With so many types of mushrooms at our finger tips (ehem, in our grocery aisles) it’s so easy to unlock the incredible flavor of mushrooms. From woodsy shiitakes and hearty cremini, to versatile white button and seasonal gems (morels), the options and recipes are endless. This article showcases the characteristics and uses of 13 of the most common types of edible mushrooms. 

1. White button 

close up photo of white button mushrooms in a pile

The most common and most mild mushroom is the white button mushrooms. Button mushrooms are soft in texture and can be eaten both raw and cooked. Use them in soups, salads, pizza, pasta and lasagna (to name a few). 

Use button mushrooms in this Vegetarian Bolognese! Or, make these Mushroom Veggie Burgers!

2. Cremini

cremini mushrooms piled into a brown bin on a brown table

Often labeled as “baby bellas,” crimini mushrooms are a young variety of the portobello. They are interchangeable in most recipes with their relative the white button, but more firm in texture, darker in color and even more flavorful. They’re often a bit more expensive than white buttons, but they’re worth the added expense. 

They’re wonderful seared and served over pasta or stuffed and served as an appetizer.

3. Portobello

close up of a pile of fresh portobello mushrooms

Portobello mushrooms are large in size (think the size of your hand), are incredibly “meaty,” and rich in flavor. Since they’re dense and hold up to a variety of cooking methods (grilling, broiling and roasting), they make a great vegetarian meat alternative. 

Try stuffing them! You can also use them as a “bun” for burgers.

4. Shiitake 

Idyllic in shape, the shiitake mushroom has a slender stem and a rounded cap that slightly curves under. Fresh shiitakes have an earthy flavor that bodes well for soups and sauces. Discard stems prior to cooking. Dried shiitakes are also a common ingredient, they are extremely intense in earthy, woodsy flavor.

Make these Shiitake and Thyme Crostini! Or use them in this creamy, cozy mushroom soup!

5. Oyster 

photo of oyster mushroom on a brown surface

Their name is no mistake, oyster mushrooms look, well, like oysters. But imagine oysters in a cluster. Very tender and chewy in texture, oyster mushrooms are light in color and have a mild almost sweet aroma and flavor. Once cooked, oyster mushrooms take on a meaty texture. Use oyster mushrooms in soups, sauces and stir-fries. 

Add some oyster mushrooms to this Hungarian Mushroom Soup!

6. Porcini 

5 porcini mushrooms arranges on a black background

One of the most sought-after types of edible mushrooms, this reddish-brown fungi can be nearly impossible to find fresh, though they can easily be found dried. Porcini mushrooms have a deep, intense woodsy flavor and are smooth in texture.

If you can find them fresh, snatch them up! (Though you may need to be in Italy or France just to get your hands on some fresh porcini mushrooms.) Otherwise, turn to dried for adding tons of flavor to soups, broths and sauces. Buy dried mushrooms here!

7. Chanterells 

a pile of golden Chanterelle mushrooms on a square cutting board with herbs, garlic and salt arranged around them

This wild mushroom is a beloved variety. Most often foraged for, their gorgeous golden color and firm meaty texture adds to their appeal. They have a sweet fruity scent, nutty flavor, and are trumpet-like in shape with a gilled texture running up the stem and under the cap. These mushrooms are stunning!

Simply sauté chanterells and serve with any kind of meat, or stir into a cream sauce. 

8. Morels 

overhead image of morel mushrooms in a gray bowl set on a blue table

A sought-after spring treat in the Midwest and West, the morel mushroom is bold in flavor and somewhat spongey in texture. They have a cone-like shape and are best sautéed in butter, fried, or cooked in a creamy sauce. Look for Morel mushrooms at your local Farmers’ Market in March or April, or forage for them yourself!

Swap morels in for the shiitake mushrooms in this mushroom crostini!

9. White Beech 

Close up image of white beech mushrooms on top of a pile of mushrooms on a wood board

With long slender stems and small caps, these clusters of mushrooms are great for brothy soups or stir fries. Although they can be eaten raw, cooking helps lift the bitter flavor. You can often find White Beech mushrooms at your local Asian market.

I add these to my Hungarian Mushrooms soup for added texture!

10. Enokitake

two bunches of enokitake mushrooms arranged on a wooden table

These noodle-like mushrooms are light white with an almost opaque hue. They feature small shiny caps and are delicious fried, used in pho or ramen, and even as a noodle alternative. Look for Enokitake mushrooms at your local Asian market.

Try Enokitake mushrooms in this Weeknight Pho!

11. Shimeji 

one bunch of shimeji mushrooms on a plain white background

These mushrooms come in clusters and feature both chunky stems and chunky tops. It’s best to eat these mushrooms cooked as they are fairly bitter when eaten raw. Use them in stir-fries, soups, and sauces. 

Learn what to look for when buying mushrooms, how to store them, wash them, and how to cook them!

12. Maitake (Hen of Woods)

1 large bunch of maitake on a shadowy dark surface

Another “cluster” variety, this type of edible mushroom resembles a head of cabbage. They have a unique earthy, gamy flavor and are soft in texture.  

Slice into “steaks” and sear them for a super savory, meaty dish!

13. King Trumpet

4 king trumpet mushrooms on a plain white background

Largely sought after for their meaty stems, King Trumpets (also referred to as king oyster mushrooms) have thick white stems and stout brown caps. In their raw form they have little flavor, but once cooked they take on a savory, slightly sweet taste. Cook King Trumpets like you would a good piece of meat—roasted, grilled or sautéed.

Try this Mushroom Yakatori recipe, or whip up this Teriyaki King Trumpet recipe and serve over rice.

overhead image of various types of mushrooms piled onto a wood table

Now that you know the different types of edible mushrooms, it’s time to learn how to cook mushrooms! We cover everything from how to wash them and store them to the nitty gritty of how to sauté, roast and fry mushrooms.

Resources: America’s Test Kitchen, Vegetables Illustrated. America’s Test Kitchen 2019

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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  1. There’s a stall at our farmer’s market that sells cultivated mushrooms. The most unique variety they have is one called Lion’s Mane. This variety is amazing. Almost a dead ringer for blue crab, especially when used as a substitute for crab in Maryland style crab cakes.

    1. Wow! I need to get my hands on some Lion’s Mane! I can’t believe it can be used in place of crab, I REALLY want to try it!