Agua de sandia (or watermelon water) is the perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day. It's juicy, sweet, refreshing, and extremely simple to make. You won't be able to stop at just one glass!
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Agua de sandia is a type of agua fresca (meaning "fresh water") that's extremely popular in Mexico. You can find them sold everywhere — taquerías, restaurants, street vendors, you name it!
Aguas frescas usually have two components — water and flavoring. These are some of the most common varieties you'll find:
- Fruit: Cantaloupe, strawberry, pineapple, etc.
- Grains: Rice is used in horchata.
- Flowers: Hibiscus used in agua de Jamaica.
Agua de sandia falls into the "fruit" category as it utilizes watermelon (or sandia in Spanish). All you need is watermelon, water, and some optional sweetener. You'll end up with a lighter and healthier alternative to smoothies and pure fruit juices.
It's believed that aguas frescas were created during the Aztec period. The story goes a little something like this:
- Many people traveled to and from the market in Tenochtitlan for trading and socializing purposes.
- Along the way, there were various fruits and berries to be collected.
- Travelers would muddle their findings with fresh water.
- This created a healthy, nutritious, and hydrating drink that is now known as "agua fresca."
🌱 Is it vegan?
Yes! Agua de sandia (and pretty much all aguas frescas) are completely vegan and gluten-free. Just a few things to watch out for:
- Milk: Occasionally you'll find milk or cream mixed in, making a watermelon cremosita.
- Sweeteners: Double check your watermelon water isn't sweetened with honey if you want to keep it 100% vegan.
🍲 Ingredients & substitutions
For complete ingredient measurements and instructions, see our recipe card.
- Watermelon: Necessary to flavor and naturally sweeten this watermelon agua fresca. Use regular or seedless watermelon.
- Agave: Use agave, cane sugar, or piloncillo. Depending on the ripeness of your melon, you may not need sweetener at all.
- Water: Use chilled water and ice for the most refreshing drink.
🍉 How to pick a watermelon
- Stripes: Choose a watermelon with a strong and consistent stripe pattern.
- Field spot: Look for a yellow area (discoloration spot) where the watermelon ripened.
- Stem: If there is a stem, it should be dry and yellow-brown in color.
- Knock: Make sure the sound is deep and hollow, indicating a riper melon.
- Weight: Choose the heaviest one in comparison to others of the same size.
- Shape: Pick one that's more circular in shape rather than oblong.
- Season: Buy watermelons when they're in-season as they will always taste better this way.
🧑⚕️ Benefits of watermelon
When it comes to fruit, we love watermelon for its nutrients. Here are some of the most impressive health benefits of watermelon from Mayo Clinic:
- Low in calories.
- Filled with many antioxidants, including vitamin C.
- May lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Improves skin health.
- Helps with digestion.
Step 1: Slice the watermelon in wedges and remove the rind. De-seed each piece, then cut it into small chunks to make things easier on your blender.
Step 2: Add half the watermelon to your blender with a cup of water. Blend it on high until smooth, then transfer to a large mason jar or pitcher. Repeat the same process with the other half of the watermelon cubes.
Step 3: Add the rest of the water into your pitcher along with a touch of agave. Taste and adjust the sweetness to your preference. If you want it sweeter, add more agave. If you want it thinner, add more water.
Step 4: Transfer the jar to your fridge to chill for a few hours, or serve your agua de sandia immediately over ice with mint sprigs, fresh basil, lime, or lemon wedges. Happy drinking!
🥗 Serving suggestions
Since watermelon water is so refreshing, we recommend pairing it with savoury Mexican antojitos like:
- Picaditas: Tender corn cakes topped with spicy salsa, fresh onion, and creamy queso.
- Quesabirria tacos: Crispy chile-dipped tortillas stuffed with oyster mushrooms and melty vegan cheese.
- Jackfruit carnitas: Meaty jackfruit infused with hearty spices and citrus to emulate traditional pork carnitas.
- Sopes: Crispy corn bases loaded with refried beans, salsa, and queso fresco.
Watermelon water is the perfect way to use up the abundance of this fruit available in summertime. Follow these storage tips to ensure your fresh water stays... fresh!
- Fridge: This recipe will store in the fridge for up to 3 days. We find keeping our aguas frescas in large mason jars keeps them the freshest.
- Freezer: Try storing your leftovers in ice cube trays to chill your next recipe.
- Note: We always store this recipe with extra water mixed into the concentrate, but you can also add it on an individual basis.
- Watermelon: Although it will no longer be an agua de sandia, try other fruits like pineapple, strawberries, cantaloupe, or blueberries.
- Plant milk: If you want a rich and creamy version, mix in your favorite plant milk to make a cremosita.
- Blended: Try blending this drink with ice for a frozen watermelon slushy.
- Alcohol: Popular spirits include rum, tequila, vodka, or gin.
- Add-ins: Lime juice, mint, or basil give this watermelon agua fresca extra oomph.
🧑🍳 Top tips
- Add sweetener as you go. Start slow and adjust to your preferred taste (less it usually more).
- Mix sugar at room temperature. If you're using sugar, make sure to mix it in at room temperature so it fully dissolves.
- Add a pinch of sea salt. A little salt brings out the flavor of the watermelon just a bit more.
- Freeze leftovers. If you have leftover watermelon, freeze it in small chunks to make another batch in the future.
No, you don't need to remove the watermelon seeds unless you want to. In fact, watermelon seeds contain beneficial nutrients like fiber, so we think it's better to keep them in!
No, you do not have to strain the blended watermelon unless you prefer it that way. If you strain the mixture, it will remove all of the fiber found in the pulp.
You do not have to chill this drink before serving it. We recommend leaving your watermelon in the fridge for a few hours or overnight before blending it. If the melon is at room temperature, serve your agua de sandia over ice.
Although there isn't much difference in health between the two, seedless watermelons have been genetically modified and don't contain the added fiber found in the seeds.
Agua de Sandia
- Chef knife
- Cutting board
- Pitcher or large mason jar
- 4 pounds (~12 cups) watermelon, diced ($2.24)
- 8 cups water ($0.01)
- ¼ - ½ cup agave or cane sugar ($0.61)
To Serve optional
- Mint sprigs
- Lime or lemon wedges
- Basil leaves
- To start, slice the watermelon in wedges and remove the rind. Seed each piece if you'd like, then cut it into small chunks and transfer to a blender.
- Add 1 cup of water and mix on high until smooth, then transfer to a large mason jar or pitcher. Repeat the same process with the other half of the watermelon.
- Add the rest of the water into your pitcher along with ¼ cup sweetener and stir. Taste and add more sweetener or water to your liking.
- Transfer the jar to your fridge to chill for a few hours, or serve your agua de sandia immediately over ice with mint sprigs, fresh basil, lime, or lemon wedges. Enjoy!
- ½ large watermelon = ~ 12 cups of watermelon cubes.
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
- We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
🍴 Similar recipes
For more refreshing drinks, check out our:
- Jugo verde: A fresh green drink made with nopales (cactus paddles) that is loaded with vitamins and nutrients.
- Horchata: A light, creamy, and easy-to-make agua fresca featuring rice and cinnamon.
- Cantarito: Tequila-based cocktail mixed with fresh citrus fruits and bubbly grapefruit soda.
- Mangonada: Juicy mangoes blended with lime and chamoy, then served with tamarind candy straws.
- Peach juice: Quick, simple, and refreshing blender juice.
Note: We've updated this post to include new information and helpful tips about the recipe.