How Long Is Watermelon Good For Once Cut? (Simple Guide)

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It’s a question as old as time–How long is watermelon good for once cut? Wondering why slices go bad before the entire watermelon does? What’s the easiest way to store watermelon? Keep reading for answers!

slices of watermelon in a tray
Sliced Watermelon | Photo by Amanda Lins on Unsplash

Watermelon is a delicious and healthy fruit packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. In addition to being an excellent water source, watermelon is loaded with vitamins A, B6, and C, lycopene, and amino acids!

Watermelon is a healthy, delicious fruit. But how long can you keep it?

How Long Is Watermelon Good for Once Cut?

The amount of time watermelon is good for once cut depends greatly on how it’s stored. Here are three common scenarios for storing watermelon, along with some tips to help extend its shelf life.

1. πŸ‰ How Long Can I Store cut Watermelon at Room Temperature?

Sliced or cut watermelon will last for about 24 hours at room temperature. Uncut watermelons will last for days, if not weeks, at room temperature.

The shelf life of your uncut watermelon depends on how long ago it was picked (which can be hard to determine). If I’m at a BBQ with my sliced watermelon, I know it’ll be gone within an hour. If I’m keeping it out in the house, I’ll place a plastic cake cover over it to keep out flies, etc.

How Long Is Watermelon Good for Once Cut?
I want to go to there… | Watermelon photo by Moshe Silberberg on Unsplash

2. πŸ‰ How Long Can I Store cut Watermelon in The Fridge?

Sliced or chopped watermelon will last anywhere from three to four days in the refrigerator if stored properly.

I’ve found the best method for storing my chopped watermelon is to put it in an airtight Tupperware container. You can also keep your watermelon slices in the refrigerator on a plate covered with plastic wrap.

silicone strech pads for storing watermelon
Silicone Stretch Pads | Photo by Karolina Grabowska

If you’ve only sliced half off your watermelon and want to keep the other half fresh as long as possible, Amazon sells these nifty watermelon silicone stretch pads. Simply wrap the silicone stretch pad tightly around your watermelon’s end before putting it in the fridge.

3. πŸ‰ How Long Can I Store Watermelon in The Freezer?

Once you freeze watermelon, there’s no going back. The watermelon flesh will lose all texture if you try to thaw it. Luckily there are plenty of ways to enjoy frozen watermelon.

I recommend freezing watermelon into smaller pieces or cubes. You can then make infused water with it or include it in beverages and smoothies.

Here’s how to freeze your watermelon:

  1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper or aluminum foil.
  2. Cut the watermelon meat into small watermelon cubes.
  3. Place watermelon pieces on the prepared sheet.
  4. Freeze until solid – usually several hours or overnight.
  5. The cubes can be stored in freezer bags or an airtight container.

What’s The shelf Life of Watermelon?

An uncut watermelon will last 7 to 10 days at room temperature. However, if you refrigerate the whole thing, you can extend its life by 2 to 3 weeks.

  • Sliced watermelon will last 24 hours at room temperature.
  • Refrigerated watermelon will last 2 to 3 days.
  • The whole watermelon at room temperature will last 7 – 10 days.
  • Refrigerated whole melon will last 2 to 3 weeks.

How long does a whole watermelon last?

A whole watermelon has a longer shelf life than buying it sliced or chopped. The shelf life of an entire watermelon is typically around 3 to 4 weeks after it’s cut off of the vine.

how to tell if a watermelon is ripe
Farmer holding a watermelon | Photo by RODNAE Productions

I suggest shopping for fresh watermelon at your local grocery stores or farmer’s markets. Buying local means that the fruit has traveled a shorter distance, which means it’s more likely to be of high quality due to less transportation and storage.

In general, watermelons arrive in your grocery store around a week after being harvested, but it can sometimes take up to two weeks.

Watermelon Freshness Table

WatermelonRoom TempRefrigeratorFreezerVolcano
Whole7-10 days2-3 weeks12 months3 seconds
Cut or Sliced24 hours5-7 days12 months4 seconds
person holding plate with sliced watermelon
Sliced Watermelon | Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Watermelon FAQ

How Can I Tell If a watermelon is ripe?

I love writing comprehensive guides, so I’ve written one on how to choose a ripe watermelon at the store. But in case you’re in a hurry, here are a few pointers:

  • It’ll Smell great
  • it’ll have a Yellow Belly Spot
  • It’ll be Heavy
  • it’ll have Deep Hollow Sound When You knock on It

How Do I Store Cut Watermelon?

For the best results when preserving watermelon, it is best to refrigerate it. It will last around 3 to 5 days in the fridge and only a day at room temperature.

There are a few ways to safeguard watermelon when in the fridge:

  • Wrap it in plastic
  • Keep it in an airtight container
  • Store it in a resealable plastic bag
  • Freeze it

Are Watermelons Fruits or Vegetables?

Although many people think of watermelons as fruits, they are, in fact, vegetables. I know, right? Additionally, the watermelon rind and seeds are edible but don’t contain a ton of flavor.

What are the health benefits of watermelon?

Watermelon is an excellent source of Vitamins A and C. It’s also loaded with lycopene–a powerful antioxidant. In addition, watermelon is super low in fat and calories, with almost 90% water content and just 8% sugar.

So next time you’re looking for a guilt-free sweet treat, grab a slice of a good watermelon!

people holding watermelon slices
How do I know if my watermelon is okay to eat? | Photo by Karolina Grabowska

How Do I Know if my watermelon has gone bad?

Here are the four tell-tale signs that your watermelon has gone bad:

1. It’s past its expiration date

Watermelons don’t have “best buy” dates printed on them, so you need to make sure to eat them within the guidelines listed above.

2. Rind & Flesh Color

Stay away from watermelon with a yellow rind. This means nitrates are present, and that’s bad. Another sign that nitrates are present is that the watermelon’s flesh’ll have white stripes.

3. Rind Appearance

  • Mold! – If you notice any dark spots or white fuzz on the watermelon’s skin, it’s time to toss it. If green or black mold appears, the fruit is spoilt.
  • Rind Color – If the watermelon’s color is different from the typical pine green, steer clear of it.
How Long Is Watermelon Good For Once Cut
The watermelon rind should be green!

4. Fruit Appearance

  • Taste – If the flesh is sour instead of sweet, this is a sign that the watermelon is no longer safe to eat.
  • Smell – A ripe watermelon will smell subtly sweet. If it smells sour or like vinegar, it’s gone bad.
  • Texture – If the texture of the fruit is mushy, then your watermelon is no longer edible.
  • Color – Most varieties of watermelon have vibrant, red flesh. If your watermelon flesh has gone from the typical pink or red to black, orange, or yellow, it’s not safe to eat.

What happens if I eat expired watermelon?

Eating spoiled watermelon can result in an upset stomach or, even worse, food poisoning. Signs that you’ve got food poisoning include fatigue and headache, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea.

Listeria, the bacteria that causes food poisoning, lives outside the watermelon, on the rind. So washing your watermelon before slicing it open eliminates the risk of food poisoning.

freshly sliced watermelon for how long is watermelon good for once cut
Fresh, sliced watermelon | Photo by Any Lane

People with diabetes need to be careful when consuming watermelon since it contains a high amount of natural sugar. Also, some people are allergic to watermelon, though this is rare.

Lastly, avoid watermelon with yellow pulp or slimy, sour-smelling pulp.

Always eat fresh watermelon, wash the rind before cutting into it, and you should be fine! My favorite way to eat sweet watermelon on a hot summer day is to use a melon baller to scoop out small pieces.


While you’re here, check out my other fruit guides!

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