or bag and freeze until you're ready to eat it. The thawed fruit it won't be as crisp as fresh melon, but you can use the chunks as ice cubes in drinks, blend it into smoothies, or use it to make juice.
Do you ever avoid buying watermelon, because you're not sure how to eat the whole thing?
Same here. It's only my husband and I, so one melon is A LOT! Thankfully, there are tons of delicious ways to eat watermelon, besides just snacking.
Here are some ideas to inspire you:
- Watermelon Salsa
- Watermelon Gazpacho
- Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint
- Watermelon Quinoa Salad
- Watermelon Popsicles
- Watermelon Sorbet
- Watermelon Lemonade
- Watermelon Mojitos
- Watermelon Juice
- Watermelon Punch
I hope you enjoyed reading all about this delicious summer fruit! If you still have questions, leave me comment below or check out these FAQs.
Is watermelon a fruit?
Watermelon can be considered a fruit and a vegetable, according to the Watermelon Board. Botanically, it's a fruit, however it's from the cucurbitaceae plant family of gourds, and it's related to the cucumber, squash, and pumpkin. It's typically treated as fruit here in the U.S., however it can be used in savory ways, too.
What is the easiest way to cut a watermelon?
The easiest way to cut a watermelon is by removing a thin slice from either end, then slicing it through the middle. Once you've done that, you can remove the peel and cut it into all kinds of shapes. Find more tips above.
What knife should I use to cut a watermelon?
Use a knife with a long, sharp blade to cut watermelon. This 6-inch knife is similar to the one I use. I'd also recommend sharpening the knife just before cutting, which will make it easier to cut through the thick rind.
Can you freeze watermelon?
Yes, you can freeze watermelon. Cut it into chunks, then place it on a foil or parchment lined pan in a single layer. Once frozen, transfer the chunks to an airtight container or zip top bag, then keep frozen until you're ready to eat it.
What's the best month to buy watermelon?
Watermelon is in season in summer, typically from May through September. You can often find it year round, but winter melons are imported and won't be as sweet.
How long is cut watermelon good for?
Once cut, watermelon will keep for three to five days when stored in an airtight container.
Does uncut watermelon go bad? Does an uncut watermelon need to be refrigerated?
A whole watermelon should keep for at least one week. Although not 100% necessary, I'd recommend refrigerating it to be on the safe side, especially if it was kept cold at the store.
What can I do with lots of watermelon?
Besides snacking, you can use watermelon in salsa, salads, drinks, desserts, and even soup. You can also use the rind. Check out the recipe section above for tips.
How do you sweeten watermelon?
There are a few ways to sweeten watermelon if you buy one that's underripe. First, try sprinkling it with salt, which will bring out the sweetness. You could also make a fruit salad and mix it with a sweet dressing, like this honey-citrus dressing. Finally, try turning it into juice or sorbet, adding sugar to taste.
How to Cut a Watermelon
- 1 watermelon
- Cutting Board
- Sharp Knife
- Cut ends off watermelon, then cut in half through middle (crosswise).
- Working with one piece of melon, place cut side down on cutting board. Slice around edges of melon, removing peel.
- Cut melon into slices, then cut slices into a grid, creating cubes. Repeat with other melon half.
- Serve melon or immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat. Enjoy!