Juicy, charred, and a little smoky, this Grilled Watermelon with Chili and Honey-Lime Sauce is a quick and easy summer dish that will truly stand out! Serve it straight from the grill as an appetizer or side. And if you're into it, sprinkle a little feta on top!
Cooked watermelon on the grill!
I love fresh, cool watermelon especially in something like my Mediterranean watermelon salad with a bit of salty feta and all sorts of herbs. Grilled watermelon has become a bit of a trend over the past few summers, and I am glad I tried it!
Grilling watermelon may sound odd, but don't dismiss the idea just yet! In addition to giving you some beautiful char marks, the grill will help caramelize the sweetness of watermelon, giving it a slightly smoky flavor. And as far as the texture, a grilled watermelon will remain juicy but will turn somewhat chewy in a satisfying way. Some even compare it to the texture of meat, and while I wouldn't say that, the texture change is definitely surprising!
This is a fun dish that will stand out on its own, but to amp up the flavor, I like to finish my cooked watermelon with a lime and honey sauce that's flecked with chili flakes.
What you'll need to make this recipe
All you need is watermelon and a few ingredients to add flavor after grilling!
- Watermelon - One small, personal-sized watermelon (about 2 ½ to 3 pounds).
- Honey - Sweet honey to compliment the smokiness of the melon and balance the citrus from the lime
- Limes - Both the lime juice and lime zest are used in this recipe.
- Aleppo pepper - I like the balanced heat of Aleppo pepper with a bit of sweetness to it, but if you don't have it, you can substitute red pepper flakes.
- Creamy feta - if you're going vegan, you can omit the feta, but it does add a little richness to this summery dish.
Cut the watermelon in wedges not steaks!
For grilled watermelon, you want thick triangle slices with the rind on, this way the melon does not fall apart as it cooks. Here's how to easily cut a watermelon into triangles:
- Wash the watermelon. Be sure to wash the watermelon before slicing since we will be leaving the skin on. I also like to trim the ends so that the melon sits flat on the cutting surface.
- Cut the watermelon in half. Slice the watermelon in half from top to bottom, length-wise.
- Cut each half in half. Slice each half length-wise, so that you know have four watermelon quarters.
- Slice each quarter into triangles. Each triangle slice should be approximately ½-inch thick. Avoid making slices any thinner, as they will wilt on the grill and lose their shape.
How to grill watermelon:
Grilled watermelon is quick and easy to make. No outdoor grill? No problem! You can make this recipe on an indoor griddle or cast iron grill. Here is what you do:
- Heat the grill to high. Or heat the griddle or cast iron grill
- Cut the melon into thick triangles. Slice the watermelon into ½-inch thick triangles, leaving the rind (or skin) attached (if you're not sure, check out the details above for how to cut watermelon)
- Grill the watermelon. Arrange the melon slices on the grill in one single layer. Grill over high direct heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until grill marks appear.
- Prepare the honey-lime sauce. While the slices are cooking, whisk together a ¼ cup honey, juice and zest of 2 limes, and a good dash of Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes. cover and warm up for no more than 10 seconds in the microwave, or, if the honey is too thick, put it in a covered jar and then place it in a large bowl of very warm water to help loosen it.
- Serve. Arrange the grilled watermelon on a plate and drizzle with the chili and honey-lime sauce. Top with feta if desired.
A few tips
First time grilling watermelon? Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Opt for a mini watermelon. A "personal" sized watermelon of 2 ½ pounds will make plenty of grilled watermelon for a small crowd of people.
- Slice the melon into thick triangles (leave the rind on). This bears repeating because how you cut the melon is essential to the success of this watermelon recipe. When slicing the triangles, do so with the melon rind or skin still on. Watermelon without the skin will fall apart when you try to flip it on the grill.
- Do not overcook the melon! Watermelon cooks quickly on the grill. While you want grill marks or even a tiny bit of charring, you don't want to overcook the watermelon. It can taste burnt and/or become too mushy if overcooked.
Ways to serve grilled watermelon
There are so many ways to serve grilled watermelon. It's delicious immediately off the grill on its own, but I highly recommend you make the honey-lime sauce to drizzle on top! The citrus and the sweet honey all enhance the taste of the smoky, warm watermelon. It's a true balance of flavor, with heat, sweet, and citrus all in one. I like to add a side of creamy feta, or if I have it ready, some whipped feta!
To serve this grilled watermelon recipe as a dessert, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of some good honey (I love this Greek thyme honey), if you're looking for a dessert option.
How to store leftovers
Grilled watermelon slices should be enjoyed warm, straight from the grill. Any leftover fresh watermelon that hasn't been cooked should be tightly wrapped in plastic and put in the fridge. It will stay fresh for up to 5 days in the fridge.
More easy vegetarian grilling recipes:
- Grilled Corn on the Cob
- Easy Grilled Pizza
- Easy Grilled Vegetable Kabobs
- Grilled Brussels Sprouts Skewers
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Grilled Watermelon with Chili and Honey-Lime Sauce
- Heat an outdoor gas grill or an indoor griddle or cast iron grill to high.
- Slice the melon. Wash the melon and trim the ends so that you’re able to set the melon flat on your cutting surface. Cut the melon it into two halves, then cut the halves into quarters. From there slice into ½ -inch triangles with the rind on (do not remove the rind/skin).
- Grill. Arrange the melon wedges or triangles on the prepared hot grill in one single layer. Grill over high direct heat for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, watching for some grill marks to appear.
- While the melons are on the grill, quickly prepare the chili and honey-lime sauce. In a small microwave safe bowl, combine the honey, lime juice, and Aleppo pepper flakes (or red pepper flakes). Mix with a spoon then warm the mixture in the microwave for just a few seconds (no more than 10 seconds). Or, you can put your honey in a glass jar and cover tightly and leave it in a bowl of warmed water until it has loosened).
- Arrange the grilled watermelon.
- If serving as an appetizer, this dish can serve 6 people or so.
- If you don't plan on using the entire melon to make this recipe, cover fresh, uncooked melon with plastic wrap and refrigerate for later.
- Cut in thick triangles and do not remove the rind! Do not cut the melon slices any thinner than ½ inch, and make sure to leave the skin on which will help keep the melon from falling apart as it cooks.
- Serve immediately! Grilled watermelon is best served and enjoyed immediately off the grill, so be sure to have prepared anything else you need before you cook the watermelon.
- As a side, this recipe can be served next to things like: harissa chicken, shish kabob, souvlaki, or even grilled fish.
- To serve as a dessert, omit the sauce and add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of some good honey (I love this Greek thyme honey).
- Visit Our Shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils, honey, and spices.