Sometimes it's easier to skip that juicy watermelon sale at your grocery store rather than lugging it home where it tends to languish on the countertop until it eventually rots and you have to finally throw it away. The massive size, odd shape, and messy insides of a watermelon make cutting into one seem like a daunting task, but it turns out that slicing up this beloved fruit is much easier than you may think. With a host of party platters, cocktails, and refreshing salads just waiting to be made, knowing how to cut a watermelon has never been more necessary.
Set the Stage
All you’ll need to properly cut a watermelon is a decent-size cutting board, a bowl or platter to hold the pieces once they’re cut, and a large knife. Something like an eight-inch santoku knife works best, but anything larger and sharper than a butter knife will do in a pinch. Depending on the size of your cutting board and the surface on which you’re working, you might also want to lay down an old towel or plastic sheet to catch any stray juice.
Slice Into the Watermelon
If you’re working with a whole watermelon, the best way to make the initial incision is to cut lengthwise. Next, place each of the halves face-down on the cutting board, and slice each of these in half so that your watermelon is now quartered.
Score the Watermelon
Properly cutting a watermelon is at least partly based on what size pieces you want to end up with. For most uses, including snacking, salads, and garnishes, one- to two-inch pieces are ideal. Working carefully so as to not cut through the rind, slice downward through the fruit of the watermelon in even, parallel rows about one to two inches apart. Turn the watermelon 90 degrees, and repeat so that you’re scoring the watermelon in a crosshatch pattern. Do this for all four quarters of the watermelon.
Separate From the Rind
Now you’re ready to free your watermelon from the rind. Starting about an inch from the tip of the watermelon, slide your knife beneath the fruit of the watermelon along the inner edge of the rind. Depending on the size of the watermelon, you may have to repeat this maneuver more than once. Again, be careful not to cut into the rind. Repeat this step with the other three-quarters of the watermelon.
Finish and Serve
Now, tip each quarter of the watermelon upside-down into your large bowl. The watermelon should fall out cleanly, but if any pieces remain stuck to the rind, you can gently whittle these away using the tip of your knife. If you wish to reduce the size of your watermelon pieces further, you can do this on the cutting board.
While there are certainly far more bizarre and adventurous ways to cut a watermelon, this is one the handiest and most versatile. Now sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor!