Watermelon Appetizer

Once you know how to handle watermelon the fun can begin! Watermelon is as versatile as it is delicious, as well as craved by your customers. Watermelon Flavor Dynamics can help watermelon shine on any menu, food or beverage. Don’t forget that the whole product is edible and it is available year-round. Lastly, be inspired by your peers from restaurants across the country as well as the Culinary Institute of America. There is a watermelon dish for every restaurant and every customer!

Watermelon Flavor Dynamics

The flavor, texture and color of watermelon pairs well with so many flavors. Use these pairing recommendations, as well as cooking techniques, for recipe ideation inspiration.

What Watermelon Research Says

The top savory ingredients paired with watermelon on appetizer, entrée and salad menus from our MenuTrends Research are:

  1. Feta
  2. Tomato
  3. Chicken
  4. Potato
  5. Onion
  6. Vinaigrette
  7. Cucumber
  8. Mint
  9. Bean
  10. BBQ
  11. Corn
  12. Balsamic
  13. Avocado
  14. Basil
  15. Rice

For more information or to request the full report, please email [email protected].

Watermelon Beverages Grow on Menus

According to 2021 Datassentials MenuTrend Research, watermelon is featured on over 4% of non-alcoholic beverage menus and grew 39%, 2016-2020. Watermelon, with 7.6% penetration, grew 16% in 2020 on smoothie menus. More than one in ten restaurants serving alcoholic beverages feature a drink with watermelon, having grown by 15% from 2016-2020, in all segments except fine dining.

Considering freshness, creativity, health and wellness, and new and current trends, this Watermelon Beverage Innovation Report highlights product analysis creating a variety of watermelon applications using the whole fruit including juices, tinctures, syrups, infusions, garnishes, and more. Recipes include no-abv, low-abv and classic cocktails including teas, punches, spritzes, martinis, and more. 

Check out Tony Pererya of Spirits in Motion demo the Spicy Watermelon Agua Fresca below, or find more recipes by Tony here

Think Outside the Peel

Watermelon is 100% usable so instead of throwing away or composting, consider using the rind in a variety of menu applications. Sprouted watermelon seeds are also growing in popularity and can be added to salads for crunch as well as other applications.

Watermelon carvings are a great way to use the whole product and engage customers especially during events or on buffets.

Watermelon Warriors

These partners offer their own innovative menu opportunities with watermelon. Be inspired by their creativity!


Culinary Institute of America
The CIA is the world’s premier culinary college teaching the chefs of tomorrow but also inspiring current chefs. Be inspired by all the CIA watermelon recipes at ciaprochef.com/watermelon. We even feature some right here at watermelon.org.

Chef’s Roll
Chef’s Roll partnered with the Board and a couple of their favorite chefs to experiment with innovative uses of watermelon flavor and preparation techniques in culinary applications. Here you can see how to cut watermelon and procure different formats including the rind. Next check out innovative dishes utilizing these watermelon formats. Check out these videos at https://chefsroll.com/features/featured-ingredients/watermelon/.

Plan a Watermelon Promotion

Global sourcing provides watermelon’s beautiful color, delicious crunch, sweet fruity flavor and broad consumer appeal throughout the year. Here are some recipes, techniques, cutting tips and usage ideas that will help keep food and beverage menus fresh with watermelon, year-round.


Watermelon on the Menu

Watermleon cocktail from Bayou Heights Bier Garten in Houston, TX

Bayou Heights Bier Garten – which opened in Houston, TX last month – includes The Silent Disco cocktail on their new menu which consists of gin, watermelon, lemon, Absinthe, and cucumber.

Charthouse Watermelon

Chart House, which has more than 20 locations across the U.S., offers a Watermelon Carpaccio with shrimp ceviche, Boursin croutons, jalapeno vinaigrette and yellow pepper crema.