25 November 2023

Watermelon is a great snack to enjoy on a hot summer day. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get carried away and buy much more than we can use before it goes bad.

We are very excited and bought a large one. We get home, slice it up, and only then realize it’s too much. Now we are nervous and begin to wonder how long it lasts. Or if you can freeze some of the leftovers.

If you have bought too much watermelon and are wondering what will happen next, this article is for you. In it, we go through the storage of the fruit, its shelf life, and it goes bad. We also touch freezing it in case you need to store it for an extended period.

watermelon before cutting
Watermelon ready to be cut

How to store watermelon

Like all melons (eg, honeys), watermelon it preserves the best quality if you store it whole. Therefore, it makes sense to only cut it just before eating.

When you bring the fruit home, you can store it in the pantry or fridge. Generally, The longer you expect to store it, the cooler the area should be..

If you plan to cut it the same day you buy it or the next day, you can leave it out on the counter during that time. If you are not sure when you will eat it, it is best to store it in the refrigerator.

Once you cut the watermelon into slices, you should store leftovers in the fridge.

If you expect to keep it in the refrigerator for more than a day, wrap it up well. If it’s a half or a quarter, use plastic or aluminum wrap. For smaller pieces, you can use airtight containers or zip-top bags.


The wrapper prevents the pulp from drying out and absorbing strong odors from the refrigerator. Watermelon pieces are always sold wrapped in plastic for this very reason.

frozen watermelon water
Frozen watermelon water as a drink on a hot day

Can you freeze watermelon?

Freezing and thawing alters the texture of the fruit.. Therefore, eating it raw after thawing it will not be as pleasant as eating it fresh. However, it works great in smoothies and other applications where texture isn’t as important.

To freeze watermelon, start by cutting it into fairly small pieces, so they will fit easily into freezer bags. Now remove all the seeds and skin so that the watermelon is immediately edible. Once this is done, follow my guide to instant freezing.

Once you take the frozen pieces out of the freezer, transfer them into freezer bags, add labels if necessary, and put them back. The fruit can easily last there for a few months.

When defrosting, it is best to do it in the fridge overnight. If it’s for a smoothie, you can put it frozen if your blender can handle ice.

frozen watermelon chunks
frozen watermelon chunks

How long does watermelon last?

Like other fruits, watermelon does not last as long. A whole one should keep in good quality for about a week in the pantry, and maybe up to 10 days or so in the fridge.

Once you cut it, the timer starts ticking. The fruit should retain its freshness for about 3 to 5 days. The cooler it is, the longer it will last, obviously.

As usual, it’s best to eat it all right after you open it, but that’s not always an option. Please note that wrapping is very important if you want to keep leftovers for more than a day in the fridge.

If you want to store the watermelon longer, freeze it following the guidelines above.

Pantry Fridge
whole watermelon 7 days 10-14 days
cut watermelon 25 days

Please note that the periods above are estimates and for the best quality.

How to know if watermelon is bad

Let’s start by buying the fruit. Try to choose one that does not bruise and feel heavy. If you have a few dark spots, that may indicate mold, but that’s just one possibility.

My sister can tell if a whole or wrapped watermelon is good just by smelling it, but I can’t explain how it works. Unfortunately, I can’t perform that trick either, so I can’t share with you how to do it.

After opening it, check if there is slime or discoloration inside. If it is mushy or does not look very freshit is better to discard it. The same has a sour or foul odor.

While these are all tell-tale signs that it has gone bad, sometimes you can’t always tell by sight, smell, or taste. If the watermelon has exceeded the recommended storage time, discard it. Even if it still passes all the tests.

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