How to Cut a Melon





Introduction: How to Cut a Melon

About: I've been posting Instructables since the site's inception, and now build other things at Autodesk. Follow me for food and more!

This technique makes cutting cantaloupe, honeydew, and all other types of melon a safe, quick, and easy job.  All you need is a nice sharp paring knife!  

In this Instructable I'm cutting an orange flesh melon in most of the pictures, though a cantaloupe also appears.  This technique is pretty much universal, though.  As a bonus, you don't really even need a cutting board to do it this way - perfect for picnics, and for avoiding invisible onion or garlic contamination on your cutting board.

Check out the video to see just how quick and easy this is:

Step 1: Choose Your Melon

Identifying a nice, ripe melon is easy.

First, make sure it's actually melon season in your area, as imported melons will almost certainly be sub-par.  Melons like hot weather, so melon season usually starts mid-summer, and continues through early fall, though times may vary in your region.

Second, make sure the melon smells good!  Give it a sniff: it should smell floral and melony, particularly at the end where the flower bud used to be (the spot opposite the stem end.)

Third, give it a light shake.  In cantaloupes and some types of honeydew, the seeds loosen up enough as the melons ripen that they'll rattle around a bit inside when the melon is ready to eat.

If the melon isn't quite at peak ripeness, leave it on the counter so it can ripen a bit more, then put it in the fridge to arrest further ripening.  (This is only going to help so much; a completely green melon shipped across the world will never truly ripen.)  Bonus: in hot weather, fridging the melons means they're nice and cold when you're ready to eat them.  The perfect summer snack!

Step 2: Cut in Half

Grab a knife and cut your melon in half, making sure to cut through the stem area.

Be sure to wash your melon thoroughly before cutting, so you don't carry any surface bacteria into the edible melon flesh.  (Thanks to thematthatter for the reminder!)

Step 3: Scoop Out Seeds

My mother (and everyone else) always did this with a spoon, which quite frankly sucks.  I much prefer to use my thumb.

Your fingers are better-suited to seed scraping: they get in all the nooks and crannies nicely, and you can separate the seeds without gouging the soft ripe melon.  

Use a bit of fingernail action (or make a small cut with your paring knife) to detach the seeds from the stem-end, and scrape the seeds out using your thumb.  You'll quickly see where the seeds are attached; run your thumb nail-first along these attachment points, and tilt the melon to smoothly scoop the seeds out.

Step 4: Slice Into Wedges

You should cut your melon into 8-12 wedges (depending on melon size) so they're small enough to handle.

Cut your half in half, then cut each quarter into 2 or 3 roughly equal wedges.

Step 5: Remove Rind

This is the hardest part of the whole operation, and so long as you've cut the melon into small-enough wedges it's still ridiculously easy.

Just hold the melon wedge in your hand, and slide the paring knife between the rind and melon flesh along the line where the color changes.  

See?  Easy.

Advanced technique: I often leave the last little bit of melon attached to the rind.  This keep the melon wedge from slipping off its rind as I slice it, which is super-handy.  Check out the video in the intro step if you're not sure what I mean.

Step 6: Slice!

I usually prefer to slice the melon against the rind in my hand, as shown below, then dump the entire batch into the bowl at once.  Though sometimes I'll go ahead and ditch the rind, and slice against my thumb as shown in the final image below.  Test, and see which method you prefer.

Yes, of course you can use a cutting board; but this method is much faster, and easier once you're used to it.

Step 7: Serve

You now have a bowl full of neatly sliced melon, ready for fruit salad, smoothies, or just plain old eating.  

I like to squeeze a bit of lime juice over my chopped melon, as it brings out and deepens the flavors.  Give it a try, and tell me what you like best!



  • Stick It! Contest

    Stick It! Contest
  • Pets Challenge

    Pets Challenge
  • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

    Colors of the Rainbow Contest

We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive.




That melon is adulterated and fit only for the bin. You never scraped your fingernails into foods; fingernails are some of the most pathogen-infected pits of the human body. If a food is not going to be cooked (any more), it is safer to handle all parts that are to be eaten just with clean utensils to prevent cross-contamination.

3 replies

A good hand washing with soap and water will eliminate most bad bacteria. Quit worrying so much.

I hope I wasn't too harsh in tone, as clearly the author is just trying to make a valuable contribution to other people's skills, but I think it's an important point I was making:

Even thorough hand-washing isn't usually thorough enough to get under the fingernails (I remember no mention of this in NHS hand-washing guidelines I saw on a poster) and fingernails harbour a very diverse range of pathogens that could multiply in say a syrupy fruit salad. I think encouraging proper food safety in HOWTO's is important because some people (e.g. the very young and very old) can be much more adversely affected by food poisoning.

Some people take food safety too far (e.g. washing thoroughly pre-washed salads) but basic hygiene accounts for a significant part of the rise in life expectancy Western societies have enjoyed in modernisation.

A good hand washing with soap and water will eliminate most bad bacteria. Quit worrying so much.

wow.....i like that paring knife! ahaha.....where did u get it?

Your instrucable is not safe. You NEVER hold an item in your hand and cut towards your hand. I had to take my ex-wife to the emergency room for doing this with a Mango once. She cut four fingers to the bone. Use a cutting board, that's what they are for.

5 replies

There's a technique to cutting towards yourself. You never cut with your arms toward yourself, i.e, with two different hands. But, between the thumb and the forefinger on one hand you can rather safely cut towards yourself, because both fingers are in close communication. I mean, you'd only want to cut soft things still (nothing that could ever require much force), but I'm pretty sure it's how millions have pared potatoes for the last 500 years.

It's less a matter of communication between the limbs and more a matter of inertia and stored tension. A moving arm has a lot of inertia, a wide range of motion, and the muscles that run it are large and store a lot of tension when you are using them against resistance. Fingers have little inertia, a small range of motion, and little stored tension. Set yourself so that if something slips or gives, the inertia and stored tension will either exhaust itself or run out of range of motion before you hit anything you care about. Whether you're cutting toward or away from yourself.

I agree, it is less a matter of communication than inertia and tension in your muscles. Somehow in my mind "communication" was a better way to describe it, though less realistic. I do find it's slightly easier guide your knife along a potato with two fingers on the same hand, because each help you move the potato along the knife.


Using a sharp knife is a skill just like any other. You can actually exercise more precision and control cutting towards yourself; you just need to be aware of how much load you're placing on the knife.

Regardless of the existence of any relatively safe way to cut towards one's self, it's still much safer to cut away from yourself (or anyone around you, for that matter), as it minimizes the possibility that something will go wrong. These are melons we're talking about here, you don't need extra precision to cut one

I like that the fruit never comes in contact with a cutting board. Congratulations on being featured!

2 replies

Yes! I've been burned too many times by invisible onion or garlic residue from the previous user of the cutting board, so prefer to keep my fruit off of them when at all possible.

Exactly, I've used this same method for just this reason.

I also do the same for pineapple- cut off both ends and then quarter lengthwise. Trim off the core along the length of each quarter and then cut in half again. Then remove the skin by running the knife along it- although sometimes I do this with the skin against a cutting board. And then just chopping into pieces against the skin, as in this instructible. Nothing worse than cutting up a whole melon or pineapple and then no one eats it b/c of the distinct taste of onion.

I do it like this since ever. :) except that i use a spoon to remove seeds.

2 replies

Give it a try with your thumb! Aside from the additional hand rinse required, I bet you'll find it far more efficient.

all right, will do :)

One safety note with melon is you need to wash the outside before cutting. (USDA recommends households just to use plain water and a brush) It is a low acid fruit with lots of sugar and available water. Salmonella grows on the outer rind and when you cut into it you spread Salmonella all over the fruit.

In your instructable you added lime juice, that will lower the pH and reduce some of the risk. Also eating it right after cutting will help too.

But if you cut it up and leave it in the fridge for a couple days then eat it you might be blowing chunks out of both ends. :(

1 reply

" might be blowing chunks out of both ends..." rofl!!!