Watermelon Granita Parfait

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 4 hr 20 min (includes freezing time)
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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2 cups watermelon scraps and uneven pieces plus 2 cups 2-inch cubes watermelon (no rind or seeds)

2 tablespoons honey 

Zest and juice from 2 medium limes 

1 pint heavy cream 

Flake sea salt such as Maldon, for sprinkling 

Sugar, for sprinkling 

1 pint lemon sorbet 


  1. Make the granita: Puree the unevenly cut watermelon, honey, half the lime zest and juice from 1 of the limes in a blender on low speed until smooth. Pour into a 9-by-11-inch or 9-by-13-inch baking dish and freeze until it hardens completely, 3 to 4 hours.
  2. Whip the cream: Fit a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, then whip the cream in the mixer on medium speed until it holds fairly stiff peaks. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Get ready: Arrange the watermelon cubes in a single layer on a clean work surface and add a tiny sprinkle of the sea salt and some sugar and the remaining lime zest and juice.
  4. Assemble: Arrange a few cubes of watermelon in the bottom of each serving glass or dish. Put a tablespoon of sorbet on top of the watermelon. Spoon a generous tablespoon whipped cream over the sorbet. Use the tines of a fork to scrape some of the granita off the surface. Sprinkle a generous tablespoon of the granita over the cream. Repeat the same order of layers 1 to 2 more times. Serve immediately.

Cook’s Note

This simple dish is inspired by a dear old friend, Patti Jackson, who made a dessert like this years ago. I dipped into the parfait and enjoyed the granita and juicy chunks of watermelon against the creaminess of the panna cotta she layered with the fruit. Who would have thought watermelon and something creamy could make such a refreshing and creative combination? Layer this simplified riff in retro sundae dishes or glass—anything transparent. The serving amounts vary based on the size and height of the dishes or glasses you choose.

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