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  • Writer's picturePasta Grammar

Gelo di Mellone | Sicilian Watermelon Dessert Recipe

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

A classic summertime Sicilian treat, Gelo di Mellone is a simple but outstanding dessert. The classic preparation is made with watermelon but you can use other juicy fruit, such as lemon, orange or strawberries!

Gelo di Mellone | Simple Italian Watermelon Dessert Recipe

You can also use the gelo as a filling in a pre-baked pie shell to make an otherworldly "crostata," although you may want to double the recipe below to be safe. It's also worth noting that, traditionally, the dish is flavored with jasmine leaves or extract. Go for it if you have access to them, otherwise we've replaced them below with cinnamon and cloves.

Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make this recipe here:


Makes: 3-4 servings

Cook Time: 20-30 minutes, plus a few hours for cooling

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 75g (about 1/2 cup) cornstarch

  • 750ml (3 1/4 cups) pure watermelon juice (see below for making your own)

  • 75g (about 1/3 cup) sugar, adjusted to taste

  • 1/2 tsp jasmine extract (optional)

  • Cinnamon

  • Ground cloves

  • Chopped pistachio nuts for topping (optional)

  • Chocolate chips for topping (optional)

To make your own watermelon juice, we recommend starting with 1/2 a large melon, which we've found to yield about the right amount (results may vary). Either use a juicer or a blender to extract the juice. If you use a blender, simply pour the juice through a fine mesh strainer to remove the pulp.

Place the cornstarch in a saucepan. Gradually pour in the watermelon juice while stirring with a whisk. Once the starch is blended with the juice, stir in the sugar, jasmine extract, and a pinch of cinnamon and ground cloves.

Heat the juice over low while whisking constantly. It can take up to 15 minutes, but eventually the juice will thicken into a custard-like consistency. Once the gelo has thickened substantially, pour equal amounts into 3-4 small carafes. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours, preferably overnight, before topping with crushed pistachio nuts and chocolate chips.

Buon appetito!

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Ramas Ferret
Ramas Ferret
Aug 24, 2023

I used a smidgen of cardamom and 1tsp of rosewater . Make sure it is fully chilled for best flavor . You really do need a melon with good taste to it for this to work .


Sying Tao
Sying Tao
Jul 05, 2022

I wouldn't bother going through all that work, it's not worth it to me.


Aaron Williams
Aaron Williams
Jul 05, 2022

I tried making this over the weekend. I used coconut sugar because that's what we have, but it makes things a bit darker than white sugar. I think the melon wasn't the best and the result was just OK, lacking flavor really.


Murray Writtle
Murray Writtle
Jun 17, 2021

Where is mentions Jasmine "leaves" the translation is probably meaning "petals" or "blossoms". The unopened blossoms are the most flavourful. Rose water should work too. "Carafes" may be a mistranslation of "ciotole" meaning small dishes, possibly ramekins? It is so wonderful to see this recipe. My wife enjoyed this in summers in Sicily but chopping and mashing the watermelon by hand was a huge labour. And collecting the Jasmine blossoms required a small army of young cousins. It was definitely a project for a whole afternoon :)


Jun 16, 2021

I just made this today, or rather, a variation on it - Gelo di Arancia Rossa. (Blood Orange. I don't know if that's a proper translation.) It came out perfect and tastes exactly like fresh blood oranges.

I used six blood oranges but only got enough juice for two servings. It's easy to make and I'll try something different next time, probably lemon.

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