How to Cut a Watermelon into Slices, Cubes or Sticks

Follow our step-by-step guide to learn how to cut a watermelon. You'll have neat slices, melon balls, cubes and sticks in no time!

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Watermelons are big and bulky, and the idea of cutting into one can be intimidating. But we made the process so simple, you’ll be snacking on chic watermelon cubes or enjoying sweet watermelon recipes in no time!

Learn how to cut a watermelon four ways: slices, melon balls, cubes and sticks. And if you need an even faster solution, you can’t go wrong with this watermelon slicer tool.

Tools You’ll Need

How to Cut a Watermelon into Slices

Step 1: Prepare a workstation

a whole watermelon on a white cutting board and a knife to the sideTMB studio

You might be tempted to cut the watermelon in half to get things going, but it’s easier to start by cutting off the top and bottom of the watermelon. That creates a flat side so the watermelon doesn’t roll away, giving you nice, neat slices while also protecting your fingers!

Step 2: Quarter the watermelon

Watermelon quarters on a white cutting boardTMB studio

Stand the watermelon on one of the cut ends and slice it in half down the middle, creating two large halves. Then, lay each piece flesh-side down and slice in half lengthwise so the whole watermelon is now quartered. 

Step 3: Slice your quartered watermelon

triangular slices of watermelon on a white cutting boardTMB studio

If you’re looking for snack-sized slices, simply place the quartered pieces flesh-side down on your cutting board. Slice the melon into 1-inch thick triangles. Add a sprinkle of salt to bring out the sweet flavors, or toss them on the grill for an unusual way to eat watermelon. Don’t be afraid to try out more savory watermelon recipes!

How to Ball Watermelon

melon balls from a quarter of a watermelon on a white cutting boardTMB studio

Once the watermelon is quartered, you can also ball the fruit. Place a melon quarter flesh-side up on the cutting board. Insert melon baller into the flesh and twist your wrist, rotating the baller toward you. Serve the balls in your favorite watermelon salad, on a skewer or soaked in alcohol for a boozy treat. 

How to Cut a Watermelon into Cubes

Step 1: Remove the rind before cubing 

taking the rind off of the watermelon on a white cutting boardTMB studio

While starting with a quartered watermelon is our go-to way to create slices and melon balls, it’s safer (and easier) to cut watermelon cubes when you start with a whole, peeled watermelon. Instead of quartering it, stand the melon on one of the cut ends. Using a sharp knife, remove the green peels, saving them to make watermelon rind pickles later. 

If you missed some of the white parts during the first pass, don’t worry; you can always go back over the watermelon and remove them. 

Step 2: Cut peeled watermelon into cubes 

cubing watermelon on a white cutting boardTMB studio

Once the watermelon is peeled, cut it in half widthwise. Place the halves flesh-side down and slice the melon into 1-inch slices. Then, turn the board 90-degrees and slice the melon again into 1-inch slices. You can serve the watermelon pieces as-is, or turn them on their sides and slice them into smaller cubes. 

How to Cut a Watermelon into Sticks

a hand removing a stick of watermelon from the center of the watermelonTMB studio

For watermelon sticks, cut the watermelon in half around its equator. Place one half of the melon cut side down, then make cuts up and down and from side to side. You should end up with a watermelon rind handle on each stick.

Tips for Picking and Storing a Watermelon

woman picking watermelon in grocery shopLightFieldStudios/Getty Images

How to pick a watermelon

Look for watermelons that have a dark green rind and a yellow belly (which happens because watermelons grow resting on the ground). Make sure it’s yellow, because a white or pale yellow spot isn’t ripe enough yet.

After you’ve eyed up a few contenders, pick them up and compare their weights to each other. Most likely, the heaviest will be the juiciest! Find more ways to tell if a watermelon is ripe.

For less mess, refrigerate the watermelon first

We generally recommend storing a whole, uncut watermelon at room temperature. However, refrigerating a melon right before you cut into it can help it hold its shape better as you slice. You won’t have as much juice spilling out onto your cutting board; plus, you’ll have a cold, refreshing treat to enjoy right away!

Editor’s Tip: Don’t feel like you have to eat the watermelon whole. Toss cubed watermelon into the blender to make watermelon juice to use in one of these refreshing watermelon drinks, like watermelon slush or watermelon margaritas.

How to store watermelon

Storing an uncut watermelon is simplekeep it on the counter.  There’s no need to make space for it in the fridge until after you slice it up. But once you do, wrap slices in plastic wrap before you toss it back into the fridge. Keep watermelon cubes in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  

How to freeze watermelon

It’s easy to freeze watermelon once you’ve sliced it into cubes. Just put it on a tray lined with parchment paper and freeze for a few hours. After that, you can take it and store it in a freezer-safe container.  

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Lauren Pahmeier
Lauren has spent four years in digital and print publishing since earning her professional journalism degree from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. As an editor at Taste of Home, Lauren spends her days leading SEO-focused projects and collaborating with the Test Kitchen to develop new recipes. She also writes daily about her favorite recipes, building seasonal charcuterie boards and more. Lauren previously pitched, wrote and edited content about event planning, catering and travel, but discovered her passion for food journalism in particular while she served as the editor and co-founder of her school’s chapter of Spoon University. After exploring the restaurant scene in Minneapolis for almost eight years, Lauren moved to Milwaukee where she continues to try every seasonal latte and scoop of frozen custard she can. No matter where she goes, she loves to share her finds with her friends and family on Instagram. When she’s not writing or posting about food, she’s either making it at home or deliberating where to dine next.
Lindsay D. Mattison
Lindsay has been writing for digital publications for seven years and has 10 years of experience working as a professional chef. She became a full-time food writer at Taste of Home in 2023, although she’s been a regular contributor since 2017. Throughout her career, Lindsay has been a freelance writer and recipe developer for multiple publications, including Wide Open Media, Tasting Table, Mashed and SkinnyMs. Lindsay is an accomplished product tester and spent six years as a freelance product tester at Reviewed (part of the USA Today network). She has tested everything from cooking gadgets to knives, cookware sets, meat thermometers, pizza ovens and more than 60 grills (including charcoal, gas, kamado, smoker and pellet grills). Lindsay still cooks professionally for pop-up events, especially when she can highlight local, seasonal ingredients. As a writer, Lindsay loves sharing her skills and experience with home cooks. She aspires to motivate others to gain confidence in the kitchen. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her cooking with fresh produce from the farmers market or planning a trip to discover the best new restaurants.