Updated Feb 12, 2023
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Smoky, grilled watermelon with hints of honey, lime, and cilantro? Oh yes, this is a side dish that’ll be on repeat for barbecues all summer long.
Before making this recipe, I honestly thought it wouldn’t taste as good as juicy, fresh cut watermelon. But then I remembered just how good grilled fruit is, like my grilled peach and burrata salad (which needs to be on your summer menu ASAP).
When you bite into a slice of grilled watermelon you’ll get some smoky undertones, with notes of honey, lime and fresh cilantro. It’s sweetness amplified. And literally everything you want in a summer barbecue side dish. So for those who normally make a watermelon feta salad, try serving up this grilled watermelon instead. The results are equally delicious.
Grilled Watermelon Ingredients
The key to extra tasty grilled watermelon is the seasoning. A good formula to remember is using a combination of sugar and citrus. Sugar caramelizes to create beautiful grill marks, while citrus flavors help to brighten everything up.
- Watermelon: To give some context, a 3-pound watermelon will serve about 6 people. So if you’ve got a bigger crowd, grab a bigger watermelon or grill up two small ones.
- Limes: Both lime juice and zest are used for maximum lime goodness!
- Honey: This enhances the watermelon’s natural sweetness. And who doesn’t love a honey and lime combo?
- Cilantro: Slice up fresh cilantro leaves into small bits for pops of freshness with every bite.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
How To Cut A Watermelon For Grilling
When it comes to grilled watermelon, it’s best to slice it into thick triangle pieces for serving. And while there’s a few ways to do it, I’ve found that the below method is the easiest and most efficient.
Pro tip: use a chef’s knife or carving knife to glide through your watermelon with the least amount of effort.
- Trim the ends off the watermelon and sit it upright.
- Slice the watermelon into two halves, then slice again into quarters.
- Slice the quarters into 1-inch thick triangle pieces (with the rinds on).
How To Grill Watermelon
Ideally, a charcoal or gas outdoor grill is best for solid grill marks and smokiness. But, an indoor grill pan will work just as well (which is what I’m using for this recipe!).
Make the honey lime mixture. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, lime zest, and honey.
Cut the watermelon. Heat an outdoor or indoor grill to high. Then use the above method to slice the watermelon into 1-inch thick triangle slices. Brush the lime juice mixture on both sides of each watermelon piece.
Grill the watermelon. Cook each piece until grill marks form and the watermelon is slightly soft, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Serve. Sprinkle with finely chopped cilantro fresh before serving.
Tips for Perfectly Grilled Watermelon
- Make sure your grill is set to a high heat. This will almost instantly give those photo-worthy grill marks, but not overcook the watermelon to mush.
- Oil the grill to prevent the watermelon from sticking to it.
- Place the finished grilled watermelon slices on a wire rack lined baking sheet. This will catch all the extra juices so you’re serving plate isn’t soaked in liquid.
Watermelon Seasoning Ideas
- Spicy: Add two teaspoons of chili powder, cayenne, or tajín to this recipe. It’ll become a deliciously spiced, cilantro lime combo!
- Sweet: Instead of honey, use a granulated sugar (like coconut sugar). It’ll create a more caramelized finish to the watermelon’s surface.
Ways To Serve Grilled Watermelon
- As a side dish or appetizer. Serve these piled high on a platter, with sprinkles of chopped cilantro and lime wedges.
- In a salad. Slice them into cubes to create a grilled watermelon salad! Serve it up with cotija cheese, chopped cilantro, and fresh squeezed lime juice.
How Long Does Grilled Watermelon Last?
Grilled watermelon is best enjoyed straight from the grill. But in the likelihood you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
More Summer Grilling Recipes
- Grilled Corn on the Cob
- Grilled Salmon Steaks
- Garlic Grilled Shrimp Skewers
- Greek Chicken Kabobs
- Rosemary Grilled Lamb Chops
Grilled watermelon will give a fresh new look (and taste) to your favorite summer fruit! Once you give it a try, I’d love to hear what you, your friends, and family think in a comment below!
- 1 medium seedless watermelon (3 pounds)
- 2 limes, juiced and zested (about 2 tablespoons of juice and 2 teaspoons of zest)
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- Make the lime mixture. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, zest, and honey.
- Cut the watermelon. Heat an outdoor or indoor grill to high. Trim the ends off the watermelon, sit it upright, and cut into two halves. Then cut the halves into quarters and slice into 1-inch triangles with the rind still attached.
- Grill the watermelon. Brush the lime mixture on both sides of each watermelon wedge and place on grill. Cook until grill marks form and the watermelon is slightly soft, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- Serve. Sprinkle with cilantro and fresh squeezed lime juice before serving.
- This recipe makes about 20 watermelon pieces
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