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Sicilian Watermelon Pudding (Gelo di Melone)


Sicilian Watermelon Pudding (Gelo di Melone)

Watermelon pudding is an easy dessert with a silky texture and bright taste. The perfect treat when you’re looking for a leaner, but satisfying dessert.

Sicilian Watermelon Pudding (Gelo di Melone) //

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Today’s recipe is your salvation from weeks full of cookie eating. This super-fresh Sicilian watermelon pudding is the perfect respite from rich and abundant holiday meals. Though the pudding is lean in nature, it has a satisfyingly silky texture, and it is just sweet enough to close dinner on a festive note. Sicilian watermelon pudding can also serve as a pre-dessert as part of a more elaborate menu; its bright flavor will act as a palate-cleanser and open your guests’ appetite for an indulgent dessert to follow.

Watermelon pudding (or gelo di melone, in Italian) originates from Palermo, Sicily, where it is considered an elegant way to use the abundant summer watermelon crops. The pudding is traditionally infused with jasmine and garnished with pistachios or shaved chocolate. While watermelon is indeed usually considered a summer fruit, it is available all year long. Sure, watermelon may be slightly more expensive this time of year, but you get so much fruit—and so many servings—for the price you pay. Plus, watermelon is versatile: you can enjoy it in sweet and savory desserts or in smoothies and cocktails—which may or may not be my favorite way of enjoying watermelon.

Sicilian Watermelon Pudding (Gelo di Melone) //

So back to this Sicilian watermelon pudding: as I was planning this “tiny sweets” recipe lineup, I wanted to add a leaner option, but I was looking for an option completely different than what you’ll usually see on holiday tables. Watermelon pudding’s gorgeous coral color, topped with a cloud of whipped cream, and sprinkled with bright green pistachios—I ask you, what dessert looks more festive than that? Of course, you can forgo the whipped cream if you want, but adding just a touch makes the pudding better suited for winter meals.

One last thing: Sicilian watermelon pudding is very quick and easy to make, so it’s an excellent last-minute dessert option. It’s also the dessert you should make if you feel exhausted but still want to serve something tasty to your guests. Feel free to double or triple the recipe, depending on the number of guests you’re expecting—and your energy levels.

Sicilian Watermelon Pudding (Gelo di Melone) //

Sicilian Watermelon Pudding (Gelo di Melone) //

Sicilian Watermelon Pudding (Gelo di Melone)

Watermelon pudding is an easy dessert with a silky texture and bright taste. The perfect treat when you’re looking for a leaner, but satisfying dessert.
Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time:8 minutes
Cooling Time:3 hours
Servings 4 servings
Author Marie Asselin (


  • 4 cups 1 L coarsely chopped, seeded watermelon (rind discarded)
  • 2 tbsp 30 ml cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup 60 ml cane sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 1/2 a vanilla bean seeds scraped, or 2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tsp 10 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained

To serve

  • Whipped cream optional
  • Roasted shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped or ground


  • Puree the watermelon in a blender until smooth (you can also use a stick blender to do this in batches). Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a measuring cup, discarding remaining solids. You should have just about 3 cups (750 ml) watermelon juice.
  • Ladle 2 tbsp (30 ml) watermelon juice into a small bowl and stir in the cornstarch, until smooth.
  • Pour the remaining watermelon juice into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes to reduce it a little. Add the sugar and vanilla seeds, and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Stir the cornstarch mixture again, then whisk into the watermelon juice. Simmer, whisking occasionally, for 3 minutes, then whisk in the lemon juice.
  • Pour the pudding through a clean strainer and into a measuring cup, then transfer to small glass jarsglasses, or ramekins. Cover and chill until set, at least 3 hours.
  • SERVING: Right before serving, garnish the watermelon puddings with whipped cream and pistachios.
  • STORAGE: The Sicilian watermelon puddings will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 days.

Did you make this?

Tell me how you liked it! Leave a comment or take a picture and tag it with @foodnouveau on Instagram.

Disclosure Notice: This post was created in partnership with the National Watermelon Promotion Board as part of their #EatMoreWatermelon campaign. I was offered monetary compensation to develop a delicious recipe using watermelon. As always, companies never dictate what recipes I create, or the opinions I express. I only use products I genuinely believe in.

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Author: Marie Asselin

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Cooling Time: 3 hours


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