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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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
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
Crispy, healthy and very easy snack made easily at home with just few ingredients.
Recipe by: Smitha Kalluraya
24. Bitter Gourd Pickle
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