24 Bitter Melon Recipes To Try With This Healthy Vegetable (2024)

Whether you’re eating it for health benefits or love the flavor, this collection of bitter melon recipes is full of amazing inspiration. From stir-fries, curries, stews, and more you’ll have no shortage of delicious ways to prepare it.

24 Bitter Melon Recipes To Try With This Healthy Vegetable (1)

Sometimes we just get stuck in a rut with how to cook our vegetables. When it comes to bitter melon, balancing that bitter flavor can sometimes take a bit of extra creativity.

But there are actually tons of ways to enjoy it! Whether you love the flavor, or just want to add the health benefits of it to your diet this list of bitter melon recipes is perfect for you.

It highlights some amazing ways that different cultures and preparation methods pair the bitterness with other ingredients to create some fantastic and creative meals to enjoy.

Choosing & Preparing Bitter Melon

I definitely recommend you to check out my guide on how to prepare and cook bitter melon if you’re interested in mastering it as an ingredient, but these quick tips can help you get any of these recipes cooked to your liking in no time.

  • Smaller melons tend to be less bitter than the larger sizes.
  • The seeds and white interior are completely edible, but also very bitter and often removed.
  • Blanching the melon briefly, or letting them sit in a salt coating for an hour before cooking, can also help reduce bitterness.
  • Utilize acid, salt, spices, and fat to balance out flavors for a well-rounded dish.

When it comes to cooking with bitter melon, it’s all about highlighting the bitterness in a way that enhances the dish. Check out the amazing ideas in the collection below and get excited to experiment!

1. Coconut Bitter Melon Curry with Tofu

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This creamy Thai-inspired curry with bitter melon and tofu combines different flavors such as bitter, tart, spicy, and sweet to create a delightful vegetarian dinner.

Recipe by: Yummy Addiction

2. Stir Fried Bitter Melon with Beef and Black Bean Sauce

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A quick and easy, traditional stir-fried Chinese bitter melon recipe made with tender beef and a homemade black bean sauce made from scratch!

Recipe by: Pups with Chopsticks

3. Vietnamese Bitter Melon Stir-Fry with Eggs

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Vietnamese Bitter Melon Stir-Fry with Eggs is a quick and tasty dish with health benefits. It requires very few ingredients and you need just one pan to cook it.

Recipe by: Delightful Plate

4. Bitter Gourd Tomato Curry

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Kakarakaya tomato curry is a delicious South Indian style dish with bitter melon. An easy to make recipe that is perfect with rice or roti!!

Recipe by: Cook’s Hideout

5. Baked Sweet & Sour Karela (Bitter Melon)

Bitter melon baked in the oven with spices and jaggery! This sweet and sour bitter melon makes a great side with rice and dal. Vegan and gluten-free.

Recipe by: Cook With Manali

6. Bitter Melon Stir Fry

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Bitter melon and ground pork is a classic pairing made extra tasty in this easy dish. The stir fry is seasoned with garlic, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and soy sauce, a great and crowd pleasing combination of flavors.

Recipe by: Onolicous Hawaii

7. Stir Fried Bitter Melon with Fermented Black Beans

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This quick, tasty, and healthy side dish will surprise you with its beautiful simplicity and rich flavor.

Recipe by: Omnivore’s Cookbook

8. Javanese Stir-fried Bitter Gourd

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Oseng-oseng pare is Javanese dish of bitter gourd (bitter melon) stir-fried with shallots, garlic, chillies, and shrimp paste. It’s typical of Indonesian home cooking and has numerous health benefits.

Recipe by: Cook Me Indonesian

9. Bitter Melon Peel Stir-fry with Potatoes

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This bitter melon peel stir-fry is for those of you who love bitter melon. It’s a great way to use up an ingredient that you might otherwise toss out.

Recipe by: My Heart Beets

10. Vietnamese Bitter Melon Soup (Canh Kho Qua)

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Vietnamese Bitter Melon Soup features stuffed bitter melon with pork in a clear and savory broth. This is a traditional dish of Southern Vietnamese cuisine.

Recipe by: Delightful Plate

11. Bitter Melon Stir Fry with Caramelized Shallots

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The bitter taste of bitter melon mellows out thanks to the addition of spices, shallots, and a drizzle of tangy and savory lemon yogurt.

Recipe by: Sweet Miscellany

12. Cantonese Bitter Melon Soup with Pork Bones

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Bitter Melon Soup with Pork Bones is a delicious Cantonese-style soup with simple, pure ingredients. It’s also easy to make at home!

Recipe by: The Woks of Life

13. Healthy Bitter Melon Juice

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Try this bitter melon juice which is packed with nutritional health benefits and balanced the bitterness with naturally sweet ingredients including apple and kiwi.

Recipe by: Recipe Marker

14. Bitter Melon Soup (Easy One Pot)

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Bitter melon is a superfood and this recipe is an “all-dump-in” one-pot method. You will be surprised at how well the pineapples balance out the bitterness of the melon.

Recipe by: Joyful Dumplings

15. Stir Fry Bitter Melon with Eggs and Shrimp

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Bitter melon is commonly used in Vietnamese cuisine. Eggs and shrimp stir fry bitter melon can be enjoyed alone or together with rice.

Recipe by: The Viet Dish

16. Potato and Bitter Melon Stir Fry

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Achari Karela sabzi is stir fried Karela (bitter melon) with the tangy acahari masala (pickling spices). Once you learn how to remove excess bitterness from karela it really tastes good.

Recipe by: My Tasty Curry

17. Ground Beef and Bitter Melon

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Ground beef and bitter melon (or bitter gourd) is a popular combination of Pakistani cuisine. Give this dish a try for a slightly bitter but very comforting experience!

Recipe by: Tea for Turmeric

18. Chinese Bitter Melon Salad

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When prepared appropriately, bitter melon can be savory and extremely appetizing, like this Chinese bitter melon salad recipe. You’re going to love it.

Recipe by: Light Orange Bean

19. Okinawan Bitter Melon, Tofu, and Pork Scramble

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A great bitter melon dish for bitter melon newbies. This scramble hails from Okinawa, a place known for long life and good, healthy living!

Recipe by: Viet World Kitchen

20. Karela Sabzi (Bitter Melon Vegetable)

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A classic, easy vegan recipe for karela or bitter melon, one of South Asia’s most popular summer vegetables.

Recipe by: Pakistan Eats

21. Bitter Gourd Curry- Paavakai Kozhumbu

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Tangy, spicy, sweet and sour: umami of flavors in this bitter gourd curry. Bitter gourd is also known as karela, paavakai, kakarakaya and more, is quite infamous for it’s bitterness.

Recipe by: Food Fashion Party

22. Bitter Melon Egg Frittata

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Fluffy and flavorful bitter melon and egg frittata. This recipe is a very nice introduction to prepare and enjoy bitter melon.

Recipe by: Daily Cooking Quest

23. Bitter Gourd Chips in Air Fryer

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Crispy, healthy and very easy snack made easily at home with just few ingredients.

Recipe by: Smitha Kalluraya

24. Bitter Gourd Pickle

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Pickles are a great way to extend the summer harvested vegetables and this bitter melon pickle also known as Pavakkai Urukkai is no different. A wonderful and tangy / spicy pickle made with freshly harvested bitter melon is a great side to serve with rice.

Recipe by: My Cooking Journey

24 Bitter Melon Recipes To Try With This Healthy Vegetable (2024)

FAQs

What is the healthiest way to eat bitter melon? ›

You can eat bitter melon raw or cooked or make a concentrated extract from it. The latter is the most nutritious and has the most health benefits. As is done in Asian cuisine, you can also use its unripe fruit as a vegetable and make stir-fries and many other recipes from it.

Who should not eat bitter melon? ›

Cases where bitter melon should not be eaten include: Pregnant and lactating women: Research shows that bitter melon can cause uterine contractions, bleeding and miscarriage, leading to premature birth. In addition, research also shows that bitter melon can cause genetic mutations.

What organ does bitter melon help? ›

The consumption of bitter melon can help your cells use glucose and move it to your liver, muscles, and fat. The melon may also be able to help your body retain nutrients by blocking their conversion to glucose that ends up in your blood stream.

Is it better to eat bitter melon raw or cooked? ›

Unlike most melons, bitter melon has a strong, bitter taste and no sweetness. In fact, the fruit gets more bitter as it ripens. Both its green husk and its white insides are edible, and while you can eat bitter melon raw, many people prefer it cooked, because cooking tones down the bitter flavor.

What not to eat with bitter gourd? ›

Both bitter gourd and curd are considered very beneficial for health, but if you eat these two things together, it can be harmful for you. Yes, it can cause skin problems. That's why eating curd with bitter gourd vegetable should be avoided.

How to prepare bitter melon for weight loss? ›

Cut the bitter melon in half longways, scoop out the seeds and white flesh with a spoon and juice the outer green of the bitter melon. All all produce through juicer and enjoy!

Is it OK to eat bitter melon raw? ›

Bitter melon has a sharp flavor that works well in many dishes. To prepare it, start by washing the fruit and cutting it lengthwise. Then use a utensil to scoop out the seeds from the center, and cut the fruit into thin slices. Bitter melon can be enjoyed raw or cooked in various recipes.

What are the side effects of bitter melon? ›

Bitter melon extracts are usually well tolerated, but side effects can include abdominal discomfort, heartburn, constipation or diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, headache and hypoglycemia. Rare but potentially severe adverse effects include severe hypoglycemia, coma and seizures.

Is bitter melon bad for kidneys? ›

charantia fruit extract (Bitter melon) as single dose has not any significant adverse effects on renal function and structure. Longer-term consumption for 7 days can cause some complications in kidney tissue and its function.

Can I eat bitter melon everyday? ›

Special Precautions and Warnings. When taken by mouth: Bitter melon is possibly safe when used for up to 4 months. Bitter melon might cause upset stomach in some people. There isn't enough reliable information to know if bitter melon is safe to use long-term.

Is bitter melon bad for arthritis? ›

Momordica charantia or bitter melon has been widely described to have anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory effects. However, its effect on reducing pain in primary knee osteoarthritis is not well studied.

Can you buy bitter melon at the grocery store? ›

So if you're looking for bitter melon in the US, I would try Asian or Indian specialty grocery stores. Or you could try the local farmers' markets; they may or may not have it, but it's worth asking. Large supermarkets may or may not carry bitter melon, depending on whether there's local demand for it.

Is bitter melon a fruit or vegetable? ›

Bitter melon is known as a fruit but is often used as a vegetable. The fruit is green in the beginning, with a white pith. As it ripens, the outer layer becomes extremely bitter while the pith becomes sweet and red (1). The two varieties of bitter melon are the Indian bitter melon and the Chinese bitter melon.

How often should you take bitter melon? ›

Bitter melon is usually taken in doses of one to two capsules, three times a day after meals, for up to three months. This amount has been shown to help with improvement in blood sugar management/diabetic conditions, but not enough is known about its effects when used for more than three months straight.

Does bitter melon lose nutrients when cooked? ›

However, TPC, TFC, and antioxidant capacity of bitter gourd were reduced by 38.70%, 40.13% and 23.55%, respectively, after microwave cooking and 77.94%, 75.88% and 67.77%, respectively, after stir-frying.

How much bitter melon should I take daily? ›

The typical recommended dose is 500 to 1000 mg taken in two to three times daily. Bitter melon extracts are usually well tolerated, but side effects can include abdominal discomfort, heartburn, constipation or diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, headache and hypoglycemia.

Is it good to eat bitter melon everyday? ›

When taken by mouth: Bitter melon is possibly safe when used for up to 4 months. Bitter melon might cause upset stomach in some people. There isn't enough reliable information to know if bitter melon is safe to use long-term.

References

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