Sure, you know how to cut a watermelon, but do you know the best way to do it? Here are three easy steps to slice a watermelon, plus tips on picking one out.

Watermelon is the quintessential summer fruit. It’s delicious in sweet or savory dishes as well as on its own. As much as most people love eating watermelon, it can be a pain to slice.

When faced with cutting watermelon, it can be hard to know where to start. They are round and hard to handle, not to mention they are huge (most of the time). Don’t worry, you’re not stuck buying those overpriced pre-cut melons. Cutting watermelon into triangles is the classic way of cutting watermelon and it’s easy to do once you know a few tricks. Learn how to cut watermelon like a pro in three easy steps, plus how to turn it into cubes.

Start with a ripe watermelon that’s not super big. The larger the melon, the harder it will be to handle and cut. Although it’s hard to be 100 percent sure watermelon is ripe, there are a few signs that will make it easier to tell. Here are three questions you should ask yourself when picking a watermelon:

  • Is it heavy? Pick up the watermelon. No matter the size, it should feel heavy.
  • Does it have a yellow spot? Watermelons develop a yellowish spot where they rest on the ground. That spot will be a creamy yellow when it’s ripe.
  • Does it sound hollow? Give the watermelon a good thump. Ripe melons will have a deep hollow sound.

Give the watermelon a good wash to remove any dirt and lingering bacteria on the rind. Once you cut the melon, you don’t wont to worry about all that dirt getting on to the melon’s flesh. Pat it dry and lay it on to a cutting board.

Grab a heavy, sharp knife with a blade that’s almost as wide as the melon. It’s important to use a sharp knife. It makes the task safer and you won’t have to make several passes to get through the watermelon’s rind.

1. Hold the watermelon steady with one hand. Cut off each end of the watermelon—cut off enough peel to expose the watermelon’s flesh underneath.

2. Flip the watermelon onto one of the flat sides. Removing the ends creates a stable base so the watermelon will stay still when you cut it. It also allows you to see where the watermelon rind ends and the fruit starts so you can judge how big to cut the slices. Cut the watermelon in half lengthwise. Then, cut each side in half lengthwise. You should have four quarter sections of watermelon.

3. Lay one of the quarter pieces rind-side down. Slice the watermelon into one- to one and a half-inch slices. Serve the watermelon at room temperature or cover with plastic wrap and chill for a few hours before serving.

Tip: Watermelons will keep better uncut. So if you don’t plan to eat it all in a day or so, wrap one half in plastic and refrigerate.

The steps are essentially the same, except you’ll make a few additional lengthwise cuts in each watermelon quarter before slicing crosswise to create cubes, then slicing along the rind to remove the flesh from it. See how to cut watermelon cubes with pictures if you need help visualizing the process.

Check out our watermelon recipes for ideas on what to do with it besides straight-up snacking (including refreshing watermelon drinks). And don’t throw away the outside—you can use watermelon rind in many ways besides pickles.

See a video demo of the slicing process below, and one delicious example of how to eat it—grilled!