How to Peel Melons Easily

Cubed and Peeled Melon
Watermelon, Ready to Eat. Molly Watson
  • 01 of 04

    Cut Off Melon Ends

    Preparing Melon
    Watermelon With Cut Ends. Molly Watson

    There's nothing wrong with lovely slices of melon, peel still attached, but sometimes a person wants to get rid of the peel to make a delicious watermelon salad or wrap slices of cantaloupe in silky thin slices of prosciutto.

    Here we have a mini-watermelon, but know that the method is the same for melons of any type or size. (Well, very large watermelons are their own beasts, but one's you're unlikely to want to peel one of those whole!)

    On a steady cutting board (or another clean work...MORE surface) hold the melon still with one hand. Use a large, sharp knife* to cut off the two ends, being sure to remove enough of the peel on each end to reveal the brightly colored flesh beneath, as pictured.

    Discard the ends (or save with the rest of the peel to make watermelon rind pickles).

    * A large knife is key because you need a certain amount of heft to make it through the heavy peel on most melons, and a sharp knife will do more of the work for you—less struggle means less moving the knife around, means less chance of slipping a cutting yourself. Sharper knives are safer knives!

    Continue to 2 of 4 below.
  • 02 of 04

    Stand the Melon On Its End to Peel

    Cutting Rind From Melon
    Peeling Watermelon. Molly Watson

    Stand the melon up on one of the cut ends. This achieves two goals: first, the once-round melon that needed to be held in place is now relatively steady; second, you can easily see exactly where the tough peel ends and the sweet fruit begins.

    Using the line between fruit and the peel as your guide, use that large, sharp knife to cut down, following the natural shape of the melon, to remove a length of peel from top to bottom.


    Continue to 3 of 4 below.
  • 03 of 04

    Cut Off All of the Peel

    Melon Without Rind
    Peeled Watermelon. Molly Watson

    Repeat with the remaining peel, working your way all the way around the melon. 

    If you missed any bits of peel or white rind anywhere, now is the time to trim it off. You may want to turn the melon over on its other end to see the bottom side and clean it up, too.

    Continue to 4 of 4 below.
  • 04 of 04

    Peeled Melon to Slice or Chop

    Peeled Melon
    Peeled Watermelon. Molly Watson

    What you have now is a fully peeled melon! Some people may have plans for it as-is, but for most uses, you'll want to cut the peeled melon in half, lay it flat, and then cut it into slices or cubes, as you like.

    Don't have a plan in place? Here are a few for ideas for you:

    • Melon is lovely in summer salads, either in place of or alongside sweet-tart tomatoes—their flavor and texture are great companions.
    • Make a simple salad of cubed melon and feta cheese. Grind on some black pepper and...MORE you're done.
    • Wrap spears of melon with prosciutto and drizzle with olive oil for a classic Italian appetizer.
    • Sprinkle cubes of melon with toasted cumin seeds—the sweet-earthy contrast is fabulous.
    • Serve peeled melon spritzed with lime juice and sprinkled with chili powder for a refreshing, flavorful snack.
    • Throw cubes of peeled melon into a blender for a completely refreshing melon drink (if you want to add tequila, lime, and a bit of cointreau to make a melon margarita, no one here is going to stop you!).