whole chicken in watermelon
Penelope Wilson
Penelope Wilson
June 3, 2020 ·  3 min read

Did You Know You Could Cook A Whole Chicken In Watermelon And It Would Turn Out Tastefully Awesome?

In 2017, a popular YouTube creator who goes by EmmyMadeInJapan documented the process of preparing this weird-looking yet oddly satisfying dish [1]. To her 1.9 million subscribers, Emmy is famous for preparing strange dishes with weird recipes most people wouldn’t normally be bold enough to try. From “apocalypse-style breakfasts” to her own version of the KFC secret recipe, Emmy gives her viewers all the courage they need to experiment and try new things in the kitchen. She decided to try and combine chicken and watermelon.

“I knew immediately I had to make it because it just sounded so perfectly strange.”

If you don’t try it, how will you ever know?

This chicken and watermelon dish certainly required a lot of courage, but who said chicken can only be cooked in a roasting pan or be butt-stuffed only in a can of beer? According to Emmy, the recipe had been originally featured in an old April Fools’ edition of the New York Times, created by Rozane Gold, and she just couldn’t resist trying it. 

“I knew immediately I had to make it because it just sounded so perfectly strange,” she said.

She recommends the dish is best prepared during the summer which is pretty much the only season you can find a watermelon large enough for the process.

Read: 6 Cast Iron Skillet Bread Recipes That Are Actually Good for You


  • Whole, hollowed-out chicken
  • 1 very large watermelon
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) Tamari 
  • 1 tsp  Five-spice powder (containing star anise and cinnamon)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly-ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) Ghee Butter (regular butter is ok too) 

Special materials:

  • Thin wooden skewers (to hold the watermelon lid in place)


  1. Using a knife, cut off about a quarter-inch of peel from the bottom of the watermelon so it can sit without rolling.
  2. Then cut off 15% of the watermelon from the top to make a lid. 
  3. Use a large spoon to hollow out a cavity for the chicken. Be careful not to scrape off all the watermelon flesh and take out just enough for your chicken to fight in nicely.
  4. Sprinkle the salt and pepper inside the chicken cavity to your taste. 
  5. Prick the lemon with a fork (you can also cut it in half) and squeeze into the chicken cavity
  6. and add 1 tbps (15ml) of tamari into as well. 
  7. Using a brush, spread more tamari over the outside of the chicken.
  8. Sprinkle one teaspoon of five-spice powder all over the chicken. If you’re going to be using other spices, be careful not to use too much so you don’t alter the intended flavor of the dish.
  9. Squeeze the chicken firmly into the watermelon, replace the lid, and secure the two parts with the skewers.
  10. Place the watermelon onto a baking tray and set it into a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees. Bake for two hours.
  11. After two hours, reduce the heat to 300 degrees and bake for another three hours. 
  12. Five hours later, your chicken comes out in a gnarly-looking watermelon – soft, tenderized to the bone, and flavorful to the core.

When Emmy pulled the disastrous-looking watermelon out of the oven, she notes it was much heavier then than it was before cooking. Her house also happened to smell like pumpkin when the heat began softening up the fruit, and hours later when the five-spice started blending in, it smelled like she was cooking something really sweet.

Making a gravy for the chicken.

When Emmy took off the lid, the cavity was filled with brown-colored juice from the five-hour tenderizing. She went onto the last phase of the recipe – making a butter-infused gravy.

She scooped out some of the juice into a pan and began to boil. Then she added two scoops of butter and whisked while it was on the fire. After it cooled down, she served some of it with her soft chicken (so soft it was falling apart) and notes that the flavor is heavenly.

She also mentions that the chicken tastes and smells absolutely nothing like watermelon and the dominant flavor in the gravy was the lemon. 

At this point, it sounds (and looks) absolutely inviting. I’m certainly going to watermelon route the next time I want to cook chicken.

Watch the interesting video below:

  1. Sarah Ramsey. Watermelon Chicken Is the New Beer Can Chicken. Wide Open Eats. https://www.wideopeneats.com/watermelon-chicken/ Retrieved 01-06-2020
  2. Rozane Gold. Chicken in a Watermelon. The Newyork Times. https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/8153-chicken-in-a-watermelon Retrieved 01-06-2020
  3. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzqbfYjQmf9nLQPMxVgPhiA