How to pick a cantaloupe -Image of a cantaloupe split in half on a wooden cutting board.

How to Pick a Cantaloupe | One Quick Tip

How to Pick a Cantaloupe – Say goodbye to nervously tapping in the grocery store – this One Quick Tip will guarantee a sweet and ripe melon every time!

How to pick a cantaloupe -Image of a cantaloupe split in half on a wooden cutting board.
How to Pick a Cantaloupe | One Quick Tip

Learn how to pick a cantaloupe every time! You don’t have to nervously tap the rind in the grocery store, or get home to a disappointingly un-ripe melon. Use this one quick tip to get the perfect cantaloupe based on when you need it!

Note: This post first appeared on August 2, 2016. The post has been updated from the archives with updated content and photographs. I hope you enjoy this favorite quick tip from my kitchen.

How to pick a cantaloupe - Image of a cantaloupe split in half on a wooden cutting board with slices on a stack of white plates.

The season is ripe for melons! I’ve encountered lots of methods for picking cantaloupes over the years, but I have one quick tip on how to pick a perfect cantaloupe that never fails, and I learned it from my mother.

How to Pick a Cantaloupe

To pick the perfect melon, there’s no need to worry about its weight, size, or tapping on the rind. My mother taught me that the way to make sure a cantaloupe is sweet and ripe is by examining the indentation left by the stem. The stem scar should look like an innie belly button – the deeper the indentation, the better!

Just remember: Look for an innie!

Ripe cantaloupe on a wooden cutting board. Text reads: "Find the Stem Scar", then "Innie = ripe & sweet". The image of the cateloupe has a depressed stem scar which indicates that it is ripe.

What’s your method for picking a perfect cantaloupe? Do you use the innie method? Or something else? I’d love to know!

Wondering about the best way to cut your cantaloupe? Check out these three methods if you’re wanting rind-free melon!

Ripe cantaloupe on a wooden cutting board. The text reads "One quick tip - How to Pick a Cantaloupe", then "Outie = not ripe. Innie = ripe & sweet".

I hope you find this helpful! If you have any quick tips you would like to share, let me know – I’d be happy to spread the word in a future post!

More Quick Tips

How to Peel a Grapefruit
One Quick Tip: Read Produce Labels
How to Soften Butter Quickly
One Quick Tip: Remove the Smell of Garlic From Your Hands
How to Cut a Squash Easily

Recipes to Use that Perfect Cantaloupe

Ginger Cantaloupe Sangria
Cantaloupe Juice
Cantaloupe Lime Popsicles


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  1. Pat Riley

    Almost all cantaloupes are picked green because they must be very solid to ship, a ripe cantaloupe will not ship. When ripe the stem will “slip”. leaving the “innie” dimple. It will slip off easily. But to ship the stem is cut because it will not “slip” A sign of an under ripe cantaloupe, very few have the “innie”, Unless it came from a local farmer who waited until it “slips” ripe ones also have a wonderful aroma that can be smelled easily green cantaloupes have little smell, You can even smell ripe ones in the garden when they turn ripe. Green melons can still be good, but do not compare to a melon that slipped.

    • Liren Baker

      Ah, thank you for sharing this very helpful information, Pat! It is true that it is easier to find beautifully ripe melons from local farmers, but I have had some luck finding some that must have been picked when close to slipping (?) at my grocery store, too. Thank you!

  2. Kay

    The innie should also be smooth showing it was ready to pick.

  3. Sam Smith

    I loved your tip and am so glad to read your post….i will apply this when i will purchasing a melon…Thanks for sharing…..!

  4. Keri

    By smell…. the more fragrant it is, the more it smells like Cantaloupe…. the sweeter it will be.
    I pick Strawberries by this method as well.

  5. this website

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  6. Mary

    Hi, I was given a cantaloupe by a neighbor years ago. It was so messed up, I didn’t think I would eat it, but I opened it up and it was so good and sweet. Now I always pick them by the ugly ones on the outside, marks and brown, just ugly and I always get a good juicy and sweet cantaloupe. I will try the innie for sure, worth a try. thanks

    • Liren Baker

      It’s a great reminder to never judge a melon by it’s cover, haha! I’ll try your way (along with the innie!) next time! Thanks, Mary!

  7. Bita

    That’s really fascinating! I’m definitely going to be the girl at the grocery store looking for all the cantaloupe innies now! My trick isn’t really even a trick– I just smell them! :)
    Thanks for sharing, Liren!

  8. Mary

    So interesting Liren. Somewhere along the years I was taught, or maybe read, that the way to find a ripe cantaloupe was by pressing on the indentation where the stem had been. If it gives slightly, it’s ripe.

    I will give your tip a try! Any road to a ripe melon is a road worth taking. :)

  9. Keri

    even yellowish (not green) color, smooth surface (no dimples) and it smells like a cantaloupe

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