Melon Milk is a refreshing, light, and delightful milk beverage, flavored with sweet cantaloupe or honeydew melons. Prepare the melon syrup ahead of time, and mix it with dairy or vegan milk whenever you’re ready to indulge in some melon-y goodness.
Oh and if you like melon milk, I highly recommend giving my melon soda float recipe a try. It's an absolute delight! Although it's a refreshing summer beverage, it's so good that I find myself enjoying it all-year-round.
What is Melon Milk?
This melon milk is a simple yet delightful drink made with milk and homemade melon syrup.
For many, the idea of pairing melon with milk might be unique, but it's not a new concept. Melon beverages, both creamy and non-creamy variations, are enjoyed in many countries throughout the world, including Thailand, the Philippines, Korea, Iran, India, and Mexico.
A non-creamy melon drink typically consists of melon, sugar, and water blended together and is often served with melon shreds or chunks.
Why Use Melon Syrup?
You can make melon milk by simply blending melon, milk, and sugar together in a blender or food processor. However, due to some enzyme activity, the flavor of this drink may turn a little bitter if it's not consumed immediately. The best way to counter this issue is to use melon syrup.
Also, the freshly blended drink tastes like a very rich milkshake, which you may like, but I prefer the lightness of the melon milk made using melon syrup.
My homemade syrup will also allow you to be party-ready. You can make it ahead of time and simply mix it into the milk when you're ready to serve. The best part is, this syrup stays well in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Here are some useful notes on the ingredients you need to make this yummy melon milk.
This recipe works best with sweet and soft-fleshed muskmelon varieties, including cantaloupe and honeydew. You can also try specialty melons like Crenshaw. But before you buy or try any unfamiliar melon variety for this melon milk, Google to check if the flesh of that variety is sweet and soft.
How to buy a ripe, sweet melon
Whether you are buying a cantaloupe, a honeydew melon, or any other specialty melon, the predominant indicator of ripeness is a pleasant, sweet smell. So go ahead and do a sniff test.
You can also gently press the stem-side end of the melon to check its firmness. When ripe, the melon should have a slight give, but it shouldn’t be too soft or too firm. This touch method may not apply to all melon varieties.
Try this recipe as-is at least once before adjusting the sugar level in the syrup. The simplest way of adjusting the sweetness of melon milk is to adjust the quantity of syrup in the melon milk.
I haven't tried this recipe with honey or brown sugar, but those could be good substitutes. You may get a slightly different tasting melon milk, though.
Rose water adds a delicate, floral lightness to the melon milk. It complements the sweetness of the melon really well.
Food-grade rose water is commonly available in Middle Eastern, Pakistani, Persian, and Indian grocery shops. You may also find it in your local supermarket's international aisle/section. Buying online from Amazon is always an option.
If you've never bought rose water before, read the label carefully to avoid purchasing something that is “for external use only.” Rose water is also commonly used as a beauty product, and the external-use product may not be food-grade.
Rose water is usually inexpensive, has a long shelf life (both in the pantry and the refrigerator), and is a gourmet ingredient used in many cuisines. You can also use it in your mocktails, cocktails, and lemonades for a subtle and pleasant floral infusion.
If you can't find rose water, you can use (food-grade) rose essence instead. Replace 1 tablespoon of rose water with 8 to 10 drops of rose essence. If you can’t find either of the two options, feel free to skip this ingredient. The resulting melon milk might not have a pleasant flowery balance, but it will still taste great.
Vanilla extract and vanilla essence can be used interchangeably in this recipe. It is important to note, however, that vanilla extract is typically made using real vanilla beans. Vanilla essence (also known as artificial vanilla extract) is a synthetic product made with artificial flavors and colors.
Vanilla essence can be more or less potent in flavor than vanilla extract. If that's the case, you might need to decrease or increase its quantity in the recipe. Taste-test as you prepare the melon syrup and adjust accordingly.
Regular full-fat or skimmed milk works perfectly for this recipe. Since I’m lactose intolerant, I prefer using lactose-free milk, and I find absolutely no difference in taste from the drink prepared using regular milk.
For vegan melon milk, you can use any non-dairy milk of your choice, like oat milk, soy milk, or coconut milk. The taste of the melon milk might vary a bit depending on the milk you’re using.
Instructions (Step-by-Step Photos)
Follow these simple, photo-assisted instructions to prepare this refreshing melon milk. Don't forget to check out the recipe card down below for the printable version of this recipe with detailed instructions and all the important tips and notes.
Cut the melon into small cubes. Remove the skin and the seeds.
In a blender, puree the melon cubes.
Cook water and sugar for 8 to 10 minutes to get the sugar syrup.
Add the melon purée to the sugar syrup. Let the syrup cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Turn the heat off. Add vanilla extract and rose water. Mix well.
Transfer the melon syrup to an airtight container once it has cooled down.
Add melon syrup to a glass.
Add chilled milk. Adjust the quantity of melon syrup to taste. Stir well, and serve.
Melon Milk Variations
- Boba/Tapioca Pearls: If you’re a bubble tea lover, you’ll love the addition of cooked/prepared boba to the melon milk. So good!
- Chia seeds: Soak some chia seeds in water for 30 minutes before adding them to the melon milk. For soaking 1 teaspoon of chia seeds, use 2 tablespoons of water.
- Jello cubes: Set your favorite jello (jelly) in a plate. Cut it up into very small cubes and add to the melon milk.
- Melon Shreds: Shred up some melon using a knife or a coconut grater (a fine grater will not work for this) and add to your melon milk.
Making Ahead and Storage
- The melon syrup can be prepared up to 4 days in advance of use. Be sure to refrigerate it in an airtight container.
- Although it's best to mix the melon syrup into the milk just before serving, you can also let the prepared melon milk chill in the refrigerator for a few hours. Don’t add ice in advance though, or the drink will water down.
- Don’t forget to give the prepared melon milk a good stir, as the melon pulp tends to separate from the milk (and that's nothing to worry about).
- Consume the prepared melon milk within 8 hours.
Tips for Recipe Success
- Use ripe, sweet-smelling, and sweet-tasting melons for the best results.
- To retain the best flavor, don’t add the vanilla extract or the rose water before you turn the heat off.
- Blend the melon chunks really well. You want a super-smooth purée for the melon syrup.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes. You can use oat milk, coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk, cashew milk, or any vegan milk you prefer. But any strong-tasting milk will change the taste of the melon milk a bit. The creaminess of the drink may also vary with different kinds of milk.
I won’t recommend the use of condensed milk as it would make your drink way too sweet. Choose milk options that do not have any added sugar, as there’s a sufficient amount of sugar in this recipe.
Check out the notes on melon in the ingredients section above.
Yes, you can fix this issue in two ways. Either increase the quantity of melon syrup when preparing melon milk, or increase the quantity of sugar when making melon syrup.
Yes. You can prepare a delightful fizzy melon drink by adding drinks like Sprite, 7-UP, or Ginger Ale to the melon syrup. Melon syrup can also be used in lemonades.
For sure. You can prepare it up to 4 days in advance of using it.
- Add some ice to the melon milk just before you serve.
- Taste the melon milk and adjust it to taste. Add more melon syrup or milk as per your liking.
- If you’re adding boba, jello cubes, or melon shreds, serve with large/wide straws.
Food and Cooking Safety
- Don't let the melon syrup or the prepared melon milk sit out at room temperature for more than an hour.
- Never leave the syrup unattended while cooking.
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove.
See more guidelines at USDA.gov.
For Melon Syrup
- 1.5 pounds (680 g) cantaloupe or honeydew melon - cut into cubes. Seeds, skin, and rind removed. This is about about ½ medium-sized cantaloupe.
- ¾ cup (150 g) sugar
- ½ cup (118 ml) water
- 1 tablespoon rose water - see Note 1 below
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract - see Note 2 below
For 1 Glass of Melon Milk
- ¼ cup (59 ml) prepared melon syrup - adjust the quantity to taste. Stir well before use.
- 1 cup (237 ml) milk - see Note 3 below
- ice cubes - as needed
Preparing Melon Syrup
- Blend all the melon cubes in a blender or food processor until you get a very smooth purée. Don't add any water. You should get about 3 to 4 cups of puréed melon. Set this aside.
- Add water and sugar to a saucepan and stir on medium heat until all the sugar dissolves. Cook for 8 to 10 more minutes until the liquid turns a bit syrupy.
- Add the melon purée to the sugar syrup. Let the syrup cook for 2 to 3 minutes while stirring continuously. Don't leave it any longer or the taste will start to change. Turn the heat off.
- Now add vanilla extract and rose water and give a good stir. Let the syrup cool to room temperature. It is ok if the melon syrup looks frothy.
- Transfer to an airtight jar or container. You can make up to 12 glasses of melon milk with this quantity of melon syrup.
Preparing 1 glass of Melon Milk
- Stir the melon syrup with a spoon. It is normal for melon pulp to separate from the syrup.
- In a glass, mix melon syrup and milk. Adjust the quantity of the melon syrup to taste.
- Add ice cubes and serve.
- Note 1 - Rose Water: You can use rose essence instead of rose water. Replace 1 tablespoon of rose water with 8 to 10 drops of rose essence.
- Note 2 - Vanilla Extract: Vanilla essence (artificial vanilla extract) can also be used instead of pure vanilla extract. However, you might need to adjust the quantity of the essence if it is more or less strong than regular vanilla extract.
- Note 3 - Milk: You can use full-fat, skimmed, or lactose-free milk. Or substitute milk with vegan options like oat milk, soy milk, or cashew milk. The taste of the melon milk might vary a bit depending on the vegan milk you’re using.
The nutritional information provided here is calculated using a third-party nutrition calculator. These values are estimates, and we cannot guarantee the correctness of the displayed numbers. Please see our disclaimer page.