A recipe for Gelo di Melone (Sicilian Watermelon Pudding)! Watermelon puree is thickened with cornstarch and topped with pistachios and chocolate chips for a fun summertime dessert.
I first came across Gelo di Melone over on Manu’s Menu back in 2013 and it continues to be such a fun way to enjoy watermelon during the height of summer!
Lately, we have been practicing carving watermelon bowls and other designs, so this recipe is an easy way to use up leftover watermelon.
Gelo di Melone (Watermelon Pudding, Gelo di Anguria, Gelu di Muluni) is a refreshing summertime Italian dessert from Palermo. It is relatively easy to prepare with just a handful of ingredients. You just need to plan ahead enough to let the mixture chill in the refrigerator overnight.
Watermelon puree is simmered on the stove with sugar and cornstarch until thickened. The resulting watermelon pudding is then transferred to small ramekins (we picked heart-shaped ones for a fun design) or glasses to chill and set before serving.
I flavored the Gelo di Melone with cinnamon and vanilla extract. Jasmine is a traditional addition as well. Claire likes to top hers with a little whipped cream. Zuccata (Sicilian candied pumpkin) is another common pairing.
A Few Tips
To prepare the watermelon, scoop out or roughly chop pieces of watermelon and place in a blender. Blend until completely smooth. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. I sometimes use a spoon to scrape the strainer as I pour to help release as much liquid as possible.
The amount of sugar may need to be adjusted based on personal taste and the sweetness of the watermelon.
This Gelo di Melone can either be served in glasses or in individual molds. Rinsing the molds with water before pouring in the watermelon will help them easily unmold after chilling. Carefully use a thin knife around the edges if needed before unmolding. If pouring into glasses, make sure the watermelon has cooled enough to keep the glass from cracking.
We decorated the edges of the watermelon pudding with the coarsely ground pistachio to resemble the watermelon’s rind and added a few mini chocolate chips to the center for the seeds.
The thickened watermelon mixture can also be used as a filling to make Crostata (pie).
Looking for more recipes with watermelon?
This recipe was originally posted August 2013 and updated July 2021.
Gelo di Melone (Sicilian Watermelon Pudding) Recipe
Adapted from Manu’s Menu
Gelo di Melone (Sicilian Watermelon Pudding)
- 3 cups (710 milliliters) pureed and strained watermelon divided
- 1/3 cup (40 grams) cornstarch
- 3/4 (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Mini chocolate chips
- Coarsely ground pistachios
- In a medium bowl, slowly whisk in 1/2 cup (118 milliliters) pureed watermelon into the cornstarch until dissolved with no lumps.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together the remaining 2 1/2 cups (590 milliliters) watermelon puree, sugar, and cinnamon stick. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce heat to low.
- Whisk in the remaining watermelon puree and cornstarch, then simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, 10-15 minutes.
- Remove from heat, discard the cinnamon stick, and whisk in the vanilla extract. Allow to cool slightly.
- Rinse 4 small ramekins with water. Do not dry. Pour the thickened watermelon into the the wet ramekins, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
- Serve chilled in the ramekins or unmold them. Garnish with chocolate chips and pistachios.