Watermelon Granita


I have two favorite ice cream spots in Denver... one has superior flavors and better-tasting ice cream and a fun hipster vibe (that only occasionally makes me feel out-of-place and somewhat inadequate) and the other that has slightly-less-robust-but-still-awesome ice cream and a creative and fun location. On the occasion of my in-laws visiting, we had an opportunity to visit both and while the look of Little Man won out (see photos below), it was the taste of the watermelon sorbet at Sweet Action that really stole my heart.

In fact, I took home a pint of it because it was so tasty. Bad.

When I saw watermelons at Whole Foods yesterday (I can hear Rob tsk tsking as he reads this... not Whole Foods!), I bought a few and set about to making my own version of the tasty watermelon dessert. I wasn't smitten with any of the sorbet recipes but was inspired by the Watermelon Granita recipe in this month's Bon Appétit.

Granita is a semi-frozen dessert typically made from sugar, water and flavorings. Wikipedia tells me that granita originated in Sicily and that the texture of a granita will vary depending on where you have it in Italy. This version is frozen, stirred/scraped once and then frozen until solid, at which point it is scraped or shaved before serving. You could make it smoother by using an ice cream or gelato machine but I think part of the beauty of this recipe is its simplicity.

Putting the iPad to good use in the kitchenReady for the freezer - complemented by my new tea towel from Foxy & Winston

If you've read any of my other dessert posts, you'll know that I prefer less sugar in my desserts than most people and this recipe is no exception. I find watermelon to be deliciously refreshing and sweet in its natural form so I cut the recommended sugar in half. Plus, I didn't have fresh limes so I was stuck with the pre-squeezed and bottled stuff that I keep on hand... I don't think it affected the final product at all. This recipe is also easy to double or triple (obviously you'll have to blend it in separate batches to accommodate the size of your blender) and would be perfect to make ahead and serve at a summer gathering.


Watermelon Granita
Adapted from the June 2011 Bon Appétit 


  • 4 cups (1 3/4 pounds) cubed seedless watermelon (from a 4-lb. melon)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice


Purée all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into a 9x9x2" metal baking pan. Freeze mixture for 1 hour. Stir, mashing any frozen parts with the back of a fork. Cover and freeze mixture until firm, about 2 hours. Using a fork, scrape granita vigorously to form icy flakes. 

Could this be more simple?

DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover tightly and keep frozen. Give it a quick scrape before serving.