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.


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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.

    1. Elizabeth A-S, I have just discovered this recipe and am in same bind! Wondering what your final measurements of liquid are so I may replicate!

  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.

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