17 refreshing retro watermelon recipes

Delicious retro watermelon recipes

Note: This article may feature affiliate links, and purchases made may earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. Find out more here.


Watermelon recipes: Every which way (From July 1972)

Surprising what you can do with watermelon — cook it, chill it, pickle it — for a side dish, salad, dessert, drink, relish or topping. Get some tasty watermelon recipes to try here! 


4 cups diced watermelon without seed
2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lime or lemon rind
1 bottle (12 ounces) ginger ale Lime or lemon slices

Put first 3 ingredients in blender and whirl until frothy. Put in a pitcher with ginger ale. Pour into tall glasses filled with ice cubes and decorate each with a lime slice. Makes about 5 cups.


1/4 large watermelon
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Remove seed from melon and whirl pink meat in blender. Strain (you will need 3 cups juice). Soften gelatin in 1/4 cup juice in small saucepan and dissolve over low heat or hot water. Add with lemon juice, sugar and salt to remaining watermelon juice. Put in crank-type freezer and freeze until of sherbet consistency. Makes about 1 quart.

Watermelon slices and puree on a table
Photo by rawf8/Envato

2 cups watermelon balls or cubes
1 cup quartered plums
1 cup sliced bananas
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup diced pineapple
1 cup orange sections
Salad greens (optional)
Salad dressing (optional)

Mix fruits lightly and serve on greens with dressing, if desired. Or serve fruit as dessert. Makes 6 servings.


1 box (3-3/4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding
2 cups milk
1 egg white
1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained
3 cups watermelon chunks
Fresh-mint sprigs (optional)

Prepare pudding with milk as directed on label. Cover and chill. Shortly before serving, beat egg white until stiff. Gently fold in pineapple. Then fold into pudding and serve as topping for melon. Decorate with mint sprigs, if desired. Makes 8 servings.


1 box (10 ounces) frozen raspberries, thawed
1/4 cup red-currant jelly
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
6 cups watermelon balls or cubes

Put raspberries in small saucepan, bring to boil and simmer 2 to 3 minutes. Put through sieve to remove seed and put back in saucepan. Add jelly and bring to boil. Blend cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water. Add to berry mixture and cook, stirring, until thickened. Add flavoring and cool. Divide melon balls into 8 serving dishes and spoon sauce over top. Makes 8 servings.


1/4 large watermelon
Juice of 1 large lime
Watermelon cubes
Lime slices

Remove seed from melon and whirl pink meat in blender. Strain (you will need 3 cups juice). Add lime juice, and sugar to taste. Put a cube of melon and a slice of lime in each of 4 tall glasses. Add ice cubes and pour water-melon juice over ice. Makes 4 servings.

ALSO SEE: Strawberry pretzel salad: This famous jello recipe from the 70s has never gone out of style


1 cup sugar
1 cup lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
1 bottle dry white sauterne
1 watermelon half, cut lengthwise
Watermelon balls and sliced peaches
1 bottle champagne, chilled

Put sugar and 1 cup water in saucepan, bring to boil and boil 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and sauterne and chill at least 2 hours. Hollow out watermelon half and scallop edge to make punch bowl. Alternate melon balls and peach slices on skewers and arrange in watermelon. Pour in wine mixture and champagne. Serve at once. Makes about 20 punch glasses.


2 pounds (about 2-1/2 quarts) prepared watermelon rind (see below)
1 tablespoon powdered slaked lime (buy in drugstore)
Cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
5 cups sugar
1 tablespoon each whole allspice and cloves
6 small pieces cinnamon stick
1 jar (4 to 6 ounces) maraschino cherries, drained

To prepare rind, peel and remove all green and pink portions. Cut rind in 1″ pieces and soak 3 hours in lime dissolved in 1 quart water. Drain, cover with cold water and cook, covered, 1 hour, or until tender. Drain and cover with weak vinegar (1 cup to 2 cups water). Let stand overnight; drain. In large kettle or Dutch oven, bring to boil 3 cups vinegar, the salt, 1/2 cup water, the sugar, and spices tied in piece of cheesecloth. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Add melon rind and simmer, covered, 2 hours. Add cherries about 20 minutes before removing from heat. Discard spice bag and spoon pickle at once into hot sterilized jars. Cover with boiling syrup and seal. Makes about 4 pints.


Rind from 1 large watermelon
2 quarts cider vinegar
4 pounds (9 cups) sugar
2 tablespoons each whole cloves and allspice
1 piece fresh or dried gingerroot
Two 2″ cinnamon sticks
1 lemon, sliced thin

Trim off green skin and pink meat from watermelon rind and cut rind in 1″ squares or small oblongs. Measure; you will need 4 quarts. Cover with cold salted water, using 1/4 cup salt to each 2 quarts water, and let stand overnight. Next day, drain, put in kettle and cover with fresh cold water. Bring to boil and simmer until tender; drain in colander. In same kettle, mix vinegar, 2 cups water and the sugar. Tie spices in cheesecloth bag and add to kettle. Bring to boil and boil rapidly 5 minutes. Add watermelon and lemon, bring to boil and simmer, un-covered, 1 hour, or until clear. Remove spice bag, pack pickle in hot sterilized jars and seal. Makes about 4 pints.

Sliced watermelon


Cut watermelon in cubes or balls and add snipped fresh mint to taste; chill. Serve on picks as an appetizer, or serve as a dessert.


4 quarts diced red watermelon meat, seeded
5 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 lemon slices
2″ cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon whole cloves

Put melon in colander, and, with hands, squeeze out as much juice as possible, then drain 1 hour. Put melon and next 4 ingredients in large heavy kettle. Add the spices tied in a cheesecloth bag. Simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove spice bag, pack pickle at once in hot sterilized half-pint jars and seal. Makes about four half-pints.


A wonderful topping for ice cream

3 pounds watermelon rind
6 cups sugar
3 slices lemon
3 pieces whole dried ginger
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
Two 2″ cinnamon sticks
1/4 teaspoon salt

Remove all green outer rind and pink meat from rind and discard. Force remaining rind through food chopper, using coarse blade. Measure (you will need 6 cups). Put in kettle with 1 cup water. Cook slowly, uncovered, 25 minutes, or until melon is translucent. Add sugar and lemon. Tie spices in cheesecloth bag and add with salt to first mixture. Cook slowly, stirring frequently, 1 hour, or until thickened. Remove spice bag and ladle mixture into 5 hot sterilized half-pint jars; seal.


If you like summer squash, you’ll like this dish.

Watermelon rind
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter or margarine

Trim green skin from rind and leave a little pink meat. Cut rind in 1″ cubes to make 6 cups. Put in heavy saucepan, add salt and Just enough water to cover bottom of pan. Cover and simmer 20 minutes, or until rind a tender. Drain well, add butter, and pepper to taste. Serve as a vegetable. Makes 6 servings.


Watermelon rind
1/2 cup minced bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
Salt and pepper

Trim green skin from rind and remove pink meat. Using a medium shredder, shred rind to make 4 cups. Saute bacon in skillet with cover until crisp; remove and reserve. Add onion to fat remaining in skillet and saute slowly until lightly browned. Add rind and cook, covered, 10 minutes, or until barely tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add bacon. Serve as a vegetable. Makes 4 servings.

ALSO SEE: How do you pick a really good watermelon?


1 cup small watermelon balls or cubes
1/2 cup diced fresh peaches
1/2 cup diced unsweetened canned pineapple
2 tablespoons very fine granulated sugar
1/3 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
Salad greens

Mix fruits lightly and chill. Blend next 4 ingredients. Fold in fruit, then whipped cream. Pour into 1-quart mold and chill until firm. Unmold and garnish with greens. Makes 6 servings.


2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
2 cups diced celery
3 cups watermelon balls or cubes
Salad greens
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Beat cream cheese with mayonnaise until smooth and fluffy. Fold into whipped cream and add celery. Arrange watermelon on salad greens and top with cheese mixture. Sprinkle with nuts. Makes 6 servings.


1/3 cup apple juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg
1/2 cup dairy sour cream

Combine all ingredients in jar with screw top. Cover and shake well; chill. Arrange diced watermelon on greens and serve with the dressing. Makes 1-1/4 cups.

DON’T MISS: Weird retro ways to serve pineapple (and a few good ideas, too)

PS: If you liked this article, please share it! You can also get our free newsletter, follow us on Facebook & Pinterest. Thanks for visiting and for supporting a small business! 🤩 


You might also like...

The fun never ends:

Comments on this story

Leave a comment here!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.