Learn how to make this pretty watermelon basket filled with fresh fruit salad! It's seriously easy with these step by step instructions and images.
Fruit is the perfect dessert for a summer cookout and this is a gorgeous way to serve it.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- Perfect for summer parties, baby showers, bridal showers, and cookouts!
- So pretty and carving up a watermelon is really easy!
- You can use just about any mixture of fruit that you like.
A watermelon fruit bowl or basket really looks fancy but it's not hard at all! I have been making them since I was a teenager.
Use these step by step images to carve your own watermelon basket that looks like a professional did it!
This mades a great side dish for Easter!
What fruit should you use?
Any kind that you like but these are the ones I use most often.
Use any combination of fruit you like. Honeydew melon is delicious in this as well.
Other possibilities -
- passion fruit
- star fruit
- mandarin oranges
You can store the prepared fruit in a big bowl covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a day or two. You may need to pour off some juice before using it.
It's best not to try to make your watermelon fruit basket more than a day ahead of time, though. The texture of the fruit can suffer.
Don't freeze this!
💭 Tips for success
- If you're having just a small get-together try making a cantaloupe melon basket instead.
- Choose an oblong watermelon with a relatively flat bottom so it is stable. Think of your design - if you are making a whale (like the one shown at the bottom of the page), for example, you'll want a round watermelon.
- If it wobbles you can take a thin slice off some of the rind on the bottom of the watermelon to flatten it out and give it a stable base.
- Use a sharp knife to carve a watermelon basket - there's less chance of it slipping and cutting you.
- Zig-zag cuts are a nice change (and easier to cut) from scallops. They'll be even easier if you use a small paring knife rather than your large sharp knife.
- A seedless watermelon works best.
- Cut grapes in half, especially if there will be toddlers eating.
- Save the pieces of watermelon that you can't make into balls for margaritas or sorbet.
- Use fully ripe fruit without bruises or discolorations.
- Keep extra mixed fruit covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator.
- You can draw perfect scallops by using a small juice glass held against the melon as a guide.
- You can make melon balls with a melon baller OR you can just cut the melon in chunks. If you'd like to make shapes cut bigger chunks into a 1-inch thickness and use cookie cutters to cut out stars, circles, or whatever.
- Soak the fruit in champagne and a little sugar, or vodka and a little sugar...however we had kids eating this so I soaked it in Mountain Dew. You don't have to soak it at all..it just adds a little sparkle.
- Faux Devonshire cream is delicious spooned on top!
🍉 How to choose a good watermelon
You want to pick a good watermelon, right? Here's how-
- Look at the stem end; it should be brown and shriveled.
- The melon should look like it fell off the vine not like it was cut off the vine.
- Next check the rind for soft spots - you don't want them.
- If you see brown stripes that's a good thing - it's supposed to mean ant trails so the melon is sweet. I'm not guaranteeing that but it's worth thinking about.
- Yellow spots are fine - that is usually where the melon rested on the ground.
- Next you want to thunk it with your fingers. It should sound hollow and echoey.
👩🏻🍳 Frequently asked questions
Sure! Just make sure to cover it with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated for up to 3 days. Sometimes I'll store the fruit separately from the basket.
Make sure it is well chilled before you start to carve. The fruit splits when it is warm from the pressure of the juice expanding so keeping it cold will help!
It's easiest to make if you have a melon baller. That's a special tool with a rounded spoon on each end. See instructions below.
An uncut melon can last up to 10 days at room temperature. If you chill it plan on eating it within a day or two.
It will look best the first 24 hours but if covered and refrigerated it will be fine for up to a week. The cut fruit should be stored separately.
🐳 More ideas
Here are a couple of other watermelon baskets I've made over the years - they're from my old files so the images aren't great but you can get ideas!
Click on the image to watch me make this recipe from start to finish with extra tips! (Video opens in a new tab).
📚 Related recipes
- Star spangled fruit salad is pretty for summer - and it would look great served in a watermelon basket!
- Grilled pineapple is brushed with brown sugar, bourbon, and butter then grilled.
- Grilled pear salad is my update on the southern classic.
I love this on a summer brunch table.
🧺 How to make a watermelon basket
Time needed: 45 minutes.
Learn how to carve a watermelon basket filled with summer fruits for your next cookout or picnic!
Before you start be sure to wash blueberries, strawberries, or other small fruits that you'll be using. Slice the strawberries and grapes, too. That way when you're ready to mix everything up you won't have to stop and prepare the fruit.
- Mark the watermelon
Figure out where you are going to put the basket handle. Mark the handle placement and the scallops (or other shape) using a sharpie. Keep the width at about 2-inches.
- Carefully cut
Cut along one side of the handle, then the other. Go straight down as deep as you want the handle to be tall. Cut carefully along the markings with a sharp knife. Make sure you cut through the rind and to the meat of the watermelon.
- Remove rind
Carefully remove the watermelon rind as you cut around your design.
- Remove the watermelon
Carefully remove the watermelon from under the basket handle to begin forming the basket. Clear out from beneath the handle until it sticks up and looks like a basket handle. Use a melon baller to create melon balls as you hollow out the watermelon.
- Remove all the melon.
Remove all of the melon to create a hollow basket.
- Make Melon Balls
Use the small side of the melon baller to make balls with the cantaloupe.
- Mix the Fruit
Mix the fruit, watermelon balls, and cantaloupe balls together and fill the hollowed out watermelon basket with the fruit. Keep any extra fruit covered in the refrigerator to replenish the basket as needed.
- Garnish and Serve
Place the basket on a platter. Garnish the fruit basket with a few clusters of grapes, mint leaves, or whatever you like and serve.
A watermelon basket is such a pretty way to serve all that beautiful summer fruit available now. Use your favorite in season fruits!
Watermelon baskets do take a little practice but they add so much to the table! Be sure to cut carefully with a sharp knife and to take safety precautions.
Draw your pattern on the melon before starting your cuts and then let your imagination soar!
First published June 2010. Last updated May 30, 2022 for additional tips and FAQs.
Jen @ Yummy Healthy Easy
I've seen this done at baby showers but have never attempted it myself. I might need to though! Love your step by step process of this!
Manila Spoon (Abby)
Soak fruits in champagne - that sounds so good! - and then present it in a fresh watermelon basket - totally awesome!
I love this! My mom always makes carved watermelons for my girls' birthday parties, she did a watermelon shark for their mermaid party. I'll have to show your basket to her so that she can try it next.
Yum! We used to inject ours with tequila back in the day...
I thought Id share something that has worked for me in choosing melons.. I have never been able to tell by thumping if something was good. But at some point my dh said that if there are a good amount of ant tracks on the yellow part that was on the ground it will be sweet. Every so often (once every 2 years) I end up with an over ripe melon this way. But most of the time it results in a yummy one. The ant tracks are those brown little lines they get. So I always look for brown lines on the lighter side that sat on the ground.