8 Mushroom Substitutes That You Should Know

Mushrooms can provide unique earthy taste to the food. It is almost distinct that replicating its flavor is quite complex. Finding the right mushroom substitutes is a troublesome task, even for gourmet sleuths. It simply emits a tang that you can never simply get from mixing other ingredients.

It has been stated by many chefs and culinary professionals that mushrooms are among of the foodstuff that cannot be substituted easily. The culinary rarity of the flavor of mushrooms is something that not everyone can chase and mimic. However, this doesn't mean that we have to stop, right?

Okay. Here's the general rule that some people follow when it comes to mushrooms. If the recipe requires the inclusion of mushrooms, you can try replacing any other veggies that you want. It doesn't matter what vegetable you choose. Just simply exclude mushroom in the equation. You just have to alter the flavor of the recipe.

However, if the main item of the recipe is mushroom, you might not want to continue that recipe anymore. Don't get pissed by this fact. Just like I said, mushrooms have another tier of tang that is too complex to recreate. Even if they are simple ingredients, mushrooms should still never be whittled down.

A Brief Introduction to Edible Mushrooms

The food alternatives for mushroom can be safely considered as rare or scarce. A professional cook can justify this claim to you. Of course, there are various reasons why this is the case. Apparently, a lot of people just don't mind to find mushroom alternatives because they don't want mushrooms in the first place. In fact, some are even allergic to this food.

Fortunately, there are different variants to mushrooms. The number can go as high as 5 million. But take note that a chief number of these mushrooms are not edible. A few of them are too deleterious for your body. That's why it is essential that you only get mushrooms that are being sold in the market. You can also grow edible variants of mushrooms but always be careful of the environment so that they won't get contaminated.

Despite being the most unlikely ingredients, mushrooms are still causing a boom in the economy of many people. In Europe, many rural folks are in the business of foraging. They usually culture the mushrooms by themselves in a controlled setting. Some hunters harvest mushrooms in woodlands. They are proliferating there.

Countries like New Zealand have deep affection toward mushrooms. They are prime cultivators and exporters of shiitake, oyster, and enoki mushrooms. And they can give it to you in a variety of forms. They offer dried and fresh mushrooms as long as you pay the price.

If you take all these facts into account, you can easily conclude that mushrooms are not scarce. They are widely available in the market with a plethora of local versions all over the world. But still, they can't help you if you don't want to eat mushrooms because you don't like them or because you have allergies.

You can always resort to these following ingredients if you want to somehow replicate the flavor of mushrooms.

Best Mushroom Substitutes


Tofu is one of the most creative alternatives for mushrooms. You can slice tofu and submerge it soy sauce so that it can imbibe the earthy flavor of field mushrooms. If you are trying to make a mushroom sauce, you can freely replace the mushroom with tofu slices. Of course, I can attest that the flavor will never be as close as to mushrooms. But certainly, the sauce will appear like you have used mushrooms on it. You can also include tofu slices and bits in soups and stews (cut them on these Cutting Boards by Epicurean that are a great value).

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Tempeh may be new for you. But it is actually a common ingredient in Indonesia. Specifically, it is a soy product that has a firm texture and characteristic. Amusingly, the appearance of this food is pretty similar to nutty nougat. But of course, their taste is far too different.

The flavor of tempeh is almost similar to mushrooms. Their texture can also be comparable if you slice tempeh as thinly as possible. Tempeh is created by soaking soybeans in water then partly cooking them. After that, the beans are subjected to a mold that produces the tempeh. However, if you are allergic to the molds, then tempeh is not a good alternative for you.

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Tofu and Soy Sauce

For those who want to create mushrooms soup with the mushroom, you can use the combination of tofu and soy sauce. Add the mixture to a base composed of carrots, root veggies, sauteed onions, and leeks. Once done, you can already pour the cream. Some variants of vegetable stocks can work well in the recipe.

You can also combine tofu and soy sauce to create a mushroom sauce for your favorite steak. Just add onions, miso paste, meat stock and mustard, if necessary.


Nobody would ever think that zucchini can also be used as a mushroom substitute. But apparently, the earthy tang of this food can somehow replicate the ones produced by mushrooms.

Zucchini is a vegetable that is included in the squash family. Because of that, this veggie has a moniker of summer squash. When they get mature, zucchini can grow as long as one meter. But typically, this squash is harvested when they are still small. A young zucchini has a moderately sweet flavor, which is akin to mushrooms. The texture of its flesh is somehow reminiscent of mushrooms, too.

You can use zucchini as a replacement for mushroom in pasta dishes. You just have to chop or grate it into tiny pieces. Other savory dishes that are includes mushrooms can be replaced by zucchini. But then again, let me remind you that their flavor will never be the same.

Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Tomatoes can be dried through the heat of the sun. And once it happens, they can become substitutes for mushrooms. This is due to the earthy flavor that is produced throughout the drying process. Many culinary expert love to use sun-dried tomatoes because they can offer a unique taste to any recipe they touch. While they are dried, the tomatoes are being seasoned with herbs, parsley, and other spices to further enhance their flavor.

Sun-dried tomatoes can replace mushrooms as toppings for different dishes. They might have different flavor compared to mushrooms, but the texture they give makes the recipe earthy and flavorful. You can dice or slice them, depending on the requirement of the dish.

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Another unorthodox mushroom substitute is the eggplant. This is a common kitchen ingredient all over the world. They are used in various recipes, but they can also serve as a main dish for hardcore vegetarians.

The soft and sensitive texture of eggplants is somehow similar to mushrooms. Their slightly sweet taste also makes them a good ingredient for recipes that have mushroom toppings or base. Since mushrooms are long in size, you need to cut them into tiny pieces before you add them to the mixture (check out this high quality, low cost knife set on Amazon).

Russet Potatoes

Potatoes come in multiple variants. That is a given. One good example is the Russet potato. Unlike the common potatoes that you see in the market, Russet potatoes are large and long. Their skin is quite thick and hard to peel. They contain a huge amount of starch and their fruits are moderately dry.

The high level of starch in Russet potatoes makes them as ideal ingredients for fried and baked recipes. However, you should not use them in salad and soup recipes. They can cause sogginess in the dish. Therefore, you should not make them as a replacement for mushroom soups and sauces.

On the flip side, Russet potatoes are usable for dry recipes that include mushrooms. Fried dishes that come with mushroom toppings can be revitalized by the use of this potato variant. You just have to peel the potato and chop it down to your desired shape and size (buy peeler on Amazon).

Garbanzo Beans

I placed Garbanzo Beans in the last portion because of its innate rarity. This particular ingredient only flourishes in only a few regions of the world. There are two variants for this bean: the smaller one and the bigger one. Each of them can be used in different recipes, but the nutritional value of smaller Garbanzo Beans is higher than its big brother. You can use Garbanzo Beans to replace mushrooms in dry recipes.


Before you can use Garbanzo Beans as a substitute for mushrooms, you have to cook them first. This is how you should do it:

  • Examine the beans and remove all those spoiled and rotten ones
  • Rinse them carefully so that you can give them a thorough cleaning.
  • Rinse the beans again in a water-filled pot. Place the pot on your stove and let the beans be boiled for about three minutes. Don't forget to cover the pot.
  • After this, switch off the stove but don't remove the beans yet. Let them stay there for two to three hours.
  • Once done, the beans are already safe to be used as mushroom alternatives.

Mushrooms of different types

Before discussing the shelf life and other relevant details of mushrooms, we need to know about their types. The duration of how long they will remain fresh depends on what type of mushroom you have bought.

White button mushrooms, Portobello, and Cremini, are the most common mushroom chosen by consumers. You may not find significant differences in those mushrooms. However, their look may have some variations. The youngest and freshest ones are white button mushrooms. The remaining two get matured for a long time.

Shiitake mushrooms (special umbrella-shaped mushrooms with brown caps) have a different taste based on their freshness. The light woodsy aroma indicates that it is fresh shiitakes. However, the dried ones have intense flavors.

A Mushroom’s Shelf-Life

Just like most fresh produce, mushrooms don’t usually come with an expiration date label. If you don’t know anything about storing mushrooms, you may end up having more difficulty spotting a bad mushroom from a good one.

As a rule of thumb, uncooked whole mushrooms can stay fresh for up to 10 days. Fresh sliced mushrooms, on the other hand, only last for five up to 7 days. Once cooked, a mushroom's shelf life can be extended for seven up to 10 days.

How To Spot A Bad Mushroom

Knowing how to spot a lousy mushroom can save you from getting unfavorably sick. Fortunately, spotting a mushroom that has gone bad is not that hard. All you need to do is watch out for these simple signs:

A Bad or Funky Odor

Mushrooms that have gone bad emit a terrible odor that your nose will not miss. If you open your mushrooms bag and a rotten smell comes out, don’t hesitate to throw away the bag. Chances are, those mushrooms are already too spoiled to recover.


Fresh mushrooms come with smooth and plump skin. If you spot wrinkles forming around your mushrooms, it’s a sign that they're near to getting bad. If you want to salvage your mushrooms, you must cook them right away when you spot wrinkles on their caps. However, if your mushrooms are too wrinkly and all shriveled up, you should throw them away instead.

Dark Spots/ Darker Overall Color

Once you find dark spots in your mushrooms, or if the whole mushroom itself has gone dark, it’s a sign that your mushrooms are starting to go wrong. You might as well cook your mushrooms within 3-days to avoid ending up with spoiled mushrooms in your fridge.

Slimy Skin

One sign that ultimately means your mushrooms are no good to eat is slimy skin. If your mushrooms aren’t too slim, you may still be able to salvage them through immediate cooking. But if there’s a lot of slime in the bag, you might as well toss them out because they’re probably full of bacteria already. Has been kept in storage for more than two weeks.

You need to know about most mushrooms because they often last for approximately two weeks, and that’s when they're stored inside the fridge. However, some larger mushrooms tend to last a little longer than smaller ones because they have a less exposed surface. If the mushrooms you have are more than two weeks old, you may still want to check for the signs of spoilage. If any of the signs are absent, your mushrooms may still be okay to cook and eat.

Can one spoiled mushroom in container damage other pieces?

When you find a mushroom getting moldy in your jar, you have to remove it instantly. It prevents molds from growing on other mushrooms. Although other mushrooms may not have mold signs, you have to consume them within 1 to 2 days. The application of high heat during cooking kills bacteria and molds.

How To Extend A Mushroom’s Shelf-Life

If you happen to buy many mushrooms that you can't cook or eat all at once, you may get frustrated thinking about how you can keep your mushrooms fresh upon storage.

Fortunately, there are several techniques you can try to prolong the shelf-life of a mushroom. One of the most effective ways to store a mushroom for an extended period is through freezing. Mushrooms are placed inside a clean container, and frozen solid can last for up to a month. To effectively do so, remove your mushrooms from their original packaging, make sure they are clean, and place them in a container with some paper towels.

You can even add an extra six up to 12-months of storage life if you cook your mushrooms thoroughly before you place them in your freezer. However, if you plan to cook your mushrooms before freezing them, make sure to let your mushrooms cool down to room temperature first before placing them in your freezer to avoid ruining their meaty consistency.

If your mushrooms are starting to get wrong, don’t worry because everything is not wasted yet. You can still try to salvage them and extend their shelf-life by cooking them. Doing so will add another seven up to 10-days of storage life for your mushroom.

You can also make your mushrooms last longer to store them whole and unpeeled in a sealed plastic bag. Take note that when sealing mushrooms in a plastic bag, there must be enough space inside for the mushrooms to breathe. Doing so is essential to keep them from drying out. If you can, you should use a nice paper bag instead of a plastic one.

Lastly, to keep your mushrooms fresh and contaminant-free, avoid transferring them from one container to another. Also, avoid using used utensils when getting mushrooms from your bag. Always practice proper hygiene and other food safety techniques to prevent food poisoning or other foodborne illnesses.

Is there any expiration date for mushrooms?

All foods last for a particular period, and then they get rotten. It is also valid for mushrooms. However, the expiration date of mushrooms depends on their original condition. For instance, cooked mushrooms remain edible for 7 to 10 days. Thus, after cooking your favorite mushroom recipe, you have to eat it within a week. However, dried mushrooms can last for more than two years. That is why you need to know how you have stored your mushrooms. It would help if you consumed them before they go bad.

Consumed a spoiled mushroom - What should you do?

It is always essential to ensure that your mushrooms are fresh and bought from the most reliable supermarket. Store-bought mushroom poisoning cases are sporadic. Still, you have to check their freshness before eating them. When you eat spoiled and rotten mushrooms, it may upset your stomach and other health issues. For instance, you have left out the cooked mushrooms for some hours before storing them in your refrigerator. When you have reheated and consumed them, they can cause stomach issues and digestion problems.

Thus, to avoid the risk of any health disorder, you must clean your mushrooms thoroughly before eating them. We do not always cook them instantly after the purchase. In that case, we have to store them properly in our fridge. However, when it is a severe stomach issue, you must visit a clinic for a doctor's consultation.

How long do mushrooms last under normal temperature conditions?

Some of us pick mushrooms and leave them at room temperature. These mushrooms will stay fresh for about 12 to 24 hours. After a day, you may check for slimy and browning spots to identify the signs of spoilage. It is not acceptable to store your freshly picked and freshly bought mushrooms outside your refrigerator.

Temperature ranging from 40F to 140F can result in bacterial growth. It would help if you did not eat mushrooms left out at average temperature for several hours. However, when you have stored unopened canned mushrooms at room temperature, they will be edible for about 3 to 5 years.

After opening the can, the shelf life of those mushrooms gets shortened. It is not safe to eat them after long hours. On the contrary, dried mushrooms last for an extended period under normal temperature conditions. However, make sure that you have stored them properly in some sealed bags and airtight containers in a dark place. The place where you have stored those mushrooms is not humid.

How long do mushrooms last while stored inside the fridge and freezer?

Raw and whole mushrooms remain inside the fridge for about 4 to 7 days. But, when you have sliced and chopped them and stored them in your refrigerator, mushrooms will stay fresh for 1 to 2 days. Thus, it is better to avoid chopping the mushroom when you do not like to eat it now. The best fact is that there is no need for refrigeration for the canned mushroom. However, once you have opened them, you must refrigerate them without any delay. The opened canned mushroom in your fridge will last for about 3 to 4 days.

Now, when it is a freezer, mushrooms last a long time in both sliced and unsliced conditions. In most cases, we have found that mushrooms remain fresh in the freezer for 10 to 12 months. While chopped and cooked, mushrooms must be stored in the freezer. However, mushrooms in an unsealed can last 1 to 2 months.

The most important thing to remember is that the temperature for freezing mushrooms should be 0 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, mushrooms are safe for your consumption for a more extended period. But, you may find differences in their properties and flavors after freezing them for a long time.

Cooked mushrooms- Know their shelf life-

How long do mushrooms last in cooked condition? It is another common question of the regular mushroom consumers. Depending on where and how you have stored them, you can find a difference in their shelf life. Cooked mushrooms, stored inside a refrigerator, last for 3 to 5 days. However, when you have frozen these cooked items, they are safe for more than a year. But, to get the original taste, you need to consume the cooked mushroom within ten months. It would help if you did not leave these cooked mushrooms at room temperature.

Tips on different ways of storing your mushrooms safely-

How to freeze your mushrooms-

Freezing is one of the best ways to ensure the long-term storage of any food. You can freeze both raw and cooked mushrooms. However, it may not be easy to freeze raw mushrooms, as they have a high moisture content.

Use an airtight bag for safe freezing and storage of raw mushrooms. Still, it is better to cook your mushrooms before. You need to go through some steps to freeze the cooked mushrooms.

  • Take some cold water and wash your mushrooms thoroughly.
  • When the mushroom size is more significant than an inch, you have to slice them into smaller pieces. I
  • You can fry or steam your mushrooms based on your taste preferences. The steamed ones last longer than that of the fried ones.
  • You must drain the water after cooking your mushrooms. Water content may make the mushroom go bad within a short time.
  • Put your mushrooms into a seal-able jar and make sure that there is at least some space left in the jar. Then, place this jar into your freezer.

How to dry your mushrooms for longer shelf life

When your freezer does not have much space, you can dry your mushrooms. Let those mushrooms be dry naturally. You may also use your microwave oven to dry them.

On a sunny day, when the humidity is low, you can leave out your mushrooms for a long time.

Clean your mushrooms without using water. Take a paper towel to ensure that those mushrooms are free of moisture. Then, slice them into some thick pieces (1/2 inch).

A place with low humidity, proper air circulation, and the presence of sun rays is the right site to dry your mushrooms. Keep your mushrooms safe by covering them with a net tent.

Now, when your mushrooms are dry, you can put them into an airtight jar. The room where you store these dried mushrooms should not be sweltering.

Choose the pickling method to make mushrooms last longer

You have to use a special pickling liquid, which adds a good flavor. However, it also helps in increasing the shelf life of your mushrooms. The pickling liquid can be vinegar, which has an acidic liquid with salt. You may use your pickling recipes to preserve your mushrooms in the fridge for a longer time. The best fact is that pickled mushrooms have a yummy taste, and they will last for 7 to 10 days in your fridge.

Canning methods for mushrooms

Button-type mushrooms, like champignons de Paris, are best for canning. The canning methods are of 2 types- Pressure cooking and water bath canning. For button-type mushrooms, you can choose the pressure cooking method. This process ensures proper processing of mushrooms, and thus, you have boiled them under a high temperature to kill bacteria. With the pressure cooking method, the temperature can be more than 250F.

Another option is the water bath canning, and you can choose it only when you like mushrooms to be pickled. But, this method does not damage the bacterial spores.

To sum up, we need to say that fresh mushrooms must undergo refrigeration, and they do not last more than 24 hours under average temperature. There is no particular answer to the question- How long do mushrooms last? We have discussed different methods to make your mushrooms long-lasting. You may rely on our tips and keep your mushrooms fresh for several days. Still, you can try to eat mushrooms after buying them.

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Mushrooms are ingredients derived from the fungi kingdom. But despite their status, edible mushrooms are still on par with some veggies when it comes to nutritional contents that they have. They are known to curb down health issues like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

Aside from their health benefits, mushrooms are also great in improving the overall taste of various recipes. They elevate the impact and appeal of the dish. That's why it is a sad thing if some people dislike or allergic to them. Their tongues are missing a lot of flavorful palettes.

Fortunately, these mushroom substitutes that I have listed here can somehow cope up with this problem. You just have to use them appropriately so that you can get the best results.

Do you know other alternatives for mushrooms? Share it with us in the comment section below!

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