5 Amazing Mushroom Substitutes

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Finding the right mushroom substitutes will help you complete recipes that call for this edible fungus. A common ingredient in cooking around the world, mushrooms have been eaten since ancient times. While they are often grouped with vegetables for culinary purposes, they are actually a form of fungi.

Some types of mushrooms are cultivated commercially, such as portobello, shiitake, crimini, and common white mushrooms. Others are only found in the wild and are therefore more expensive and only seasonally available.

Best Mushroom Substitutes

Because they are a fungus, mushrooms can sometimes cause allergic reactions in people. Furthermore, while fresh mushrooms are commonly available in the produce sections of supermarkets, they may spoil quickly in the refrigerator at home. Having a few good options for mushroom replacements is helpful in these cases, and there are many good options to choose from.

The top mushroom substitutes include tofu, tempeh, sun-dried tomatoes, and eggplant. Canned mushrooms or dried mushrooms also work well if you cannot source fresh ones. Let us look at these substitutes in detail.

A platter filled with mushrooms of different kinds

Mushrooms come in lots of different shapes, sizes, and colors. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Dried Mushrooms

Also referred to as dehydrated mushrooms, these are commonly sold in supermarkets and have a much longer shelf life than the fresh types. Soak them in hot water for at least 30 minutes before cooking with them. The soaking water will also be flavorful afterward, which can be used in other applications or reduced.

Canned Mushrooms

Another easy substitute for fresh mushrooms, canned mushrooms can stay in the pantry for a long time and be opened only when needed. They are widely available, although the choice in variety may be limited.

Eggplant

This vegetable has a similar texture to mushrooms when cooked properly, and can absorb flavors like mushrooms without presenting a problem for those with allergies. However, other people will be sensitive to this replacement ingredient, as it is a nightshade vegetable. Eggplant is an especially good mushroom substitute in sautéed dishes.

Tofu

Although it does not have the same flavor as mushrooms, tofu makes a great substitute for texture when sliced. Marinate tofu in soy sauce before using it to replicate some of the mushroom taste, or else the consistency and flavor may alter the final flavor of the dish.

Tempeh

Tempehs placed on a wooden table

Tempeh is a fermented soy product that works well as a mushroom substitute. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

As a firmer option than tofu, tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and can mimic the earthy flavor of some mushrooms. It also holds up fairly well in soups and stews and is known to absorb the flavors of those spices and herbs with which it is cooked.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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