Wow! This watermelon limeade recipe is a real thirst-quencher during the dog days of summer when watermelon is at its best. It also makes a wonderful margarita mixer when paired with premium white tequila.–Emeril Lagasse

Watermelon Limeade FAQs

How can I tell when a watermelon is ripe?

This is a common question, and there are a few tricks and tips that David can teach you. The first tip? Pick it up. A watermelon should be heavy for its size. Need more? Check out “How to Tell if a Watermelon is Ripe” for a quick tutorial before you head to the store.

How much alcohol should I add to make a watermelon limeade cocktail?

You should pour about 1.5 ounces of your liquor of choice per tall glass, if you’re mixing drinks. Vodka, rum, or tequila are particularly delicious.

A pitcher and two glasses of watermelon limeade on a metal chair.

Watermelon Limeade

4.60 / 5 votes
This watermelon limeade requires only five ingredients and 10 minutes of effort for a refreshing summer sipper.
David Leite
Servings4 to 6 servings
Calories203 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time1 hour 10 minutes


  • 8 cups cubed watermelon, seeds removed
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, (from about 10 limes)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, or more to taste
  • Lime slices or wedges, for garnish (optional)
  • Mint sprigs, for garnish (optional)


  • Place half the watermelon cubes in a blender and process until smooth. Transfer the melon slush to a fine-mesh sieve placed over a large bowl and discard the solids. Repeat with the remaining watermelon. You should end up with about 1 quart (4 cups) juice.
  • Add the lime juice and sugar to the strained watermelon juice and stir until the sugar dissolves. Taste and add more sugar, if desired.
  • Transfer the limeade to a nonreactive large pitcher and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, which should take at least an hour. Serve in tumblers and garnish with lime slices or mint sprigs, if desired.
Farm to Fork

Adapted From

Farm to Fork

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Serving: 1 serving, based on 4 servingsCalories: 203 kcalCarbohydrates: 53 gProtein: 2 gFat: 1 gSaturated Fat: 1 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gSodium: 5 mgPotassium: 412 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 45 gVitamin A: 1760 IUVitamin C: 43 mgCalcium: 30 mgIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2010 Emeril Lagasse. Photo © 2010 Steven Freeman. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This watermelon limeade was both delicious and simple—a perfect combo for a hot summer day. Plus, it was a beautiful, lush pink color with a surprising, unexpected flavor. No one guessed it was watermelon.

I sped up the process by placing the watermelon in the fridge to chill before cutting it into chunks, and again after cutting them up and while straining. Because I was uncertain about the chilling time, I made this the night before. When I checked it in the morning, it had separated, but this was no cause for concern—I just stirred it up, and it didn’t separate again when serving a few hours later.

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This is a sitting-on-the-veranda, watching-the-sunlight-dappling-through-the-trees kind of drink. It’s refreshing enough to gulp down, but has enough flavor to grab your attention.

That said, although I was transported, my husband was on the fence with the bizarre excuse of not being keen on watermelon—that is, until I splashed in some tequila.

I should confess that I changed the quantities slightly. I wouldn’t have needed to if I had a sun-ripened melon, but in using a supermarket mini-sized one, the drink was lovely but uninspired. I wanted to really taste the watermelon, so I doubled the quantity, using 16 cups of diced watermelon to the cup of lime juice and 1/2 cup of sugar. With my extra melon, I got 12 tumblers full that chilled in just over an hour.

Doubling is highly recommended, and don’t forget the tequila for those who need a little extra pizzazz.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    We loved this watermelon limeade and will make it as often as we can. Used a seedless watermelon and not quite all the sugar since I like a little tart zip. So easy to make this, takes little time, and so refreshing. We did add the lime slices and mint to give another layer of flavor. Definitely a keeper!

  2. I have been making “watermelon juice” for awhile and follow the same procedure as described in this recipe, but skip the sugar entirely and mix it with carbonated water. It is so refreshing! In the evening stir in a shot of spiced rum. Yum.

    1. Thanks Marilyn! We like the way you’re thinking. We’ll definitely have to try that rum version.

  3. If your diabetic please be good to yourself and use the Stevia. Also the controversy over the artificial is too much to ignore. Sugar is indeed the enemy.

    The watermelon drink? Food of the god’s.

    1. David & Luckyturquoise: I am indeed taking very good care of myself. *smile* The watermelon drink was a one-shot deal. (At least for me— my friends will make it on their own.) Normally I would avoid something like thi,s but David posted this one on a near 100-degree day in DC, and I couldn’t resist.

      I stay away from real sugar as much as possible and use Splenda as a substitute. I haven’t tried Stevia yet but I’ve heard good things. I wonder if like other substitutes it has an aftertaste. Thanks for the suggestion & have a great week!