It’s melon season! This Sicilian Melon and Lemon Granita can be made with any of your favorite melons, cantaloupe, watermelon, or honeydew. Made Sicilian style that is both creamy and frosty at the same time, very sorbet-like. A delightful slushy treat for hot summer days.

Melon and lemon granita served in glass bowls

You may know granita served as a dessert or palate cleanser, but did you know it is actually part of a Sicilian breakfast? Lemon being the traditional flavor, it is served with local brioche bread roll (tuppo, pictured below). It is also served as a palate cleanser or enjoyed after meals.

Italian brioche rolls called tuppo

If you’re looking for a traditional Sicilian dessert, Cannoli is another most recognized sweet treat or one that you may not know about is Chocolate Salami.

Usually Italian granita is made from blended fruit, but sometimes almond, pistachio, coffee and chocolate are enjoyed. It is sweetened with sugar, then frozen and mixed in intervals just before completely freezing. The Sicilians do it a little differently than they do in Rome, which they call Grattachecca, this is hand-shaved ice.

2 glass bowls of cantaloupe granita

For this recipe, you want the freshest, juiciest melons. See below how to pick a ripe melon. You can use any variety of your favorite melon, I chose cantaloupe and watermelon.

Spooning a scoop of granita

The lemon is not a predominant flavor in this melon granita. it just enhances the flavor of the melon used. Lime is also delicious with the watermelon.

How to tell if a melon is ripe?

Cantaloupe:  The outside should be tan/golden in color with a light green lines and a little firm.
Watermelon:  Should be nice and heavy. This indicates it is full of water. It should sound hollow when tapped with your knuckles.
Honeydew: The outside should smell fragrant, sweet and pale/light lemon in color. It should feel firm, but give slightly when pressed on the end where it the stem was.

What dish is best for making granita?

I like a shallow glass, freezer-friendly dish. Shallow liquid will freeze faster and make the process much quicker.

Yield: 4

Sicilian Melon and Lemon Granita

Orange cantaloupe and red watermelon granita in bowls

Any type of melon can be used for this slushy, frozen Italian treat.

Prep Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours


  • 1 ½ pounds (700 grams) melon flesh (1 medium size) * see note 680 of watermelon
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice (2 medium lemons)
  • Small pinch of salt (this brings out the flavor or the melon)


  1. Add the melon and sugar to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Add the fresh lemon and blend. Pour into a shallow baking dish/tray (if using watermelon, strain through a sieve to eliminate seeds) place in the freezer for 2 hours. Watermelon will freeze faster because of the higher water content.
  2. After 2 hours use an immersion blender to break up until slushy. You can also use a whisk, or fork. Smooth the top and return to the freezer for 1 more hour.
  3. You can add to a blender at the end to make it slushy and creamy. The watermelon will not be as creamy as the cantaloupe because of the water content.


This weight is for the flesh only, after peeling and seeding

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 73Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 64mgCarbohydrates 18gFiber 2gSugar 17gProtein 2g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.