Watermelon Cotija Salad


Watermelon Cotija Salad-Watermelon salad is one of those summer treats that you can make for yourself, or throw a party and serve as a tasty appetizer. I like to eat it as sort of a Mexican fruit salsa if I’m having company over. It’s also good as a simple treat to cool down with in the very hot weather.

Watermelon Salad with Cotija, Jicama, and Lime

South of the border spin on watermelon salad! With fresh watermelon, jicama, cilantro, and cotija cheese.

Watermelon Salad with Cotija

Hot days are here! Today we are cooling off with a crisp watermelon salad with a southwestern flair. It’s sort of a spin off of a classic watermelon salad with feta and mint, but with cotija instead of feta, and cilantro in place of the mint.

Melons love salt (think prosciutto and cantaloupe). In fact, if you just want to give a slice of watermelon some extra pizzaz, sprinkle just a little salt on it.

Both feta and its Mexican sister cotija are dry, crumbly, salty cheeses. Perfect for tossing into a melon salad.

We’ve also added crunchy jicama, some red onion, and a little bit of heat with some minced serrano chile and a pinch of cumin. Everything is tossed with lime juice.

So you are getting a little sweet from the melon, salty from the cheese, tangy from the lime, herbiness from the cilantro, spiciness from the chiles, and crunch from the jicama.

Watermelon Salad with Cotija

Now that I think about it, with the lime juice, sweet melon, and salty cheese, this salad has all of the elements (acid, sugar, salt, water from the melon) of an electrolyte sports drink, you know, the kind you drink after working out to rehydrate you.

So, another great reason to enjoy this salad on a hot day. It will keep you hydrated, and it tastes way better than gatorade!

Watermelon Salad with Cotija, Jicama, and Lime

PREP TIME15 mins


SERVINGS3 to 4 servings

Individual chiles vary in their heat, so always taste before adding to a dish, and adjust amounts accordingly.


  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (2-3 limes, depending on how big and juicy the limes are)
  • 4 cups watermelon, rind removed, seeded and cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped peeled jicama
  • 1/2 serrano chili pepper (or a quarter jalapeño), stem removed, seeded, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Pinch cumin, to taste


  1. Prepare the onions:Soak the chopped red onion in the lime juice while you are prepping the other ingredients, about 10 minutes.
  2. Combine the onions with remaining ingredients:Gently combine all ingredients into a large serving bowl.Serve immediately. Salad will get soggy if kept overnight.


This easy Watermelon Salad is made with cubed watermelon, crumbled feta or cotija cheese, mint leaves and an easy lime dressing that brings everything together! It’s great for serving at potlucks, parties and cookouts and adds a healthy and delicious element to every plate.

Watermelon salad topped with mint leaves and crumbled feta cheese (or cotija) in a large bowl.

We are in peak watermelon season right now, and I’m taking full advantage of it by making a big bowl of this easy and refreshing watermelon salad!

The first time I made this recipe for my family, they were very skeptical. Sweet watermelon paired with salty cheese? Trust me, I said. Just trust me.

And it was love at first bite.

The pairing of watermelon with salty cheese may seem a bit odd, but they compliment each other perfectly, especially when tossed with some refreshing mint and lime juice.

Camarones A La Diabla are juicy, large shrimp covered in a bright red chile pepper sauce that are ready to eat in 30 minutes!

It’s a salad that instantly reminds me of summer and is so addicting and satisfying, you’re going to want to make a double batch.

Watermelon salad recipe ingredients


This salad is super addicting thanks to all the layers of flavor. Even though every ingredient is simple and easy to find at your local grocery store, each element provides a powerhouse of flavor that makes it really difficult to put down your fork.

Aside from the cubed watermelon (which provides the sweet factor), this salad incorporates:

  • crumbled feta or cotija cheese – I used cotija because it’s one of my favorite Mexican cheeses, but you can also use feta since they both have that signature salty flavor
  • red onions and jalapeno peppers – adds a nice sharp bite that compliments the sweetness of the watermelon
  • lime zest & juice, olive oil and salt – makes a simple lime dressing that adds a creamy, savory and bright flavor to the watermelon
  • mint leaves – one of my favorite herbs that helps tie the lime and watermelon together
Lime dressing being poured in a bowl of watermelon salad.


This salad is perfect for parties and entertaining because it’s so easy to make!

Simply combine the cubed watermelon , crumbled cheese, red onions, jalapenos and mint in a large bowl.

In a separate small bowl, make the lime dressing by whisking together the zest and juice of two limes, some olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Gently toss the dressing with the watermelon salad and that’s it!

Watermelon salad in a large serving bowl topped with mint leaves, crumbled feta cheese, and red onions.

This salad is best served cold and immediately after making. I recommend chilling the watermelon before making the salad.

Mexican Watermelon Salad (Watermelon with Tajin)

This Mexican watermelon salad recipe with tajin, Cotija cheese, and cilantro is a delightful, refreshing dish!

It’s got the chili lime tajin seasoning that adds some heat and citrus flavor but is mellowed out with the crumbly Cotija.

This is an excellent side salad or a great light lunch. It’s best with juicy, summer watermelon!

Mexican watermelon salad in a large white bowl on a colorful napkin.

Why You’ll Love This Flavor Combo

Watermelon and tajin is one of my favorite falvor combinations! The kicky lime seasoning mix is a classic addition to a slice of watermelon, so I knew I had to add it to use it in a salad recipe.

I’ve used tajin before on grilled cantaloupe – it’s really delicious on all sweet fruit if you like a sweet and savory combo!

I’ve mellowed out the salad with a sprinkle of Cotija cheese which has a lovely creamy, crumbly texture.

Half a watermelon, tajin seasoning, cut up limes, chunk of cotija cheese, a jalapeno, a small bowl of olive oil, and a small bunch of cilantro.

Ingredients for Watermelon with Tajin

Watermelon – You’ll need ½ a small, seedless watermelon or ¼ of a large watermelon. Your melon should be a dark green color on the outside and be heavy for its size (meaning it’s very juicy).

Tajin Seasoning – You’ll use 1 tablespoon of tajin seasoning – a delightful blend of chili, lime, and sea salt.

Cotija Cheese – You’ll use 2 ounces of finely crumbled Cotija cheese. Cotija is a Mexican cow’s milk cheese that has a similar texture to parmesan.

Olive Oil – You’ll use 1 tablespoon of olive oil as a topping. Use the best olive oil you have – this is when you can break out the extra virgin!

Limes – You’ll need 2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lime juice as well as some lime wedges for serving.

Cilantro – You’ll need 2 teaspoons of finely chopped fresh cilantro. I love chopping cilantro really small – it ensure you’ll get a little in each bite!

Jalapeno (optional) – If you’d like some extra spice, you can finely sliver about ¼ of a jalapeno pepper.


Talk about refreshing! This Mexican Watermelon Salad is a spin on my Mexican Grilled Corn, and with only four ingredients, it’s made in minutes! It’s the perfect fruit salad to bring for any Summertime picnic, potluck or your weekend barbecue!

overhead photo fo cubed watermelon with cheese and lime zest


Ice cold, cubed watermelon is refreshing, but I like to spice it up and add a few simple, on hand ingredients and this fruit salad gets elevated. I served this the other evening alongside my Ground Beef Enchiladas and Cilantro Lime Rice.


I use seeded watermelon cut up into 1 inch cubes. Fresh lime juice and zest are added to coat the watermelon and chili powder gets dusted on top. Stir together to mix and crumble cotija cheese on top before serving. That’s all there is to this beauty!

It’s a great fruit salad that comes together in no time and is a surprising hit every where I bring it.

process shot of watermelon on cutting board


You have the sweetness coming from the watermelon, the tang from the lime juice and the hint of heat from chili powder.

I like to make my own Homemade Chili Powder, but feel free to use your favorite.

The cotija cheese adds the element of saltiness and the combination is fantastic.


Yes. I make it up to the point of adding the cheese. Just keep it separate until ready to serve.


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