29 Watermelon Desserts That Are Bursting with Summer Sweetness

·8 min read

Sure, beach days, barbecues and bonfires are cool. But our favorite part of summer is hands-down all the fruity desserts. In-season peaches, cherries, berries, apricots and pineapples make for some stellar sweets, as does ever-refreshing watermelon. From cooling ice pops to Insta-worthy cookies, here are 29 watermelon desserts that your picnic guests won’t see coming. (Oh, and before you get started, read our handy guide to cutting a watermelon like a pro.)

RELATED: 50 Watermelon Recipes to Make (and Eat) All Summer

1. One-Ingredient Watermelon Sorbet

  • Time Commitment: 4 hours (includes freezing time)

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, no cook, kid-friendly, beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser

It’s the ultimate antidote for a sweltering day in the sun. You won’t even have to make simple syrup: The recipe calls for nothing but ripe summer watermelon.

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2. Watermelon-Kiwi Ice Pops

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours (includes freezing time)

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, kid-friendly, make ahead, crowd-pleaser

Forget the fancy ice pop molds in your Amazon cart. All you need to make this treat at home is paper cups, wooden sticks and a freezer. Pick the ripest watermelon you can find for the tastiest pops.

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3. Fruicuterie Board

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes

  • Why We Love It: no cook, special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser, <30 minutes

Yes, fruit and cheese count as dessert, don’t @ us. Here, watermelon is only one part of a seasonal bounty, which includes everything from golden kiwis to white peaches to tender plums.

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4. Layered Watermelon Coconut Shakes with Salty Lime Sugar

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, kid-friendly, dairy free, <30 minutes

Coconut milk and frozen coconut meat make the dairy-free shake impossibly creamy, while watermelon and honey sweeten the deal. Bookmark the salty lime sugar to use on your next margarita.

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5. Boozy Watermelon Granitas with Coconut Whipped Cream

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours and 15 minutes (includes freezing time)

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, no cook, crowd-pleaser, make ahead

Sorry kids—this one’s just for grown-ups. Coconut rum is whisked into the puréed watermelon before it’s frozen, meaning this dessert doubles as a cocktail.

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6. Fresh Watermelon Cake with Summer Berries

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, no bake, crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy

Chop off the ends, remove the skin and slather it in frosting—boom, the easiest “cake” of all time. Use vanilla frosting, coconut whipped cream or even meringue to dress the watermelon.

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7. Watermelon Sugar Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 6 hours (includes chilling time)

  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy

These just might be the cutest darn cookies we’ve ever seen. The sugar cookie dough base can be plain or infused with a dash of watermelon flavoring to drive the visual home.

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8. Watermelon Ice Cream Floats

  • Time Commitment: 5 minutes

  • Why We Love It: no cook, <30 minutes, <10 ingredients

The recipe is as simple as dumping all the ingredients in a glass and crowning it with a mint sprig. Go the extra mile by juicing your own watermelon.

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9. Watermelon Pizza with Cream Cheese Icing

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes

  • Why We Love It: low carb, <30 minutes <10 ingredients, keto-friendly

Sweet summer fruit (blueberries! raspberries! watermelon!) are just the match for tangy cream cheese icing. It’s sweetened with powdered erythritol, which makes the dessert free of added sugar.

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10. Watermelon Doughnuts

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes

  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, no bake, <10 ingredients, dairy free, <30 minutes

Your picky eaters won’t have any problem gobbling up these handhelds the moment they hit the table. (And they certainly won’t mind decorating them either, with everything from chocolate chips to sprinkles to mini marshmallows.)

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11. Patriotic Flag Fruit Platter

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes

  • Why We Love It: no bake, <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy

Watermelon is one of four red stripes on this tasty flag, its company including cherries, grapes and strawberries. Pro tip: Toss the banana and apple slices in a bit of lemon juice to keep them from browning.

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12. Chile-Lime Watermelon Paletas

  • Time Commitment: 6 hours and 5 minutes (includes freezing time)

  • Why We Love It: vegan, no bake, make ahead, crowd-pleaser

If your pantry is still somehow devoid of Tajín—the chile-lime seasoning with a cult following—these pops are a great excuse to change that.

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13. Watermelon Mint Sorbet

  • Time Commitment: 4 hours and 10 minutes (includes freezing time)

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, <30 minutes, make ahead, no bake

The recipe calls for a few optional tablespoons of white rum. It’s not to make the sorbet boozy, but rather to keep its consistency smooth instead of excessively frosty.

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14. Grilled Fruit Kebabs

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients

Come summer, we’ll put *anything* on the grill, including fruits like pineapples, mangoes and strawberries. Why not watermelon? Serve with vanilla yogurt (or chocolate fudge) for dipping.

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15. Watermelon Lime Sherbet Floats

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, <10 ingredients, <30 minutes, beginner-friendly

We’ll never say no to vanilla ice cream, but lime sherbet is arguably a more refreshing alternative for this bubbly bev.

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16. Watermelon Gelatin Pops

  • Time Commitment: 4 hours and 30 minutes (includes freezing time)

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, <10 ingredients

A duo of boxed gelatins meets French vanilla yogurt and semi-sweet chocolate chips to create one adorable homage to our favorite summer melon.

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17. Watermelon Mojito Granita

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes (plus freezing time)

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, dairy free, one pan, make ahead, crowd-pleaser

Your go-to beach cocktail—but make it dessert. The key to its mojito-inspired flavor is the homemade mint-rum simple syrup.

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18. Mezcal Margarita Watermelon Wedges

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours and 15 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, no bake, make ahead, crowd-pleaser

The wedges soak in a mixture of mezcal, orange liqueur and lime juice before being finished with sweet, salty and spicy toppings.

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19. Honey-Lime Watermelon Floats

  • Time Commitment: 5 minutes (plus chilling time)

  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, kid-friendly, beginner-friendly

This sipper is endlessly riffable. Use non-dairy ice cream instead of standard vanilla, swap in ginger ale, lemon-lime soda or hard seltzer for club, or substitute agave or maple syrup for honey.

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20. Seedless Watermelon Hard Candies

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes (plus hardening time)

  • Why We Love It: make ahead, crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients

We’ll be handing these out at every cookout we ever host. Dust the candies in powdered sugar before bagging them to keep them from sticking together.

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21. Watermelon, Mint and Lime Frosty

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, <30 minutes, no bake, beginner-friendly

Since it’s mostly fruit and coconut water, this treat should be far thicker and frostier than a regular smoothie.

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22. Fresh Watermelon Popsicles

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes

  • Why We Love It: make ahead, crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients

The chocolate-coconut oil drizzle takes these ice-cold pops over the top, but what really seals the deal is a flourish of flaky sea salt and dried rose petals.

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23. Chocolate-Drizzled Frozen Fruit Kebabs

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

The recipe calls for watermelon, grapes, bananas and other fruit, but you can easily substitute any produce you’re not a fan of. We’re talking raspberries, Mandarin oranges, kiwi—whatever you’re feeling as you peruse the supermarket.

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24. Watermelon Raspado

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours and 10 minutes (includes freezing time)

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, kid-friendly, beginner-friendly, no bake

Consider the raspado Latin America’s version of a slushie or snow cone. Feel free to zhuzh up the recipe with berries, fresh herbs or shredded coconut.

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25. Caterpillar Fruit Kebabs

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients

Cantaloupe and watermelon get a googly-eyed makeover, along with a creamy side of honey-lime yogurt dip. Go ahead and invite honeydew to the party, too.

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26. Hibiscus Watermelon Granita with Ginger & Lime

  • Time Commitment: 4 hours and 30 minutes (includes freezing time)

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, make ahead, <10 ingredients, special occasion-worthy

Love Starbucks’s Passion Tango tea? This summer cooler is especially for you, since the granita gets its tart, floral flavor and vibrant color from dried hibiscus flowers.

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27. Strawberry-Watermelon Sorbet

  • Time Commitment: 5 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, vegan, crowd-pleaser

All it takes is summer fruit and a splash of almond or coconut milk to make this dessert. Frozen bananas are the secret to its creamy, rich consistency.

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28. 4th of July Watermelon “Cake”

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: make ahead, special occasion-worthy, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

The Fourth may have passed, but Labor Day is still on the table. (Not that we need a holiday as an excuse to snack on star-shaped nectarine and watermelon.)

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29. Fresh Mint and Watermelon Soda Floats

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, kid-friendly, <30 minutes, beginner-friendly

Picture sipping these on your patio, or better yet, poolside. Swap the club soda for lime or coconut seltzer for a boost of flavor.

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RELATED: 30 Cantaloupe Recipes That Are Ripe for Melon Season