It's not quite summer without a big slice of juicy, red watermelon. Besides being tasty, it's packed full of vitamin C and is only 45 calories per cup! But that huge mound of watermelons at the grocery store or farmer's market can be intimidating. Underripe watermelons taste unpleasant and don't continue to ripen or sweeten after they are picked. So how do you know which melon is ripe? Read on to find out!


Look at the skin

A ripe watermelon is shiny and rich green in color. It should be evenly toned for the most part and free of all cuts, bruises and dents. But wait; don't put away that magnifying glass just yet—turn that melon over! Look for a round yellow spot on the underside. Most grocery stores try to hide this blemish, but don't worry—it doesn't mean your watermelon is bad. That's where the watermelon touched the ground as it was growing. The darker yellow that blemish is, the riper your melon should be!

Check out the stem

Turn the watermelon on its side and look at the stem end. You should notice a withered brown spot where the stem used to be. If this spot is green, your melon isn't ripe and you should move on to the next.

Knock knock

We've all seen those people at the store tapping on a watermelon as if they expect it to answer. Don't worry; they're not crazy. So what exactly are they checking for? The sounds of hollowness! If the watermelon has a dull, hollow thud sound, it's ripe. An unripe watermelon will make a tight ringing sound when you knock on it.

Give it a squeeze

No, I'm not telling you to hug your watermelon. Just hold it in your hands and give it a gentle squeeze. If you hear a soft cracking inside, your watermelon is ripe. Just don't squeeze too hard—some melons really crack under pressure.

Weigh it

Hold the watermelon in your hands. A ripe watermelon will feel like it weighs more than it should. That means it's nice and juicy on the inside!

Give it a sniff

Don't be afraid to smell the watermelon in the middle of the grocery store. A really ripe watermelon will give off a noticeable, sweet watermelon fragrance.


Don't wait too long to eat your watermelon! Uncut, your watermelon should last about two weeks in the refrigerator and a week at room temperature. Cut melon will last about four days in the refrigerator.

What to use it for:

  • Watermelon is a kid favorite! Try layering a slice in your child's peanut butter and jelly sandwich or blending watermelon up and freezing it for a tasty Popsicle or ice cream!
  • Make refreshing slushies or smoothies by blending up watermelon with lemonade or fruit juice.
  • You can also add diced watermelon to your favorite salsa recipe for a surprising but sweet twist.
  • If you're more into savory recipes, add watermelon to minced pork to create a lettuce wrap, top your favorite salad with diced watermelon or mix it into a beef stir fry!
  • And don't let that watermelon rind go to waste! Use it to make watermelon rind chutney or watermelon rind stir fry.
How to Choose Ripe Watermelon