It isn’t always easy to find cooking ingredients that are both nutritious and delicious, but that’s why we have mushrooms! These little fungi are always the perfect addition to any meal.
If you’re ready to learn which mushrooms to grab on your next shopping trip and how to use them in your cooking repertoire, read on:
10 Best Gourmet Mushrooms to Use in Your Kitchen
Here are ten of the most popular, delicious and nutritious gourmet mushrooms to try:
1. Shiitake Mushroom
Perhaps you’ve gone foraging for the delicious and highly sought-after chicken of the woods mushroom. The good news is that while this ingredient may have started in the wild of Asia, it’s now a cultivated ingredient and can be found in any supermarket. So set down your foraging gloves, and just head to your nearest grocery store if you’re ready to try the rich shiitake flavor.
Shiitakes are native to East Asia, making them popular in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cuisine. However, their popularity has since spread and they’re now cultivated across continents.
The flavor of shiitakes is rich, filled with umami, and buttery. They’re ideal for a variety of dishes, including sauces, soups, and meat dishes. Whether you get them fresh or dried, you’ll have something delicious. For more intense flavoring, opt for dry.
2. Oyster Mushrooms
If you’re looking for mushrooms with a unique flavor that you won’t typically find in the average fare, gourmet oyster mushrooms are an excellent choice.
The name of these doesn’t just come from the shape that grows sideways from trees. It also suggests the delicate seafood flavor you’ll get from this ingredient.
While these can be added to any dish for added flavor, their delicate nature lends itself to a delicious standalone side dish. Sauté it in a pan with some oil and seasoning for a light but flavorful side.
Studies also suggest this ingredient can be useful for improving heart health. This may be due to properties that reduce blood pressure and lower blood sugar and insulin levels, among other benefits. This means it’s not only a yummy addition to your meal but could help you lead a healthy lifestyle.
3. Chanterelle Mushrooms
While gourmet chanterelle mushrooms may be considered one type, there are various species within this group. And the good news for those who love to cook and find new flavors, each species brings a different subtlety of taste. Some have more fruity notes, while others are a woodsy fragrance.
The bad news is that it is a bit more difficult to source. When they are in stores, they will cost more than your average ingredients. However, they’re also easy to spot for those who enjoy foraging, and they grow in Europe and the United States.
Once you have your chanterelle mushrooms, bring out their flavors with dairy in souffles and cream sauces or with eggs.
4. Morel Mushrooms
Speaking of harder-to-find ingredients, you’ll likely need to pay a pretty penny for a Morel. These are a staple of haute cuisine in France and are beloved by culinary experts. Though subtle, they have a woodsy, earthy, and nutty flavor and occasionally some smokiness as well. They’re also meatier in texture, making for a good bite.
Take a look at this video by Curative Mushrooms to learn more about the marvelous Morel Mushroom:
If you’ve paid good money for this ingredient, be sure you don’t just toss them in a soup. These deserve to be the star of the plate. Sauté them in butter with salt and pepper, and savor every bite of this gourmet treat.
5. Crimini Mushrooms
Crimini (or Cremini) falls into a popular group of mushrooms. Because of this, it comes with many various names, including Baby Bella. These are the immature cultivations of Portobello mushrooms and the brown variation of white button mushrooms.
Unlike white varieties, Crimini mushrooms have a meatier texture, making them ideal for soups and stews where they’ll hold up better in liquids. These brown varieties will often be more expensive than their white counterparts because they have a richer, preferred flavor.
Despite the richer flavor than white varieties, it’s still a fairly mild choice. Feel free to use these across a variety of dishes, such as sauces and meat dishes.
Did You Know That You Can Grow Your Favorite Gourmet Mushrooms?
Check Out the Best Mushroom Growing Kits to Grow Your Own at Home!
6. White Button Mushrooms
By far, white button mushrooms are the preferred choice for the American public. However, it’s not the most unique or notable in flavor. So what makes it so popular?
The likely reason for its astounding popularity is this group’s versatility. The flavor may not be strong, but the mildness means it’s suited for every dish.
Whether you’re using it to top a pizza or salad raw or cooking it up with every spice imaginable, you’ll get something delicious. It’s a bit like working with the “generic mushroom” and allowing it to function as a blank slate. It will support any dish.
If you’re looking for an ingredient that won’t make a fuss yet still complete your dish, grab white button mushrooms for your next meal.
7. Enoki Mushrooms
Let’s return to ingredients popular in Japanese cuisine with enoki mushrooms. These originate from both East Asia and North America but were first cultivated in Japan.
Unlike shiitake, which is known for its rich, umami flavor, Enoki is far milder. With a soft, fruity taste, this is very popular as an added texture more than a strong addition in terms of flavor.
This is often added to warm, ingredient-filled dishes, such as hot pot, noodle dishes, or curries. However, they can also be served raw.
If you’re looking to use enoki mushrooms in your kitchen, be sure to only use those with shiny, white, and firm caps. Avoid anything brown or slimy. Next, be sure to cut off the roots before eating or cooking and wash thoroughly.
8. Portobello Mushrooms
Whether you need a substitute for meat or even bread, you’ve found a sturdy choice in Portobellos. Portobello mushrooms are large, about the size of the palm of your hand. But it’s not just the size that’s remarkable. This variety also has a rich flavor that leaves you wanting more.
With so much to offer, use Portobello mushrooms as the star they are, even as the main course. Toss them on the grill or stuff them with yummy ingredients like cheese (you’ll find plenty of space in their large caps). These are particularly popular in Italy, where they’re used in sauces or grilled to stand alone.
9. Trumpet Mushrooms
A trumpet mushroom is another version of the oyster variety (King Trumpet Oysters) that has a larger cap and shorter, thicker stem. When raw, you won’t find much flavor here. However, start cooking it, and you’ll soon smell and taste a strong umami flavor with a meaty texture that will have you using this as a primary highlight of any dish.
If you struggle to find these in your local store, be sure to check out Asian markets. Once you have your trumpet mushrooms, sear or grill them with butter and seasoning for the best results. Then, enjoy them alone with a sauce or even on a sandwich.
10. Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Who says you need lobster or crab meat to get the flavors of the sea?
Lion’s mane mushrooms are notable for their seafood-like taste, evoking the flavors of lobster or even crab. When you consider the prices of seafood, it may then not be surprising that these mushrooms that grow almost always alone rather than in groups are one of the more expensive choices for gourmet mushrooms.
As you might imagine, the name comes from the appearance of this ingredient in the wild. It grows on dead tree trunks and has a furry-like appearance.
Long used in East Asian medicine, you can enjoy them in your favorite soup and add some flavors of the sea.
Final Thoughts on Gourmet Mushrooms
With gourmet mushrooms on the brain and so many ideas for which ones you should be eating, your stomach is probably rumbling.
Don’t worry; mushrooms aren’t just nutritious and yummy — they’re also simple. Whether you toss them in your next soup or sauté them with a little butter and seasoning, you don’t have to work too hard to turn this ingredient into something everyone will love!
So what are you waiting for? Use this guide for your next trip to the supermarket or farmer’s market, and take your next meal from average to unforgettable.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most popular gourmet mushrooms?
Shiitake mushrooms are the most popular, recognizable, and classic gourmet mushrooms, but they are also the easiest to grow. Read the full guide to find out more about Shiitake mushrooms and other great gourmet mushrooms to try.
What are the rarest edible mushrooms?
Matsutake mushrooms are the world's most expensive mushrooms, revered by fine-dining establishments in Japan. Because of their dwindling habitat in Japan, the price continues to rise. Read the full guide to learn more about rare gourmet mushrooms.
What is the most expensive gourmet mushroom?
The rare European white truffle is the most expensive mushroom in the world, with prices exceeding 2,200 euros per pound. Read the full guide to learn more about gourmet mushrooms.
National Library of Medicine: Effect of the Intake of Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) on Cardiometabolic Parameters
Nourish by WebMD: Health Benefits of Mushrooms