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Watermelon Steak

This pan-seared Watermelon Steak transforms juicy watermelon into a deliciously chewy vegetarian steak! With a quick brush of flavor and a sear in the pan, this tastes as looks as it tastes.

Watermelon steak on a plate with arugula salad

I once had a brilliant idea of cooking up a savory watermelon steak.

But then a Boston restaurant apparently invented a time machine, came to the future, invented a mind reading machine, and stole my idea. So I tried out their Oven-Roast Watermelon Steak recipe and even though I added twice as much cream sherry as was required, it was pretty good.

But now it’s time to do things Sarah’s way. And Sarah’s way involves:

  • Trials/errors/minor grease burns
  • Lower cook time
  • Feta cheese + balsamic reduction
  • Pure watermelon transformational magic
Cutting into watermelon steak on a plate with arugula salad

Here’s what you’ll need

  • Seedless Watermelon: Seedless watermelon is best here, though you can use any watermelon variety that you have on hand.
  • Flavorful Oil: A combination of oil, liquid smoke, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. This helps to accentuate the savory flavors, tricking your brain into thinking you’re eating something closer to steak!
  • Toppings: Top with crumbled feta, balsamic reduction, and fresh mint!
Cutting into watermelon steak on a plate with arugula salad

How do you make watermelon steak?

Making watermelon steak is really easy. You’ll basically just:

  1. Cut watermelon into planks
  2. Pat steaks dry
  3. Brush on flavor
  4. Saute in a hot pan
  5. Serve warm with feta, mint, and balsamic

How to cut watermelon steaks

So you start by cutting out some watermelon steaks. Cut the watermelon in half lengthwise, then place the flat edge down and cut 1 ½ to 2 inch slices down. It’s better to make them too thick than too thin. From each slice, cut out a rectangle.

How to cut a watermelon steak rectangle

Those grease burns I mentioned? Yea I thought it’d be smart to throw the sopping wet piece of watermelon into a hot pan of grease. Don’t do that. Instead, pat dry the watermelons with paper towels (for maximum dryness, place them uncovered in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours).

Cooked watermelon steaks in a cast iron skillet

Brush with your flavored oil mixture, then it’s onto the cooking! Add a dash of oil to a skillet and bring to a low-medium heat. To prevent any splash-ups, gently slide each steak into the pan. Cook each side for about 5 minutes, then increase the heat to medium-high and continue cooking, about 1 minute per side, until edges are slightly browned.

Cooked watermelon steaks on a white plate

What does watermelon steak taste like?

Cooking watermelon transforms its distinct granular texture into a slightly chewier texture, almost like raw tuna. The taste becomes less sweet and more savory/smokey! 

Watermelon steak on a plate with arugula salad

How to serve watermelon steak

These steaks go well as the main course or as a fun side dish! Here are some summery idea that go well with them:

Overhead of watermelon steak on a plate with arugula salad
Watermelon steak on a plate with arugula salad

Pan-Seared Watermelon Steak

This Pan-Seared Watermelon Steak is made by transforming juicy watermelon into a deliciously chewy steak with a quick sear in the pan! 
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dishes, Side Dishes
Cuisine: American, Mediterranean
Keyword: watermelon steak
Diet: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low Carb, Vegan, Vegetarian
Occasion: 4th of July, Easter
Time: 30 minutes or less, 45 minutes or less
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 6 steaks
Calories: 55kcal
Author: Sarah Bond
4.48 from 17 votes

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ large seedless watermelon
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil 30 mL
  • ½ tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ tsp each salt and pepper
  • Garnish: balsamic reduction, crumbled feta cheese, chopped fresh mint

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Cut: Cut watermelon in half lengthwise. Place flat side down, and cut 1 ½ inch wide slice. Cut the largest rectangle possible from each of these slices. You should be able to get about 6 steaks from ½ of a watermelon.
  • Dry: Pat each of the steaks dry with paper towels. If you have time, place them in the refrigerator uncovered for 1 to 2 hours to dry out excess moisture. Give them a final pat right before preparing.
  • Flavor: Whisk together oil liquid smoke, garlic, salt, and pepper. Liberally brush on both sides of watermelon steaks.
  • Saute: Lightly grease a large saute pan over low/medium. Gently slide each steak in, cooking for about 5 minutes on each side. Increase heat to medium-high and continue to cook each side for one minute, or until lightly browned.
  • Serve: Serve warm, topped with balsamic reduction*, feta, and mint.

NOTES

  • *How to make a balsamic reduction: Bring ½ cup of balsamic vinegar to a simmer in a small saucepan. Whisking occasionally, allow balsamic to cook and reduce down until it is syrupy and coats the pan and spoon (it will reduce in volume by about half). 
  • To cook watermelon steaks on the grill, cook on the stove as described above, but do not turn up the heat and brown on the stove. Instead, move partially cooked watermelon steaks to a well oiled grill and cook on high for a minute or two, until char lines develop.
  • Store cooked steaks in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. 
  • To make ahead, cut the watermelon into steaks and place in the fridge until ready to cook, up to 2 days. Brush with oil right before cooking. 

NUTRITION

Serving: 1steak (no toppings) | Calories: 55kcal | Carbohydrates: 3.8g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 4.7g | Saturated Fat: 0.7g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 97mg | Potassium: 49mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 3.3g | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0mg
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Pan-Seared Watermelon Steak with edible flowers, feta cheese, and balsamic vinegar reductions
A photo from when we originally posted this watermelon steak recipe!

Hi, I’m Sarah!

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Recipe Rating




  1. Find My Rice says:

    Never thought of making this with watermelon! Great idea! 😀
    – Regine

  2. Robin Fox says:

    Came out great and tastes just like a steak. Thanks for your recipe.

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to hear, Robin! 😀 Isn’t the transformation it takes so interesting (and tasty)?

  3. India says:

    Sounds great, I will be trying this but I unfortunately found it a little too late today. It was just after I chucked my sliced watermelon into hot oil and splattered myself with red hot grease that I thought I should maybe look up an actual recipe. Ah well, we live and learn.

    1. Sarah says:

      Ah, so sorry to hear, India! Indeed, with the hot oil and the ultra-watery watermelon, you gotta be careful. Positive side is…you’ll never make that mistake again! Haha, I have many learning points like that 😀

  4. charley says:

    I have tried this and its awesome. If you slice melon really thinly it looks and tates like smoked salmon…………….yummy

    1. Sarah says:

      Brilliant! I’ll have to give that a go!

  5. NormaJean says:

    Can’t wait to try this one. Come on summer!!

  6. NormaJean says:

    What sides would you serve with this?

    1. Sarah says:

      Our avocado mango fruit salad or veggie spring rolls would be great! Check out more summer inspiration here.

  7. Liz says:

    Brilliant!
    Our favourite salad is cos lettuce, watermelon, walnuts and fried halloumi ..( delicious with sweet chilli sauce and spanakopita) but now I’ll try searing the watermelon too!

    1. Sarah says:

      YUM! That sounds like an amazing salad! 😀

  8. Thomas Abbott says:

    Didn’t like it1 star

    1. Sarah says:

      Sorry to hear it, Thomas!

  9. Jim Steel says:

    Delicious with olive oil and pepper, next to the steak on the barbecue.

  10. Sitara says:

    Hey, I have no idea where to get liquid smoke from, is there any way I can make the recipe without?

    1. Sarah says:

      Most grocery stores will carry it, otherwise it’s pretty cheap online. With that said, you can definitely make this recipe without it. If you have smoked paprika you might add a dash of that for smoky flavor.

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