Watermelon Syrup and Watermelon Butter

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Watermelon Jolly Ranchers [paid link] do not taste like watermelon.  The same applies to watermelon blow pops [paid link] and watermelon licorice [paid link]. To me, the flavor of these candies is as close to the taste of a real ripe watermelon as a McDonalds burger is to an hand-formed grass-fed beef hamburger patty.   Likewise, you don’t find many watermelon cakes and cupcakes that taste similar to watermelon.  Most so-called watermelon cupcakes are cupcakes that are designed to look like a watermelon – not taste like one.

I wanted to make a true watermelon-flavored cupcake.

Step 1:  Make a watermelon syrup.

I found a small article by Kate Mullinson a webpage about recipes from the past that described the process for making watermelon syrup.  Kate had made the syrup and suggested that it might work well in a baked good.  I decided to give it a try.

Sadly, the watermelon syrup did not make my cupcakes taste like watermelon (more on that in a future post), but that doesn’t mean that the syrup wasn’t a success.  The watermelon syrup captured in a little red bottle the true essence of one of summer’s top fruits. It tasted just like real watermelon – which isn’t surprising, since watermelon is the only ingredient.

As Kate suggested, homemade watermelon syrup would make a great gift for a foodie friend. Use watermelon syrup on pancakes, in popsicles, in oatmeal, or anywhere you would use a sweetener. However, my favorite use is watermelon soda where I mix a splash of this syrup with carbonated water.

Here’s how to make watermelon syrup, plus details on the watermelon syrup byproduct that may be even better than the syrup itself.

Watermelon Syrup Recipe

  • 1 seedless watermelon (I used a 16 lb watermelon and ended up with 3 cups of syrup)
  1. Cut the watermelon into small pieces and throw it in a food processor (you’ll probably need to do this in batches unless you have a really big food processor).  Process until it’s liquified.
  2. Simmer the watermelon liquid in a large, heavy-bottomed pot on medium-low heat for eight hours, stirring periodically to ensure that the syrup isn’t scorching.
  3. Strain the syrup in a sieve.  Keep both parts – the smooth red watermelon syrup and the thick watermelon pulp.

Use the watermelon pulp (I call it watermelon butter) as a spread on fresh bread – it’s summer’s apple butter.  You’ll completely surprise and impress your next summer party guests!

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  1. Jeanniesays:

    Can you make the watermelon syrup in a crockpot? How long would you leave it in the crockpot if you can?

  2. Sharon Meredithsays:

    For your syrup, do you give it a water bath?

  3. Mellissa (@SheSmilesWithn)says:

    Oh my goodness! Pure genius! My mouth is watering. The first time I’ve heard of watermelon syrup. My favorite “different” syrup is a coconut syrup that I tried in Hawaii. I would love to attempt this one day.

  4. vivikasays:

    What a great idea. I will have to try this with a watermelon this summer.

  5. Anonymoussays:

    Our family has made watermeon syrup bread for generations. Unfortunately the syrup must be made from scratch. If it is poured while still hot into a canning jar and sealed it will last for years. I watched my grandmother open up a jar of syrup labeled 1964 to make a batch of bread in 2008 and it turned out just fine.

  6. Anonymoussays:

    I grew up in Chile and when I was a child my mother would make this syrup whenever she got a bad watermelon and would put on pancakes, indian fried bread, waffles it was so good and she never let a bad melon go to waste, very yummy, now I have extra melons from my garden so making watermelon syrup so next going to make pancakes yummmy

  7. Anonymoussays:

    Eight hours! I might give this a try in the crockpot.

  8. Stefsays:

    Anon – I’m not sure. A week or so?

  9. Anonymoussays:

    How long will this keep in the refridgerator?

  10. Stefsays:

    Honey – I bet it would, but I have zero experience with canning so I can’t say for sure.

  11. Honeysays:

    Think this would work by canning the syrup for cold winter days when you’re dreaming of summer heat? I can just imagine watermelon pancakes during a snowstorm.


  12. Adamsays:

    I can’t wait to pour this over same vanilla ice cream…

  13. Stefsays:

    Stephanie – I tried soaking the syrup in after baking the cupcake, but it just made it wet – not watermelon-tasting. :(

    Garner – Good question. A week or two in the refrigerator would be my guess.

  14. Lorasays:

    So creative and wonderful. Thanks!

  15. Penny Wolfsays:

    You post some of the most wonderful unusal things! Thank you!

  16. Naomisays:

    I love this and I love that its Watermelon Butter. Great idea!

  17. Garnersays:

    how long do you think the watermelon butter would keep?

  18. Elianasays:

    What a genius idea! It looks and sounds so delicous :)

  19. Csays:

    Wow this looks great. I’ve tried to make a syrup in the past and now I see what mistakes I’ve been making. I’ve used the “butter” as a sub in backing to make cupcakes, it lends a nice subtle flavor. I can never get the right frosting though… I may try it with this syrup.

  20. Stephaniesays:

    Yum, this looks awesome! I wonder how you added the watermelon syrup to the cupcakes. In the past, when I’ve tried to flavor cupcakes with syrup, putting the syrup in the batter didn’t make much of a difference. I brushed the syrup on top of the cooked cupcakes before frosting (or skipped the frosting). It soaked into the cake and flavored it pretty well.

  21. C Tanner Jensensays:

    Watermelon Ice Cream is fantastic and tastes like watermelons.I think I’ll give the syrup a try to flavor and sweeten whipped cream.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  22. Momma Bay.... err, I mean, Tara.says:

    OK… I got my post up and mentioned you (this post) there….


  23. Jenn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog)says:

    That’s a brilliant recipe. My husband and I have been wanting to make homemade watermelon sorbet and I think this syrup would enhance the flavor. Thanks for the recipe!


  24. Momma Bay.... err, I mean, Tara.says:

    Doint forget to use the rinds!!! You can make some AWESOME pickled Watermelon rinds that are similar to bread & butter pickles. SO yummy!

  25. Paigesays:

    You are my new hero.

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