Chinese Winter Melon Soup

Chinese Winter Melon Soup

The Spruce / Christine Ma

  • Total: 50 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Servings: 4 servings

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 and 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.

    Chinese Winter Melon Soup ingredients

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

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

    Chinese winter melon on a plate

    The Spruce / 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 in a pot of water

    The Spruce / 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.

    shiitake mushrooms in water

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

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

    squeeze the water out of the shiitake mushrooms

    The Spruce / 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

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

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

    Chinese Winter Melon Soup

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

Recipe Tips

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.

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.