Bitterleaf soup – Ofe onugbu (as the Igbos like to call it) is very delicious and also comes third on my list of Nigerian popular soups.
This soup is popular because it could be made in more than five different ways and can also be refrigerated for a very long time (even though I recommend two weeks at most for most Naija soups)

Here is a guide to making the much talked about “ofe onugbu”. I stated in the download-able Nigerian foods Eguide that most Nigerian soups are named after the leaves or the thickener used in making them.

This soup can be made with either egusi (melon seeds), ede (cocoa yam), ofor, achi or even ogbono. Yes, we made the ogbono soup video with bitter leaves. But the most popular of them all is the cocoa yam and bitter leaves and that is what you will find in the video below.

How to prepare Bitterleaf Soup (Ofe Onugbu)

Bitter leaf soup, like most other Nigerian soups is named after the particular leaf which is used in preparing it. But of course you need to wash this leaf to remove at least ninety percent of the bitter taste, just so you don’t end up with a very bitter soup.

Ingredients For making Bitterleaf Soup

This would serve about ten person person or more depending on stomach size and all. You are free to increase the size of the ingredients if you want to serve a larger number of people. You can also refrigerate the remainder in case you have a smaller family.

Ingredients For Nigerian Bitter Leaf Soup

  • 2kg Meat of choice (beef, chicken, pork, turkey)
  • Bitter leaf (wash to desire)
  • Half cup of ground Crayfish
  • Maggi or knorr seasoning (3 cubes
  • Ogiri (a product of castor seeds)(optional)
  • Dry fish (2 medium sizes)
  • Stock fish head (1 big size)
  • Palm oil (about 25cl)
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cocoa-yam (pounded)


The bitter leave soup takes almost the same process as the making of uha soup, as a matter of fact, one pot of soup could be cooked up to the point of adding the leaves then you divide it to add uha to one and bitter leaf to the other.

Below is the images for Ofe Onugbu (bitterleaf soup)
Bitter Leaf Soup

It is better and more hygienic to wash the leaves yourself, it is a bit of time consuming but the result is worth the effort. This is possible if you live in Nigeria and can find them in your garden. But you can also get the “already made” from any market in Nigeria.
Bitter Leaves

Bitter Leaf Soup Preparation

To soften the leaves and further remove the bitter taste, it is advisable to boil alone in ordinary water for 10 to 15 minutes, most people like to add a little quantity of edible potash to hasten this process but I highly advise against it. My reason being that this catalyst (potash) tend to affect the entire soup in a slightly negative way.
If you still want to add potash, it will completely wash off the bitter taste and soften the leaves in less than 3 minutes of boiling (the reason most people like using it), but then you would want to boil again alone and wash thoroughly with just water to remove every trace of the potash.

Parboil meat with every necessary ingredients, use 3 cube of maggi or knorr, a teaspoon of salt and half cup of onions. Allow to boil for 10 minutes then add water and cook till the meat is tender.

Add the (hot-water) washed dry fish, stock fish and cook until it is tender, add more water then add palm oil, ground crayfish, pepper, maggi seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. Stir and allow to boil.

At this point it should give a good soupy taste (even though it would be watery). Then add the pounded cocoa yam as you can find in the video below (at this point you can add the ground egusi if you choose to make bitter leaf soup with egusi), also add the ogiri now.
boiling soup

Cook till the cocoa yam dissolves, (this would likely take about ten minutes) then add the bitter leaves, stir, taste, add more salt if necessary then cook for three to two minutes and you are done with the making of Nigerian Bitter Leaf Soup (Ofe Onugbu)
Bitter Leaf Soup

Either of these five can go along with it – Eba, Fufu, Semo, Wheat or pounded yam

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Video On Making Bitterleaf Soup (Ofe Onugbu)

Here is the video on making the same bitter leaf soup, I realized that some tips and tricks about Nigerian foods can be hard to describe with written words that is why I try my best to also make a videos for most of the foods listed on this site

Compare bitterlaf soups & Other Nigerian Soups

How to Make Ogbono Soup


  1. Aderayo  March 3, 2015

    join d group today and my ofe onugbu make my husband give me a passionate kiss with a big hug. waoh am glad I cook d ofe onugbu soup as learn here. Thanks

    • Chy Anegbu  March 3, 2015

      lol, happy to read your testimony.

  2. shona  May 23, 2015

    should d cocoyam be pounded raw? or should it be cooked den pounded

    • Chy Anegbu  May 26, 2015

      Should be cook and then pounded.

  3. Nwaeze  June 5, 2015

    thx elot this my favorit soup which I enjoy most
    when am still with my mum.but seinc I leaft her I mist it very much and now I have lean how to priper it now am happy.
    thank you.

  4. alex lexon  July 24, 2015

    how can i prepare vegetable like those of the calabar

  5. Jackie  July 29, 2015

    Pls how can I join the group, I need to learn how to make many Nigerian food. Or am I in?

  6. RitA  August 28, 2015

    Can i use ofor

  7. odunayo  September 22, 2015

    You are such a blessing.Tnx alot,ve tried sm of d tin u sent like bitter leaf soup nd puff puff.God bless u big

  8. Joy  November 5, 2015

    Interesting am so gonna try this, thanks for this forum cos I was already gettIng bored with my own cooking.

  9. pauline  November 6, 2015

    Thanks for all these i enjoy every bit of ur post,am trying this bitter leaf soup this weekend,do i pluck and boil d bitter leaf direct or i shud wash first?

    • Chy Anegbu  November 14, 2015

      You will need to wash it first before boiling.

  10. hope  January 6, 2016

    D cocoyam dat is added. Is it d normal edible cocoyam or it is another type of cocoyam

    • Chy Anegbu  January 6, 2016

      When you get to the market, ask them to give you cocoyam for making soup.

  11. Favour  January 6, 2016

    I love ur site…. I’m a single lady n from here i have been learning how to make gud food for my husband to Thanks to u

  12. Patricia  January 7, 2016

    I never knew that I can boil bitter leaf to remove the bitter taste,I normally go through the rigorous process of washing it raw,now I know better! Thanks load!

  13. Temitayo  January 8, 2016

    Thanks a million for this post though I’m a Yoruba but I like trying all Nigerian food. I’m making this one this weekend. Thank you.

  14. Adeola  January 11, 2016

    Thank you for this and making it soon,
    I made the Nkwobi over this weekend and it was a big
    I remembered the market woman and the shock/surprise on her face when she was trying to converse with me in Igbo and told her I was Yoruba and she said and you want to make Nkwobi! who is teaching you….I smiled, paid for my ingredients and walked away.
    thank you cos my hubby loved every bite.

  15. Joy oladimeji  January 28, 2016

    Waa oh chi am going to prepare this soup

  16. Chioma Monica  March 25, 2016

    I’m going to try this recipe definitely. You are really wonderful and I’m glad I found your site today. Keep it up dear.

  17. suzzy  April 23, 2016

    I prepared it just as u lectured and it was so delicious. U are really God sent, I was actually scared anytime my hubby ask me to prepare onugbu soup but now I can close my eyes to prepare it .tanx to u.

  18. Winnie  May 10, 2016

    I tried this soup for after visiting this site. Thanks so much. It came out nice although it seems i used too much oil.

    • Chy Anegbu  May 11, 2016

      lol, that happens sometime. Just be more careful the next time you try bitterleaf soup.

  19. Tracy unuigbe  June 29, 2016

    In my place, we wash bitter leaf ground it before using it to make bitter leaf soup. When it is used together with egusi it no longer bitter leaf soup but egusi soup prepare with bitter leaf just like egusi soup prepared with ugu (pumpkin leave). I will still try this your method because no knowledge is wasted. Thank you ma

  20. Nephi  November 24, 2016

    Thanks a lot! I can prepare Bitter Leaf soup now


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