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Markets stock a variety of cultivated mushrooms, but many people prefer wild mushrooms, which are often more flavorful.  Be careful when picking wild mushrooms--some species are poisonous--and always cook them thoroughly, both to release their flavors and to convert their proteins into a more usable form.  To prepare fresh mushrooms, first trim off the bottoms of the stems, then wipe them off.  Don't rinse them or soak them, for they'll absorb water and turn mushy when you cook them.  Dried mushrooms are often excellent substitutes for fresh, though some species don't dry well.  You can reconstitute dried mushrooms by soaking or simmering them.  Don't throw out the soaking liquid--it can add more flavor to your sauce than the mushrooms themselves.   You can also pulverize dried mushrooms with a food processor or blender, then use the mushroom powder to flavor sauces and stews.

Substitutes:  tempeh OR eggplant OR asparagus (Like mushrooms, this works well in a cream soup.) OR bell peppers (in a pasta sauce) OR zucchini

Equivalents:  1 pound fresh mushrooms = 6 cups sliced fresh mushrooms = 3 ounces dried mushrooms


abalone cap mushroom   


bear's head mushroom = satyr's beard mushroom = bearded tooth mushroom  Latin: Hericium erinaceus  Notes:  These grow yellow and sour-tasting with age, so buy only white ones.  They're best sautéed or gently boiled.

black forest mushroom

black mushroom

black trumpet mushroom = black chanterelle   Notes:   This is a very choice, flavorful mushroom.  Dried black trumpets are excellent, too.  Substitutes:  chanterelle OR hedgehog mushroom  

black winter mushroom

blewit mushrooms = blewitt mushrooms = blue-leg mushrooms = blue foot mushrooms = bluette mushrooms  Pronunciation:  BLEW-it  Latin name:  Clitocybe nuda  Notes:   These are prized more for their beauty than their flavor, which is pleasant but somewhat mild.  Dried blewits are even less flavorful than fresh.  Substitutes:  white mushrooms OR shiitakes



brown mushroom

brown oak mushroom

button mushroom


cauliflower mushroom  Notes:  These are very flavorful, but a bit chewy.  They're good fried, or in soups or stews.   Select small, young-looking heads.

chanterelle = egg mushroom = girole = pfifferling   Equivalents:  1 pound fresh = 3 ounces dried.  Notes:   Chanterelles are a whole family of mushrooms, most of which are quite choice, but the name is most often applied to the golden chanterelle = yellow chanterelle.  These yellow mushrooms are highly prized for their exquisite flavor, color, and texture.   Other tasty chanterelle varieties include the yellow foot chanterelle, which is less meaty and less flavorful than other varieties, the black trumpet mushroom, and the white chanterelle, which is similar to the golden chanterelle, but lighter in color.  Fresh chanterelles are best; dried or canned chanterelles are less flavorful and tend to have a rubbery texture.   Substitutes:  hedgehog mushroom OR white mushroom OR oyster mushroom OR ear mushroom OR morel   


chestnut mushroom

chicken-of-the-woods mushroom = sulfur mushroom   Notes:   This got its name because it has the texture of cooked chicken.  You can sauté it or, if you want to make mock chicken, simmer it in chicken stock.  Substitutes:  portobello mushrooms OR cremini mushrooms OR shiitake mushrooms OR porcini mushrooms

Chinese black mushroom


cinnamon cap mushroom   Notes:   Cinnamon cap mushrooms have a firm texture and an earthy flavor.   Substitutes:  shiitake

clamshell mushroom = clam shell mushroom  Notes:   Varieties include the brown clamshell mushroom (left).  This mushroom goes well with seafood or meats.  Cook them before eating.

cloud ear mushroom = cloud ear fungus = mo-er mushroom   Notes:  It's hard to find these fresh, but dried cloud ears are an excellent substitute.  Reconstitute them by soaking or simmering them in lots of water for a few hours.    Substitutes:  wood ear mushrooms

cremini mushroom = crimini mushroom = Italian brown mushroom = Italian mushroom = brown mushroom  Notes:   These are closely related to common white mushrooms, but they're a bit more flavorful.  Large cremini mushrooms are called portobello mushrooms.  Substitutes:  white mushroom OR portobello (larger and more flavorful) OR shiitake  

egg mushroom


enoki mushroom = enok = enokidake = enokitake = golden needle mushroom = golden mushroom = snow puff mushroom = velvet foot mushroom = velvet stem mushroom = winter mushroom   Pronunciation:  eh-NO-kee    Notes:  Enoki mushrooms have a delicate fruity flavor.  They're usually served raw.    Substitutes:  oyster mushroom OR white mushroom  



eryngii mushroom = eringii mushroom = king oyster mushroom    Substitutes:  matsutake



fairy-ring mushroom  Substitutes:  white mushrooms OR chanterelles

forest mushroom

funnel chanterelle

gamboni mushroom = big leg mushroom


golden chanterelle

golden mushroom

golden needle mushroom

golden oak mushroom

hawk's wing mushroom  



hedgehog mushroom = sweet tooth mushroom Notes:  Hedgehog mushrooms are similar to chanterelles in color and flavor.   Substitutes:  chanterelles OR porcini

honey mushroom  Substitutes:  shiitake OR hedgehog mushroom

huitlacoche = cuitlacoche = corn smut = maize mushroom = maizteca mushroom = Mexican truffle   Notes:  This is a fungus that forms black kernels on ears of corn in damp weather. It's a prized delicacy in Mexico, and tastes a bit like wild mushrooms. You can get it fresh or frozen by mail order, or canned in some Hispanic markets. WARNING: May cause contractions in pregnant women.  Substitutes:  morel mushrooms OR squash blossoms

Italian brown mushroom

Italian mushroom

king bolete


lobster mushroom   Notes:   These are actually white mushrooms that have been coated by a red fungus. 

maitake mushroom = hen-of-the-woods mushroom = ram's head mushroom = sheep's head mushroom = kumotake mushroom  Notes:   This Japanese mushroom is reputed to have numerous health benefits.  It also has a nice, earthy flavor.  Substitutes:  oyster mushrooms (a close relative) 

matsutake mushroom = pine mushroom  Notes:    These are popular in Japan, but they're hard to find fresh in the United States and dried matsutakes aren't nearly as flavorful.  Avoid canned matsutakes, they're even worse than dried.  Substitutes:  portobello (especially for grilling) OR shiitake  

mo-er mushroom

morels  Equivalents:  1 pound = 2 - 3 ounces dried  Notes:   Morels are highly prized for their rich, earthy flavor, and also because their caps are hollow, which allows them to be stuffed.   Dried morels are very flavorful, and they're an excellent substitute for fresh in sauces and stews.   Substitutes:  shiitake OR chanterelles  

nameko mushroom  Pronunciation:   NAH-meh-koh   Notes:   Nameko mushrooms are hard to find fresh, but Asian markets sometimes stock cans or plastic bags of it.  They have a gelatinous texture and the Japanese like to add them to miso soup.  Substitutes:  shiitake

Oriental black mushroom

oyster mushroom = tree oyster mushroom = pleurotus mushroom = pleurotte = abalone mushroom  Notes:  Oyster mushrooms are prized for their smooth texture and subtle, oyster-like flavor.  They can also be grown commercially, so they're widely available and fairly inexpensive.   Substitutes:  white trumpet OR enoki OR chanterelle OR white mushroom (takes longer to cook)  


paddy straw mushroom


pine mushroom


pleurotus mushroom

pom pom mushroom = lion's mane mushroom = beard mushroom   Notes:   The flavor of this mushroom has been likened to that of lobster and crab.  Substitutes:  porcini  

Polish mushroom

puff ball mushroom = puffball mushroom



porcino = cepe = cep = bolete = king bolete = borowik =  Polish mushroom = steinpilze = stensopp  Plural:  porcini  Pronunciation:  singular:  pore-CHEE-noh; plural:  pore-CHEE-nee  Equivalents:  One pound fresh = 3 ounces dried   Notes:   Porcini mushrooms are well appreciated in Europe for their meaty texture and interesting flavor.  If you can find them fresh, pick the largest caps you can find (or afford).  Just wipe them clean before using; if you wash them, they'll soak up the water like a sponge.  Dried porcini are also excellent.  Substitutes:  hedgehog OR chanterelle (fruitier flavor) OR portobello OR oyster mushrooms OR truffles


portobello mushroom = portabello mushroom = giant cremini  Notes:   These are just large cremini mushrooms, and their size (about the same as a hamburger patty) makes them perfect for grilling or roasting.  They're also more flavorful than younger, smaller creminis.  Substitutes:  cremini (smaller) OR matsutake (for grilling) OR porcini (for grilling)

red oyster mushroom  Notes:   This beautiful mushroom, unfortunately, loses its red coloring when cooked.  Substitutes:  oyster mushrooms OR button mushrooms OR shiitake mushrooms

shiitake mushroom = shitake mushroom = black forest mushroom = black mushroom = black winter mushroom = brown oak mushroom = Chinese black mushroom = Oriental black mushroom = forest mushroom = golden oak mushroom = donko Equivalents:  1 pound = 3 ounces dried.  Pronunciation:  she-TAH-kay  Plural:  shiitake  Notes:   Though shiitake mushrooms are now cultivated, they have the earthiness and flavor of wild mushrooms.  They're large and meaty, and they work well in stir-fries, soups, and side dishes, or as a meat substitute.  Dried shiitakes are excellent, and often preferable to fresh due to their more intense flavor.  Soak them in water for about thirty minutes to reconstitute them, then use the water they soaked in to enhance your sauce.   Substitutes:  crimini mushrooms OR enoki mushrooms OR straw mushrooms OR chanterelles OR porcini mushrooms OR white mushrooms OR oyster mushrooms   

shimeji mushroom = pioppini mushroom   Notes:   Like matsutake mushrooms, these grow on trees.  They're very tasty, with a peppery flavor.  They're great in stir-fries.  Substitutes:  matsutake mushrooms

shitake mushroom

silver ear mushroom = snow mushroom = white fungus = white jelly fungus = white tree fungus   Substitutes:  cloud ear mushroom OR wood ear mushroom (less expensive)

snow mushroom

snow puff mushroom



St. George's mushroom  


straw mushrooms = paddy straw mushrooms   Notes:   These are a common ingredient in Chinese stir-fries.  They're hard to find fresh, but canned straw mushrooms work well and are sold in many supermarkets.  Better yet, but harder to find, are dried straw mushrooms, which have a more intense flavor than canned.   Substitutes:   enoki mushrooms OR white mushrooms


sweet tooth mushroom

tree ear mushroom  See wood ear mushroom.

tree oyster mushroom

truffles  Notes:   Truffles are one of the most expensive of the fungi (technically, they're not mushrooms), but they're packed with flavor.  You can grate raw truffles into salads, or chop and sauté them and use them to flavor sauces.  Their flavor is complex, so truffles work best in delicately flavored dishes like cream sauces.   Truffles are highly perishable, so you should plan to use them within a few days after buying them.   To preserve them, add slices of them to bourbon, then use the bourbon and truffle pieces to flavor sauces.   Fresh truffles are often sold in containers filled with rice.  Don't throw out the rice--it was put there to absorb some of the truffle's exquisite flavor.   Substitutes:  morels OR porcini 

trumpet royale mushroom  Notes:  This is a tasty, meaty mushroom.  Substitutes:  shiitake OR porcini

velvet foot mushroom

velvet stem mushroom

white button mushroom

white chanterelle mushroom   Notes:   White chanterelles are very similar to golden chanterelles, except for their color and relative rarity.  Fresh chanterelles are best; dried or canned chanterelles are less flavorful and tend to have a rubbery texture.  Substitutes:  chanterelle OR hedgehog mushroom

white fungus

white jelly fungus

white mushroom = button mushroom = white button mushroom = supermarket mushroom   Notes:   These are the mushrooms you're most likely to find in supermarkets.  They're good raw, but more flavorful if cooked.    Substitutes:  cremini mushrooms (more flavorful than white) OR oyster mushroom (cooks faster)

white tree fungus

winecap mushroom = wine-cap mushroom

winter chanterelle

winter mushroom

wood ear mushroom = woodear mushroom = black fungus = tree ear mushroom   Notes:   Chinese markets carry fresh or dried pieces of this tree mushroom.  You're supposed to soak or simmer the dried chips until they soften, and then rinse them carefully to remove any dirt.  They're not very flavorful, but they have an interesting texture and are believed to have medicinal benefits.   Substitutes:  cloud ear mushroom (thinner) OR silver ear (more expensive) OR shiitake  

yellow chanterelle

yellow foot chanterelle

yellow foot mushroom = yellow foot chanterelle = funnel chanterelle = winter chanterelle  Notes:    Though not as flavorful as golden chanterelles, these mushrooms work well in most chanterelle recipes. Substitutes:  chanterelle OR hedgehog mushroom


Copyright © 1996-2005  Lori Alden