If you’ve ever wondered about How to Pick a Watermelon, you are not alone- it can be so tricky! But once you know these 4 key features (shape, size, spot, and sound) you’ll be able to pick out a perfectly juicy and flavor-packed melon every single time.

Holding up a slice of watermelon

Unlike other fruits, watermelons do not ripen on their own once they have been picked from the vine. Because of this, it’s best to know how to pick out the perfect watermelon from the bunch.

And contrary to popular belief, picking out the prettiest melon is not the key indicator for sweet and juicy fruit. (I falsely assumed this for decades!)

In fact, there are 4 key features you should look for in order to get the best melon.  (And they’re super easy to remember since they all start with an S!)

From seedless personal types to seeded picnic varieties, these features will be present on every kind!

Additionally, there are a few other tips and tricks that will teach you how to tell a sweet melon from a bland one.

And once you have that gigantic melon at home, you can learn how to cut a watermelon to use in your favorite recipes or enjoy it as a healthy snack!

4 Features of a Perfect Watermelon

1. Shape

Symmetry is key.

A round and pretty symmetrical watermelon (the “female“) is best. This uniform shape means it was watered evenly throughout its growth process.

Melons that have odd lumps, irregular bumps, or are bigger on one side than the other may have experienced seasons of drought and/or times of overwatering.

Oblong or oval watermelons (or “males“) tend to be more watery and not nearly as sweet and flavorful.

2. Size

Go ahead and pick it up.

As soon as you hold it in your hands you want the heavy watermelon to almost shock you.

This means the interior of the fruit is extremely dense with sweet juice that is exceptionally flavorful.

3. Spot

Look for the ground spot.

Upon first glance, you may initially want to go with the really pretty, unblemished melon.

But don’t let them fool you.

The watermelons with a big creamy yellow or light orange ground spot (or field spot) are the best and most ripe ones.

This spot on the underside of the watermelon means they sat on the ground and were allowed to ripen naturally before being picked from the vine.

4. Sound

Give it a tap.

Ripe watermelons will have a hollow, deep sound when you knock on them.  (Watch video to hear sound.)

If the melon is not yet ripe, it will have a dull and flat sound when thumped.  (Like a zucchini or squash does.)

What to look for in a juicy, sweet watermelon.
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Other Tips for Selecting Juicy Melons

While the above will generally guide you to a pretty good watermelon, there are a few other things you can look for if you can’t decide between two:

Stripes: Stripes of the melon should have a pretty stark contrast between the dark and light areas.

Webbing: The larger the webbing, or scars, the more sweet and ripe the fruit will be.  These brown marks are from bees pollinating the flower during its’ growth.

Stem: Look for the stem area to be slightly depressed and dried out.  If you see this it means the fruit fell off of the vine on its own instead of being picked from it before fully ripening.

Color: A darker-colored watermelon means it was allowed to ripen more fully on the vine and will have a sweeter juice.

Slices next to quarter of a watermelon


How do you pick out a good watermelon?

Remember the 4 “S” features to pick out a good watermelon: shape, size, spot, and sound. Look for a melon that is round, heavy, has a noticeable creamy yellow spot, and makes a deep noise when tapped.

Do watermelons ripen on their own after being picked?

No, watermelons only ripen on the vine so it is important you know how to pick the perfect melon at the grocery store.

What color watermelon is the sweetest?

Darker-colored watermelons are generally sweeter because they were allowed to ripen on the vine longer.

A quick, easy, and healthy watermelon fruit salad recipe with cucumber, feta cheese, and mint.


While watermelons taste absolutely delicious on their own when they’re cut into wedges or bite-sized cubes, there are also a few delicious recipes you can add them to:

5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
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    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the content, Waseem! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and rating!

  1. 5 stars
    Thanks I love watermelons and I needed to learn this. Thank you so much for all the good information. I will use it next time. I’m purchasing a watermelon I might try my hand at growing watermelons next year.

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Susan! I love watermelons, too. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and rating!