A Spicy Perspective

How to Pick a Watermelon

Learn the best tips for How to Pick a (perfectly ripe) Watermelon this season. We show you expert tricks for how to tell if a watermelon is ripe, cutting a watermelon into slices and cubes, and share a few of our favorite tasty recipes for you to make all summer long!

how to pick a watermelon

My family and friends tend to like picking my brain for all sorts of culinary tips. Somehow they’ve figured out by now that food is kinda my thing. *wink* And I’ll be honest: I love it!

One question I get every summer is How do you tell if a watermelon is ripe? I mean, at first glance they all look pretty similar. They are large and round-ish, with a thick green rind. If you’re wondering how to tell the difference between a good and not-quite-there-yet watermelon, well you’ve come to the right place…

Like most of my cooking skills, my mom taught me a few tricks when I was a little girl for how to spot a perfect watermelon. I’ve also picked up a few more tips along the way. It’s easier than you might think!

Not only do I show you how to pick a watermelon, but I’ve also got tips for how to cut it into slices and cubes. These are great for enjoying as-is or including in salads, and much more.

PLUS, I share some of my favorite recipes for using fresh watermelon. And even some ideas for how to cook this sweet summer fruit!

ripe watermelon cut in half

How to Pick a Watermelon

There is no magic skill for knowing how to pick a good watermelon… Just a few key features to note! Here are some tips for how to tell if a watermelon is ripe:

1. Well-defined stripes – With distinct color variations between the green lines and the yellow lines.

yellow and green stripes

2. Round over oblong – Round melons tend to be sweeter than oblong. Of course, most watermelon land somewhere in the middle, if you have the option of picking a round melon, do it.

3. A large yellow spot on the bottom – This shows the watermelon has been sitting in the field ripening on the vine for a while and has not been picked too early.

big yellow spot on a watermelon

4. The heavier the better – Try to pick a watermelon that seems heavy for its size. This means it is loaded with juice. Pick up a few options to compare. 

5. Check the stem – If there is a stem attached it should be dried up, not green. A green stem would signal that the watermelon is still in the process of ripening, but not there quite yet. If the stem area is shriveled and dry, that’s a good signal that the watermelon is ripe.

pointing to the stem

Continue Reading for Some of Our Favorite Watermelon Recipes!

6. Deep-sounding tone – Thump the watermelon. That’s right, it actually works for picking the best watermelon. The sound should be deep, again demonstrating it is FULL, not dried out and airy on the inside.

7. Scars and spots are good – Don’t judge a book by its cover. Weathering on the outside of the melon is another indicator that the melon has had plenty of time to sweeten.

rough spot mean the watermelon is good

Tips for How to Cut a Watermelon

Follow these tried-and-true steps for how to slice and cube a ripe watermelon…

First, cut the short (stem) ends off the melon. Then cut the watermelon into half from end to end.

watermelon cut in half

Then cut those halves in half so that you have four quarters.

How to Cut Slices of Watermelon

For slices, start at the top point of the fruit, and cut straight down to the rind. You want ½ to 1 inch sections. 

cutting watermelon into slices

Then cut along the edge of the rind, deep into the watermelon on each side, to release the slices from the rind.

slicing a watermelon

How to Cut a Watermelon Into Cubes

To cut cubes, cut deep into each flat side of the watermelon, 1 inch apart. Do this on both sides.

cutting into cubes

Then start at the top point and cut down in 1 inch segments. You should be able to see a cube pattern, like in the picture:

using a knife to cut a watermelon into cubes

Finally, cut along the edge of the rind on both sides to release the cubes for the rind.

lifting cubes of melon off of the rind

Fresh Watermelon Serving Suggestions

Eat slices or cubes as-is right after cutting, or chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes for deliciously cold watermelon.

Sprinkle pieces of watermelon with a bit of sea salt chili powder, or chili salt for a great salty and/or spicy kick. Either goes great with the natural sweetness of the fruit.

You can also squeeze on some fresh lemon or lime juice to add some lovely tartness to the party.

holding up a cube of rip watermelon

Wonderful Recipes To Make With Watermelon

Perfectly rips and juicy watermelon is one of our absolute favorite ingredients to use in the summer.

Enjoy watermelon raw and perfectly chilled in no-cook salads, either sweet or savory. We love this Red White and Blue Chopped Salad that is loaded with fruity goodness. And our tangy Watermelon Feta Salad with Golden Tomatoes and Tarragon is perfect for picnics and potlucks.

Speaking of raw, this Watermelon Gazpacho is a delightful cold summer soup you’ll love!

Include watermelon in refreshing summer drinks like 5 Ingredient Watermelon Rum Punch, Watermelon Basil Gin Cocktail, and Watermelon Shrub Collins.

Watermelon can also be fancied-up quite a bit. Use it to make these delectable dishes for your summer dinner party:

Sweet Grilled Fruit Salad with Creamy Lime Dressing Recipe

Here are More ASP How To Guides You’ll Love:

Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes
Leave a Review »

How to Pick a Watermelon

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Tips and Tricks for Selecting the BEST Watermelons this Season!
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 whole watermelon

Instructions

  • Well defined stripes – with distinct color variations between the green lines and the yellow lines.
  • A large yellow spot on the bottom – This shows the watermelon has been sitting in the field ripening on the vine for a while, not picked too early.
  • Round over oblong – Round melons tend to be sweeter than oblong. Of course, most watermelon land somewhere in the middle, if you have the option of picking a round melon, do it.
  • Heavy is best – try to pick a watermelon that seems heavy for it’s size. This means it is loaded with juice. Pick up a few options to compare.
  • Deep sounding tone – thump the watermelon. The sound should be deep, again demonstrating it is FULL, not dried out and airy on the inside.
  • Check the stem – If there is a stem attached it should be dried up, not green. A green stem would signal that the watermelon is still in the process of ripening, but not there yet.
  • Scars and spots are good – Don’t judge a book by its cover. Weathering on the outside of the melon is another indicator that the melon has had plenty of time to sweeten.

Video

Notes

HOW TO CUT A WATERMELON:
  • Cut the short (stem) ends off the melon. Then cut the watermelon into quarters, from stem end to end.
  • For slices, start at the top point of the fruit, and cut straight down to the rind, in ½ to 1-inch sections.
  • Then cut along the edge of the rind, deep into the watermelon on each side, to release the slices from the rind.
  • To cut cubes, cut deep into each flat side of the watermelon, 1 inch apart. Do this on both sides.
  • Then start at the top point and cut down in 1-inch segments.
  • Finally cut along the edge of the rind on both sides to release the cubes for the rind.
Course: How To
Cuisine: American
Author: Sommer Collier

Making this recipe? Follow us on Instagram and tag @ASpicyPerspective so we can share what you’re cooking!

Share This Recipe With Friends!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Did you make this recipe? Rate it!




4 comments on “How to Pick a Watermelon”

  1. thank you, I’d never heard of most of these tips, really good to know, the only one I knew about was the stem

  2. This info helped me pick a perfect watermelon! Thanks so much!!!

  3. So helpful!! Great tips and tricks to pick the best watermelon every time!

  4. These tips are life saving and I was able to find the best and sweetest watermelon at the store!