How to Cut a Watermelon

Learn how to cut perfect cubes, wedges and sticks safely and easily.

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March 29, 2022

A wedge of juicy, ripe watermelon is a real summertime treat. This refreshing fruit is a staple at any backyard barbecue. But before you reach for the pre-cut stuff, try choosing a fresh melon and cutting it yourself. Your fruit will be fresher and it will cost less — a win-win! We'll show you the ins and outs of choosing the sweetest melon, plus three classic cuts — cubes, wedges and sticks.

How to Choose a Watermelon

First off, look for a firm, symmetrical watermelon without any bruises, cuts or dents. Lift a few and choose one that feels heavy for its size — this indicates that the melon contains more juice and is therefore sweeter.

Next, look for the field spot — the yellow mark where the watermelon rested on the ground. It should be a light, creamy yellow to indicate ample time in the field. If it's missing or white, your melon is under-ripe. If it's dark yellow, it might be overripe.

How to Know When a Watermelon Is Ripe

In addition to looking for a yellow field spot, pay attention to the color of the watermelon. The light and green stripes on a striped watermelon will both lighten as the melon ripens. And a solid green watermelon will lighten up all over as well. In other words, if you're trying to pick out a ripe watermelon in the supermarket, reach for the lightest one you see. For even more info on choosing a ripe watermelon, head over to the story How to Pick a Ripe Watermelon.

Wash Melons Before Cutting

Many people skip this next step — but it's very important. Before cutting, rinse the entire watermelon with water. Cut, unwashed melons can be a source of foodborne illness, especially when they sit at room temperature — like on a picnic buffet. (Keep in mind that washed or not, food should not be at room temperature for more than 2 hours.)

How to Cut Watermelon Cubes

Watermelon cubes are a classic shape for snacking. Because you eliminate the rind, which takes up a lot of space, you can easily store them in a container in the fridge.

1. Trim the Top and Bottom

To get perfect cubes, start by trimming the top and bottom rind from the watermelon so it can sit flat on the cutting board. This keeps the watermelon from rolling or slipping.

2. Remove the Rind

Run the knife down the edges to remove the rind, following the curve of the melon. Then trim away any white spots you may have missed.

3. Slice Into Rounds

Lay the peeled watermelon on its side and slice the flesh into 1- or 2-inch thick circular slabs.

4. Stack Rounds and Cube Them

Stack a few slabs, and cut them into even cubes.

How to Cut Watermelon Wedges

Watermelon wedges are the quintessential way to serve the fruit at a party. The rind left on makes an easy handle, perfect for grabbing off a big platter.

1. Trim the Top and Bottom; Halve the Watermelon

For classic wedges, start by trimming the rind again to stabilize the melon. Stand the watermelon up on one of the flat sides and run the knife down the center to cut the watermelon in half.

2. Quarter the Halves

Place one half cut-side down and slice down the center again to make quarters.

3. Slice Across the Halves

Cut 1-inch slices across the quartered watermelon to create wedges.

How to Cut Watermelon Sticks

Like wedges, sticks are a great shape to serve at a party, perfect for kids’ small hands.

1. Trim the Top and Bottom; Halve the Watermelon

Begin as before: trim the top and bottom rind from the watermelon so it can sit flat on the cutting board. Stand the watermelon up on one of the flat sides and run the knife down the center to cut the watermelon in half.

2. Cut a Half with Parallel Perpendicular Cuts

Place one watermelon half cut-side down on the cutting board. Slice vertically across the entire melon half at 1- to 1 1/2-inch intervals. Then make similarly-spaced horizontal cuts to create sticks.

How to Store Cut Watermelon

Once cut, refrigerate extra watermelon in an airtight container for up to three days. Avoid storing it loosely covered with plastic wrap. It easily absorbs odors from the fridge.

How to Freeze Watermelon

Yep, it is possible to successfully freeze watermelon – for up to 8 months. Simply line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange watermelon cubes on it in a single layer. Freeze the cubes until solid, then transfer them to an airtight container like a resealable freezer bag. Label and date the bag.

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