Here are 18 different types of edible mushrooms and how to use them in your dishes.
Love the earthy and meaty goodness of mushrooms but don’t know how to cook them?
If you’re familiar with the many types of edible mushrooms and how to use them in your cooking, you can create lots of amazing dishes for you and your family to enjoy.
You may already know of a few mushrooms, like portobello and button, but there are more edible mushrooms for you to try than just these two.
The key is to know which mushrooms are best for a dish and how to cook them for optimal results.
Now, there are two general types of edible mushrooms: wild and cultivated.
As the term implies, wild mushrooms are those that you can often find in the wild, such as the black truffle and oyster.
Cultivated mushrooms, on the other hand, are those that are farmed by mushroom growers, and these include some of the most popular and readily available, like button and shiitake.
There are thousands of mushroom species all around the world; and in the United States alone, there are more than 5000 varieties you can find.
However, not all of them are considered edible.
About 100 varieties in the United States have been identified as poisonous, and a dozen are considered lethal.
One question people ask when it comes to wild mushrooms is, how can you tell if what you have is truly edible?
Basically, there’s no home test that can identify between poisonous and edible species.
Better Health Channel mentioned that the only way to tell whether a wild mushroom is safe to eat is have it identified by mycologist or a mushroom expert.
It’s worth noting that there are many popular varieties that have toxic look-alikes.
For instance, poisonous false morels may look like edible morels and the Jack-O’Lantern mushrooms sometimes feature hues similar to chanterelles.
Furthermore, it’s also worth mentioning the importance of cleaning mushrooms.
Whether these are wild or cultivated, cleaning them is a must.
There has been some debate on whether you should wash or simply wipe mushrooms.
To simplify, wild mushrooms should definitely be washed, while cultivated ones can be wiped with a clean and slightly damp kitchen towel.
Just to be safe, it’s still best if you wash or clean mushrooms before you cook them.
Without further ado, learn more about some popular types of edible mushroom and how to use them.
1. Button (White)
Probably the most popular mushroom on this list, this is the mushroom you see on pizza, in soups, and sauces.
It’s the mildest tasting of all edible mushrooms and is what you can find being sold in cans and most grocery stores.
It can be cooked in a lot of different ways, with some people even eating it raw.
It can be added to salads, sauteed, and stir-fried.
A lot of recipes use this kind of mushroom, and these include those that use this as the main ingredient, like Creamy Garlic Parmesan Mushrooms and this one for Garlic Butter Mushrooms With White Onions & Wine.
2. Cremini (Brown)
Also called Italian Brown mushrooms, the Cremini is considered the darker-colored cousin of the white button variant.
This particular mushroom has a more earthy flavor profile than its white cousin and is meatier too.
This mushroom is actually the baby version of the bigger portobello, but it’s cooked the same way you cook button ones.
Aside from sauteing, stir-frying, and being added to soups or sauces, you can also roast and grill these like their more mature siblings.
Some recipes you can try with this ingredient include Cremini Mushroom Soup and Brown Butter Roasted Mushrooms.
Here’s another super meaty mushroom you can try using in your dishes.
This fully mature version of the brown mushroom may be used as a substitute for steaks and is even used as a bun for burgers.
This mushroom has an intense flavor, which, when used in sauces and soups, gives them a very rich and umami taste.
Aside from the usual soups, stews, and sautees, the portobello is also great when it’s grilled, stuffed, and roasted.
Some recipes that feature this mushroom variety include our Stuffed Portobello and this quick Portobello Stir Fry.
This is a mushroom primarily grown in Asia, with the majority of it being cultivated in Japan.
Also called forest or oak mushrooms, this ingredient has a brown, slightly curved cap, and a slightly curved stem too.
These characteristics make them look like umbrellas.
Shiitake can be cooked in both its fresh and dried forms, with the flavor described as aromatic and woodsy.
Since this is found mostly in Asian dishes, people usually enjoy it stir-fried, sauteed, roasted, and as an add-on to soups and sauces.
Some recipes that use this mushroom include Sticky Sesame Shiitake and Spicy Black Pepper Shiitake.
Also called Cepes, this mushroom is widely used in France and Italy.
It has a very rich woodsy flavor and is considered one of the most sought-after wild mushrooms on this list.
It’s often sold in dried form since it’s rarely found in the US, but you can easily rehydrate it by soaking in hot water.
This mushroom is mostly used in soups and sauces, which gives such recipes added umami and richness, but it can also be sauteed or added to pasta and meat dishes.
If you want to try out this mushroom, you can try it with recipes like this Porcini With Cream & Parmesan Pasta.
6. King Oyster
Also called King Trumpet, this mushroom has a trumpet-like shape, with an inverted cap and thick base.
Meaty and dense, this ingredient usually takes the place of seafood like scallops and squid in vegetarian dishes.
It also has a meat-like texture, which is why it’s also popularly used as a meatless substitute in vegetarian stir-fry dishes that usually utilize meat like pork or chicken.
Because the texture is so dense and rich, it can also be grilled, roasted, fried, and seared in a hot pan.
Some recipes you can enjoy using this mushroom include King Oyster Mushroom Scallops and Beer Battered King Trumpet Mushrooms.
7. Edible Morel
One of the weirder-looking mushrooms on this list is this bulb-like variety that has a hollow cap and a conical shape.
Aside from its unique shape, this mushroom also has a honeycomb-like exterior and flavor profile that’s intensely nutty and earthy, making it a great ingredient for sauces.
Note that edible morels have similar features to poisonous false morels, so it’s best to eat morels sold in grocery stores or from reputable mushroom growers.
Moreover, this wild mushroom is pretty rare and rather problematic to cultivate, so it can be a bit on the pricey side.
With its rich and nutty flavor, it’s best cooked in pasta sauces and simply in butter.
Some recipes that use this mushroom include Cheesy Scrambled Eggs With Morels and Morel Mushroom Curry.
Another Asian mushroom that you can commonly see being used in soups and on the grill is this one.
Enoki mushrooms are also called snow puffs and have thin stems with small round caps at the end.
These can be cultivated but also grow in the wild.
You can serve these mushrooms raw in salads, but these are great when cooked in soups and when stir-fried, like what’s being done in this Enoki Stir Fry recipe.
Another trumpet-shaped mushroom that is difficult to cultivate is this yellow-colored fungus.
This mushroom comes with a rather fruity and peppery flavor.
Since it grows in the wild, it’s most often considered a delicacy by many chefs.
It’s best cooked in butter but is also found in soups, sauces, and even in souffles.
Some recipes that use this golden-tinged mushroom include Chanterelle In Brandy Butter and Chicken With Chanterelle Cream Sauce.
One mushroom that can be found on almost any continent, you can identify this fungus by its yellowish-brown color and cabbage-like shape.
Usually found at the base of trees, this mushroom is popular in Japan, China, and other Asian countries.
Also called Hen of the Woods because of its plumage-like appearance, it can be used in stews, soups, sauces, noodle dishes, and sauteed on its own.
It’s also a great substitute for chicken, as is evidenced by this recipe for Maitake Mushroom Buffalo “Wings.”
11. Black Truffle
If you’re feeling extravagant, this mushroom should be right up your alley.
Considered to be one of the costlier mushroom varieties around, this comes in three distinct colors–white, burgundy, and black.
These are found underneath the soil and can only be located with the help of trained pigs and sometimes dogs.
These earthy and pungent mushrooms are also seasonal, which can account for why they are so expensive.
Truffles are often served raw and in small quantities, oftentimes shaved over dishes as a garnish, or infused into truffle oil.
Some recipes that use this mushroom in or on them include this 5-Ingredient Black Truffle Pasta and Risotto With Black Truffles.
12. Brown Beech
Also called Shimeji mushrooms, these are similar to enoki in shape, with long white stems, but these have brown caps.
These mushrooms are popular in Japanese cooking and are found all over East Asia.
This shouldn’t be consumed raw since it can be toxic, but once cooked properly, it gives off a strong umami flavor with nutty notes and a firm texture.
This is great sauteed, added in pasta, mixed in sauces, and stir-fried with other vegetables, like this Bok Choy With Beech Mushroom recipe.
Originally harvested in the wild and found growing on the side of trees, this thin, white, fan-like mushroom is now cultivated and sold worldwide.
Popular in Japanese and Chinese cuisine, this mushroom’s mild taste with hints of anise makes it a great addition to any dish.
With its ability to absorb flavors and meaty texture, it’s also occasionally marinated and grilled, as well as being added to stir-fries, sauces, and soups.
Recipes you can try that use this mushroom include Oyster Mushroom Noodle Stir-Fry and Oyster Mushroom Bao.
14. Black Trumpet
Here’s a mushroom that actually looks like a trumpet, with its funnel shape and flared top.
Shaped somewhat like a chanterelle, it grows in the wild and is sometimes called the black chanterelle.
Its flavor is similar to black truffles, which is what earned it the nickname of “poor man’s truffle”.
It can be cooked in a variety of ways, but be careful when cooking it in high heat since this can destroy this mushroom’s flavor, like with truffles.
Some recipes you can try that use this mushroom include Grits With Black Trumpet Mushrooms and Scrambled Eggs With Black Trumpet.
15. Lion’s Mane
One of the strangest-looking edible mushrooms you may encounter is this one that resembles the thick hair around a male lion’s head.
Cooks across the globe become fan of this variety as its flavor is ideal addition in most seafood dishes.
It’s said to have a lobster-like taste, which seafood lovers turned vegetarians are sure to enjoy.
Examples of such dishes include these Vegetarian Crab Cakes and Spicy Lion’s Mane Skewers.
Another wild mushroom you can add to your list of edible fungi you can cook at home is this one that has a flat cap and quill-like gills.
Flavor-wise, it will remind you of chanterelles but with a smokier aftertaste.
Once cooked in oil or butter, it takes on a rather crunchy texture that’s a departure from the usual softness you expect from mushrooms, but it does become soft when cooked
in stews, soups, pasta, and when sauteed.
This mushroom isn’t as popular in the U.S. as the others on this list, which is why you can’t find that many recipes that use it.
One recipe you can try with this particular mushroom is this flavorful Leek, Cheddar, Rosemary & Hedgehog Mushroom Tart.
17. Chicken Of The Woods
Similar in shape to Hen of the Woods, this mushroom can be easily identified by its color, which is a combination of yellow and orange.
This brightly colored wild fungus is named Chicken Of The Woods for a good reason–it tastes like chicken!
So, if you’re a vegetarian and have a craving for any dish that tastes like chicken, this is the mushroom you should use.
Recipes that use this ingredient include Batter Coated Fried Chicken of the Woods and Chicken of the Woods with Hash Browns.
One more Asian favorite that you should add to your list of must-try edible mushrooms is this one that’s considered rare and somewhat expensive.
This wild mushroom is said to have a pine and cinnamon-like aroma with a spicy flavor and toothsome texture.
These can only be found during the fall and winter months, but due to global warming, very few are being harvested year after year, which makes them even rarer to find and more expensive.
One recipe that you can try is Grilled Matsutake, which is marinated in a Japanese-style marinade and cooked simply on a hot plate.
The bottom line
This list of 18 types of edible mushrooms and how to use them is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.
With all the edible mushrooms in the world, discovering unique recipes and mushrooms used in them can become one amazing adventure.
All you have to do is to learn more about this edible fungus, where these can be found, and how locals that enjoy them in their countries cook them.
- Button (White)
- Cremini (Brown)
- King Oyster
- Edible Morel
- Black Truffle
- Brown Beech
- Black Trumpet
- Lion's Mane
- Chicken Of The Woods
- Find your favorite mushroom from our Types Of Edible Mushrooms list.
- Decide what dish you're going to make using the chosen variety.
- Share your journey to our Facebook page.