Watermelon Rind Candies

Don't throw away the watermelon rind. Turn it into sweet and crispy Watermelon Rind Candies or Preserves #watermelon #preserves @mjskitchen.


In my watermelon post a while back I mentioned that my mother saved the watermelon rind and made watermelon rind preserves.  After we all finished off the watermelon, she would cut away any remaining pink from the rind, peel the rind, then slice it into spears. All of the rind spears were transferred to a big pot and layered with sugar, then left to sit overnight. The next day she cooked them down “until done”.  🙂  After they cooked I helped her pack the spears lengthwise into sterilized mason jars and then seal the jars.  By fall we had enough watermelon rind preserves to last the winter and then some. This was the inspiration for these watermelon rind candies.

Eating her watermelon rind preserves was like eating a crunchy, sweet stick of candy.  It didn’t really have a watermelon flavor, but it had a clean, sweet taste that is very hard to describe.  All I know is those preserves were really, really good, very, very sweet, and hard to stop eating. A couple of years ago I decided to come up with my own way to preserve watermelon rind but in smaller pieces and less sweet, if possible. My efforts paid off!  These little watermelon rind candies turned out exactly like I wanted – small, crispy bites of sweetness with a touch of anise flavor. So good, so addicting!
Don't throw away the watermelon rind. Turn it into sweet and crispy Watermelon Rind Candies or Preserves #watermelon #preserves @mjskitchen


Watermelon Rind Candies Recipe

Recipe Author:  MJ of MJ’s Kitchen

Yields about 2 cups
Prep and cook time:  1 – 1.5 hours

Note:  This is a refrigerator preserve and not intended to be sealed and stored in the pantry.


Rind of 1/2 large watermelon (about 4 cups of cut pieces)*
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
juice from 1 lime
1/2 tsp. salt
2 star anise


  1. Peel the green outer skin off the watermelon rind and remove any of the pink meat still on the rind.
  2. Cut the rind into strips (about 1 inch long by ¼” wide or 2.5 cm x 0.6 cm)
  3. Bring the water, sugar, salt, and lime juice to a boil. Add the diced watermelon rind and star anise. Lower the heat to medium low, and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally or until the fruit is translucent and the syrup has reduced by at least half and thickened. (See Kitchen Notes)
  4. Remove the star anise.
  5. Transfer the rind to a clean pint jar with a lid and let cool.
  6. Best if refrigerated overnight before eating.

Lasts up to 6 months or maybe longer in the refrigerator. It’s hard to say since it disappears within 2 months in this house and that’s with me being “good”.

*The amount you end up with can depend on the size of the watermelon as well as the thickness of the rind.



Kitchen Notes

You can cut the pieces into larger strips if you choose, but you will have to cook it longer and add a touch more water for the rind to cook through and become translucent.

The cooking process – Once the watermelon rind candies becomes translucent, they are pretty much ready.  At this point the syrup should have reduced by at least half and become thick. If your syrup is still too thin, then turn up the heat and cook it faster, stirring constantly until the syrup thickens into a heavy syrup.  The candies don’t need to be covered by the syrup when transferred to a jar.  For me, once the rind is transferred, the syrup only comes about halfway up the jar.

The spice – If you aren’t a fan of star anise, then omit it altogether or replace it with a large cinnamon stick or 5 cardamom pods.   My mother liked her preserves with no spice, whereas I like the star anise flavoring, but then I love anything with a hint of licorice.

As far as how to use these watermelon rind candies –   Just eat them like you would a piece of candy. Serve as an after dinner sweet, or afternoon snack. I usually just eat them straight out of the jar when I want a little something sweet.  You could also fold into cake, muffin or cupcake batter, or bread recipes that call for candied fruits.

These Watermelon Rind candies comes with an ADDICTION WARNING!


These watermelon rind candies were shared with the following blog hop.

Whimsy Wednesdays, Wonderful Food Wednesday, Creative Thursday, Frugal Foods Thursday, Carole’s Food on Friday, Foodie Friday, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Recipe Sharing Monday, Hearth & Soul  .


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97 Responses to “Watermelon Rind Candies”

  1. Alea June 23, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

    I absolutely love this idea! I’m sharing this on my Facebook page tomorrow.

    • mj June 24, 2013 at 8:06 am #

      Thanks so much Alea! I’m glad you like the idea! I really think you would like the candies. I making more this week. 🙂 I can’t get enough of them.

  2. Diane Balch June 21, 2013 at 5:24 am #

    Your recipe is being featured on foodie friday today. Stop by and get your featured button. I will be pinning and tweeting it this week too.

  3. Swathi June 19, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

    I know we make some spicy chutney with watermelon rind, but candies, is wonderful idea MJ. I am in

    • mj June 19, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

      Thanks Swathi! Spicy chutney? Now that sounds interesting!

  4. Soni June 18, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    Wow, this is such a unique recipe MJ!In India the rinds would be used to make a savory dish but a sweet dish is always welcome :)Love your pic and its glossy look!

  5. Diane Balch June 15, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

    Absolutely fasinating… I am frugal by nature and I love a recipe that uses something that would have been wasted. Pinning this… thank you so much for sharing it with us on foodie friday.

    • mj June 15, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

      Thanks Diane! I knew you would like it. 🙂

  6. easyfoodsmith June 15, 2013 at 4:37 am #

    Such a lovely post! Could have never imagined that something could be made from the rind!! Candies! That is a brilliant idea. Pinned!

    • mj June 15, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

      Thanks EFSmith! I have to credit my mom for teaching me how to do this. I absolutely love them!

  7. Adelina Priddis June 14, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

    I’ve never seen the Watermelon rind used for anything before. It sounds very interesting.
    Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friday.

  8. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles June 13, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

    Thank you for the reminder MJ (we are just moving into strawberry season here ;-)) but I remember being so captivated by this recipe so I’m really glad you reposted it. You’re right, these delightful candies would make a perfect gift – great idea!

    • mj June 14, 2013 at 1:12 am #

      You are most welcome Kelly! Now that I have a kitchen this summer I plan to make several jars for gifts and for my winter pleasure. 🙂

  9. Jacqueline @ BakeItWithBooze June 13, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    I’ve heard of watermelon rind pickles, but not candied watermelon rind. I’m intrigued! I might have to try this next time I get a watermelon 🙂

    • mj June 14, 2013 at 1:15 am #

      Thanks Jacqueline! These are sweeter than the pickles and made without vinegar. I love them and hope you get a chance to made them.

  10. Liz June 13, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    LOVE your watermelon candies! My FIL introduced me to watermelon pickles…and I was an instant fan. I know I’d love your candied version just as much.

    PS…what a beautiful, elegant photo!

    • mj June 14, 2013 at 1:16 am #

      Thanks so much Liz!

  11. Helene D'souza June 13, 2013 at 10:11 am #

    Ahh I had forgotten about it in the summer! I remember the post and I discovered my comment on top. ^.^ Next time I think so you ll have to remind me way before march. 😉

    • mj June 14, 2013 at 1:17 am #

      I try to remember! 🙂

  12. jay June 13, 2013 at 1:07 am #

    sooo quick n easy recipe
    Tasty Appetite

  13. bellini June 12, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

    I haven’t heard of them until now MJ but what a great way to utlilize every part of the watermelon.

  14. Terra June 12, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

    I just said to hubby, we are so going to make and enjoy watermelon rind for the first time this year! I love all the different variations of recipes using the rind, so fun! Since I am a lover of candy, we need to try your beautiful recipe! Hugs, Terra

  15. Vicki Bensinger June 12, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    Wow I’ve never tried making this before. Sounds wonderful – can’t wait to try them with the next watermelon I purchase.

  16. Sissi June 11, 2013 at 5:21 am #

    MJ, I think you read my mind… First of all, most fruits are late this year here (a horrible weather) and I have started to crave watermelon last weekend. Secondly, I have always been attracted to the idea of using watermelon rind. I even tried making jam (found in an old cookery book), but it didn’t have much taste… These candies look beautiful and really original. I imagine I could prepare them and ask my guests to guess what it is. No one would guess!

  17. Gomo @ cHowDivine October 1, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    What a great idea! I’ve never heard of preserving watermelon rinds this way. I’m definitely trying this. Thank you for the recipe!

  18. Amanda@Chewtown September 30, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

    I’ve been hearing about these a lot lately and am really looking forward to trying them when it gets a bit warmer here in Sydney. YUM!

  19. ping September 28, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    What a delightful way to use up the rind! The Chinese use them to make soups but I’m not too keen on that but THIS …… oh yum! the idea of the star anise makes it even better!

  20. Food Jaunts September 28, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    Fascinating, I’ve never heard of anything like this. So you just eat it as a quick snack? I have to buy those baby ‘personal’ watermelon since my weird husband hates watermelon so I love the idea of being able to eat the flesh and the rind.

    • mj September 29, 2012 at 11:30 am #

      Thanks FJ! Yes, it’s just a snack. I use it for those moments when I just want “a little something sweet”. I can anyone hate watermelon?!?! 🙂 Have a great weekend!

  21. Michelle September 28, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    This loos delicious! I love the color and the picture is beautiful. Thanks so much for linking up to Creative Thursday. Can’t wait to see what you share next week. Have a great weekend.

  22. Sissi September 28, 2012 at 5:03 am #

    It looks fantastic, MJ. I must admit I tried to use up watermelon rind by transforming it into a jam, but it was simply tasteless. Your idea (or rather your mum’s idea) sounds so much better. I am sure it keeps its delicate aroma (it was completely lost during the jam making process).

    • mj September 29, 2012 at 11:27 am #

      Thanks for the heads up on the watermelon rind jam Sissi! I was actually thinking of trying it, but I won’t be now. I totally trust your opinion on that! I think you would love these candies/preserves. Have a great weekend my friend!

  23. Laura @ Frugal Follies September 27, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    Now that is frugal to the extreme! I love it!

    Thanks for linking up with Frugal Food Thursday at Frugal Follies!

    • mj September 29, 2012 at 11:25 am #

      🙂 I knew you would like this! 🙂 Thanks Laura!

  24. kitchenriffs September 26, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

    Oh, and I forgot to say that I love the photos. Nice star anise garnish!

    • mj September 27, 2012 at 1:56 am #

      Thanks John! I get my inspiration from some great food photographers that I know. And You know who. 🙂

  25. kitchenriffs September 26, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

    Wow, this looks terrific! I’ve never had watermelon rind candy, but I know I’m going to make this. Really wonderful stuff – thanks for sharing. I can’t wait to try it!

  26. Reese@SeasonwithSpice September 26, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    What an excellent way to preserve the watermelon, MJ! So glad that you made a jar of these little treats before the kitchen remodel. They look like the type of candies I would eat – not overly sweet, refreshing and with healthy spice flavor. Really lovely!

  27. Baker Street September 26, 2012 at 5:33 am #

    this is by far one of most unique recipe i’ve seen! what an interesting idea and your pictures are just lovely.

    • mj September 27, 2012 at 1:57 am #

      Thanks! I stole the idea from my mother! 🙂

  28. vianney September 26, 2012 at 4:15 am #

    I LOVE this recipe… watermelon is KING here in Texas and I bet any Texan would love to get their hands on this candy~~ so excited to try this!!

  29. love2dine September 26, 2012 at 12:56 am #

    that is awesome i would love to have one right now.

  30. ChgoJohn September 25, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

    You’re the greatest! I had planned on experimenting with watermelon rind but the Summer got away from me. Now, though, I just might give this a try. Without needing to can/preserve it, I can get this done in an hour or two without any problem. Thanks for sharing!

    • mj September 26, 2012 at 8:33 am #

      Thanks John! Yep – to have a jar of these beauties with only an hour of work it SO worth it! I hope you get a chance to make them!

  31. Kiran @ KiranTarun.com September 25, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    OMG! That’s a very creative use of watermelon rinds!

  32. Terra September 25, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    Since I am a candy addict, I am glad you gave a addiction warning LOL:-) I read a recipe for watermelon rind this summer, and was immediately intrigued:-) I love the recipe, it really does sound delicious! Hugs, Terra

  33. France @ Beyond The Peel September 25, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    What a fab idea MJ, I would have never thought to use up the watermelon rinds. So genius.

  34. Treat and Trick September 25, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    I never came across candies made from watermelon rinds. Thanks for this great i recipe MJ!

  35. Giulietta | Alterkitchen September 25, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    These rind candies are amazing! I’d love to make the same with oranges and lemons… I love them (and then, maybe, dipping them in chocolate… too much?! :P)!

    • mj September 26, 2012 at 8:32 am #

      Thanks Giulia! I’ve thought the same thing about trying this method with orange rinds. They’ll be hitting the markets here soon, so I’m going to give it a try. Dipping in chocolate? You betcha!!! 🙂

  36. Asmita September 24, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

    Such a delicious and sweet treat!

  37. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles September 24, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    MJ, this is just so wonderful – I’ve never heard of watermelon rind candies before! I love how you’ve transformed something that normally ends up in our compost (or trash cans) into such a beautiful, edible form. What a brilliant idea; I must remember this one! Your picture is lovely in its simplicity. Great background too.

    • mj September 25, 2012 at 7:26 am #

      Thanks Kelly! It’s amazing what we can do with some of the things we compost or throw away. BTW- the background for the pictures is a cardtable leaning against the couch. 🙂 Thanks for the compliments!

  38. Zsuzsa September 24, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    I keep coming back to look at these photos… Be prepared for a lot of us copying this recipe.

  39. Suzi September 24, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    What a cool recipe MJ. Definitely going to try this one. I love how you styled them in the martini glass. Have a lovely week.

  40. wok with ray September 24, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    Imagine how much of those rinds we wasted and not having a good use? Finally I found a good recipe for the watermelon rinds. Thank you, MJ! 🙂

  41. Sharon | Chinese Soup Pot September 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    Hi MJ, this recipe is very interesting for me to see…because the Chinese also have a version of sweetened preserved watermelon candies. But I want to say that the candy is made out of the meat rather than the rind….I not completely sure but I remember the candies were soft, not crunchy. Either way, I enjoyed reading this recipe post. I hope your kitchen remodeling is going well!

    • mj September 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

      Thanks Sharon! I didn’t know about Chinese preserved watermelon candies. I can see that if it were made from the meat, that it would be soft. With the rind, it really stays crispy even though you cook it down. The remodeling is going! Hoping we’re in the last week of it! 🙂

  42. Dara September 24, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    This is so interesting! I had no idea you could turn the rind into candy. You are brilliant MJ.

  43. Nisa Homey September 24, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    I had no idea, that water melon rinds could be candied…I am trying this as soon as watermelons hit the markets….still wish I could have a bite…and yeah I would love the star anise flavour..MJ your picture is sooooooo tempting.

    • mj September 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

      Thanks Nisa! Let me know how you like it!

  44. Nami | Just One Cookbook September 24, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    I’ve seen watermelon rind recipe this summer and I was really excited. I’ve never seen a recipe like that in Japan. Besides composting use, poor watermelon rind will never get reused. This is going to be kept for next year and I’d love to make it. Sounds fun and eco-friendly. 😀 Well I just simply want to taste this…. looks pretty too, MJ!

    • mj September 26, 2012 at 8:29 am #

      Thanks Nami! It was wonderful being raised by a frugalista because I learned to through nothing away! 🙂 I know I was a little late with this, but hopefully you’ll get a chance to make it next year.

  45. CJ at Food Stories September 24, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    How interesting … Never even heard of this before 🙂

  46. Sanjeeta kk September 24, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    This is absolutely amazing, MJ! We make curry with watermelon rinds in Rajasthan India..but turning them into something sweet is something I will treasure for long. These look so glossy and delicious..can;t wait to make it soon.

    • mj September 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

      Thanks Sanjeeta! Now I’ve learned something new. I’ve never heard of watermelon rind curry! I guess you’ll need to make us one. 🙂

  47. Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb September 24, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    That’s an excellent idea. my grandmother used to always tell me that everything should be used and nothing wasted. I guese even she never thought of makign preserves out of watermelon, but then watermelon isnt that much common in central europe.

    Do you think those could be used in cakes? I have a recipe with preserved fruits, but we dont get preserved fruits that much here, so I thought it would benice to recreate your recipe sometime and make my own.

    • mj September 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

      Helene – yes, the preserved rinds can be used in cakes. As my sister reminded me in the previous comment, my mama use to put them in her fruitcakes during the holidays. That’s interesting that you don’t see watermelon much in Europe. Thanks for your great comments!!

  48. Nads September 24, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    Do you remember the call of the watermelon vendors as the roamed the streets in Waterside? “WAAAAATERMELONS! Ripe and fine. Eat the meat and preserve the rind.” Mama also used watermelon preserves pieces in her holiday fruitcakes. Mama’s could change anyone’s mind about not liking fruitcake. Glad to see that you are carrying on her tradition with your preserves.

    • mj September 24, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

      Thanks Nads! I guess I was to young because I don’t remember the watermelon vendors. I love that so THANKS for sharing it! And thanks for reminding me about the fruitcakes. DUH! I knew that! 🙂

  49. Katerina September 24, 2012 at 7:50 am #

    They look like transparent gems in a glass! So beautiful!

  50. Judy @Savoring Today September 24, 2012 at 7:37 am #

    What a fun way to use something that would ordinarily go into the trash–quite smart.

  51. Joanna @ Chic & Gorgeous Treats September 24, 2012 at 3:44 am #

    Oh this is really interesting. I tend to either eat the fruit or drink the juice. As much I want to make into sorbet or something, my family tends to prefer it as a fresh fruit. I must give this a try, and who knows they might change their mind. I am intrigued right now :). Have a wonderful week ahead!

    • mj September 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

      Thanks Joanna! We like our fruits in many form, so watermelon rind candies aren’t really a stretch for us. I hate having to compost the rind because it attracts the neighborhood racoons, so the candies are a great solution!

  52. Angie@Angie's Recipes September 24, 2012 at 2:23 am #

    This is a genius idea! I love watermelon pickles, but never thought of making candies from them. Brilliant!

  53. Raymund September 24, 2012 at 2:14 am #

    Starting today I will keep watermelon rinds, this is a great kitchen tip.

  54. Julia September 24, 2012 at 1:38 am #

    Such a pretty picture!

  55. Tania @ A Perfect Pantry September 24, 2012 at 1:37 am #

    I just love this idea… better than throwing away the rind.

  56. Mary Hudak-Colllins September 23, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    OMG! This sounds absolutely wonderful!! I wish I had known this before most of our large watermelons were gone, but that is okay…I will have this to try next summer, that is if I don’t come across a good-looking watermelon before fall 🙂

    • mj September 24, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

      Thanks Mary! I’m hoping to find a watermelon somewhere next week so I can make another jar. I finished off the one I made a couple of months ago. 🙂

  57. A Brown Table September 23, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

    I had no idea that watermelon rinds could be candied. I am definitely saving this recipe!

  58. Anne@FromMySweetHeart September 23, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    MJ! What a unique recipe. I’ve never tried watermelon rind but I love that you assign indescribable qualities to it! I’m really intrigued. That’s how I feel about cardamom…no matter what I use it for, it always lends a flavor that no one seems to be able to put their fingers on! These sound pretty addictive! When do we get to see the new kitchen? I’m dying here! : )

    • mj September 24, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

      Thanks Anne! Yes – cardamom flavor is next! I am really keeping my fingers crossed that I’m moving into my new kitchen this weekend!!! They are laying the flooring now and the schedule this week is packed to get me there. It will have been 6 weeks on Friday and I’m going nutsy coocoo!!! 🙂 🙂 Hopefully I’ll have pics on Monday.

  59. Debra September 23, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    Ooh—cardamom would be awesome.

  60. Ramona September 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

    What a fantastic idea! I love how you used all of the watermelon up… gorgeously done. Hope your weekend was fantastic! Have a great week ahead my friend. 🙂

  61. Carolyn Jung September 23, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    I’ve enjoyed pickled watermelon rind, but never a candied version. Oooh, I bet this is addicting.

  62. Sylvia@Peaches and Donuts September 23, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    I only recently found out about watermelon rind pickle and now there’s also watermelon rind candies? how intriguing!

  63. Choc Chip Uru September 23, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    These little candies are incredible my friend, what a beautiful treat 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  64. Michelle @ Simplify, Live, Love September 23, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    Your pictures are GORGEOUS, MJ!!! So lovely. I might have to get a hold of one more watermelon to give this a shot.

  65. Jane September 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    Your picture is very pretty 🙂 I made watermelon rind pickles once before and I did not like them! Watermelon rind candy though? That sounds so good! Hope the kitchen remodel is going well!

  66. Tessa September 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    Hey MJ! I can’t even count how many times I’ve composted or thrown the watermelon rind away… I am definitely going to try this. Thank you!


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