How To Cut A Watermelon

Perfectly cut watermelon is the key to refreshing watermelon juice, a healthy snack, or a lovely summertime party food that anyone can enjoy, says food blogger and photographer Ksenia Prints of At the Immigrant's Table. And the secret for how to cut a watermelon is something anyone can learn easily and quickly.

Cutting watermelon into perfect slices for a party or cubes for blending into your favorite juice is really not that complicated. Yet many of us get intimidated by the size of a given watermelon, the thickness of the rind, and the seemingly challenging nature of getting through all that waste. As a result, most people reach for precut watermelon cubes at the store. Yet, those tend to spoil much faster than watermelon that you've cut yourself. Not to mention that buying enough precut watermelon cubes for a party can set you back a small fortune.

If you follow our easy step-by-step guide on how to cut a watermelon, you'll get through this challenge in no time — and with all your fingers intact, too!

What knife should I use to cut a watermelon?

To cut a watermelon, we recommend using a sharp chef's knife. A chef's knife is relatively heavy and allows you to easily execute cuts that require the kind of weight and pressure you'll need to cut through a melon rind. A knife like this also works well for moves that require more finesse, such as removing the watermelon rind without taking off too much of the sweet fruit inside. 

A properly honed and sharpened knife is also far safer for you to use here and in other kitchen situations — a dull knife is more likely to skip and slide along the surface of whatever you're cutting, putting your fingers in a dangerous position. So, take a minute and make sure you've got the right knife at the right sharpness to do this right. You'll be glad that you did.

Cut the watermelon in half lengthwise

Start by cutting your watermelon in half lengthwise. To do that, lay your watermelon horizontally on the cutting board and start by puncturing its rind with your knife on one side. Then, working in a sawing motion and applying a bit of pressure, simply push your knife straight through to the other side of the watermelon. Remember to work slowly and patiently to stay safe.

Repeat this sawing and cutting motion all along the length of the watermelon. In doing so, you will cut the watermelon in half and then end up with two large half rounds. Now it's time to set one half aside and get to work on the other.

Cut each watermelon half in two quarters

Lay one half of the watermelon on the cutting board, cut side down. Cut this piece in half again, so that you will end up with two separate quarters of the watermelon. Repeat with the other half. You'll now have four pieces of quartered watermelon at the ready.

Cut down into each watermelon quarter

What is the easiest way to cut a watermelon? You will see many guides instructing you to cut a watermelon into slices and then to remove the rind from each one. However, we've found that this is a tedious method that takes much longer than needed, especially if you are looking to end up with watermelon cubes. So, this next step is key to our easy and relatively quick watermelon cutting method!

Lay one quarter of the watermelon on the cutting board. Take your chef's knife and cut straight down from the top of the red watermelon flesh to the white part of the rind, just where the sweet flesh of the watermelon gives way to the tasteless, hard peel. Make these cuts about ¾ to 1 inch apart. Note that you will never cut all the way down through the rind and onto the cutting board. Instead, at this stage, you are just "marking" the sizes of your future watermelon cubes.

You can complete this step with your quarters laying down on the cutting board on one flat surface. Or, when you are more comfortable with your knife skills, you can do this by resting each watermelon with the curved rind side on the cutting board.

Remove the watermelon rind

Now that you have your watermelon pre-cut into triangles (that are not cut all the way to the base, remember), it's time to remove the rind. Run your knife in a fluid, curving motion along the length of the watermelon peel. Cut off the white and green parts from the resulting watermelon pieces, leaving nothing but the red watermelon flesh behind. Now your cuts should get all the way to the bottom of the watermelon, separating it into red slices!

The rind may seem like it's destined for the compost bin, but don't be so quick to toss it. You can actually save those watermelon rinds to add to a light drink that's perfect for summer, pickle them for a classic treat, and even use them as veggies in some meals like stir fry.

How to cut a watermelon into cubes?

To cut a watermelon into cubes, take the red slices that you've just freed from the rind and cut them into small squares. Don't worry about the size or uniformity of these pieces, as they will all taste great regardless! Repeat this step with all remaining watermelon quarters.

These watermelon cubes are perfect for use in a fruit salad or a watermelon and feta salad! You can even incorporate the pieces in a fresh, summery watermelon pie.

How should you cut a watermelon for a party?

To cut a watermelon for a party, simply take the quartered watermelon pieces and cut the watermelon into slices. But here, instead of stopping at the rind, you will cut all the way to the base of the watermelon, leaving you with neat watermelon triangles that are about an inch thick. They'll also come with an easy-to-grab rind, key for casual dining. Repeat this step with all remaining watermelon quarters.

For some extra visual flair, you can also fan these watermelon triangles out on a large tray. Voila — you've got enough watermelon slices to feed a crowd!