Watermelon Sorbet

This watermelon sorbet requires no ice cream maker. Just watermelon, lemon, sugar, mint, and surprisingly little time in the freezer. (Doesn’t just looking at it make you feel cooler?!)

Three scoops of watermelon sorbet in a white serving dish.

This subtly sweetly watermelon sorbet screams summer. Before you sigh and say, “I don’t have an ice cream maker,” don’t worry, you don’t need one. All this lovely and impossibly smooth sorbet requires is a few everyday ingredients, a baking pan, and a fork. A lavish splash of vodka is optional, though it lends the cooling concoction what we consider an essential oomph that only adds to everyone’s merriment. Originally published September 19th, 2011.Renee Schettler Rossi

Watermelon Sorbet

  • Quick Glance
  • (7)
  • 20 M
  • 20 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 7 reviews
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In a small saucepan, bring the sugar, corn syrup or agave nectar, lime or lemon juice, and mint to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let cool.

In a blender, puree half the watermelon chunks. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining watermelon.

Add the slightly cooled syrup to the watermelon and mix well. Pour it into a shallow baking pan or 2-quart container, cover, and freeze for 3 to 4 hours. Flake the mixture with a fork. Then scoop it up, place it in pretty bowls, and accept the oohs and aahs.

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Recipe Testers Reviews

Our first hot weather has hit and this was a marvelous remedy. Not much work, not too many ingredients, but very refreshing. This really was as simple as 1,2,3, just like the instructions said.

Even after freezing overnight, this sorbet was a breeze to flake and I didn't get the bent and twisted fork we've all had making sorbets in the past. If I were to change anything, I might decrease the sugar to 3/4 cup and increase the lemon juice by a tablespoon, only because we're more fans of tart than sweet. I certainly will consider the vodka next time.

Just in time for an impending heat wave! This watermelon sorbet is indeed a refreshing treat.

As I had lots of limes on hand, I used them for the juice instead of lemon. The corn syrup really made the texture smooth. Next time I will try lemon (and there WILL be a next time!) as well as add a bit more mint. I loved the subtle mint and lime flavors. As my tastes lean towards tart, I will add additional citrus juice as well. The recipe advised stirring or flaking the mixture with a fork after 3 to 4 hours, but mine took about 6 hours to freeze properly.

I can see myself enjoying this treat while enjoying the welcome shade of a large tree on a hot summer day (i.e. tomorrow). To make the adult version, the author suggests using vodka — I did not do that this time, but I will be sure to try it, as we go through a lot of watermelon at our house. This recipe is a pleasure.

This is a delicious and refreshing summer treat. Although it was a little time-consuming to cut up the watermelon and work in batches with the blender and strainer, it was well worth it. I made the recipe with lime because that flavor seemed like it would be a better fit. I would recommend using a shallow container, if you have one, to run a fork through it.

This was a very light and refreshing treat and was perfect on a hot, sunny afternoon.

I used agave nectar instead of corn syrup and lime juice instead of lemon. I froze some of this into popsicles and really found this a nice way to eat this treat — less worry about stirring during freezing or thawing when wanting to scoop. This has a nice, bright watermelon-y taste, with just the right burst from the mint and lime.


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  1. I would serve this for a desSert with company. I made a cranberry sorbet with cranberry sauce it was a big hit but I’ve misplaced the recipe. I was happy just to find this as I stumbled upon this recipe.

  2. I made this recipe a few weeks ago and am now thoroughly addicted. It’s been a few weeks so I hope that I can recall all the amazing emotions I experienced. I agree with some of the comments made regarding increasing the citrus. Next time I would definitely increase the lime juice. Regarding the quantity of watermelon, this was a bit of a challenge as I used a juice extractor and got watermelon juice, instead of blending and straining. And I can only agree that using agave syrup resulted in a smoother texture.

    I froze my sorbet in a square pyrex dish as this worked best in my packed freezer. What was amazing was the sorbet didn’t freeze rock solid after many hours or even overnight. The minute the liquids became solid, I started scraping with a fork, which was relatively easy. BUT the big bonus is the fact that after all the sorbet was scraped, I moved to a square plastic container and continued enjoying for a couple of weeks after. The texture of the sorbet remained exactly undisturbed for over a 3-week period. Every time I had a serving, it was easy to move to a serving bowl just like freshly fallen snow.

    The texture and flavour of this sorbet brought me back to my childhood growing up in Trinidad, standing in front of those Sno-cone vendors. Who knew watermelon sorbet, made in the freezer with no ice cream maker, could turn out this good. AND, I could make enough to last me a month, 12 months of the year!!

    I am definitely going to attempt to make this recipe a second time and hope I’ll get the same results. If I do, I’ll be so thrilled. I LOVE Sno-cones and any kind of frozen ice dessert. To put an island twist on the recipe, I would cut back on the sugar or agave, and top with condensed milk, like they do in the Caribbean islands and many Asian countries.

    Thank you to the LC team for sharing all these wonderful recipes with us.

  3. I have made this recipe several times this summer to rave reviews. The first time I flaked it with a fork. After that, however, I froze it, then put it in my food processor to loosen it up, I stacked it in a big bowl and refroze it. I took it out of the freezer 10-15 minutes before serving and it was perfect.

    BTW, some of my guests added some Watermelon Sorbet to their Margaritas to make Frozen Watermelon Margaritas. What could be better on a hot night!

  4. I made this and it tasted amazing! We loved it, thank you so much. My question is how you got it the right consistency to scoop and hold together in such perfect balls? Mine was a little chunkier consistency, it didnt mold together like the perfect snowballs in your picture. Do I need to chop it up more? Let it thaw a couple of minutes before scooping? Don’t get me wrong, this did not stop us from eating and loving every spoonful. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    1. Lynn, some folks add a touch of vodka or corn syrup to sorbet to help with the consistency, although I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for certain. You may also want to let it soften ever so slightly prior to scooping.

    1. Panel, you can try adding the mixture to your ice cream maker and following the manufacturer’s directions. But we didn’t test it that way, so I can’t vouch for it. If you do try it, please let me know how it turns out.

  5. Hi! Sounds like a great recipe. I have just received a HUGE amount of watermelon from my CSA. My problem is that I choose not to eat corn syrup or agave nectar. Is there anything I can substitute for these? Would honey or maple syrup work or maybe make a sugar based syrup instead? Thanx for reading this.

    1. Sarah, I’ve made this sorbet using simple syrup in place of the corn syrup for the very reason you mention. It worked splendidly. If your watermelon is particularly sweet, you may want to cut back on the syrup a little. This also works really well frozen into popsicles, for what it’s worth.

      1. Thank you, Renee! Simple syrup makes me happy. And I was thinking about the popsicles, too. I’m looking forward to trying this.

  6. I’ve made the watermelon sorbet, but now i was wondering if I can replace the watermelon with oranges, using the same recipe?

  7. Ohhhh, looks amazing and easy as can be…thanks! Instead of grenadine (mentioned by tasters but not in ingredient list?) plus vodka, how about a splash of chambord or equivalent liqueur…is there a watermelon liqueur out there? This is my first comment but I’ve been lurking for a while. Love this blog…many thanks!

    1. Lynn K, lovely to have you here, and even lovelier that you’re officially vocal and no longer lurking! I can personally attest to the wow factor of this simple sorbet, and I don’t really think there are many limits to how you can woo guests with it. Vodka definitely. There actually are some watermelon liqueurs out there, but frankly, they look wretched and cheap and cloying. I think you’re far better off with what you just named. I can actually see some not-too-herbaceous gins going well with the watermelon and lime, too…just sorta thinking out loud, what if you made a simple syrup using the booze in place of some of the water? Or maybe just dribbled a little booze into the mixture? Anyways, have fun experimenting, and kindly let us know what you create!

  8. When we share a recipe, we share a bit of ourselves and we also encourage the beginners to trust themselves into effective preparers. Short recipes that deliver a punch are especially useful. Good job.

  9. I also used a bit of lime and loved it. Thanks to an overly ripe cantaloupe I now have cantaloupe sorbet as well, using the same simple recipe.

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