Skip to Content

Watermelon Cucumber Salad

Summertime means watermelon all the time. While it is a perfectly wonderful treat when consumed on it's own, we think adding it to a salad might be our new favorite use for this sweet summer melon.


watermelon salad with cucumber, feta, and poppyseed dressing

The Summeriest Salad of All

Is there anything more delightful on a steamy summer day than chomping into a big slab of watermelon? Turns out, maybe so! While we love to gorge on plain old watermelon, its cold-sweet-juicy goodness is really enhanced when paired with a bowlful of complementary and contrasting flavors and textures. Salt and watermelon are a classic pairing—the salt gives sweetness and juiciness of watermelon an extra vibrancy—and this salad plays that up by pairing ripe watermelon with the sharp umami goodness of crumbly feta cheese. Serve it up with a glass of refreshing Iced Tea on the side and yum!

watermelon in a bowl, cucumber, arugula, feta, basil, olive oil salt pepper and poppyseeds

Watermelon and Cucumber and Arugula, Oh My!

Sweet, crisp, spicy, fresh—this watermelon cucumber salad recipe is just everything you crave on a hot day. And, fittingly, it celebrates everything that’s ripe and ready when the heat wave hits—watermelon (of course) and crisp cucumbers. It has huge flavor, and it looks pretty, too. Not that we’re *just* in it for the looks, but it feels pretty good to bring a dish this pretty to a backyard BBQ or picnic in the park. And, best of all, it’s deliciousness is the result of just a few, basic, easy-to-find ingredients. Here’s what’s in our simple, summery watermelon salad:

  • Watermelon
  • English cucumber
  • Feta cheese
  • Basil leaves
  • Arugula
ingredients for poppyseed dressing in a small bowl mustard, olive oil
poppyseed dressing in a bowl with a spoon

What’s The Best Dressing For Watermelon Salad?

There are so many wonderful flavors and textures in this salad that you can dress it as simply as you please—if you just drizzle a bit of good olive oil and vinegar over it, you’ll be sitting pretty. But, our hands-down favorite dressing for this salad is this poppyseed dressing. It’s got so many flavors that play up the flavors of the salad ingredients—Dijon is a bit spicy like arugula, honey is sweet like watermelon, poppy seeds have a lovely crunch like cucumbers, and so on. It’s just a dreamy partner for this watermelon feta salad. Plus, it’s not super complicated. All you’ll need to make it is:

  • Olive oil
  • White balsamic vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Honey
  • Sea salt
  • Poppy seeds
watermelon salad with cucumber, feta, basil and a poppyseed dressing on a plater

How To Make The Best Ever Watermelon Salad

So, the only drawback—if you could call it a drawback—of this watermelon salad with arugula and feta cheese is that it’s not a great salad to make ahead of time. With all of these fresh, crisp ingredients, you’ll need to make it the day-of. However, there’s one exception—the poppy seed dressing! You can make this lovely poppy seed vinaigrette up to ten days ahead of time, if you’re organized like that—that’s some major foresight. As for the rest of the salad, here’s how to make it:

  1. Slice the cucumbers and cube the watermelon.
  2. Arrange the arugula on a big platter—it’ll serve as a sort of bed for all of the other ingredients.
  3. Mound the cubes of watermelon and cucumber on top of the arugula.
  4. Sprinkle the whole beautiful thing with milky, salty crumbs of feta cheese and some basil, too.
  5. Drizzle your poppy seed dressing over everything and dig in!
watermelon salad with cucumber, feta, basil and a poppyseed dressing on a plater

Tools You’ll Need:

More Summery Composed Salads

When it’s too hot to even fire up the grill, you know you can always count on one of these gorgeous salads to stand in for dinner.

watermelon salad with cucumber, feta, basil and a poppyseed dressing on a plater
watermelon salad with cucumber, feta, basil and a poppyseed dressing on a plater

When In Doubt, Eat Watermelon For Dinner!

We’d love to know how you loved this recipe! Snap a photo of your watermelon cucumber salad and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

💌 Let's Stay Together

There are so many great ways to receive all of our latest recipes, meal tips, and inspiration.

Watermelon Cucumber Salad

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  20 min
  • Cook Time:  0 min
  • Calories: 232


  • 5 oz arugula
  • 1 (2lb) watermelon, or roughly 6 cups, cubed
  • 1/2 english cucumber, sliced
  • 6 oz feta, crumbled
  • 16 basil leaves

Poppyseed Dressing

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds


  1. Whisk the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard and honey in a small bowl until emulsified. Add salt and poppy seeds, stir in salt and poppyseeds. Set aside.
  2. Place arugula on a platter, cover with cucumbers and watermelon. Sprinkle with feta.
  3. Make a stack out of the basil leaves. Roll them in either direction and thinly slice them to make ribbons. Toss evenly over the salad.
  4. Drizzle with dressing. Enjoy!

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories232
  • Protein4 g
  • Carbohydrates14 g
  • Total Fat19 g
  • Dietary Fiber1 g
  • Cholesterol19 mg
  • sodium288 mg
  • Total Sugars11 g

Watermelon Cucumber Salad

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Crystal

    Can this be made ahead of time and in the refrigerator overnight?


  • Alvernaz

    Does the poppy seed dressing have to be refrigerated? Or can I leave it out?

    I always refrigerate my dressings. : )

  • Jennie

    I made this for my mahjong group last night and it was a huge hit. I threw in some strawberries because I had them on hand. Beautiful and delicious!

    Thanks Jennie, so happy everyone it!

  • Kristen

    This. Is. So. Good!! Every year I get a TON of requests to make it! Love it!!

    Thanks Kristen, we are so happy you loved this!

  • Jenn

    This was so refreshing and delicious!

    Thanks Jenn, glad you enjoyed it!