Watermelon & Riesling Granita

Last week I posted a sweet potato recipe in an attempt to entice fall to reach California. Apparently it didn’t work because the temperatures here are over 100º this week. 🙁 As you can see in this recipe, I succumbed to the heat and reverted back to iced desserts for the time being.

If you’re unfamiliar, you can think of “granita” as a super-fancy snow cone. It is an Italian dessert of fresh fruit blended into a smooth puree with sugar and water. This is frozen in a large pan and scraped with a fork into icy flakes. Simple enough, right? It’s an incredibly easy, refreshing, and flavorful dessert.

This granita, however, is a little different. As you may have noticed, my version includes WINE because 1) it adds the perfect sweet flavor to compliment the watermelon, 2) it prevents the mixture from totally freezing solid for an even nicer texture, and 3) wine is my favorite and I try to find as many uses for it as possible. 🙂


Makes 8+ servings


  • 4 cups chopped watermelon
  • 1 cup resiling (or any sweet wine)
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice


Step One

Scoop out the melon. I prefer starting with smaller watermelons because they typically have more flavor and are the perfect size for this recipe. To start, cut the melon in half and use an ice cream scooper to scoop about 4 cups into a blender. Then, add all the other ingredients (sweet white wine, agave, and lemon juice) right into the blender as well. The exact proportions aren’t super critical here.

Step Two

Blend this mixture until fully smooth, then pour into a deep 9 x 13 pan, cover, and stick in the freezer. A lot of recipes tell you to check on this every 30 minutes and keep stirring it to ensure even freezing. This is nonsense. Just allow it to freeze solid (at least 3 hours, but up to a day).

Step Three

Once frozen solid, remove from the freezer and use a large fork to firmly press down and scrape the ice into shavings, as shown above. Because this includes a bit of alcohol (which doesn’t freeze), this will be very easy and you should end up with perfectly fluffy shavings.

Step Four

At this point, you can return it to the freezer for several days if covered or serve immediately. Remember: since we’re dealing with minuscule crystals, it will melt quite quickly, so you may want to chill your dishes and remove from the freezer just before serving.

Pro tip: save the watermelon rind for a super-cool serving bowl…




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  1. Hate to rain on the parade as it does look tasty, but maybe you did no know that so far as health goes you are probably better off using this

    instead of the agave? HFCS averages 55% fructose while agave 90-95% Short term fructose has less effect on blood sugar than glucose or other simple sugars, but beyond that, increases triglycerides, liver inflammation, and insulin resistance.

    • I am certainly aware that there is a camp of agave haters, but I have not joined it… You see, fructose, sucrose, glucose, and all simple sugars & starches contain exactly 4 calories per gram and they are very similar in other respects. (I wrote an article about this –

      The biggest difference is that products with higher fructose content (such as agave) taste much sweeter, giving you more sweetness for those 4 calories and you ultimately need to use less sugar (and less calories) than with other products.

      At the end of the day, I am far more concerned with limiting the total amount of added sugars than chasing after the next “healthy” sweetener that doesn’t exist. Agave, corn syrup, all-natural sun-kissed coconut sugar? Same thing.

  2. Good points! I am more opposed to added sweeteners than any particular one. I try very hard to design/tweak recipes to be sweet enough without or use whole foods only i.e. dates, prunes, raisins or better still fresh fruit as sweetener. I don’t drink wine so don’t know about no adds to this recipe but I would likely be quite pleased w/flavor of just the wine and watermelon, maybe increasing the %age of melon a bit.

  3. Yay! This is great, Andrew! I love that this recipe shows me how easy making granita can be! I’d been intimidated before. Thankfully, a bunch of food bloggers/chefs, like you, have been helping me uncomplicate recipes, esp. in the past year! Also, I like how amoungst your reasons for using wine in this recipe you say, “using wine is my favorite and I try to find as many uses for it as possible.” I love when people say something is their favorite like that, & now that I’ve seen Elf, I often think of “…smiling is my favorite!” Also also ;0), I think the idea of repurposing the rind for a bowl is & looks awesome!

    • I’m so excited that you know where the, “it’s my favorite” line comes from. I totally did get that from Elf! The other thing I stole from him? I always keep a bottle of maple syrup up my sleeve! hahaha…

      Yes, granita is super easy – it’s basically just shaved ice. I hope you like it 🙂

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