This scrumptious Watermelon Salsa is the perfect hot weather treat! Best of all, it takes minutes to make … so pair it with crunchy tortilla chips and your fave tacos all summer long!
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I can’t let summer pass by without getting at least one watermelon. It’s just my husband and I though, so the only problem is figuring out how to eat it all!
After going a little watermelon crazy the past couple weeks—I may turn into a melon soon!—I was craving something different. I ended up coming up with lots of fun and simple recipes for this tasty fruit, and I’m so excited to share them with you.
There are truly so many delicious ways to eat watermelon, but this vibrant Watermelon Salsa has to be one of my favorites! You’re going to love the amazing sweet, savory, and (mildly) spicy flavors in this yummy recipe.
Best of all, it’s sooo simple to make! You can whip up a big batch in minutes. Keep reading for all the juicy details.
This easy fruit salsa uses really basic ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Red Onion
- Salt (I prefer Kosher Salt.)
If you ever made (or eaten) pico de gallo before, these ingredients probably look very familiar. That’s because, this recipe replaces the tomato found in the classic salsa recipe with watermelon … it’s basically a Watermelon Pico de Gallo.
These simple ingredients create a tasty dip that’s the perfect combination of sweet and savory flavors. Surprisingly, it actually veers more savory than sweet, though you can certainly make it sweeter if you wish (see tips in next section). It’s also simultaneously cooling and spicy (from the refreshing watermelon and the hot jalapeño), which is why it’s sometimes called Fire and Ice Salsa.
How to Pick a Watermelon
Choosing the best watermelon can seem tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Try these three simple tips the next time you go shopping:
- Pick it up. A juicy melon should feel heavy for its size.
- Look for a yellow spot. This spot is where the watermelon rested on the ground, and a creamy, yellow spot (versus a pale, white one) is a sign that it was allowed to fully ripen before picking.
- Give it a thump. The surface should be firm, and a juicy watermelon should have a deep hollow sound.
Substitutions / Additions
I purposely kept this recipe basic and quick, but you can get really creative with the ingredients. Feel free to experiment!
Here are some ideas for additions and substitutions:
- Tomatoes – Watermelon and tomatoes make excellent partners. So if you have a fresh, juicy tomato waiting for the perfect recipe, dice it up and add it in!
- Fruit – Play up the sweeter side of this salsa by adding your fave fruit. Pineapples, mangos, strawberries, and peaches (or other stone fruit) would all be a great additions.
- Cucumber – The crunch of cucumber would be so tasty this simple dip. I’d recommend using an English cucumber, but if you use a regular one, make sure to remove the seeds before dicing.
- Herbs – Not a fan of cilantro? You can replace it with fresh mint or basil. Garden overflowing? A combination of herbs would be delish, too.
- Peppers – Try replacing the jalapeño with your fave peppers, such as serrano or habanero … pretty much any kind will work. For less heat, make sure to remove the membranes and seeds from your peppers before chopping, or use a smaller amount of pepper. For more heat, keep the membranes in, add more, or use spicier peppers.
- Sweetener – This recipe isn’t overly sweet. If you’d prefer it a little sweeter, simply mix a little honey or sugar with the lime juice before stirring it into the dip.
- Black Beans – Give this light recipe a little more heft by adding in a can of black beans. Make sure to drain and rinse them first.
Tip: If you do add additional ingredients, don’t forget to adjust the seasoning with extra salt and lime juice.
How to Make Watermelon Salsa
This recipe couldn’t be easier to make!
Start by prepping the ingredients. You want to dice the watermelon and onion into small uniform pieces … something you can easily scoop up with a chip.
The heat level of jalapeños really varies, but the membranes and seeds are always the spiciest part. So unless you like really spicy salsa, remove them. Then, chop the pepper into a small dice.
Squeeze the lime and give the cilantro a rough chop. You want mostly leaves, but don’t worry if a few stems get in there. They’re totally edible.
Tip: Don’t risk burning your hands—or worse, your eyes—with the jalapeños! Make sure to wash your hands, knife, and cutting board thoroughly (and immediately) after handling any hot pepper. Some people prefer to wear gloves for extra protection (especially with spicier peppers, like habaneros), though I rarely do.
Then, all you need to do is combine the ingredients (plus salt) in a bowl and mix well. So simple, right?
Make sure to taste your salsa before serving. That way, you can adjust the seasoning with additional salt and lime juice if needed. The flavors should pop!
I like to serve this salsa shortly after making it, though you can store it in the refrigerator for a couple days. Just keep in mind that watermelon releases lots of liquid once it’s cut. If you do make it ahead of time (or have leftovers), you many want to drain a little bit of that excess liquid off before eating it.
How to Eat
My favorite way to eat this delicious Watermelon Salsa is with tortilla chips. The sweet melon pairs perfectly with salty chips!
This tasty dip is versatile though, so don’t be afraid to go beyond snacks / appetizers. You can use it anywhere you’d normally enjoy tomato-based salsa. Personally, I love it with tacos … try it with my Crunchy Black Bean Tacos, Tofu Tacos, or Portobello Poblano Tacos. A lot of people like spooned it over fish or chicken, too.
You could even serve this salsa over lettuce as a salad (no dressing needed), or on its own as a spicy fruit salad. It makes a refreshing side for any summer meal.
Tip: For a show-stopping presentation that’s perfect for parties, try serving this recipe in a hollowed out mini watermelon!
More Watermelon Recipes
If you enjoyed this unique dip, then you’ll love these other watermelon recipes, too!
- Watermelon Mojito
- Watermelon Quinoa Salad
- Watermelon Juice
- Watermelon Popsicles
- Watermelon Punch
- Watermelon Gazpacho
- Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint
- Watermelon Lemonade
- Watermelon Sorbet
Looking for more salsa recipes? Make sure to check out my Black Bean and Corn Salsa next.
- 3 cups diced watermelon
- 1/2 medium red onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
- 3 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 large, juicy lime)
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix well.
- Taste salsa, then add additional salt and / or lime juice, if needed.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat. Enjoy!