Shiitake mushrooms are an incredible addition to any recipe. They add some texture and flavor to your dish and can go a long way in making it even better to taste.
But, for many reasons, you could need something else to bolster your recipe when you can’t get access to shiitake mushrooms. As we all know, ingredients can always be interchanged.
So, what is the best substitute for shiitake mushrooms? Porcini mushrooms are the ideal substitute for shiitake mushrooms, with their savory and meaty content as well as a strong nutty flavor. Porcini mushrooms work in different dishes, and they can definitely deliver the flavor punch that your dish needs to be better.
What are Shiitake Mushrooms?
Shiitake mushrooms are one of the most popular types of edible mushrooms across the world. They’re delicious, umami-packed, and versatile enough to work with multiple dishes. These qualities alone make the mushrooms popular almost everywhere.
The shiitake mushrooms we all love originate primarily from China and Japan. They are light brown and slender, with strong stems. You can also appreciate their rich, meaty, and battery taste – especially when cooked. But, it’s also worth noting that they can even be eaten raw – or fried, sautéed, etc.
Shiitake mushrooms are available in fresh and dried variants. Note that their stems aren’t edible, but pretty much everything else can be eaten.
Besides their incredible taste, shiitake mushrooms have also become popular for their health benefits. Over the years, people have used them to treat several issues – including common colds, flu cases, and others.
Why Replace Shiitake Mushrooms?
- Taste differences: Sometimes, you just need something else to rock your taste buds. This is especially true if you’re the type of person who loves to experiment with food.
- Non-availability: While they’re awesome to have in your recipe, shiitake mushrooms aren’t available everywhere. If you can’t find them, you’ll need a substitute to work for you.
- Allergies: A lot of people have allergies to mushrooms. If you’re such a person, you’ll need something else to serve in your recipe that isn’t too dangerous for you.
Options for Shiitake Mushrooms Substitutes
Best Overall Substitute for Shiitake Mushrooms: Porcini Mushrooms
Porcini mushrooms are the best substitute for shiitake mushrooms. They are alike in more ways than one, including their availability in both dried and fresh versions. Naturally found in pine forests, porcini mushrooms primarily originate from France and Italy.
Porcini mushrooms come with a nutty, savory, and earthy taste – just like shiitake mushrooms. In terms of taste, you’re barely missing anything.
Like shiitake mushrooms, porcini mushrooms are versatile. They can work as both side dishes and main dishes, and they have a very delicious taste. Porcini launches are also great because they don’t lose their texture. They’re strong, and their flavors are intense enough to make your taste buds rock.
Porcini mushrooms can be added to pasta sauces, soups, broths, stews, etc. Their nutty and rich flavor will enhance the taste of your dish, and you can cook them however you’d like. You can fry them, sauté them with onions, or even use them in stir fry dishes. If you’re the type who loves to experiment, you could even grill the mushroom as well.
But, you also need to be careful with porcini mushrooms. Be sure to cut the vertical cubes and stems from the mushrooms before you cook them.
Best Flavor-Based Substitute: Portobello Mushrooms
Of all white button mushrooms, portobello mushrooms are perhaps the most mature. And, the more mature a mushroom is, the more its rich flavor comes to life. So, if you’re looking for something to give you that infusion of rich flavor, go for portobello mushrooms.
As you would expect, portobello mushrooms are similar to shiitake mushrooms in texture. They have large, flat, and meaty caps as well as dark gills underneath their caps. With their massive meaty content, portobello mushrooms can be prepared in different ways – grilling, roasting, billing, frying, etc.
Everyone loves the earthy aroma that comes with portobello mushrooms. It makes them especially great for pairing with meat, so you probably want to try them sometime.
As for precautions, we recommend that you look out for mushrooms with firm and smooth caps. These indicate that the mushrooms are fresh and better for your recipe. If you go for the dried, wrinkly mushrooms, there’s a high probability that you’ll end up with an overly chewy outcome when you cook the mushrooms.
Best Substitute for Vegan Dishes: Oyster Mushrooms
Another impressive substitute for shiitake mushrooms are oyster mushrooms. Since they’re savory and chewy, they’ll work more than fine for your recipes. While they’re not the most popular mushroom option, they’re particularly great for vegetarian dishes.
With oyster mushrooms, you have the option of choosing from different variants. These include pearl oysters, which are tender and much smaller in size. Then, there are the king oysters, which have thick stems and flat caps.
If you’re looking for more meaty content, we recommend that you go for the king oysters. You can easily throw that on a grill and it will serve quite well.
Keep in mind that oyster mushrooms have mild flavors, compared to the more prominent notes you get from shiitake mushrooms. Like seafood, they have more subtle tastes. So, in terms of that flavor depth, they don’t necessarily measure up.
We also recommend that you stay very vigilant when cooking the mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms take much longer to cook, and you want to watch carefully while preparing to avoid burning them.