Kitchen 411 | Cooking with Mushrooms

Mushrooms—these flavorful fungi make for a delicious addition to just about any savory dish.

Shiitake, Portobello, crimini—the list goes on and on. Each type of mushroom is filled with rich, succulent flavor that bring a level of homey comfort, texture, and personality to many meals, but do you really understand the difference? We’re here to break down the most popular types of mushrooms, their flavors, and the best ways to cook them to achieve the best flavors.

Everything You Need to Know About Cooking with Mushrooms


Cooking with Mushrooms | Shiitake Mushrooms

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Shiitake mushrooms have been a part of Asian cuisine for centuries. This superfood is filled with healthy properties, which makes them a great addition to any diet.

Best served cooked, shiitake mushrooms are commonly found in stir-frys, pastas, or even grilled and served on their own. Because of their seriously meaty flavor, they can be a great protein substitute for vegetarians and vegans.

Shiitake mushrooms are a big hit in the Chef’d kitchen. Their rich, smoky flavor is showcased in our popular dish, the Spicy Korean Pork Farro Bowl. The creamy egg, fluffy rice, and hearty pork are given a savory kick from the shiitake mushrooms, creating a truly filling bowl of flavor.

Try it in: Spicy Korean Pork Farro Bowl


Cooking with Mushrooms | Portobello Mushrooms

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In the past few years, Portobello mushrooms have become more and more popular in modern American cuisine. The large cap of this meaty mushroom has put chef’s around the world in a creative frenzy.

Belly up, this mushroom can be stuffed with your favorite ingredients to create a pizza-like creation without the guilt. Shoved between two buns, Portobello’s can be a vegetarian-friendly faux-burger with all the same great flavors. Cut into long slices, marinated, and grilled, you can create light, down-south faux-ribs that will fool any meat-eater.

Seriously, the list of Portobello creations could go on and on.

Try it in: Jumbo Scallops with Wild Mushroom Risotto and Truffle Oil


Cooking with Mushrooms | Crimini Mushrooms

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Crimini mushrooms are another big hit in the Chef’d kitchen for two reasons. One, these tiny mushrooms are one of the most widely used form of fungi, and, two, they’re mild, slightly meaty can be enjoyed both raw or cooked, making them a very versatile veggie.

We use this mild fungi in many of our meal kits to give a little extra flavor to delicious bowls, pastas, soups, and more. They’re commonly served raw in salads or accompanying a plethora of cheeses on a charcuterie platter. When cooked, the earthy tones of the white mushroom are emphasized, making them a great addition to stir-frys or even as a pizza topping.

Try it in: Asparagus and Mushroom Rice Bowl


Cooking with Mushrooms | Enoki Mushrooms

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Ever wonder what those stringy white things are in your ramen? Now you know!

Enoki mushrooms are unlike many of their cousins. They are, by far, the most fragile in the mushroom family. Their long, thin body doesn’t hold up well to heat and possesses little flavor, but packs a nice crunch, making them great for final touches.


Cooking with Mushrooms | Porcini Mushrooms

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Porcini mushrooms are a bit harder to find. Their rich, nutty flavor isn’t easily cultivated, and because of that, they are a bit more expensive. When you’re shopping, you’re more likely to come across dried porcini mushrooms, rather than fresh—but don’t fret, they still pack in the same delicious flavor.

Adding a few porcini mushrooms to your favorite sauce recipe will give you a creamy, meaty flavor that will perfectly complement any pasta dish. The flavor of these mushrooms really shines when chopped and served in dishes, such as risotto, bruschetta, and even pizza. To get the most pungent flavor, try grilling or frying them before adding them to your dish.


Cooking with Mushrooms | Matsutake Mushrooms

Image Credit: Matsutake

The rusty appearance of the Matsutake mushrooms shouldn’t fool you—they’re packed with a unique, spicy flavor. In Japan, these mushrooms are seen as a delicacy, and we understand why. They provide a sensory adventure, filled with intense flavors. Their pungent smell and flavor are best grilled until golden brown, and served alongside chicken or fish. They can also be used as flavor enhancers to bland grains, like rice, quinoa, or couscous.


Cooking with Mushrooms | Maitake Mushrooms

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Maitake mushrooms, more commonly known as the Hen of the Woods, are wild, frilly, and full of flavor.

Their unique shape is different than any other type of mushroom. Rather than having a traditional cap and stem structure, Maitake mushrooms have a leaf-like body that can be pulled apart. Each so-called leaf is filled with rich, earthy flavor that gives stir fries and sautéed dishes a boost of savory comfort.

Try it in: Szechuan Tofu with Sticky Rice

Beech Mushroom

Cooking with Mushrooms | Beech Mushrooms

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Similar to enoki, beech mushrooms are a cluster of small, crunchy buds. Beech mushrooms can be eaten both raw and cooked. Throw them on top of soups and rice bowls as a finishing touch or slow roast them at a low temperature along with main dishes to add a bit of nutty, buttery flavor.

Our Tom Yum Soup meal kit by Ayara Thai perfectly showcases these little, flavor-packed mushrooms. Give it a try today!

Try it in: Tom Yum Soup with Shrimp and Jasmine Rice


Cooking with Mushrooms | Straw Mushrooms

Image Credit: Dreamstime

The happy faces, brown straw hats, and dancing feet make give straw mushrooms jolly appearance that is often personified in cartoons.

These adorable little mushrooms are grown on rice beds and are picked immature before being sold. Because these mushrooms are so delicate, they don’t travel well, which is why you find them canned at the market. They possess a musty flavor that has become synonymous with the mushroom name in most western cultures.

Straw mushrooms are best enjoyed when cooked. Their musty flavor is softened and becomes a great addition to burgers, steaks, and stir-fry dishes.

Try it in: Chicken Basil with Jasmine Rice