How to Cook Mushrooms So Perfectly They Melt in Your Mouth

Box of Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a nutritious and delicious addition to salad, pasta, pizza, and so many other savory dishes. While most mushrooms can be eaten raw, knowing how to cook mushrooms is still a necessity. These simple cooking methods are musts for the mushroom lover.

While many mushrooms may appear vastly different in color or size, they may actually be of the same variety. Button, crimini, and portobello mushrooms are all scientifically known as agaricus bisporus. How they get their different appearance and flavor actually comes from which strain was planted and what age the mushroom was when picked.

Button mushrooms are the youngest of the agaricus bisporus variety, picked early in the growing process. Crimini mushrooms, also known as baby bellas, are more mature and can be distinguished by their browner shade. Portobello mushrooms are allowed to reach full maturity which results in their larger size.

Mushrooms Nutrition

fresh mushrooms

Mushrooms are one of the few foods (fungi, technically) that offer vitamin D. When mushrooms have been exposed to UV light, they can improve vitamin D levels in a healthy body. Another health benefit of mushrooms is their ability to improve the immune system. According to a study by Tufts University, white button mushrooms were proven to enhance the body’s immune response.

But button mushrooms aren’t the only type of mushrooms to offer health benefits. Due to being picked at different stages in growth, the agaricus bisporus may vary in nutritional value. But most often, you can find that mushrooms of this variety are rich in copper, selenium, vitamin B2, and vitamin B3.

Mushrooms Selection and Storage

When selecting mushrooms, look for firm caps that are unblemished. Make sure the mushrooms appear plump and still have the stem attached. If they feel at all slimy, pass them up. Store your mushrooms in the refrigerator for up to seven days.

How To Clean Mushrooms

cleaning mushrooms

Mushrooms absorb moisture when left for too long in water but they won’t be harmed by a quick rinse. To clean mushrooms, simply rinse them and then wipe dry with a paper towel. Alternatively, you could wipe each mushroom down with a damp paper towel. Both methods work but rinsing is better for mushrooms that have dirt coated on them.

How To Prepare Mushrooms

chopping mushrooms

After cleaning your mushrooms, you’ll need to prepare them for cooking. If using portobello mushrooms, you may want to remove the gills. While the gills in portobellos are edible, they do leak a dark liquid when being cooked. To remove them, use a spoon to gently scrape the gills out. Wipe clean with a paper towel after. For shiitake and portobello mushrooms , you’ll want to remove the stems before cooking. Simply slice it off the base of the mushroom cap and discard.

How To Cook Mushrooms

1. Simmer
marinating mushrooms in a jarImage of marinated mushrooms via Shutterstock

A marinated mushroom salad is a refreshing way to enjoy mushrooms. But first, you’ll need to simmer your mushrooms to soften them and prepare them for absorbing your marinade.

To simmer mushrooms, bring a large pot of water with 1 teaspoon of sea salt to a boil. Add 1 pound of cleaned mushrooms and lower heat to medium. Simmer for about 5 minutes, until mushrooms have softened then drain into a colander. Transfer mushrooms to a large bowl and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, two tablespoons white wine vinegar, one minced garlic clove, ½ teaspoon Italian herbs, and ¼ teaspoon sea salt. Pour the marinade into the bowl with mushrooms and mix until mushrooms are fully coated. Cover and allow to marinate for at least two hours in the refrigerator.

2. Sauté
sauteing mushrooms in pan

Mushrooms are particularly delicious when sautéed. To sauté mushrooms, heat two tablespoons olive oil in a pan over medium-heat. Add eight ounces sliced mushrooms to the pan and stir. Add ¼  teaspoon sea salt and any additional desired spices. Let cook for about eight to ten minutes, stirring frequently.

In the beginning stages of cooking, the mushrooms will release moisture, and a sizzling sound will occur. Browning will begin after the moisture is released so be sure to stir them frequently during this time. Once mushrooms are lightly crisped and browned around the edges, they are ready to serve.

3. Grill
mushrooms on a grill
Image of grilled portobello mushrooms via Shutterstock

Portobello mushrooms are perfect for grilling due to their “meaty” texture and large size. To grill portobello mushrooms, you’ll need to clean them, remove the stem, and scrape out the gills. Then add 2 large portobellos to a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together two tablespoons olive oil, two minced garlic cloves, ½ teaspoon sea salt, and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper. Add the sauce to the portobellos and toss until portobellos are fully coated.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and add portobellos. Let grill on each side for about four to six minutes until grill marks appear.

Pro tip: Kick up the flavor by adding a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and ½ tablespoon of pure maple syrup to the sauce. You can also let the mushrooms marinate in the refrigerator for up to an hour for added flavor.

4. Roast
roasting mushrooms on parchment paper

Mushrooms are deliciously crispy when roasted. To roast crimini mushrooms, line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Add a pound of sliced mushrooms to a large bowl. Toss with one tablespoon coconut oil, ½ teaspoon sea salt, and ½ teaspoon Italian herbs. Add to the baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Mushroom Recipes

mushrooms with bok choyImage of mushroom stir-fry via Shutterstock

Bok Choy Stir-Fry Recipe with Savory Mushrooms and Quinoa 
This vegan savory stir-fry is the perfect way to use mushrooms in an easy yet tasty way. They provide a tender bite in perfect juxtaposition of bok choy’s crunchy texture.

Portobello Mushroom BurgerImage of portobello mushroom burger via Shutterstock

Roasted Portobello Mushroom and Peach Burger
The “meaty” texture of a portobello mushroom works wonders in this sweet and savory vegetarian burger recipe. You wouldn’t expect fruit to be lurking between the bun in your burger but the peaches add an unexpectedly delicious flavor.

Sweet Potato Noodles with Chanterelles and Cashew Sage SauceImage via Kate Gavlick

Sweet Potato Noodles with Chanterelles and Cashew Sage Sauce
This gourmet pasta recipe uses the finest ingredients to create a decadent dish. Chanterelle mushrooms add an earthy and fragrant finesse to the sweet potato noodles.

Garlicky Mushroom Farro RecipeImage of mushrooms in farro via Ashley Melillo

No-Fuss Garlicky Farro with Sautéed Mushrooms
This warming and hearty grain dish features filling farro and melt-in-your-mouth mushrooms. The mushrooms add a buttery bite that adds all the flavor a grain dish could ever need.

Gluten-Free Vegan Quiche Recipe with Mushrooms, Kale, and Sweet Potato: An Animal-Friendly Breakfast to Remember
Image of quiche with mushrooms via Shutterstock

Gluten-Free Vegan Quiche Recipe with Mushrooms, Kale, and Sweet Potato
This gluten-free and vegan quiche will pack a punch of flavor to your morning with its savory ingredients. Mushrooms complement sweet potatoes and kale in this veggie-laden dish.

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Images via Karissa Bowers

Karissa Bowers
Karissa Bowers

Karissa Bowers is a fashion and food blogger living a compassionate lifestyle. Karissa is the blogger of Vegan À La Mode where she shares her favorite vegan and gluten-free recipes and also her eco-friendly cruelty-free style. Her love for photographing food and her outfits, drove her to develop a passion for photography. After a few years of honing in on her photography skills, Karissa launched her business, Karissa Bowers Photography, where she shoots weddings and portraits. When she’s not taking photos or in the kitchen, you can find Karissa traveling and trying new vegan restaurants.