12 Mushrooms and How to Eat Them

12 Mushrooms and How to Eat Them

OK, so you love mushrooms. But which ones do you use when? And what's the best recipe for that "chef's assortment" you impulsively picked up at the market? Here's what you need to know to make the most of the 12 most popular mushrooms.

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As with the wide world of cheese, one of the joys of eating mushrooms is experiencing the unique flavors of the different varieties. From meaty portabellos and shiitakes to mild oyster mushrooms and chanterelles, you'll just have to taste the rainbow of mushrooms to decide which one is your favorite. With their unique flavor profiles, mushrooms can be happily paired for different effect with steak, cream, pasta, wine, onions, in breakfast dishes with eggs, and (of course) cheese.

Here, we take a look at the defining characteristics and preparations for the most popular dozen mushrooms; read on and celebrate the glories of fungus!

Common Button/White Mushrooms

Button Mushrooms

Button mushrooms have the honor of being both the most common and least expensive mushroom in the United States. These versatile, everyday mushrooms have a mild flavor that gets stronger when cooked and blends well with other ingredients. Sturdy enough to hold up in sauces, stir-fries, and stews, sliced and sautéed button mushrooms are also what come to mind as classic toppings for pizza and mushroom-smothered cheeseburgers.

Sauteed Power Greens and Mushrooms RecipeSauteed Power Greens and Mushrooms Recipelemon, white button mushrooms, Maldon sea salt, greens, kosher salt and 4 more
Steakhouse Mushrooms RecipeSteakhouse Mushrooms Recipeonion, Worcestershire sauce, crushed garlic, salt, pepper, sliced mushrooms and 1 more
Creamy Mushrooms RecipeCreamy Mushrooms Recipecayenne pepper, white pepper, all purpose flour, salt, Dijon mustard and 5 more
Beef Pot Roast with Button Mushrooms RecipeBeef Pot Roast with Button Mushrooms Recipecelery stalks, yellow onion, salt, cornstarch, fresh rosemary and 5 more
Button Mushroom and Karafuu Spaghetti RecipeButton Mushroom and Karafuu Spaghetti Recipemushrooms, all purpose flour, cloves, salt, coriander, pepper and 9 more
Mushrooms Stuffed with Brie RecipeMushrooms Stuffed with Brie Recipewhite button mushrooms, white wine, brie cheese, flat leaf parsley and 2 more

Cremini Mushrooms, aka "Baby Bellas"

Cremini Mushrooms

Cremini, or brown mushrooms, are almost identical biologically to white mushrooms. You can use them interchangeably in recipes that call for white mushrooms to add a slightly earthier, more full-bodied mushroom flavor. Like white mushrooms, the hardy cremini stand up well to slow cooking soups and stews. Oh, and that name, "baby bella"? It's exactly what it sounds like: cremini mushrooms are indeed immature, or baby, portabella mushrooms. More on that after these recipes.

Brown Butter Mushroom Pasta RecipeBrown Butter Mushroom Pasta Recipekosher salt, thyme, garlic, unsalted butter, fresh parsley leaves and 5 more
Mushroom Stroganoff RecipeMushroom Stroganoff Recipesoy sauce, vegan sour cream, salt, farfalle pasta, black pepper and 8 more
Chicken in Creamy Mushroom and White Wine Sauce RecipeChicken in Creamy Mushroom and White Wine Sauce Recipebutter, white wine, chicken breasts, cream of mushroom soup, dried parsley and 2 more
Rich and Crispy Cracker-Stuffed Mushrooms RecipeRich and Crispy Cracker-Stuffed Mushrooms Recipe
black pepper, onion powder, unsalted butter, shredded Italian cheese and 7 more
Best Ever Mushroom Soup RecipeBest Ever Mushroom Soup Recipebay leaf, baby portobello mushrooms, salt, non-dairy milk, white button mushrooms and 7 more
Mushroom Lentil Loaf RecipeMushroom Lentil Loaf Recipebalsamic vinegar, large carrots, walnuts, worcestershire, whole wheat panko breadcrumbs and 15 more

Portabella Mushrooms

Portabello Mushrooms

Large, substantial portabella (also called portobello) mushroom caps are the meatiest of the mushrooms, good for grilling and used as a healthy substitute in traditional meat dishes. The portabella is simply a cremini mushroom that's been allowed to grow to maturity, producing a wide, flat cap about the size of your palm. On the underside, you'll see dark gills, which should be removed before cooking. Freshness tip: look for portabellas whose gills still have pink undertones.

The stems can be quite woody and are typically composted or used to flavor soup broth. The taste of a grilled portabella mushroom cap is best described as meaty and earthy but the real meat-like quality comes from the chewy texture, which provides a sensation similar to biting into a medium-rare steak.

Mediterranean Portobello Slices RecipeMediterranean Portobello Slices Recipetarragon, rosemary, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, basil, sea salt and 2 more
Caprese Style Portobellos RecipeCaprese Style Portobellos Recipefresh mozzarella, olive oil, cherry tomatoes, portobello mushroom caps and 1 more
Roasted Portobello Caps RecipeRoasted Portobello Caps Recipesalt, portobello mushrooms, freshly ground pepper, virgin olive oil and 3 more
Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms RecipeMexican Quinoa Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms Recipeblack beans, frozen corn kernels, shredded cheddar cheese, fresh basil leaves and 17 more
Portabella Cheesesteaks RecipePortabella Cheesesteaks Recipebell pepper, swiss cheese, kosher salt, olive oil, salted butter and 13 more
Roasted Portobello Mushroom Packets with Lemon and Garlic RecipeRoasted Portobello Mushroom Packets with Lemon and Garlic Recipeportobello mushrooms, lemon, garlic, seasoning, juice, avocado oil and 1 more


Morel Mushrooms

Hard-to-find morels are a springtime treat with a distinctive deep and earthy flavor and sponge-like appearance. If you see them fresh, buy them while you can! The short season for morels means they'll be gone in a flash. Fortunately, many recipes call for dried morels, which can easily be found online, bringing us the pleasure of morel's nutty flavor year round. Remember: morels should ALWAYS be cooked they can make you sick if eaten raw.

Warm Avocado Tartine with Morel Mushrooms and Pea Salad RecipeWarm Avocado Tartine with Morel Mushrooms and Pea Salad Recipefresh lemon juice, grated lemon zest, snap peas, honey, sea salt and 9 more
Farm Egg with Morels, Peas, Crème Fraiche and Basil Purée RecipeFarm Egg with Morels, Peas, Crème Fraiche and Basil Purée Recipedried tomatoes, morels, butter, shallot, fleur de sel, fresh fava beans and 6 more
Spring Garganelli with Morels and Peas RecipeSpring Garganelli with Morels and Peas Recipetarragon, garganelli, garlic clove, shallot, pepper, marsala wine and 7 more
Sautéed Asparagus and Morels with Gribiche Dressing RecipeSautéed Asparagus and Morels with Gribiche Dressing Recipemorel mushrooms, freshly ground pepper, asparagus, dressing, olive oil and 1 more
Omelette with Morels & Ramps RecipeOmelette with Morels & Ramps Recipeunsalted butter, salt, Fontina, morel mushrooms, eggs, ramps and 1 more

Oyster Mushrooms

Oyster Mushrooms

Oyster mushrooms get their name from the shell-like shape of the caps, which grow on the side of trees in clustered stacks reminiscent of stadium seating. While they do have a distinctive shape, be careful when shopping not to confuse them with the long, thick-stemmed king oyster mushroom. Despite its name, the king oyster is a quite different species altogether.

Oyster mushrooms are known for their mild yet complex flavor and come in a range of colors from blue-gray to salmon to golden-brown, with slight variations in taste. Orange-hued oyster mushrooms, for example, will tend to have a light nutty flavor. All varieties taste best paired with other mild flavors or even better, served alone, sautéed in butter. While oyster mushrooms are on the fragile side, you'll still want to remove the tougher stem before cooking and be sure to eat them while young and somewhat firm. Because of their delicate nature, they're often used in Asian soups, stir-fries, and other quick-cooking preparations.

Oyster Mushrooms Rockafeller RecipeOyster Mushrooms Rockafeller Recipebutter, fresh spinach leaves, salt, oyster mushrooms, minced garlic and 3 more
Oyster Mushroom-Green Bean Stir-Fry(Vegetarian, Vegan) RecipeOyster Mushroom-Green Bean Stir-Fry(Vegetarian, Vegan) Recipeoil, pepper, water, oyster mushrooms, hoisin sauce, water, hoisin sauce and 9 more
Teriyaki King Oyster Mushroom RecipeTeriyaki King Oyster Mushroom Recipegreen onion, king oyster mushrooms, sake, steamed white rice and 4 more
Brown Butter Ramps and Oyster Mushrooms on Ricotta Crostini RecipeBrown Butter Ramps and Oyster Mushrooms on Ricotta Crostini Recipeoyster mushrooms, rustic bread, freshly ground pepper, ramps and 4 more
Sourdough Stuffing with Oyster Mushrooms and Kale RecipeSourdough Stuffing with Oyster Mushrooms and Kale Recipeoyster mushrooms, chicken broth, lacinato kale, unsalted butter and 8 more
Mushroom Sauce RecipeMushroom Sauce Recipesalt, olive oil, pepper, red wine, oyster mushrooms, heavy cream

Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitakes are meaty mushrooms similar to portabellas, if without their signature massive girth. These mushrooms have an intense and woodsy flavor, with smaller shiitakes offering a tender texture and larger ones providing more robust flavor. A chewier mushroom, shiitakes are a good choice to add both texture and umami to flavor-rich dishes.

If using fresh, the woody stem should be removed and saved to add to stocks. Like morels, shiitakes should never be eaten raw, so keep these off your salads unless you've sautéed them first. If fresh shiitakes aren't available, there are many recipes that call for dried shiitakes for an even more intense mushroom flavor. In fact, dried shiitakes have been noted as an excellent substitute for the much pricier wild porcini with a deeper flavor to boot.

Shiitake Bacon RecipeShiitake Bacon Recipetamari, apple cider vinegar, black pepper, maple syrup, oil, tamari and 8 more
Shiitake Donburi RecipeShiitake Donburi Recipesesame seeds, maple syrup, sushi rice, bean sprouts, tamari, mirin and 4 more
Pickled Shiitakes RecipePickled Shiitakes Recipesherry vinegar, fresh ginger, dried shiitake mushrooms, sugar and 1 more
Crispy & Chewy Sesame Shiitake RecipeCrispy & Chewy Sesame Shiitake Recipesoy sauce, Sriracha sauce, garlic, shiitakes, cornstarch, sesame seeds and 8 more
Light Shiitake Carbonara RecipeLight Shiitake Carbonara Recipedried shiitake mushrooms, fat free greek yogurt, chili flakes and 5 more
Shallot and Shiitake Gravy RecipeShallot and Shiitake Gravy Recipefresh shiitake mushrooms, salt, white wine, all purpose flour and 6 more

Hen of the Woods, aka Maitake Mushrooms

Maitake Mushrooms

One of the most delicate mushrooms, the Hen of the Woods mushroom sports a tattered head held together by a sturdier core at the base. Also known as maitake or sheepshead (but not to be confused with chicken of the woods), this shaggy clump of mushroom is most often prepared simply by breaking and tearing the mushroom into bits and pieces by hand. These mushrooms have an earthy, woodsy, and somewhat spicy flavor that helps makes dishes taste richer. Hen of the Woods are excellent when roasted or sautéed in butter, allowing the delicate edges to curl up and crisp.

Maitake Wild Rice Salad RecipeMaitake Wild Rice Salad Recipechopped fresh chives, yellow onion, extra virgin olive oil, maitake mushrooms and 5 more
Fresh Gnocchi & Maitake Mushrooms with Corn, Thyme & Browned Butter RecipeFresh Gnocchi & Maitake Mushrooms with Corn, Thyme & Browned Butter Recipeshallot, grated Parmesan cheese, thyme, maitake mushrooms, butter and 2 more
Pickled Maitake Mushrooms {aka Sheepshead or Hen of the Woods} RecipePickled Maitake Mushrooms {aka Sheepshead or Hen of the Woods} Recipemaitake mushrooms, dried oregano, sea salt, avocado oil, crushed red pepper flakes and 8 more
Gjelina’s Mushroom Toast RecipeGjelina’s Mushroom Toast Recipehen of the woods, crème fraîche, kosher salt, dry white wine and 10 more
Foil-Roasted Mushrooms with Hazelnuts & Chives RecipeFoil-Roasted Mushrooms with Hazelnuts & Chives Recipecinnamon, wild mushrooms, chanterelles, kosher salt, chopped fresh chives and 3 more
Maitake Mushroom Sandwich with French Onion Soup Dip [Vegan] RecipeMaitake Mushroom Sandwich with French Onion Soup Dip [Vegan] Recipepaprika, sage leaves, lemon juice, pumpkin, tahini, vegan cheese and 8 more

Enoki Mushrooms

Enoki Mushrooms

The enoki mushroom, sometimes labeled as enokitake, is a very mild, crunchy Asian favorite that is quickly gaining popularity in the United States. Pale, long, and skinny little mushrooms, these are often eaten quick fried in little bundles or scattered atop a hot dish as a garnish after cooking.

To prepare, cut off the connected stem end and separate the mushrooms with your fingers into smaller clumps. Enoki mushrooms are quite good for soup, where they can be put in raw to just barely cook themselves in the hot broth while adding a textural crunch to the dish. Other preparations involve a quick stir fry where the mushrooms jump in and out of the pan in a flash.

Enoki Mushrooms with Garlic & Scallion Sauce RecipeEnoki Mushrooms with Garlic & Scallion Sauce Recipegarlic, scallion, sugar, light soy sauce, garlic, oil, light soy sauce and 5 more
Korean Tofu Soup RecipeKorean Tofu Soup Recipefish sauce, gochujang, mushrooms, silken tofu, soy sauce, kimchi base and 5 more
Enoki Mushrooms in Mirin and Soy Sauce [Vegan] RecipeEnoki Mushrooms in Mirin and Soy Sauce [Vegan] Recipemirin, enoki mushroom, soy sauce
Enoki Mushroom Miso Soup RecipeEnoki Mushroom Miso Soup Recipesalt, gochujang, mushrooms, kombu, onions, gochugaru, maple syrup and 11 more
Beef Rolls with Enoki RecipeBeef Rolls with Enoki Recipewater, butter, enokitake, oyster sauce, salt, ground black pepper and 7 more
Vegan Tonkotsu Ramen RecipeVegan Tonkotsu Ramen Reciperamen noodles, roasted sesame seeds, corn kernels, enoki mushrooms and 5 more


Chanterelle Mushrooms

Chanterelles are the belle of the ball at the wild mushroom dance. Delicate yellow or orange in color, chanterelles look like little golden horns with their inverted bell shape, and may even smell faintly of apricot. The have a gentle nutty flavor with hints of pepper and spice, making chanterelles a good substitute for morels or the even rarer hedgehog mushroom. Although firmer than the maitake or enoki mushrooms, chanterelles are still best prepared by tearing them instead of chopping. Like many of the other mushrooms here, they can have tough stems which can be removed and added to homemade stocks to make the most of this exceptional flavor.

Chanterelle Tacos RecipeChanterelle Tacos Recipecorn tortillas, chanterelles, onion, freshly ground pepper, garlic and 5 more
CHANTERELLE RISOTTO RecipeCHANTERELLE RISOTTO Recipecheddar cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, salt, black pepper, chanterelle mushrooms and 7 more
Leek and Chanterelle Tart RecipeLeek and Chanterelle Tart Recipeheavy whipping cream, fresh thyme leaves, salt, flour, butter and 7 more
Geschnetzeltes with Chanterelle Mushrooms RecipeGeschnetzeltes with Chanterelle Mushrooms Recipesalt, rosemary, flour, garlic, chanterelle mushrooms, mustard and 7 more
Sautéed Chanterelle Mushrooms with Bacon RecipeSautéed Chanterelle Mushrooms with Bacon Recipegarlic, bacon, lemon juice, freshly ground black pepper, chanterelles and 3 more
Herby Barley Salad with Butter-Basted Mushrooms RecipeHerby Barley Salad with Butter-Basted Mushrooms Recipekosher salt, garlic clove, fresh parsley, Parmesan, vegetable oil and 9 more

Porcini Mushrooms

Porcini Mushrooms

Porcini mushrooms are some of the most highly prized in the culinary world, known for their bold, nutty flavor. Porcinis impart a deep, pure mushroom flavor to any dish, and are classically used in many Italian recipes. Their hearty flavor and meaty bite work well with pasta and grains, thick soups, and in flavorful gravies.

Porcinis are bulbous, both in cap and stem, with a classic mushroom-brown hue. They may be easier to find dried; if they're cost-prohibitive to buy, you can substitute dried shiitakes easily in the recipes below.

Porcini Popovers RecipePorcini Popovers Recipeall purpose flour, unsalted butter, salt, whole milk, dried porcini mushrooms and 1 more
Porcini Mushroom Soup RecipePorcini Mushroom Soup Recipesmall new potatoes, salt, sun dried tomatoes, water, fresh chives and 6 more
Porcini and Rosemary Crusted Lamb Loin Chops RecipePorcini and Rosemary Crusted Lamb Loin Chops Recipeground black pepper, dried porcini mushrooms, large garlic clove and 4 more
The Country Cooking of Italy's Potatoes with Porcini RecipeThe Country Cooking of Italy's Potatoes with Porcini Recipegarlic cloves, porcini mushrooms, waxy potatoes, salt, extra-virgin olive oil and 1 more
Polish Christmas Eve Porcini Dumplings (Uszka) RecipePolish Christmas Eve Porcini Dumplings (Uszka) Recipepepper, breadcrumbs, onion, flour, salt, salt, dried porcini mushrooms and 4 more

Truffles and Truffle Oil


Only the truffle, one of the most expensive gourmet foods in the world, can give the porcini a run for its money (or yours). This hard, bulbous mushroom grows underground; historically dogs and pigs have been used to help truffle hunters sniff them out in the wild. The two main varieties are the white or "Alba" truffle from the Piedmont region of Italy and the black "Perigord" truffle grown in France, Italy, and Spain.

Despite being so hard that they are typically served shaved, truffles are among the most perishable of mushrooms, with peak flavor lasting only 3-4 days. Truffles have a very strong, almost musky flavor associated with the finest of dining; however, you can more affordably boost your day-to-day cooking by using a small amount of truffle oil as with many of the elegant recipes that follow.

Smashburger Truffle Mushroom Swiss RecipeSmashburger Truffle Mushroom Swiss Recipeseasoning, ground black pepper, mushrooms, kosher salt, cremini mushrooms and 10 more
Truffled Mushroom Pizza RecipeTruffled Mushroom Pizza Recipeshredded mozzarella cheese, shiitake mushrooms, pizza dough, truffle oil and 4 more
Mushroom Risotto with Truffle Mousse RecipeMushroom Risotto with Truffle Mousse Recipegrated Parmesan, salt, olive oil, chopped parsley, unsalted butter and 11 more
Filet Mignon with Truffled Mushroom Ragout RecipeFilet Mignon with Truffled Mushroom Ragout Recipebeef broth, extra-virgin olive oil, dried thyme, peanut oil, crimini mushrooms and 8 more
Truffle Flavoured Paneer RecipeTruffle Flavoured Paneer Recipelemon juice, spring onion, truffle, whole milk
Roast Magret Duck Breasts with Shaved Black Truffles RecipeRoast Magret Duck Breasts with Shaved Black Truffles Recipecarrots, diced celery, low salt chicken broth, butter, olive oil and 6 more

Straw Mushrooms

Straw Mushrooms

Straw mushrooms, sometimes called paddy straw mushrooms, are easily recognizable for their small, pointy shape and dark caps. Most often purchased canned here in the States, these bite-size 'shrooms are frequently seen in stir fry dishes and classic Thai soups such as Tom Yum and Tom Kha Gai. If you do use canned straw mushrooms, remember that they've already been partially cooked during canning, so they're well suited for quick cooking weeknight recipes.

Spinach and Mushroom Stir Fry RecipeSpinach and Mushroom Stir Fry Recipefish sauce, spinach, oil, garlic, straw mushrooms
Tom Yum Soup RecipeTom Yum Soup Recipe
straw mushrooms, chili paste in soybean oil, garlic cloves, large shrimp and 10 more
Thai Chicken Coconut Soup (Tom Kah Gai) RecipeThai Chicken Coconut Soup (Tom Kah Gai) Recipelemongrass, galangal, Thai chilies, straw mushrooms, fresh lemon juice and 7 more
Braised Tofu RecipeBraised Tofu Recipeboiling water, soy sauce, sugar, bok choy, sesame oil, oil, dried shiitake mushrooms and 9 more
Thai Meatball and Vegetable Stir Fry RecipeThai Meatball and Vegetable Stir Fry Recipered chili flakes, ginger, snow peas, straw mushrooms, egg, brown sugar and 15 more

Can't Decide? Mix 'Em Up!

Can't choose just one? Me neither. Here are just a few ideas for when one kind of mushroom just isn't enough!

Mushroom and Ricotta Galette RecipeMushroom and Ricotta Galette Recipemixed mushrooms, garlic clove, ricotta, puff pastry, lemon, egg and 4 more
Wild Mushroom and Gruyère Tart with Fresh Herb Salad RecipeWild Mushroom and Gruyère Tart with Fresh Herb Salad Recipelarge egg yolk, extra virgin olive oil, green onions, Italian parsley leaves and 13 more
Creamy Chicken & Mushrooms RecipeCreamy Chicken & Mushrooms Recipefinely chopped fresh parsley, fat, dry white wine, vegetable and 3 more

Want to know more about mushrooms? Read Mushrooms 101