Chinese Winter Melon Soup

Chinese winter melon soup in a bowl

The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
65 Calories
1g Fat
11g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 65
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 8mg 3%
Sodium 756mg 33%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 9mg 45%
Calcium 28mg 2%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 283mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Chinese winter melon soup is a popular dish that is often served in Chinese households and at Chinese banquets. Winter melon usually has a light refreshing sweetness with a soft texture once cooked. However, it does not contribute a lot of taste to a dish and instead absorbs the flavors of the ingredients it is combined with. Chinese people believe winter melon is a Yin food that can help our bodies to counter the summer heat and humidity.

There are many different methods to prepare winter melon soup; this recipe uses shiitake mushrooms and ham. If you have trouble finding Chinese ham, you can replace it with another cured ham.


  • 1/2 pound winter melon

  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms

  • 2 cups chicken broth

  • 2 to 3 slices ginger

  • 1/4 cup diced cooked ham

  • Salt, to taste

  • Pepper, to taste

  • 1 green onion, green part only, washed and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Chinese winter melon soup gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  2. Wash the winter melon. Remove the green skin, seeds, and pulp. Cut into 2-inch pieces.

    Chinese winter melon cut into pieces on a plate

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  3. Place the winter melon in a pot of water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, until the winter melon is tender.

    Winter melon boiling in a pot of water

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  4. Place dried shiitake mushrooms in a small bowl. Cover with cold water, and set aside for 20 minutes to reconstitute the mushrooms.

    Shiiitake mushrooms covered with cold water in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  5. Squeeze out any excess water from the mushrooms, set aside.

    Squeezing the water out of the shiitake mushrooms into the bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  6. To the pot, add the mushrooms, chicken broth, ginger, and cooked ham. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    Mushrooms, chicken broth, ginger, and cooked ham in a pot with winter melon

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  7. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Add green onion for garnish and serve hot.

    Bowl and pot of Chinese winter melon soup next to each other

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma


  • If winter melon is unavailable, you can use a whole cucumber instead; just keep in mind the flavor will be quite different. If you use cucumber, make sure you peel it, remove the seeds from the core, and dice.
  • To make this dish a bit fancier and more impressive, purchase a whole 8 to 10-pound winter melon; cut off the top, remove the seeds and pulp, and place the other ingredients inside. Steam for 1 to 2 hours.
  • To save time, while the winter melon is cooking, prepare the mushrooms and get them soaking.

Recipe Variations

  • It is easy to add to this simple soup without altering the recipe's intention. Feel free to replace the ham with barbecued pork and/or shrimp, or add along with the ham.
  • You can also include other vegetables such as bamboo shoots, carrots, or silk squash.

Health Benefits of Winter Melon

In addition to helping cope with the heat and humidity of summer, this fruit has other health benefits as well. Winter melon is high in dietary fiber which can help control high blood sugar levels and reduce cholesterol and lipid levels. It is also rich in vitamin B1 and B2 and is high in potassium. Winter melon can moisten the skin and enhance one’s beauty and will also help your urine production and increase the health of your kidneys.