Do you look forward to melon season every summer? Well, if you do, be sure to check out this list of 18 fruits like watermelon that we’ve put together for you. Some look like your favorite melon, and some taste similar, but all are worth trying out.
They look like teensy watermelons and taste like sweet cucumbers. If that isn’t a winning combination, what is? You can find these cute mini melons at specialty produce stores, or try growing your own. They’re native to Central America, so those who live in hotter climates will have an easier time cultivating them.
2. Armenian Cucumbers
Although these fruits are referred to as cucumbers, they’re actually melons! They’re believed to have originated in Egypt, and were traded for cultivation in Armenia and Turkey. Now, you can find them naturalized all over South America. They don’t look like melons, as they’re quite long and slender, but their flavor is like a cross between watermelon and cucumber.
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These oblong melons originated in China’s Xingjiang region, and are incredibly popular as breakfast fruits. Their flesh is a pale, orange-y, cream color, and they taste like a cross between watermelon and cantaloupe. Apparently the flesh is crunchy like watermelon, with cantaloupe’s bright, juicy flavor.
Chayotes are also members of the gourd/melon/cucumber (Cucurbitaceae) family, and grow prolifically all over Mexico. They’re not as sweet as watermelon, but have the same juicy crunch that’s so satisfying. You can eat them raw, sprinkled with a bit of sugar if you need extra sweetness, or marinate chopped pieces in lime juice to use in salsa.
5. Frog Skin Melons
These are also known as the “camouflage” melon, as they meld in well with watermelons when they’re growing. They’re a bit smaller than standard watermelons, and their flavor is pretty much identical. In fact, they have a more concentrated watermelon flavor! If you’re a melon fiend, be sure to seek these out by any means possible.
The Bailan is a Chinese melon variety that originated in the Gansu province. It’s usually classified as a muskmelon, along with cantaloupes, and has a flavor somewhere between watermelon and honeydew. This melon’s flesh is soft rather than crunchy, and has a higher protein content than many other melon varieties.
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These luscious melons were originally from Turkey, but made their way worldwide from a port in Kasaba, Turkey. As you might have assumed, that’s where they got their current name. They have wrinkled skins and creamy, sweet flesh that tastes like a mix between cantaloupe, watermelon, and peach.
8. Honeydew Melons
You may have already tried honeydew melons when you’ve gone out for brunch. These fruits have milky greenish-white flesh that’s unbelievably sweet and juicy: more like nectar than water. If you love how watermelon can rehydrate you, then you’ll love honeydews. In fact, try them in a green smoothie with a handful of spinach, a banana, and some vanilla almond milk.
9. Montreal Melons
These heirloom melons were only recently rediscovered, and are some of the most delicious melons you’ll ever taste. They were absolutely treasured during the Victorian era, and were featured as a first-class dessert on the Titanic. Their flesh is similar to honeydew in texture, with watermelon-like juiciness, and a sweet flavor that has hints of nutmeg. This last trait is what gave them the alternative moniker of “nutmeg melons”.
Just about every pre-cut fruit salad mixture at the grocery store comes with cantaloupe chunks in it. These melons have webbed skin and pink-orange flesh, which is amazingly juicy and refreshing. Keep yours chilled in the fridge to enjoy on a hot summer day, or try freezing slices!
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These “sweet cucumbers” are indigenous to South America, and are more like sweet cucumbers than gourds. That said, they taste like a mix of watermelon, cucumber, and cantaloupe, which is really quite incredible. These thirst-quenching melons are must-tries for your melon love list.
12. Sprite Melons
Sprites are some of the smallest—and sweetest—melons on the planet. They’re from Japan, and they only grow to about the size of an average grapefruit. Their crisp white flesh is so sweet that it’s enjoyed as a dessert all over Asia. If you can get your hands on one (or three…) of these, you may not even want to share them.
13. Persian Melons
Also known as “Odessa” melons, these elongated melons are orangey-cream colored, and common throughout the middle east. Although they’re originally from Persia, you can find them throughout Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and North America. Taste-wise, they’re like slightly blander cantaloupes, with a watermelon-like crunch.
14. Water Apples
Unless you live in Southeast Asia, you may not have come across water apples before. These fruits (Syzygium aqueum) grow throughout India and Malaysia, and have been naturalized in parts of Australia as well. Appearance-wise, they look like cherimoya fruits, but have juicy, crunchy inner flesh that tastes like a cross between watermelon and apple.
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15. Dragon Fruits
These exotic-looking fruits look absolutely nothing like watermelon, but their insides have a similar texture. In fact, the flesh’s flavor is very mild, and tastes rather like underripe watermelon, or that area of the rind where red turns to white, just before you hit green rind.
16. Asian Pears
Since we’re on the topic of fruits that don’t look like watermelons but happen to taste like them, let’s look at Asian pears. Watermelons’ main appeal is the combination of crunch and juiciness their flesh offers. You’ll find the same combo in these fruits, which are amazing to eat when you’re feeling thirsty and depleted.
17. Bitter Apples
While these lemon-sized fruits look like watermelons, they don’t taste similar at all. Sure, they have a kind of watery crunch when you bite into them, but they taste like a stronger version of bitter melon. As a result, the fruit itself isn’t eaten, but Bedouin people dry the seeds and grind them into bread flour. They’re also known as colocynths or desert gourds if you’re feeling adventurous and want to try them.
18. Prickly Pears
These actually aren’t pears at all, but are members of the cactus family. Known as nopales in Mexico, the cactus leaf pads can be eaten raw or cooked, and have a similar juicy crunch to watermelon. They’re not sweet, however, but do provide the same satisfying, rehydrating effects as melons when you bite into their flesh.
Which of these fruits like watermelon will you try first? If you’re aiming to play it safe, you might want to start with frog skin or Persian melons, just to dip your toe into the magical melon realm. Alternatively, if you’re a more adventurous sort, try chayote or prickly pear. Whatever you choose, be sure to savor every bite!