What mixes well with watermelon flavor?

Watermelon is a refreshing, sweet and acidic fruit that can complement a variety of flavors when used in drinks, desserts, and more. In the opening paragraphs, we’ll provide a quick overview of some of the most popular and proven flavor combinations that pair well with watermelon.

Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits like lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange make excellent partners for watermelon. The tangy, bright notes of citrus accentuate the sweetness of watermelon and add zest. Watermelon pairs wonderfully with lemonade, citrus teas, margaritas and fruit salads.


Fresh mint is another extremely popular pairing with watermelon. The cool, herbal notes of mint balance out the sweetness of watermelon and add complexity. Watermelon and mint go great together in summery drinks like mint lemonade with watermelon ice cubes or watermelon mint agua fresca. Mint also complements watermelon wonderfully in salsas, salads and more.

Feta cheese

Salty feta cheese beautifully offsets the sweetness of watermelon in salads, appetizers and other dishes. When paired with watermelon, the tangy saltiness of feta really shines. This combo works great in simple watermelon and feta salads, or try it in more complex dishes like watermelon, feta and arugula pizza or grilled watermelon and feta skewers.

Balsamic vinegar

Aged balsamic vinegar can take watermelon flavor to new heights. The rich, slightly sweet tanginess of good balsamic vinegar balances out the sugariness of watermelon wonderfully. Watermelon pairs amazingly with balsamic in salads, sauces, glazes and simple watermelon balsamic vinegar drizzles.


Like mint, fresh basil is an herb that complements watermelon beautifully. The subtle anise-like flavor of basil enhances watermelon’s sweetness and acidity. Watermelon and basil pair wonderfully in refreshing drinks, fruit salads, bruschetta and caprese variations with watermelon instead of tomatoes.

Fruits with contrasting textures

Pairing watermelon with fruits that have contrasting textures can also be delicious. Crunchy fruits like apple and pear provide a nice textural contrast to watermelon’s soft, fleshy interior. These fruits also balance out watermelon’s acidity. Try combinations like watermelon and apple salad, or pear and watermelon skewers. Berries like blueberries and raspberries can also complement watermelon’s texture beautifully.

Yogurt and ice cream

Cool, creamy dairy products like yogurt, ice cream and ricotta cheese are delightful complements to watermelon’s texture and flavor. Watermelon pairs wonderfully with yogurt or ice cream in smoothies, parfaits, frozen pops and other chilled desserts. Making watermelon the star ingredient in these types of desserts allows its flavor to shine.


Like watermelon, cucumber has a refreshing, watery crunch. When paired together, these two ingredients amplify each other’s cooling effects and flavors. Watermelon and cucumber combinations work beautifully in salads, relishes, lemonades, juices and more.

Fruity red wines

Certain fruity, red wine varietals complement watermelon wonderfully. Wines like Pinot Noir, Grenache and Sangiovese have notes like ripe cherry, strawberry, red plum and citrus that pair well with watermelon’s flavor. Watermelon and wine make festive partners in sangrias, spritzers and other cocktails.

Proteins like prosciutto, feta and mozzarella

Pairing slices of fresh watermelon with cured meats, salty cheeses and other proteins is an excellent way to turn watermelon into a hearty appetizer or meal. The salty savoriness of prosciutto, feta, mozzarella, halloumi and similar proteins contrasts deliciously with juicy, sweet watermelon. Skewers, platters and Caprese-style arrangements are all fantastic ways to serve watermelon with these pairings.

Spices and seasonings

Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cardamom complement watermelon wonderfully by accentuating its sweetness. A sprinkle of salt also enhances watermelon’s sugary flavor. Pair watermelon with these seasonings in desserts, drinks and salads. Chili powder and cayenne can add an intriguing spice kick to watermelon too.

Sweet liquids and mixers

Watermelon pairs delightfully with a variety of sweet liquids that accentuate its sugars and juiciness. Simple syrup, honey, agave nectar, fruit juices and jams or preserves all complement watermelon’s flavor beautifully. Blend watermelon with these mixers for pitchers, popsicles, cocktails and other beverages.

Herbs like thyme, rosemary and tarragon

Surprisingly, certain woody, herbal flavors pair wonderfully with watermelon too. Herbs like thyme, rosemary and tarragon have notes that somehow both contrast yet complement watermelon’s flavor. These herbs go great with watermelon in savory salads, panzanella, gazpachos, lemonades and iced teas.

Watermelon cocktails and mocktails

Now that we’ve covered great flavor pairings, here are some specific watermelon cocktails and mocktails that put these combos to delicious use:

  • Watermelon margarita – Watermelon, lime, tequila, triple sec, salt
  • Watermelon mojito – Watermelon, mint, lime, rum, soda
  • Watermelon sangria – Watermelon, red wine, brandy, citrus, spices
  • Watermelon gin and tonic – Watermelon, gin, tonic water, lime
  • Watermelon vodka spritz – Watermelon, vodka, elderflower liquor, prosecco, mint
  • Watermelon frosé – Watermelon, rosé wine, vodka or gin (optional), simple syrup
  • Virgin watermelon limeade – Watermelon, lime, simple syrup, soda water
  • Sparkling watermelon juice – Watermelon, lemon, sparkling water
  • Watermelon basil smashes – Watermelon, basil, lemon, ginger beer or soda

Savory watermelon dishes

Watermelon can also be used in amazing savory dishes when paired with complementary flavors. Here are some tasty savory recipe ideas that use watermelon:

  • Watermelon feta salad – Watermelon, feta, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mint
  • Grilled watermelon and Halloumi skewers – Watermelon, Halloumi cheese, red onion, basil
  • Watermelon gazpacho – Watermelon, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, lime, herbs
  • Watermelon caprese salad – Watermelon, mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, balsamic reduction
  • Prosciutto wrapped watermelon – Watermelon, prosciutto, balsamic glaze
  • Watermelon poke bowl – Watermelon, mango, avocado, cucumber, sushi rice, sesame seeds
  • Grilled watermelon and shrimp skewers – Watermelon, shrimp, red onion, cilantro
  • Watermelon and goat cheese flatbread – Watermelon, goat cheese, arugula, balsamic glaze

Sweet watermelon desserts

And for dessert, watermelon is endlessly delicious when paired with complementary sweet ingredients like these:

  • Watermelon sorbet – Watermelon, simple syrup, lemon
  • Watermelon granita – Watermelon, lemon, mint
  • Watermelon ice pops – Watermelon, yogurt, honey
  • Watermelon semifreddo – Watermelon, heavy cream, mascarpone, pistachios
  • Watermelon panna cotta – Watermelon, heavy cream, gelatin, vanilla
  • Watermelon mousse – Watermelon, cream cheese, whipped cream, lime
  • Watermelon parfait – Layers of watermelon, yogurt, granola
  • Roasted watermelon and peach crostini – Watermelon, peaches, honey, mint
  • Watermelon creamsicle smoothie – Watermelon, orange juice, Greek yogurt

Tips for cooking and preparing watermelon

Here are some helpful tips for getting the most out of watermelon as an ingredient when making drinks, savory dishes and desserts:

  • Choose ripe, sweet watermelons by looking for a creamy yellow spot on the underside, and a hollow sound when tapped.
  • Cut watermelon into wedges, balls or cubes. Remove seeds first for easier eating.
  • Leave the rind on for grilling or skewering to hold the watermelon together.
  • Mix cubed or balled watermelon with balsamic vinegar or fruit juices to macerate and soak up flavor.
  • Blend or process watermelon into smoothies, sorbets, gazpachos or other drinks and dishes.
  • Roast or grill watermelon wedges to caramelize and concentrate flavors.
  • Wrap watermelon chunks in prosciutto or bacon for an easy appetizer.
  • Freeze blended watermelon in popsicle molds for easy homemade pops.
  • Pickle watermelon rind to make tangy garnishes for cocktails and plates.

Selecting complementary ingredients

When selecting ingredients to pair with watermelon, keep these tips in mind:

  • Citrus fruits, herbs, crunchy fruits and vegetables work great flavor contrasts
  • Salty, creamy and savory flavors (feta, prosciutto, balsamic, etc) balance out watermelon’s sweetness
  • Mint, basil, thyme and spices like cinnamon nicely accentuate fruity watermelon flavor
  • Simple syrups, fruit juices and liquors help watermelon mix into cocktails and drinks
  • Yogurt, milk and cheese provide creaminess and texture contrast in desserts

With so many possibilities, watermelon can be incorporated into all types of recipes beyond fruit salads and lemonade. Watermelon pairs wonderfully with many flavors, so get creative with combining it into appetizers, drinks, main dishes and desserts.


Watermelon is a versatile ingredient that pairs deliciously with many complementary flavors. Popular mixes for watermelon include citrus fruits, herbs like mint and basil, cheeses like feta and mozzarella, balsamic vinegar, and spices like cinnamon and ginger. Watermelon also shines when blended into cocktails, mocktails and chilled desserts. Salty, creamy and crunchy textures contrast wonderfully with watermelon’s juicy sweetness. With so many tasty pairing options, watermelon can be used far beyond fruit salads in diverse recipes for drinks, starters, mains and desserts. Next time you have fresh watermelon on hand, try mixing it with some new flavors in creative combinations.

Leave a Comment