Cooking With Mushrooms

Last Update: September 27, 2022

Ah, the mighty mushroom. This fungi is adored by vegetarians and vegans the world over, but even carnivores fall fall for them. From side dishes to the main event, we’ve got all the ways you can get cooking with mushrooms.


How to Cook Portobello Mushrooms

Remove dirt off the top of your portobello mushroom with a damp cloth or paper towel, then remove the stem with a knife. (Don’t throw it away! The stem might be tough, but it can enhance your next batch of homemade stock.) The last step? Scrape out the gills with a spoon. Although edible, the dark gills are so pigmented that they can turn the rest of your food an unappetizing shade of brown. You can grill portobello mushrooms whole (perfect for plant-based burgers), slice them to sauté, or grind them up to use for stuffing pasta. Portobello mushrooms take marinades well, too, so don’t miss the opportunity to infuse extra flavor before cooking!

How to Cook Cremini Mushrooms

Also known as baby bellas, this variety is often found in the refrigerated section of your grocery store, either whole or pre-sliced. You can treat them the same as the portobello mushrooms, sans gill scraping. Brush their tops clean with a damp cloth, then slice or leave whole. Versatile and easy to cook, you can add cremini mushrooms to stir-frys and pastas, or cook them whole with butter, garlic, and herbs for a gorgeous side dish. For stuffed mushrooms, creminis are a great starting point. They’re small and sturdy, perfect for a passed appetizer! We like this recipe for shrimp-stuffed mushrooms from Nom Nom Paleo.

How to Cook Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms are lighter in color (more of a taupe) and have characteristically slender stems. The shape of the cap will tell you which mushrooms are fresh—look for caps that are domed and curled under. Before cooking, wipe the caps clean with a cloth or damp paper towel, and be sure to cut off the stems—they’re not easy to twist off like cremini mushrooms, and pulling too hard may damage the flesh or accidentally break it. One of the best ways to prepare shiitake mushrooms is by thinly slicing them, then adding to everything from risotto to soup.

How to Cook Oyster Mushrooms

These unique mushrooms are cultivated around the world, and contrary to the name, they don’t grow in the ocean, but on tree trunks! (The caps are shaped a bit like oysters though, hence the name.) To cook, cut off the bottom part of the tough stems and discard. You don’t have to scrape the gills out, but run a damp cloth through them to help dislodge any dirt. Oyster mushrooms cook quickly and shine in stir-fries and rice dishes. They make a wonderful pizza topping, too! Since they don’t need a lot of time in the pan, it’s best to add them towards the end of the cooking process.

How to Cook Morel Mushrooms

Most mushrooms peak in the fall, but morels are in season during spring. Since morels are wild mushrooms, the first thing you should do is check them for worms, which can make a home in their small nooks. Slice off the stems, then slice the morels in half lengthwise. Morels make a wonderful side dish simply sautéed with oil and butter, and topped with freshly chopped chives. For more, make a morel mushroom cream sauce to top roast chicken, stir some into risotto, or add them to a warm grain salad.

11 Best Mushroom Recipes

Now that your appetite is revved up, it’s time to head to the kitchen. Here are 10 mushroom recipes you’ll want to make all season long.

Pumpkin Reishi Soup

Wild about soup season? Try this comforting recipe with two of our favorite fall all-stars: pumpkin and mushrooms. Vibrant curry powder lends extra flavor, while rich coconut milk cools everything down.

Savory Mushroom and Kale Oatmeal Bowl

Oatmeal for dinner? Give this savory version a try! Rolled oats are cooked with veggie broth, garlic powder, and nutritional yeast, then topped with roasted mushrooms and crisp kale chips.

Vegan Mushroom Bolognese

Try this crave-worthy pasta for your next pasta night. Shirataki noodles (aka “wonder noodles” soak up a rich and meaty mushroom sauce infused with fresh rosemary and fragrant garlic. Did we mention there’s vegan Parmesan involved? You’re welcome.

Portobello Sliders

This dinner trades bread for portobello mushroom caps, which are the perfect size and shape to stand in for burger buns. All the fixings are layered inside: caramelized onions, goat cheese, tomatoes, bacon, and lettuce.

Mason Jar Tom Yum Soup

Our almost-instant version of this Thai soup hits your favorite spicy and sour notes. To eat it on the go, just prep a few jars ahead of them, then add hot water when you’re ready to eat. Zucchini noodles and sliced veggies will cook in minutes, and the fish sauce, coconut aminos, ginger, and lemongrass will make an infused, warming broth.

Mushroom Toast

Nothing against avocado toast (you know we love it!), but this mushroom toast is a fall-ready appetizer that can’t be beat. All you need is crusty bread, roasted mushrooms, creamy mozzarella, and fresh herbs.

Veggie Lasagna With Butternut, Mushrooms, and Olives

Classic lasagna gets an autumnal spin with butternut squash, mushrooms, and briny olives. Loaded with veggies, it’s a hearty meal even without the meat.

Paleo Mushroom Stuffing

Lots of stuffing recipes rely on bread cubes for the base, but not this Paleo-friendly dish! You won’t even miss the grains in our recipe made with caramelized onions, leeks, and mushrooms. Hazelnuts add a crunchy topping for the perfect bite.

Paleo stuffing

Mushroom and Poached Egg Spaghetti

Sometimes simple is best. This spaghetti recipe only needs a quick toss with herb-glazed mushrooms. A perfectly poached egg layered on top helps create a luscious sauce when you break it open. So easy!

Yogi lentil bowl

Hazelnut Sweet Potato Gnocchi With Brown Butter and Chanterelles

If you’re eating Paleo but admit to missing pillowy gnocchi, try sweet potatoes instead of the usual starchy spuds. Gnocchi goes well with all sorts of sauces, like this fragrant combo of butter and sage.

Sweet potato gnocchi

Vegetarian Cream of Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s Pie gets a meat-free makeover thanks to black lentils, cream of mushroom soup, and lots of herbs. We think it’s just as comforting as the original!

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Nicole Gulotta

Nicole Gulotta is a writer, author, and tea enthusiast.

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