Food & Nutrition

How To Pick a Good Watermelon

How to Pick a Watermelon That’s Sweet and Ripe

Nothing beats a juicy, sweet watermelon on a hot summer afternoon – unless your watermelon turns out to be tasteless or rotten. Choosing the right watermelon is both an art and a science. We’re going to show you how to pick a good watermelon, what makes a good watermelon and some cool ways to cut and serve this summer treat.

What is a Good Watermelon?

Before we talk about how to pick a good watermelon, let’s discuss what makes a good watermelon.

A good watermelon is ripe, sweet and ready to be enjoyed. A bad watermelon is either rotten or unripe and flavorless. So, how do you know if a watermelon is ripe?

A ripe watermelon is:

  • Sturdy
  • Has a resonant, hollow sound
  • Yellow in the “ground spot”

It takes some practice to identify a good watermelon, but we’re going to show you some tips and tricks.

How To Pick a Good Watermelon

How To Pick a Good Watermelon
How To Pick a Good Watermelon

Have you ever walked up to a bin of watermelons and just picked the first one you could get your hands on? You’re not alone. When they all look the same, it’s hard to know which one you should pick. But there are some subtle clues that you can look for to help you find the juiciest, sweetest watermelons of the bunch.

It takes a little detective work, but it’s worth it.

The best watermelons are usually found at local farmer’s markets. Farmers know their crops, and when taking them to market, they usually only pick ripe watermelons to sell. However, if you’re shopping at the grocery store, you’ll need to take a closer look at the melons.

Here’s how to pick a good watermelon.

Pick it Up

The first tell-tale sign of a good watermelon is its weight. Pick it up and see how it feels. A good watermelon will feel heavy for its size.

Look for a Yellow Spot

Ripe watermelons have a yellow spot where the ground ripened, usually on one end. Look for this spot when choosing your watermelon.

This spot indicates where the melon sat on the ground while it was ripening. The spot should be a creamy yellow color that’s almost orange. If the spot is white or a light yellow color, this indicates that it’s not quite ripe or lacks flavor.

Check the Stripes

Check the Stripes

Look for watermelons that have a strong stripe pattern. The green stripes should be a deep, rich color, while the pale stripes should be a creamy color.

Ripe watermelons also have a dull sheen. Conversely, shiny watermelons are likely underripe.

Listen for a Hollow Sound

Give the watermelon a gentle thump. Does it make a hollow sound? If so, you’ve found a ripe watermelon. If you’re having trouble deciphering the sound, use the other clues to help you find a good watermelon.

Check the Stem

Check the Stem

You can also tell if a watermelon is ripe by checking the stem. A ripe watermelon will have a dry stem that’s yellow-brown in color. Green stems indicate that the melon may not be ripe quite yet and lack the sweetness that makes a good watermelon.

Look for Spots

Vein-like lines or weathering spots are other good signs of a sweet watermelon. These spots indicate where sugar has been seeping out, so it’s likely going to be a ripe and sweet melon.

Buy in Season

We live in a world where you can get most produce at any time of the year. But just because you can buy it, doesn’t mean that you should. For example, the best tasting watermelons are available from May through September.

If you’re looking for watermelon in the middle of January, don’t be surprised if you have trouble finding a good one on the store shelf.

Cool Ways To Cut And Serve A Watermelon

Cool Ways To Cut And Serve A Watermelon

Now that you know how to pick a good watermelon, let’s look at some fun ways to cut and serve them.

Watermelon Sticks and Pops


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In this easy-to-follow tutorial, you’ll learn how to cut a watermelon into sticks and half-moon shapes that are perfect for placing on popsicle sticks. And you can see in this video that their watermelon has all the signs of being sweet and ripe.

Pull-Away Watermelon Pieces

How to Quickly Cut and Serve a Watermelon / DIY, Party Idea, Tutorial, Cooking Tips

If you’re serving watermelon at a party, this tutorial shows you a fun way to cut and serve one. While it looks complicated, it’s easier than you think to make these pull-away watermelon pieces.

Watermelon Bowl

How to Easily Make a Watermelon Bowl / DIY, Party Idea, Tutorial, Cooking Tips

A watermelon bowl is a great way to serve fruit salad, and you can even add pieces of the watermelon into the salad. This simple tutorial walks you through how to make a watermelon bowl step by step, and how to slice the melon flesh into different shapes.

A Blooming Watermelon

How To Slice Watermelon And Serve Fancy In Shape Of Flower Easy And Impressive.

Here’s a fun and impressive way to serve watermelon at your next party. The watermelon is cut into wedges, but every other slice is pulled out to make the melon look like it’s blooming. Top the bloom with a lemon flower, and you’re ready to serve. It makes a beautiful centerpiece at any table.

Watermelon Birds


This tutorial from ItalyPaul shows you how to cut and serve your watermelon in the shape of birds. The process is super simple, and really similar to the tutorial on how to make pull-away slices. But to make the birds, you’ll slice parts of the rinds to look like feathers, tails and eyes. You’ll need one slice and a toothpick to create the bird heads. This is a really fun way to serve watermelon at your next gathering, and it’s sure to spark a few conversations.

Peel and Cut Watermelon for Fruit Salad

How To Peel & Cut A Watermelon For Salad Or Fruit Tray

If you want to slice a watermelon to add to a fruit salad, this tutorial from Jacob Burton will show you how. This is a simple technique that creates thin slices of watermelon that you can add to salads, fruit trays or whatever you want.

How to Cut a Watermelon into Cubes and Triangles

How to Cut a Watermelon: Slicing Watermelon Triangles & Cubes | Fiskars

Fiskars Americas has a quick and easy tutorial on how to slice watermelon into triangles and cubes. Both slicing techniques create shapes that are great for salads, fruit trays and just enjoying the watermelon on its own.

4 Creative Ways to Serve Watermelon

4 creative ideas for serving watermelon!

Cookist Wow shows us how to serve watermelon in four creative ways:

  • Wedges and slices on popsicle sticks
  • Create a half-bowl with the watermelon and fill the bowl with fresh fruit
  • Tree-shaped slices
  • Three-tier watermelon cake with grapes and strawberries

These are some fun and creative ways to slice up your watermelon and serve it at your next party.

Hedgehog Watermelon

22 Creative Ways to Serve Watermelon!

This hedgehog watermelon is too cute to eat, and will certainly make an impression at your table. Toothpicks make it easy to eat the watermelon pieces, and the carved watermelon serves as a bowl for the fruit. Along with the hedgehog, this page also has almost two dozen creative ways to serve watermelon.

Star Bites

How To Cut Watermelon

Forget the usual slices and cubes. Why not serve watermelon star bites? All you need is a star-shaped cookie cutter to create your watermelon pieces. Cut the melon into thin, round slices for easy cutting with your cookie cutter.

Watermelon Pail

A Fun Shovel and Pail Shaped Watermelon For Fruit Salad

Here’s a really creative way to serve watermelon at your summer party. To create your watermelon pail, you’ll need to cut off one end of the melon and hollow it out. Fill the empty shell with fruit, and slice the rind to look like a handle. Use a skewer to secure the handle in place. To complete the look, add a shovel to serve the fruit from the pail.

Watermelon Cutting Hacks

Top 10 Amazing Watermelon Cutting Hacks | How To Cut a WATERMELON | Awesome Way To Cut WATERMELON

In this video from The Experiment Ideas, you’ll learn 10 watermelon cutting hacks and serving ideas, like:

  • Cubing a watermelon
  • Using a melon slicer tool
  • Making a happy face
  • Making watermelon Jell-o
  • Using toothpicks to serve slices
  • Making a watermelon basket
  • Watermelon ice pops
  • Coring a watermelon to turn it into a keg

This video is a bit longer than others, but it walks you through each hack step by step to make it as easy as possible to bring these ideas to life.

Final Thoughts

Watermelons are the perfect summer treat. Use these tips, tricks and hacks to pick a good watermelon and serve it in a creative way. Choose your melon carefully because even a unique serving technique can’t mask a tasteless fruit.