This subtly sweet 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 frozen watermelon sorbet requires is a few everyday ingredients, a baking pan, and a fork.–David Leite

Watermelon Sorbet FAQs

Why is corn syrup added to the sorbet mixture?

Corn syrup is added to most sorbet mixtures as its high viscosity makes the sorbet creamy without oversweetening it. Don’t be tempted to swap granulated sugar for the corn syrup or agave as you may end up with an icy sorbet instead of a smooth one.

How do I choose the best watermelon?

The quality of your fruit is key for this watermelon sorbet recipe, so you want to choose the best possible watermelon. Check out this article on how to tell if a watermelon is perfectly ripe so that you can select the sweetest, juiciest one at the market.

Can I make sorbet with other fruits?

Definitely. The options are endless when it comes to fruit sorbets. Some of our favorites include plum, cantaloupe, lemon sorbet, and even this creamy avocado sorbet.

Three scoops of watermelon sorbet in a white serving dish.

Watermelon Sorbet

4.96 / 23 votes
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?!)
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories288 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Total Time20 minutes


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup or light agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime or lemon juice
  • 3 mint leaves
  • 3 pounds watermelon, rind and seeds removed, cut into chunks


  • 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 of the watermelon chunks. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining watermelon.
  • Add the slightly cooled sugar syrup to the watermelon and mix well. Pour the mixture into a shallow baking pan or 2-quart container, cover, and freeze for 3 to 4 hours. To serve, flake the mixture with a fork, then scoop it up, place into pretty bowls, and accept the oohs and aahs.
Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook

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South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 288 kcalCarbohydrates: 73 gProtein: 2 gFat: 1 gSaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gSodium: 5 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 65 g

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

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2010 Lee Schrager. Photo © 2010 Quentin Bacon. All rights reserved.

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.

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). This watermelon sorbet 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.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also 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. Halima, you are using the juice from the watermelon that gets strained into the large bowl. Any pulp left in the strainer can be discarded or composted.

  1. 5 stars
    What a fantastic recipe! The texture and flavor are incredible. I assume the corn syrup also helps to keep it from freezing too hard, and the addition of mint is just perfect. Thank you so much!

    1. So glad you enjoyed the sorbet, Erica! You are correct about the benefit of corn syrup here. It improves the texture of the sorbet, making it smoother and creamier.