Kiss Ice Cream Goodbye with This Watermelon Sorbet

Watermelon Sorbet
Image Source: Elizabeth Stark

And just like that, here we are at the height of summer. Truth be told, I am a little weary of so much fun and sun. Real life has been smushed into the cracks, taken care of late at night or between bites of tomatoes and trips to the pool. But while summer’s abundance seems as though it will last forever, I try to remember time is fleeting. Balancing kids and camp and sunscreen and cookouts will be a distant memory in just two months. So for now, I’m charging forward with a motto best summed up as: I’ll sleep when I’m dead. Or in October. Whichever.

Watermelon Sorbet
Image Source: Elizabeth Stark

The simple perfection of watermelon is a summer treasure I know I’ll be missing come fall. I mean, sure, I can track down watermelon for most of the year, but finding one that actually tastes good happens strictly during the months of July and August.

Making the most of peak watermelon season is as simple as cutting one up (preferably outdoors, for optimal seed spitting). But if you want to take your watermelon game to the next level, try this sweet and tangy watermelon sorbet. It’s positively full of fresh watermelon flavor, and has undertones of lime and Campari for kick.

Fresh Watermelon Sorbet

Prep time 15 minutes, plus time to chill and cure

Cook time 5 minutes
Makes 1 quart or 8 servings


  • 3 cups watermelon puree (from about 3 1/2 cups cubed), seeded with rind removed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 2-4 tablespoons Campari*


1. In a non-reactive sauce pan, heat the water and sugar over medium heat, stirring just until dissolved. Set aside to cool.

2. Puree watermelon in a blender.

3. Combine the syrup, watermelon puree, and lime zest in a container with a tight fitting lid. Chill in the fridge for 3 hours or longer.

4. Stir in the Campari and process sorbet according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Sorbet will still be soft coming out of the ice cream maker. Cure sorbet in the freezer overnight before serving.

Tip: Most homemade sorbet recipes rely on a mix of sugar and alcohol for smoothness. This recipe features several tablespoons of Campari (24 percent ABV), which lends flavor and better texture. Typically, more sugar can be substituted for alcohol on sorbet recipes, but because the watermelon itself is so sweet, I don’t recommend it here. If you need an alcohol alternative, adding a bit of gelatin might improve texture. 

It’s a personal decision, but using 2 tablespoons of Campari in this recipe comes out to about 1/5 a teaspoon of pure alcohol per every 1/2 cup serving.

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