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Lime Watermelon

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This lime watermelon salad sounds simple, but it’s going to change your LIFE! (Or, at least your summer.)

a white bowl of diced watermelon with lime zest

The desert isn’t great for growing much in the summer, but one thing we excel at? Watermelon.

Arizona makes AMAZING, glorious, juicy watermelon, and this summer fruit is basically all I want to eat in the summer. (Especially when it’s too hot to cook!)

I have 4 watermelons on my counter as I type this. We toss it into Watermelon Popsicles, blend up this Watermelon electrolyte drink, mix it into Watermelon Berry Fruit Salad, use it to make 4th of July fruit skewers, freeze it to make Watermelon Slushies, and keep a bowl of cut watermelon in our fridge practically all summer long. I have zero qualms about enjoying juicy, ripe watermelon exactly as it is.

AND.

AND it’s also REALLY fun to mix things up! Enter: Lime Watermelon! It’s just as easy as it sounds…

ingredients for lime watermelon salad

Start With 3 Simple Ingredients

  • A Ripe Watermelon. Watermelons definitely vary in size and shape, but the basic recipe works for a small watermelon. (8-10ish cups?)
  • Lime Zest. The most concentrated fresh lime flavor is found in lime zest! That’s where the natural lime oils hang out, so besides adding pretty lime flecks to the watermelon, you’re also adding fresh, vibrant lime flavor to every bite. YUM.
  • Lime Juice. This little pop of acidity is gorgeous with the juicy sweetness of the watermelon. Watermelon + lime forever!
  • Maybe Some Extras. (More on this in a minute!)

Tips For Choosing A Good Watermelon

I’ve heard LOTS of tips over the years, but the ones that work best for me are:

  • KNOCK ON THE WATERMELON. A more hollow sound often means it’s juicier)
  • A YELLOW SUNSPOT. The sunspot is the place where the watermelon has been sitting on the ground. Yellow (instead of white or green) typically means the watermelon is more ripe.
  • FEEL HOW HEAVY IT IS. A ripe watermelon will feel heavy for its size (heavier often means juicier).
making lime watermelon salad step by step

How To Make Lime Watermelon, Step By Step

As always, you can find the full recipe with ingredient amounts, detailed instructions and tips in the recipe card below!

  1. First, cut your watermelon. If you haven’t already, wash and cut your watermelon. Wash the outside of the watermelon well & pat dry (this makes it less slippery!). Use a long, sharp knife to cut off the two ends of the watermelon (stem end & opposite end). Stand the watermelon up on one of these cut sides and use your knife to cut away the green rind & white pith. Then, cut the watermelon into rounds. Stack a few rounds on top of each other and cut small cubes by making vertical cuts and then horizontal cuts. Repeat until all the watermelon is cut into cubes. (I like small, bite-sized cubes). At this point, you can chill the watermelon in the refrigerator for later.
  2. Combine. When you’re ready to serve, combine diced watermelon cubes, lime zest, and lime juice in a large bowl. Gently stir with a spatula to combine.
  3. Taste & Adjust! If you’re working with a large watermelon, feel free to add more lime zest or lime juice, to taste.
  4. Serve & Store. Enjoy the cold lime watermelon right away, or chill up to 2-3 days in the fridge.
diced watermelon topped with lime zest, feta cheese, fresh mint, and tajin seasoning

Extras You Can Add

The original lime watermelon recipe is the one we reach for most often, but it’s also fun to mix things up every now and again! Here are a few other mix-ins and extras you can add:

  • A Pinch Of Salt. Did I lose you already? This might sound random, but there are a LOT of folks out there who salt their watermelon. I’m not talking about making it salty! Just a tiny pinch can wake up and enhance the other flavors going on in the watermelon, while softening any bitterness. It also enhances the texture, bringing the moisture right up to the surface for and extra juicy bite. Bonus: in small amounts, it also helps balance electrolytes!
  • Fresh Mint. When I have it on hand, I LOVE to cut mint into a fine chiffonade or mince it and add it to the lime watermelon. It gives an almost watermelon margarita-type vibe with the lime + watermelon + mint together.
  • Fresh Basil. Basil is remarkably delicious with fruit in small amounts. We love it in Strawberry Basil Lemonade, and it can give a similar vibe here. Start small, and work your way up!
  • Tajin. Do you already know the magic of Tajin? (Pronounced Tah-HEEN) This yummy chili-lime seasoning is commonly added to fruit in Mexico & South America. The smoky note can be lovely!
  • Chili Powder. If you don’t have Tajin on hand, you can get a similar effect by adding a pinch of chili powder, since we’ve already got lime zest + lime juice in play.
  • Feta or Cotija Cheese. This salty, crumbly cheese can be delicious with lime watermelon + Tajin or chili powder. It’s a really nice mix of sweet + tangy + salty + smoky + umami! Feta cheese is another popular option! (If you’re nervous, set this out on the side and let people at it themselves.)
diced watermelon topped with lime zest

FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The Best Lime Watermelon

Play With Shapes! One fun way to mix things up is to play with the shapes here. You can use a small cookie cutter to cut shapes out of watermelon rounds, use a melon baller, or even cut the watermelon into triangle wedges to mix up the presentation.

Idea For Leftovers. If you have leftovers, you can enjoy them as-is, or you can freeze them to make Watermelon Slushies or puree them to make watermelon popsicles. For popsicles, just blend the mixture in a blender and pour into a popsicle mold. Freeze 3-4 hours till solid & enjoy!

Zest Correctly. When you zest a lime, you ONLY want the green lime peel. Avoid the white pith underneath, which is very bitter. A microplane zester makes it much easier to get just the lime peel!

The Amounts Are VERY flexible. You can add more lime zest & juice if you have a larger watermelon, or cut down on the amount if you have a very small/mini watermelon. 

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diced watermelon topped with lime zest

Lime Watermelon


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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Emily Dixon, One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1214 cups 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

A quick way to jazz up fresh fruit for your next cookout (or family dinner).


Ingredients

Scale

For Our Basic Lime Watermelon:

  • 1/2 large watermelon, peeled and cubed (about 1214 cups diced watermelon)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime zest (zest of 1 lime
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice (juice of 1 lime)

Optional Extras To Try:

  • Fresh Herbs – Fresh mint (my favorite!), fresh basil, or even fresh cilantro
  • Cheese – crumbled feta or cotija cheese
  • Seasonings – a pinch of salt (1/8 teaspoon), or a sprinkle of Tajin seasoning or chili powder

Instructions

  1. First, cut your watermelon. If you haven’t already, wash and cut your watermelon. Wash the outside of the watermelon well & pat dry (this makes it less slippery!). Use a long, sharp knife to cut off the two ends of the watermelon (stem end & opposite end). Stand the watermelon up on one of these cut sides and use your knife to cut away the green rind & white pith. Then, cut the watermelon into rounds. Stack a few rounds on top of each other and cut small cubes by making vertical cuts and then horizontal cuts. Repeat until all the watermelon is cut into cubes. (I like small, bite-sized cubes). At this point, you can chill the watermelon in the refrigerator for later.
  2. Combine. When you’re ready to serve, combine diced watermelon cubes, lime zest, and lime juice in a large bowl. Gently stir with a spatula to combine.
  3. Taste & Adjust! If you’re working with a large watermelon, feel free to add more lime zest or lime juice, to taste. (Keep in mind the flavor will intensify with time!) 
  4. Serve & Store. Enjoy the cold lime watermelon right away, or chill up to 2-3 days in the fridge.

Notes

  • The amounts here are VERY flexible. You can add more lime zest & juice if you have a larger watermelon, or cut down on the amount if you have a very small/mini watermelon. 
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: No-Cook
  • Cuisine: American

Originally shared September 2013. Fully updated May 2024. Thanks to my sisters Elisabeth, Kate & Jordan and my cousin Melissa for teaching me this yummy technique!

7 Comments

  1. I just happened onto your blog and love it! I think we would be real life friends 🙂 We are just starting the journey into GFDF and I am thrilled to have such a great resource! I just read your sweet little girls story on autism (and sitting here crying) I thought that maybe you would like to read ours. It is nice to know that you are not alone it this journey.

    Do you feel that the GFDF has made a difference? My husband isn’t quite on board.

    http://www.thetwinbook.com/p/i-woke-up-this-morning-feeling.html

  2. Wow Emily! I’m just flattered. I think I need to start looking at myself differently in the mirror. 🙂 I wish I could take credit for creating this, but it was another cousin that served it to us in San Diego. I guess this is how good cooking runs in the family?






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