Bitterblue received mixed reviews from music critics, with the songs being complimented but the production criticised. The album had major success in mainland Europe, where it reached number one in Austria and Norway. In 1992 it was certified 4× Platinum by IFPI Norway, with international sales of over half a million copies. Three singles were released from the album, including the hits "Bitterblue" and "Against the Wind".
Tyler began working with German producer Dieter Bohlen in 1991. She was reluctant to record Bohlen's songs at first, having been used to recording rock music. He was able to persuade Tyler, remarking, "you've made your rock music for years, but maybe you just have to be a bit more commercial." Bohlen was inspired by Rod Stewart's success with "Rhythm of My Heart", which was released in early 1991. In an attempt to emulate that, he wrote five songs for Bitterblue with elements of Scottish folk music, including instruments such as bagpipes and accordion.
Tomas Mureika of AllMusic rated the album three and a half stars out of five, describing the album as "a pleasant collection of pop tunes." He opined that her pairing with Giorgio Moroder "[gave] Tyler's work a contemporary sheen that frames her vocals within the songs." Mureika concluded that Bitterblue is "better than most pop records," but not as strong as her work with Jim Steinman and Desmond Child.