Is there anything more refreshing than a sweet, juicy watermelon? Frozen watermelon of course! In addition to pumping up the cooling power of this treat on a hot summer day, freezing fresh watermelon is also a great way to help it last longer.
Not only is it incredibly easy to freeze watermelon, but once it is packed away, you have a ton of different options as to how to make use of the frozen fruit. Stick around, we’re walking you through 5 easy steps for freezing watermelon and even sharing a bit of frozen watermelon recipe inspo as well!
Basic Watermelon Info
The watermelon is one of the largest members of the Cucurbitaceae family, which includes other melons like honeydew as well as pumpkins, squash, and gourds. This fruit is most well-known for its hefty size, light and dark green streaked rind, and bright pink fleshed interior, but watermelon actually comes in a wide range of sizes, patterns, and colors. Some watermelon varieties are quite small, while others feature no stripes at all, and yet others have orange or yellow flesh!
Despite these differences in appearance, the thing that all watermelons have in common though is an extremely high water content which hovers right around 92%. This means that watermelon is a great candidate for a trip through the freezer as this large proportion of water will readily turn to ice, evenly suspending the natural sugars and flavor compounds as it does so.
How Long Does a Watermelon Last?
A whole watermelon actually has a fairly long shelf life, lasting about a week at room temperature and up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Once cut however, these numbers go downhill quickly. When stored properly, watermelon slices or cubes will only last for up to 5 days.
If none of these figures are long enough for you, it’s time to get that melon into the freezer where it will last for 9 to 12 months!
Equipment Needed for Freezing Watermelon
You can use any type of baking sheet you have or prefer here, whether shiny metal or nonstick. We recommend selecting one that has a rim however, as this will help to prevent the frozen watermelon from sliding off as you move the baking sheet in and out of the freezer.
The most important consideration here: choose a baking sheet that will fit in your freezer! If your freezer is too narrow for any baking sheet, you can also use a few freezer-safe plates.
You’ll be using parchment paper to line the baking sheet before freezing your watermelon, as this is key to making sure your fruit doesn’t stick to the baking sheet. This is especially important if you are slicing your watermelon in thinner pieces.
You can also use wax paper here if that’s what you have, however we don’t recommend using aluminum foil for this task. The compounds in aluminum produce an unpleasant-tasting reaction when they come into contact with acid for a prolonged period of time. Watermelon is not a highly acidic fruit, but still, better safe than sorry we say!
Melon Baller and/or Sharp Knife
Depending on your preference, you can either use a melon baller to scoop your watermelon into perfect spheres, or use a knife to cut it into cubes. Using a melon baller is especially ideal when you have a seedless watermelon.
How to Freeze Watermelon: Step-By-Step
To freeze your watermelon, simply follow our step-by-step instructions below! This guide will work for any type of watermelon, big and little watermelon alike.
Step 1: Section the Whole Watermelon
Start by cutting the whole watermelon into manageable size pieces such as quarters or eighths. Then remove the rind and cut each section into cubes.
Step 2: Remove the Seeds
If you have a seedless watermelon (which only contains those soft, white watermelon seeds) , go ahead and skip this step. If you have a watermelon with black seeds however, you’ll want to remove them before freezing.
Use a chopstick, toothpicks, or the tip of your knife to poke the seeds out of all of the watermelon chunks. This is a bit time consuming, but when you’re reaching for your frozen watermelon the next time you’re making smoothies, you’ll thank yourself for going the extra mile now!
Step 3: Arrange the Watermelon Cubes
Arrange the watermelon cubes on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Be sure that the watermelon pieces are in a single layer and not touching each other, as this would cause them to stick and freeze together.
Step 4: Freeze the Watermelon
Carefully transfer your baking tray of watermelon cubes to the freezer and place it flat. Freeze for a few hours, letting the watermelon completely freeze before disturbing it.
If you have cut your watermelon into small cubes this will take less time, but if you have larger watermelon chunks it will take a bit longer.
Step 5: Store the Frozen Watermelon
Once the watermelon pieces are frozen solid, they no longer run the risk of sticking together and you can pile them into a smaller container. Use a freezer-friendly airtight container such as a freezer-safe tupperware or a resealable freezer bag.
Make sure to label and date your packages so that you know how long your watermelon has been in frozen storage and can be sure to use it up in a timely manner!
Below Is Our Video For How To Freeze Watermelon
How to Defrost Frozen Watermelon
In most cases, you don’t want to consume completely thawed watermelon as it goes through some textural changes as it defrosts, becoming a bit soggy. If it remains at least partially frozen however, it will retain some crispness and, as promised, be all the more refreshing!
To defrost your frozen watermelon, we recommend simply transferring the storage bag of frozen watermelon pieces to your fridge for one to a few hours, depending on the size of your pieces. If you are planning on using the frozen watermelon in a blender or juice recipe or a frozen dessert (see below!) no need to defrost it at all.
Our Best Tips for Freezing Watermelon
Wash Your Watermelon
It may seem silly to wash the watermelon rind, after all, you’re cutting it off anyway! The problem is though, there can easily be pesticide residue, pathogens, and other nasties lurking on the exterior of watermelon which could pass through to the flesh once you cut into it. A quick wash under cold running water will do the trick!
Selecting a Good Quality Watermelon
In order for a successful watermelon freezing experience, it’s important to start with the best quality watermelon as you can. Choose a melon that is exhibiting signs of ripeness such as: being firm to the touch with a slight give, has a yellow field spot on the bottom (as opposed to white or beige), and is heavy for its size.
Be sure to avoid freezing any watermelon that is on its way out, such as cut melon which has already been hanging around your fridge for a few days or a whole watermelon which has dark or soft spots in the rind.
Make Watermelon Puree Instead!
Another option for freezing watermelon is to blend the watermelon chunks into puree! This option takes up less space in your freezer and is the perfect portion size for tossing into beverages and smoothies.
Once blended, pour the puree into an ice cube tray, leaving a bit of headspace since watermelon expands as it freezes. After the cubes are frozen solid, toss them into freezer bags or another freezer safe container.
Don’t Toss That Rind!
Watermelon rind is actually completely edible! It is less sweet and more crunchy than the flesh itself, but still juicy, refreshing, and plenty good for you. Adding chopped watermelon rind into stir fries is a popular way to use it, as well as slicing it thin and tossing into salads.
If you are planning to eat the watermelon rind, it’s even more important that you give the fruit a good wash before slicing and dicing.
How to Use Frozen Watermelon
As previously mentioned, the texture of watermelon definitely changes once it has been frozen, so we don’t recommend using previously frozen watermelon in something like a fruit salad where you seek a crisp, fresh texture. However, there are plenty of other recipes which will help your frozen watermelon shine!
- A smoothie or slushie is the most perfect place to make use of your frozen watermelon; try our Homemade Watermelon Slushie.
- In a blender, combine your frozen watermelon chunks with any other fruit juices such as pineapple juice, orange juice, or even additional watermelon juice for a super frosty yet fresh fruit juice drink!
- Making this Easy 4-Ingredient Watermelon Jam is a simple way to use up fresh or frozen fruit.
- Get your drink on with a batch of watermelon margaritas or our Watermelon Vodka Cocktail!
- Use frozen watermelon cubes in place of ice cubes in your glass of water or any other beverage! Add a little drizzle of simple syrup for an extra special treat.
- Everyone loves popsicles, and these Citrus Watermelon Popsicles are one of our favorites.
How to Freeze Watermelon: The Takeaway
As you can see, freezing a batch of watermelon is a matter of just 5 simple steps! If you take the time to prep your frozen fruit now, you'll be extending its shelf life (hello money savings!) as well as giving yourself a head start when it comes to whipping up any number of sweet treats like refreshing juices, slushies, jams, and popsicles!
Be sure to only freeze watermelon which is in good condition to start with, as the freezer is not going to make bad watermelon any better. And above all, be sure to enjoy the fruits of your labor by making something delicious with your frozen treasures.
How To Freeze Watermelon
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Melon baller
- Remove the watermelon rind, and cut the watermelon into cubes.
- Remove all of the seeds. You can remove the seeds with chopsticks, toothpicks, or the tip of your knife.
- Place the watermelon cubes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure your watermelon cubes are not touching each other or they will stick together.
- Place the tray in the freezer and freeze for 2-4 hours or until firm.
- Store the cubed watermelon in a freezer-friendly container.