How To Cut A Melon, The Smart Way

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Bowl of cut cantaloupe.

Who doesn’t love a sweet, juicy melon in the summer? You just can’t beat ripe cantaloupe or honeydew when they are in high season. And, no, you do not need to buy pre-cut melon to avoid slicing off a finger! There are many ways to cut a melon, but I find this method, albeit a bit different, to be the safest and most efficient.

Whole cantaloupe on a wooden cutting board.

How To Select A Melon

Before we get to the how-to, a few words on selection a melon. Many people think picking a melon at the supermarket is a game of chance. That’s somewhat true but there are a few guidelines to ensure you’re choosing a good melon on more than a leap of faith. First, avoid any melons that have bruising or soft spots. In terms of weight, choose a fruit that feels heavy for its size. And, finally, use your nose — when you apply gentle pressure to the stem end, it should yield a bit and give off a slightly sweet scent.

How To Cut A Melon

First, get out a large, sharp knife (a serrated edge works well) and a clean cutting board. Wash the melon well, then cut a thin slice off of each end of the melon to create two flat surfaces.

ends sliced off melon

Once you have two flat surfaces, place the end with the larger surface area on the cutting board and start removing the rind by running your knife down the side of the melon in wide strips until all of the rind has been cut away. Be careful not to cut away too much of the edible flesh when removing the rind.

cutting off rind

With that same flat surface on the cutting board, cut down through the center of the melon to create two halves.

cutting through center of melon

This will expose the seeds inside the melon.

two halves of melon

Use a spoon to remove the seeds from the melon. Apply just enough pressure to remove the seeds without digging too far down into the flesh.

spooning out seeds

Flip both melon halves over so the flat sides are facedown on the cutting board. Then you can dice the fruit. Start by cutting a number of parallel slices heading one direction on the melon. I usually make somewhere between 9 – 12 slices depending upon the size of the melon. Apply gentle pressure to the melon with your hand to keep the sliced pieces together and rotate the melon. Cut slices in the other direction to create chunks.

Person slicing a melon crosswise from previous cuts to create small pieces.


melon in bowl

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  • I have found that the sweetest part of any cantaloupe, honeydew, or other firm flesh melon is closest to the seeds. I always use my index finger gently pushing along the flesh to remove the seeds and stringy tendrils to retain the best part of the melon. I have never seen this as a suggestion. Does this result in a poor presentation? (I don’t think so; it comes out pretty cleanly.) Is there another reason? I always wondered about this.

  • I really appreciate your directions on preparing fruits, cooking steak in a skillet etc. After reading some of the comments, I am surprised at the criticism you get. I suppose most are meant as helpful. There are many ways to do things and I am glad to learn new ways which are most always better than what I was doing. BTW I have never washed my cantaloupes before cutting—but I will now. haha Thanks for all you do to make us better cooks, bakers, etc.

    • Reply
    • 🙂

      • Hi Jenn – thank you for this great explanation and pictures on how to cut melons! I have always struggled with doing this and often would forgo buying melons because it was a hassle to cut them. And, omg I have never washed the outside of melons! I am the “wash all the fruits and veggies twice kind of girl” but never thought to wash the melons. Thanks for this important suggestion.

        • — Jacquelyn George on July 14, 2022
        • Reply
  • The easiest/quickest way I have found is to cut the cantaloupe in half, scoop out seeds, then cut one half into 4-5crescent sections. Then I cut each crescent down to the green, slice small mouth sized sections that fall into a large bowl. I repeat this until finished and it takes less than 10 min.

    • Sue I do this as well!

    • Your method creates too much waste of edible melon as evidenced in your pictures.

    • I do this too–but am going to try Jenn’s way. Whichever way is fewer cuts and the most melon, that’s the direction I’m going!

      • — Julie on September 12, 2022
      • Reply
  • I use a similar method for watermelon. Cut in half around the equator. Put cut end on board, slice small end off and then cut rind off around down the sides. It’s easy to cube. This is so fast and easy and every time I think of my brother who taught it to me.

  • These are the things cookbooks don’t tell you. It’s like being in the kitchen with you. It works slicing potatoes as well

  • Can I cut more fruit like that, small watermelon, pineapple, etc.? Can’t wait to try your way. I hate using my melon ball cutter! I hope you put some of these and more suggestions in your new book. Can’t wait to buy it.

    • Hi Marlene, Definitely!

  • I also take a vegetable peeler to trim off any green left on the melon after removing the rind.

  • Excellent way to cut a cantaloupe, which I will be doing tomorrow when I go shopping for melons! Can’t wait for your watermelon tutorial! I love your recipes and can’t wait for your cookbook to come out.

  • It actually DOES say to wash the melon. It is right in the paragraph beginning “let’s get started..”

    • michelle,
      Jenn replied to my suggestion and it was fixed… you can read her reply to my comment. the original did not state that.
      it was an omission, corrected.

  • I have another suggestion for the cantaloupe. I like using an ice cream scoop to get out the seeds. I find the round shape works very well.

  • From what I just read under “Lets get started” you will see that Jen did include WASH the melon well.
    Great job Jen!

  • Re-read the paragraph “So let’s get started.” It clearly says to wash the melon as well as using a clean cutting board before making any cuts.

  • Isn’t the melon kind of slippery to handle when the rind is cut off?

    • A little but if you place it flat side down, it’s easy to work with.

  • When we have melon I just cut it in wedges with the rind on or in half if it is a small one,, and eat it with a spoon from the rind. No need to wash first.
    All these comments say to wash it first, you did in fact advise this before showing how to cut it up.!

    • Nurse Molly here: imagine the unpeeled melon skin full of nasty germs. Then you slice the knife right through those germs into the melon spreading them everywhere. That’s why you wash it first.

      • Yep. As my mom used to say, “You don’t know where people’s hands have been.”

  • This is brilliant. I guess I’m not too old to learn new tricks. Thank you and keep ’em coming. I look forward to every post.

  • Nurse Laura here:). Don’t forget to wash the melon before slicing to deter the possibility of cross-contamination. Thanks for the tutorial.

    • “Wash the melon well, then cut a thin slice off of each end of the melon to create two flat surfaces.” Third paragraph.

  • Could I just remind you to wash the melon first? We have no idea where it has spent its life up to now, and you are going to be cutting into the rind and then the flesh, where you could be transferrring a lot of germs.

    • — Marilyn Harris
    • Reply
  • This is a great idea to add kitchen tips on your website, love it! On the melon, I usually run the whole melon under running water before I begin to cut off the rind. This helps prevent your knife from tracking anything nasty on rind outside into the melon as you cut into it.

    • Do I wash with soap?

      • Hi Dorothy, no soap necessary; just hold the melon under running water and rub with your hands or a produce brush.

  • Having read you information, it is very informative. I believe you missed a step.

    • Thx Lorraine – fixed!

    • I use a drop of bleach in my wash solution. Google: Posey Melon Outbreak, Indiana
      Fellow put manure on his field of cantaloupe. Poisioned many people, killed a few also

      • As an MD I advise that nothing should be eaten, cut into, or opened that hasn’t been washed with detergent (I keep a sponge soaking in a yogurt carton of water that has a tablespoonful of dish detergent added to it; just grab and use). Water cannot wash off oily residue, including that from hands or from pesticides. You (I hope) wash your hands before eating, don’t you? Do you think that all who handled your fruit, veggies, or cans had just washed their hands immediately beforehand? (It’s now known that many infections in hospitals come from hands that look clean but have been contaminated. That’s the reason for the huge new emphasis on washing your hands before and after visiting a patient.)

  • I need a watermelon tutorial as well

    • coming soon!

      • Looking forward to mwatermelon lesson. Please also advise on how to pick a good one and whether seeded or seeedless tastes better

  • How to cut a melon? Ha. Who doesn’t know how to cut a melon? Has our dear Jenn lost her mind?

    Nope. Because, apparently, I’ve been cutting melons wrong all these years!

    Thank you, Jenn. I promise to never doubt you again!

  • 69 years old and learned something! Great idea. Thanks

  • Your tips are very helpful. Keep them coming Jen.

  • Hi Jen,
    This is the kind of information that I’d love to get from you. Techniques that make the kitchen safe and efficient. I have never regretted subscribing and receiving your emails. There are always beautiful photos (taken by you!) and the recipes are fail-proof. I love everything about your site. The care you put into the work you do is very apparent. Thank you!

  • Thanks for the “how to”. Surprisingly I have been doing things the way you suggest! I have always gotten strange looks when I sniff my melons but it works.

  • Thanks Jen for the melon cutting lesson.
    Here’s another fruit that is difficult
    to cut — a mango. I gave up and
    bought frozen mangoes. Great

    • @GenCerefice: To cut a mango easily, use the edge of a drinking glass to get the skin off. First you cut the fruit along its pit. Then you use the edge of a glass to separate the fruit from the peel. You simply place the rim where the skin meets the fruit, and push the mango down the side of the glass. The mango AND its juice will fall into the glass and you can then cut it up.

      • Cannot visualize this. Need photo!

        • I too cannot visualize cutting up a mango using the glass method,I eat mangoes a lot and would love to see a photo op.
          Thank you Jen in anticipation


          • Coming soon, Jim!

            • — Jenn
  • I LOVE LOVE LOVE these little tutorials you do! I think your kitchen “hacks” are the best…wasn’t there one for cleaning a red pepper somewhere? (I can’t find it again 🙁

    Thank you for not just providing wonderful recipes with great pictures and instructions, but these shortcuts too!

    • Thanks, Mary. I haven’t done one for red pepper yet but I’ll add it to my list :).

      • Sit in the front row and watch how Gallagher does it.

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