Sweet Heat Watermelon Salad Recipe

Packed with fresh summer produce, this Sweet Heat Watermelon Salad recipe is simple to make, feeds a crowd and pairs well with classic grilled recipes.

UPDATED: July 1, 2018
(Pssst…click the “gallery” to view ALL of the photos of how to make this watermelon salad recipe)

My entire family gathers at our lake house over Memorial Day weekend every year to kick off the summer season. In addition to Memorial Day, you’ll find us there for the 4th of July, Labor Day weekend and pretty much every summer day that allows us to sneak away! When we gather with friends and family at the lake, one thing is guaranteed–amazing food, festive drinks and one heck of a good time!


A summer salad recipe that I’ll definitely be making this weekend is Sweet Heat Watermelon Salad. Watermelon is the quintessential summer food to me and is one of those foods that I’m always trying to find new ways to use in recipes. This refreshing salad features summer favorites like fresh cantaloupe, seedless watermelon, cucumber, red onion, citrus and mint. The salad pairs perfectly with burgers, hotdogs, barbecue…literally whatever is on your grill…and is a refreshing way to balance out starchy sides like potato salad, pasta salad and chips.


Follow along with the pictures as I walk you through this refreshing summer salad, and get the full recipe below.


Zest the limes.

I like to zest the whole lime first because if you slice the lime and THEN zest, it is much more difficult (and sticky).

Juice the limes.


Add orange juice.

Squeeze fresh orange juice or use the bottled OJ you have in your fridge. No OJ? No problem! Sub with lemon juice.


Add sugar, crushed red pepper, and salt.

The heat from the crushed red pepper helps to balance the sweet flavor. Feel free to leave this out or reduce the amount if you’re afraid it will be too hot for some.


Add jalapeño.

See the note above–the same rule applies.


Whisk in olive oil.




Chop a fresh, seedless watermelon.

If you love watermelon salad, then be sure to check out my Tomato-Watermelon Salad featuring juice ripe tomatoes, sweet watermelon, Vidalia onions, crumbled feta and mint.


Chop cantaloupe.


Chop mango.


Add diced cucumber, thinly sliced red onion, and diced bell pepper.


Add fresh cilantro and fresh mint.


Toss with the vinaigrette.



Go on! Click that little “Pin” popup and file this amazing recipe on your “Must Make ASAP” board so you’ll have it on-hand all summer long!

Sweet Heat Watermelon Salad from Holley Grainger


What are your favorite recipes during the summer? Share them with me in the comments below.


Sweet Heat Watermelon Salad

  • Author: Holley Grainger
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 cups 1x


Packed with fresh summer produce like melons, cucumber, bell peppers, citrus, mint and more, Sweet Heat Watermelon Salad boasts a tangy, sweet, and spicy lime vinaigrette. It’s simple to make, can easily be doubled to feed a crowd, and pairs well with classic cookout staples like burgers, brats, and more.



  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 3 tbsp lime juice (about 23 limes)
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 jalapeño (seeded and diced)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups cubed watermelon
  • 3 cups cubed cantaloupe
  • 1 mango (peeled, seeded, and chopped)
  • 1/2 English cucumber (diced)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup diced yellow bell pepper
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint


  1. Whisk together lime zest, lime juice, and next 6 ingredients (through olive oil) in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Combine watermelon, cantaloupe, and next 6 ingredients (through mint) in a large bowl; stirring gently until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Toss with lime juice mixture until evenly coated.
  4. Cover and chill 20 minutes or until ready to serve.


Double the ingredients in the recipe to feed a crowd.