From button to shiitake, we’re covering the most popular types of mushrooms from A to Z in this helpful guide to mushrooms!
There are about 10,000 types of mushrooms worldwide. They are not, obviously, all edible. We want to focus mostly on those commonly available (even if expensive) and great in cooking.
Some of these mushrooms are available in the wild, but this site isn’t dedicated to helping you collect them – you will have to acquire that skill on your own. We’re going to focus on types of mushrooms for cooking that you can get at our grocery, or in some cases specialty groceries, farmer’s markets, or online!
Here are the 21 most common types of mushrooms. Have you tried them all?
- Beech Mushrooms
- Button Mushrooms
- Chanterelle Mushrooms
- Chestnut Mushrooms
- Cremini Mushrooms
- Enoki Mushrooms
- Giant Puffball Mushrooms
- King Oysters
- Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
- Lobster Mushrooms
- Maitake Mushroom
- Matsutake Mushrooms
- Morel Mushroom
- Oyster Mushrooms
- Porcini Mushrooms
- Portobello Mushrooms
- Truffle Mushrooms
- Russula Mushrooms
- Shiitake Mushrooms
Beech Mushrooms have an unusual crunchy texture and mild flavor. They get their name from their propensity to grow in fallen beech trees in East Asia (mostly Japan). While they are edible raw, they are fairly bitter until cooked. You can buy them in the USA, but they are generally pricey relative to other varieties readily available at your local grocery.
Button Mushrooms are also known as cremini, white, or common mushrooms. They are the most well-known mushrooms for most of us, and generally the most available and cheapest mushrooms. This makes them a good staple for a lot of mushrooms recipes. They can be either white or brown. The brown ones are just older and have a deeper flavor, while the white are younger and have a more mild flavor. Want a super easy can’t miss recipe? Try this Easy Mushroom Risotto Recipe or perhaps give this Creamy Vegan Mushroom Soup a try. Or keep it classic with these Vegetarian Stuffed Mushrooms.
Chanterelle Mushrooms are a popular target for mushroom hunters, probably because they cost upward of $50 per pound. They are generally used only in gourmet cooking for this reason. They are described as having a peppery taste.
Chestnut Mushrooms derive their name from their dark brown color. Like cremini, these are basically just white button mushrooms, but a strain that grows a darker shade of brown. Some cooks say they have a better flavor and texture than white button, but others see little difference. We assert that they are interchangeable in most recipes calling for buttons.
Cremini Mushrooms, or baby bella, are actually just older white button mushrooms. They turn brown with age, but their flavor changes as well. You can use them as you would a white button to include as a meat substitute. Give this best ever Vegetarian Meatloaf Recipe a try. We know that calling anything the “Best” is a bit presumptuous, but stand by our claim.
Enoki Mushrooms are a thin, white, stringy variety commonly used in Japanese cuisine. They are noteworthy for a crunchy & chewy texture. They can be used in sushi as a meat replacement, soups, stir fry, noodle dishes, spring rolls, curries, and a good bit more.
Giant Puffball Mushrooms
Giant Puffball Mushrooms are, as their name suggests, very large white shrooms that grow in the wild as well as under cultivation. These mushrooms readily absorb the flavor of what they are cooked with rather like tofu does, and they are often used in the same way you would a portobello. Expect them to be more expensive than portobello.
Hedgehog or Sweet Tooth Mushrooms are so named because they have gills under their cap that form spiked shapes making them look like hedgehogs. These mushrooms are most often obtained from the wild where they have no dangerous competitor that looks like them. This said, you can always buy them online if they aren’t available in your local specialty market. They are routinely sautéed and do well in soups. Creamy Vegan Mushroom Soup, or find one of the many recipes for them online.
King Oysters have a super power. They are perfect for making meat substitutes to put in vegetarian or vegan recipes. Heck, if you like nothing more than a good Southern pulled pork sandwich, still give this King Oyster Mushroom Pulled Pork a try. Just like their smaller brother the oyster mushroom, they shred easily with a fork. The king oyster mushrooms have a large stem that can also take on a shredded texture, but that are also great for slicing into planks to make into a Mushroom “Bacon” Recipe.
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms have a distinct appearance and are aptly named. You won’t find many recipes calling for these, but they are eaten raw or fried. They are also used in nutritional supplements. Their purported health benefits include protection from dementia, anxiety relief, anti-inflammatory properties, immune boosting, and reduction in heart disease & cancer. We can’t verify any of these claims, but will say mushrooms in general are pretty healthy.
Lobster Mushrooms are often described as “meaty”. They have a parasitic fungus called Hypomyces Lactifluorom that turns them red and affects the flavor that many describe as being like lobster. This mold often strikes Russula mushrooms creating lobster mushrooms.
Maitake Mushroom grow wild in Japan, China, and North America. Its name means Dancing Mushroom in Japanese. They are often used for purported medicinal purposes. While we can’t vouch for these, they are nutrient dense. There are plenty of recipes for using these increasingly popular (recent in the USA, but long popular in Japan) shrooms.
Matsutake Mushrooms are said to be the most expensive mushroom in the world at as much as $80 each. They are a Japanese native that only grow in the wild with a very short growing season. There have been numerous attempts to domesticate these, for obvious profit reasons, but with no success. Despite the price, the Japanese are big fans of these in fine cuisine.
Morel Mushroom are a wild mushroom that has resisted cultivation. They are popular with mushroom hunters who often sell them at farmer’s markets or to high end restaurants. They are often sautéed before being used in recipes.
Oyster Mushrooms have a delicate texture that shreds easily with a fork making oyster mushrooms great for shredding into pulled meat substitutes like in these Buttermilk Fried Mushrooms Recipe (Vegetarian Fried “Chicken”). Or check out Oyster Mushrooms 101: Buying and Cleaning Guide!
Porcini Mushrooms are commonly used in fancy French or Italian cuisine. Their name means Piglet in Italian. You can find them in the United States, but not likely at your neighborhood grocery as fresh they can set you back up to $60 per pound. Try them in this Porcini Pasta!
Portobello Mushrooms are similar in texture and flavor to the button mushroom, but much bigger because they are actually the same type of mushroom. Portobellos are just the grown-ups! Portobello mushrooms are great for throwing on the grill as a plant-based burger substitute. Since you generally pay a premium for these larger mushrooms, we prefer recipes that take advantage of that larger size like the Best Portobello Mushroom Burgers Recipe.
Another great use is as a meat substitute in this Vegetarian Portobello Mushroom Gyros. In this recipe the large slices of mushrooms replicate strips of lamb meat well.
Truffle Mushrooms are edible fungi that grow underground in moist soil. You’ll find them near large trees, as the nutrients in a tree’s soil aid in the growth of truffles. They grow around the world and can be found in America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, though they’re found most in Italy, France, and the Pacific Northwest.
Truffle’s incredibly strong flavor makes them great for use in cooking, and you can find them incorporated into meals through butter, sauces, oils, or even truffle pieces. Though considered mushrooms, they’re much more intense. They do, however, maintain an earthy flavor much like mushrooms do. What Are Truffle Mushrooms? Answers Here!.
A word of warning, they are expensive. Fortunately, a little bit of truffle goes along ways, and they can be used in so many ways from savory recipes to fancy sweets. Try them in this Truffle Butter, or Truffle Risotto!
Russula Mushrooms refers to a genus of mushrooms comprising over 700 varieties. They are generally large and brightly colored. Not all of these varieties are edible, so obtain them from a reputable source.
Shiitake Mushrooms are Distinct from the other mushroom varieties as they have a more intense almost woody flavor. The shiitake mushroom brings a lot of flavor to your cooking, and has a chewier texture than most other mushrooms. Give them a try in this Easy Mushroom Risotto.
Shimeji are also known as Beech or Clamshell Mushrooms and come in both white and brown varieties. They have a mild seafood flavor and are bitter if eaten raw, so be sure to cook them vs chopping them raw into a salad! Goat Cheese Pizza with Mushrooms would be a great use for shimeji mushrooms.