Mushrooms are a versatile and enriching food for many. Many of the unique phytochemicals absent in meat, vegetables, and fruits are present in mushrooms. Mushrooms contain zero fat, high amounts of fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins, potassium, and copper. Delicious and nutritious, mushrooms are also suitable for vegan recipes.
Most of the mushrooms mentioned below are likely available at your local grocery store and specialty markets. However, if you want to be adventurous and venture out into the woods to find mushrooms, ensure you have all the necessary knowledge. Many mushrooms appear alike, but not all are edible. Even some edible mushrooms may be toxic if prepared incorrectly.
Keep reading to learn about the various types of edible mushrooms.
Table of Contents
- 1. White Button Mushrooms
- 2. Black Trumpet Mushrooms
- 3. Portobello Mushrooms
- 4. Chanterelle Mushrooms
- 5. Cremini Mushrooms
- 6. Cauliflower Mushrooms
- 7. Chicken of The Woods Mushroom
- 8. Charcoal Burner Mushroom
- 9. Bay Bolete Mushroom
- 10. Porcini Mushrooms
- 11. Common Inkcap Mushrooms
- 12. Shaggy Inkcap Mushrooms
- 13. Gewone Mushrooms
- 14. Enoki Mushrooms
- 15. Abalone Mushroom
- 16. Agitake Mushrooms
- 17. Bear’s Head Mushroom
- 18. Caesar’s Mushroom
- 19. Chestnut Royale Mushrooms
- 20. Wine Cap Mushrooms
- 21. Blue Foot Mushrooms
- 22. Candy Cap Mushrooms
- 23. Cinnamon Cap Mushrooms
- 24. Coral Mushrooms
- 25. Ox Tongue Mushroom
- 26. Shiitake Mushrooms
- 27. Oyster Mushrooms
- 28. Wood Ear Mushrooms
- 29. Velvet Pioppini Mushrooms
- 30. Tremella Mushroom
- 31. St. George Mushrooms
- 32. Hatake Shimeji Mushrooms
- 33. Mousseron Mushrooms
- 34. Morel Mushrooms
- 35. Matsutake Mushrooms
1. White Button Mushrooms
White button mushrooms are one of the most popular mushrooms in the world. They are small to medium-sized mushrooms with edible caps and stems. White button mushrooms are included raw and cooked in a variety of dishes. When raw, they have a mild flavor with a crisp texture. In contrast, cooked white button mushrooms acquire earthiness in flavor with a tender, chewy texture.
White button mushrooms pair well with various flavors, including tomatoes, parsley, and garlic.
2. Black Trumpet Mushrooms
Despite their unappetizing appearance, Black Trumpet mushrooms are widely sought after in many parts of Europe. Black Trumpet mushrooms have many names, including the Horn of Plenty, the Poor Man’s Truffle, and the Trumpet of Death. These are true wild mushrooms that are difficult to cultivate and only found in damp forests.
Black Trumpet mushrooms have a sweet, woody aroma and a rich smoky, nutty flavor. They go well in a variety of dishes, such as risotto and pasta.
3. Portobello Mushrooms
After White button mushrooms, Portobello mushrooms are the most well-known. Portobello mushrooms, also called portabella, portabello, and Flat chestnut mushroom, are matured Cremini mushrooms. These mushrooms are large in size, with thick and spongy flesh.
When mature, the Cremini mushroom loses moisture and develops a deeper flavor. Portobello mushrooms have a meaty texture accompanied by an earthy, smoky flavor. In the 1980s, Portobello mushrooms became popular as a meat alternative. To this day, they are a popular addition to many vegan meals as a meat substitute.
4. Chanterelle Mushrooms
Chanterelle mushrooms make a wonderful addition to various dishes due to their bright, striking shade and fruity, peppery flavor. They are a popular variety in Europe and North America, considered a delicacy similar to truffles by some. Chanterelle mushrooms have a gold-orange exterior while their flesh is white. Their aroma is a mix of apricot and peach.
Cooked Chanterelle mushrooms have an earthy, sweet flavor with mild notes of pepper. The most popular preparation of Chanterelle mushrooms is sautéed in butter as it brings out their flavor with a simple technique.
5. Cremini Mushrooms
Cremini mushrooms, also called Crimini, Baby Portobellos, and baby bella, are closely related to white button mushrooms and the large Portobello mushrooms. They are the same as white button mushrooms, with the white variety being the youngest, the Cremini being the middle, and the Portobello being the most mature.
Cremini mushrooms are small to medium-sized and light to dark brown in color. They have a mild, earthy flavor and meaty texture. Cremini mushrooms are incredibly versatile since they take on the flavor of other ingredients readily. They shine in both raw and cooked applications.
6. Cauliflower Mushrooms
Cauliflower mushrooms, also known as Noodle mushrooms, Wood cauliflower, and rooting cauliflower, are ribbon-like mushrooms found in forests under conifers and hardwood trees. They are a rare variety, easily identifiable by their unique appearance. These mushrooms vary in size and color from white to pale yellow.
Although cauliflower mushrooms can be difficult to clean, their unique flavor is worth it. Cooked cauliflower mushrooms acquire a subtle, nutty flavor with notes of fennel and almond. They are best suited for meat dishes, stir-fries, and rice dishes.
7. Chicken of The Woods Mushroom
Chicken of The Woods mushrooms, also known as Chicken mushroom, Chicken fungus, and Sulphur Shelf, are large to medium mushrooms found growing on hardwood trees. In appearance, they grow as stacked, overlapping brackets on trees and have a sulfur-colored exterior.
Chicken of The Woods mushrooms are a popular meat substitute in vegetarian and vegan dishes. They have a meaty flavor with mild notes of lemon. Their flavor is compared to that of chicken, lobster, and crab.
8. Charcoal Burner Mushroom
The Charcoal Burner mushroom is a popular wild-harvested variety of Russula mushrooms. Russula mushrooms come in a variety of striking colors, including the Charcoal burner mushroom that is purple to slate grey.
The Charcoal burner mushroom goes well in various dishes such as stews, soups, and omelets. It shines even when simply prepared in the pan with parsley, salt, and pepper. The mushroom has a mild, nutty flavor with a chewy texture.
9. Bay Bolete Mushroom
The Bay Bolete mushroom grows widely on decaying tree stumps in European and North American forests. They are a distant relative of the more well-known Porcini mushrooms. Young Bay bolete mushrooms are great when raw but cooked versions are also delicious.
The Bay bolete’s defining characteristics are chestnut-colored cap and light brown stem. Young Bay bolete mushrooms have a spherical cap that flattens with age. To identify the Bay bolete, push on the ends of its pores to see if the flesh turns slightly blue.
10. Porcini Mushrooms
Porcini mushrooms are known for their rich, meaty flavor and are commonly added to Italian dishes. These mushrooms have a variety of names, including King Bolete, Cèpe de Bordeaux, Champignon Polonais, Penny Bun, and Porcino.
Porcini mushrooms usually grow alone or in clusters at the base of pine, fir, or oak trees. They grow in size from small to large, identified by their thick stems and flattened caps. The flavor and aroma of Porcini mushrooms are similar to sourdough. Cooked Porcini mushrooms are creamy and tender with an earthy, nutty taste.
11. Common Inkcap Mushrooms
The Common Inkcap mushroom is edible but in immature form. When their gills turn black, they are inedible. Although they pose no long-term health effects, it is not advisable to consume these mushrooms with alcohol. The phytochemicals present in these mushrooms restrict the breakdown of alcohol in the liver, leading to poisoning.
12. Shaggy Inkcap Mushrooms
Shaggy Inkcap mushrooms, also called lawyer’s wig and shaggy mane, are excellent edible mushrooms. Although they have a short shelf life, they are highly prized for their delicious taste. They are widespread and grow commonly in Britain and Ireland in meadows, woods, and roadside verges.
These mushrooms are delicious, best when used in creamy sauces. They are best when eaten young since they turn into a sticky black mess when mature. Shaggy Inkcap mushrooms are ideal for breakfast in omelets since they turn black only a few hours after picking.
13. Gewone Mushrooms
Gewone mushrooms have various names, including Anise mushroom, Field mushroom, Horse mushroom, Almond mushroom, and Snowball mushroom. They vary in size and appearance based on age. Young Gewone mushrooms have spherical, smooth, cream-colored caps, while mature ones have large flattened, yellowed caps.
The flesh of the Gewone mushroom is tender and chewy when cooked with sweet, earthy flavors. Their distinctive aroma, similar to anise or bitter almonds has earned them various names.
14. Enoki Mushrooms
Enoki mushrooms, also known as Enokitake, Velvet Foot, Lily Mushroom, Golden Needle, and Enoko-take, are available as cultivated and wild varieties. Both types differ widely in appearance and flavor. Cultivated Enoki mushrooms grow as bouquets of tightly packed, long stems with convex caps. In contrast, wild Enoki mushrooms have shorter stems and larger caps.
When it comes to flavor, cultivated Enoki mushrooms have a mild flavor, while the wild variety has a stronger, earthy flavor. Both types are equally delicious and commonly enjoyed in soups, stir-fries, and noodle dishes.
15. Abalone Mushroom
Abalone mushrooms, also known as White Elf, King Mushroom, and Akuratake, are medium to large in size vase-shaped edible mushrooms. They have smooth ivory to white skin and plump, silken flesh. Under the cap, fine golden lines are present as a distinctive feature. They have a spongy, meaty texture that goes well in a variety of dishes.
Abalone mushrooms are very popular in Asian cuisine as a staple ingredient in vegetarian dishes. When cooked, Abalone mushrooms have a velvety mouthfeel and earthy, buttery flavor with mild peppery notes.
16. Agitake Mushrooms
Agitake mushrooms are a variant of King Oyster mushrooms that made their first appearance in Japan in 2008. Although they are cultivated all year round, they are a rare variety due to limited availability. Agitake mushrooms have a flattened circular cap that is light brown with a dense white stem. When cooked, these msuhrooms are meaty and crisp with a buttery, umami taste.
In Japan, Agitake mushrooms are an ingredient in the popular rice dish “Takikomi gohan,” which includes meat or seafood, mushrooms, and vegetables. Another popular way to serve Agitake mushrooms is by preserving them in a mixture of boiling sugar and soy sauce. The preserved mushrooms are enjoyed with white sesame seeds and rice.
17. Bear’s Head Mushroom
Bear’s Head mushrooms are eyecatching mushrooms that resemble icicles. They grow as medium to large compact clusters, with an appearance similar to icicles hanging from a tree. The spines of the mushroom are soft which branch out downwards from the body. When mature, the mushroom tastes bitter and unpleasant. However, young Bear’s head mushrooms have a pleasant mild nutty flavor with undertones of lobster and crab.
Bear’s Head mushrooms have grown wild east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States for centuries. Wild Bear’s head mushrooms are available late summer through fall, while the cultivated variety is available all year long. They make an excellent substitute for meat in vegetarian dishes.
18. Caesar’s Mushroom
Caesar’s mushrooms grow from medium to large as egg-shaped caps with thick stems when young. When mature, the caps become more rounded and convex. The cap is deep-red orange and smooth while the stem is white. Caesar’s mushrooms are a prized European variety used in Italy for the past two thousand years. Rather than trees, these mushrooms grow on the forest floor and taste best when young.
Caesar’s mushrooms are tender, slightly fragrant, and have a mild flavor with undertones of chestnuts and hazelnuts. In Italy, Caesar’s mushrooms are eaten raw when freshly picked as thinly sliced pieces rolled in salt and lemon juice.
19. Chestnut Royale Mushrooms
Chestnut Royale mushrooms are small or medium-sized mushrooms that grow in groups or as a single stem. The cap is brown to grey-brown and attached to a thick, cylindrical stem. Young Chestnut Royale mushrooms are velvety and smooth, while mature ones have wrinkled skin. Although Chestnut Royale mushrooms were discovered in 1785, many believe they have grown wild since ancient times.
These mushrooms have a meaty texture and acquire a deep nutty, mildly sweet flavor when cooked. They make a great addition to soups, casseroles, and stews. Chesnut Royale mushrooms absorb accompanying flavors readily due to their porous texture.
20. Wine Cap Mushrooms
Wine Cap mushrooms, also called King Stropharia, Stroph, and Garden Giants, are medium to large mushrooms commonly eaten when young. The mushroom’s burgundy caps are attached to thick, long stems. As the Wine Cap mushroom ages, the caps detach from the stem, flatten, and turn brown-yellow. When left to grow to their full size, they can weigh up to five pounds.
These mushrooms have firm white flesh that tastes great when cooked. Cooked Wine Cap mushrooms have a mild earthy, nutty flavor reminiscent of potatoes and red wine. These mushrooms taste great in dishes like risotto, pasta, and soups.
21. Blue Foot Mushrooms
Blue Foot mushrooms, also called Pied Bleu, are small to medium-sized mushrooms that are available all year long. They are known by many names, such as Lila Pereszke in Hungary, Rhodopaxille Nu in France, and Wood Blewit in the United States. Their caps are cream-colored, but the stem is light blue when young. As the mushroom ages, the blue coloring disappears.
The Blue Foot mushroom is a common meat substitute in vegetarian dishes. It has a strong aroma with a velvety texture and earthy flavor. You can use these mushrooms in a variety of dishes such as omelets, soups, and risotto.
22. Candy Cap Mushrooms
Candy Cap mushrooms are a very small variety native to North America. Fresh Candy Cap mushrooms grow from mid to late winter, but dried ones are available all year long. They are native to Pacific Northwest, often found abundantly on the West Coast of the United States. Candy Cap mushrooms are very popular in San Francisco where chefs use them in various sweet and savory dishes.
The caps are round, burnt orange in color, and flattened, with a small indentation at the center. Candy Cap mushrooms are sweet and have a distinct aroma similar to butterscotch or maple syrup. They make a unique addition to cakes, custards, pancakes, chutneys, and cookies.
23. Cinnamon Cap Mushrooms
Cinnamon Cap mushrooms, also known as Brick Cap and Brick Top mushrooms, are small mushrooms found in Europe, North America, Japan, and Korea. They grow in tight clusters as thin stems topped with small golden-orange, convex caps. When young, Cinnamon cap mushrooms have a light scent and a mild earthy, nutty flavor. When mature, these mushrooms acquire a bitter flavor.
In Japan, these mushrooms are known as Kuritake and are widely regarded as a delicacy. Their mild earthy, nutty flavor and crisp texture makes them a great addition to dishes like stir-fry, risotto, soups, and frittatas.
24. Coral Mushrooms
Coral Mushrooms, also called Candelabra mushrooms and Crown-Tipped Coral mushrooms, are small to medium-sized mushrooms. They grow as short stems with branches growing outward. Coral mushrooms grow commonly in many temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The branches or stalks of the Coral mushroom are added to various dishes.
The branching stalks are firm with an earthy aroma. Their flavor is mild and woody with hints of pepper. Although these mushrooms require a thorough cleaning, their taste is worth it. They make a great addition to stir-fries, soups, and crab dishes.
25. Ox Tongue Mushroom
Ox Tongue mushrooms, also called Beefsteak Fungus and Tongue mushroom, grow on trees in a shelf-like shape. They have a flattened appearance, similar to a slab of raw meat. Young Ox Tongue mushrooms have a light red hue, while mature ones have a deeper red-brown color. Young Ox Tongue mushrooms are eaten raw since they have a soft texture and tart, earthy flavor.
There are many ways to prepare Ox Tongue mushrooms, including pickled and fried. You can use them in sashimi or as a garnish for other dishes. Another great way to use Ox Tongue mushrooms is in milk-based sauces to neutralize their highly acidic flavor.
26. Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms, also called Dongo, Shanku, Shiang-gu, Black Forest mushroom, Black mushroom, and Oak mushroom, are the second most widely eaten mushroom in the world after White Button mushrooms. They are native to East Asia, predominantly China and Japan, but are now cultivated all over the world.
These mushrooms have a thin stem attached to a light brown umbrella-shaped cap. Cooked Shiitake mushrooms are delicious, with a garlicky aroma and earthy, umami, smoky flavor. Their flavor makes them incredibly versatile, so you can use them in various dishes such as miso soup, stir-fries, and burgers.
27. Oyster Mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms are medium to large mushrooms that grow in clusters as a shelf-like structure on decaying wood. They are named so due to their appearance and taste which is similar to oysters. Oyster mushrooms come in various colors, including tan, gray, pink, yellow, and blue. Their flesh is firm and meaty, with a mild seafood-like flavor when cooked.
Oyster mushrooms are very popular across the world, second only to White button and Shiitake mushrooms. Their versatile flavor makes them a great addition to dishes from many cuisines. They taste great in dishes like pasta, lasagna, and tempura.
Oyster mushrooms are a common ingredient in many Chinese, Japanese, and Korean dishes.
28. Wood Ear Mushrooms
Wood Ear mushrooms, also called Cloud ear mushrooms, Black fungus, Jelly ear, and Tree ear, are native to various Pacific islands. They are now cultivated in many Asian countries and available in dried form across the world. In Asia, they have various names such as Kikurage, Yung ngo, and Aragekikurage.
Wood Ear mushrooms have gelatinous flesh that is dark brown. When cooked, they are crisp with a mild flavor. Wood Ear mushrooms are popular in Asian dishes for their texture rather than their taste. However, they taste good in strongly-flavored dishes since they readily take on the flavor of other ingredients.
29. Velvet Pioppini Mushrooms
Velvet Pioppine mushrooms are wild edible mushrooms known by many names, such as Poplar mushroom, Tea tree mushroom, Black Poplar mushroom, Yanagi-matsutake, and Pholiote du Peuplier. They are small to medium-sized with thin stems and convex, flattened caps. The stems are white, while the caps range from light greyish brown to dark brown.
Velvet Pioppini mushrooms have a mild floral scent with a meaty, crisp texture. When cooked, they acquire a nutty, peppery flavor with hints of sweetness. You can use these mushrooms in various recipes, such as salads, stir-fries, tempura, and quiches. In Italy, Velvet Pioppini mushrooms are a staple ingredient in a recipe called pasta con funghi.
30. Tremella Mushroom
The Tremella mushroom goes by various names, including White Jelly fungus, Silver ear mushroom, White Tree fungus, Snow fungus, and white fungus. They are small to medium-sized mushrooms made up of thin, ruffled branches that extend outward. Tremella mushrooms have a gelatinous texture and a very mild flavor when cooked.
In East Asia, especially China, the Tremella mushrooms are favored for their texture rather than their taste. Their mild flavor makes them suitable for savory and sweet dishes.
31. St. George Mushrooms
St. George mushrooms are small to medium-sized with stout stems and a smooth, umbrella-shaped cap. Young St. George mushrooms have a light brown cap and white stem, but they can also develop blush with exposure to the sun. These mushrooms grow in a ring shape in grasslands, along roadsides, and fields in various parts of Europe. They are named so because they appear each spring around St. George’s Day,
You can eat these mushrooms raw or cooked. They have a powdery texture and an earthy flavor with undertones of flour and cucumber. Add them to pasta dishes, meat dishes, omelets, or simply serve them on toast with cheese.
32. Hatake Shimeji Mushrooms
Hatake Shimjei mushrooms, also called Tanba Shimeji, are small to medium-sized wild edible mushrooms. They are native to Japan but not grown on a large scale as compared to the more popular Hon Shimeji mushrooms. When mature, their caps lighten to a tan shade with a white ring at the bottom. These mushrooms taste bitter when raw, but cooked Hatake Shimeji mushrooms have a complex flavor with earthiness, nuttiness, umami, and slight pepperiness.
You can use Hatake Shimeji mushrooms in a variety of dishes. The most popular recipes with these mushrooms are stir-fries, noodle dishes, and hot pots. When fried in butter and soy sauce, they go well with fatty meats such as beef and duck.
33. Mousseron Mushrooms
Mousseron mushrooms are tiny mushrooms with caps as big as one to two centimeters. They have many names, including Fairy ring mushrooms, Scotch bonnet, Bonnet mushrooms, and Fairy Ring champignon. Mousseron mushrooms grow in rings on soil rather than clusters like most mushrooms.
Mature Mousseron mushrooms have a flattened, bell-shaped cap attached to a thin stem. Cooked Mousseron mushrooms have a chewy, crisp texture with a cinnamon-like aroma. Their mild nuttiness and earthiness go well in dishes like ragout, risotto, and Deli sandwiches.
34. Morel Mushrooms
Morel mushrooms, also called Yellow Morel, Sponge Mushroom, True Morel, and Common Morel, are wild edible mushrooms native to various regions in the Northern hemisphere. In appearance, they have large caps that are bulbous and either cone or egg-shaped. Depending on age, the cap may be light beige, gray, light brown, or dark brown. Morel mushrooms are easily recognizable due to the distinct honeycomb-like pattern on their caps.
Morel mushrooms pair well with various ingredients such as cream cheese, red wine, water chestnuts, bacon, and soy sauce. Cooked Morel mushrooms are tender with a rich nutty and woody flavor.
35. Matsutake Mushrooms
Matsutake mushrooms are small to medium-sized mushrooms native to Japan. They are available in specific regions of China, Korea, North America, and Europe. It is a highly-prized variety in China, Korea, and Japan due to limited availability and growth. Their name translates to “pine mushroom” since they grow on select pine, oak, fir, and tanoak trees.
When mature, Matsutake mushrooms develop a solid, thick stem and a cap tinged with brown spots. Their cinnamon-cypress aroma sets them apart, but they also taste delicious. Their crunchy, chewy texture and spicy flavor go well in rice, noodle dishes, and soups.