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Gourmet Hacks: 5 BEST Substitutes for Shiitake Mushrooms

Ever found yourself in the middle of cooking, only to realize you’re fresh out of shiitake mushrooms? You’re not alone. We’ve all been there, scrambling to find a quick fix without compromising flavor or texture.

The good news? Substitutes exist that can save your dish without a trip to the store. In this guide, we’re sharing our top five swaps for shiitake mushrooms. With these options, you’ll keep the essence of your recipes intact.

Each substitute we’ve picked brings its unique flair to the table. Some mirror the earthy depth of shiitakes, while others add a surprising twist. Ready to dive in? Let’s get cooking.

What are Shiitake Mushrooms?

what are shiitake mushrooms

As the name suggests, Shiitake mushrooms are a type of mushroom native to East Asia.

They’re incredibly popular in the cuisine of countries like China and Japan.

They have become more well-known in recent years thanks to an increased interest in other types of Asian food (such as sushi), but they’ve been peasant staples for around 2,000 years.

The exact scientific name of the Shiitake mushroom is Lentinus edodes, and while these mushrooms are technically edible, they’re usually considered to be rather unpalatable (albeit nutritious) until aged.

When young, the Shiitake is moist and firm; when aged properly, it becomes dark and dry, resulting in a much stronger flavor.

There are several ways to cook Shiitake mushrooms, including frying, to boil, sauteing, and baking.

They’re especially tasty when dried – after all, the aging process creates complex flavors by allowing various chemical reactions to take place.

The mushroom will initially shrink in size as moisture evaporates out of it.

As time goes on, however, the texture becomes denser and chewier.

Aged Shiitake mushrooms are especially renowned for their superb umami flavor, and they’re often used as a meat substitute in vegetarian cooking because of the texture they develop over time.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms are known for their unique flavor and meaty texture, making them a popular ingredient in many dishes.

However, if you’re unable to find shiitake mushrooms or simply want to explore different options, there are several substitutes available.

In this guide, we will compare the top 5 substitutes for shiitake mushrooms, discussing their key characteristics and suggesting proper ratios to ensure excellent results in your culinary creations.

SubstituteKey CharacteristicsProper Ratio
King Oyster MushroomsFirm texture with a mild, slightly sweet flavorUse an equal amount of king oyster mushrooms as a substitute for shiitake mushrooms
Portobello MushroomsLarge size, meaty texture, earthy flavorUse an equal amount of portobello mushrooms as a substitute for shiitake mushrooms
Button MushroomsMild flavor, smooth texture (white or brown)Use an equal amount of button mushrooms as a substitute for shiitake mushrooms
Enoki MushroomsDelicate texture, mild flavor with a hint of sweetnessUse an equal amount of enoki mushrooms as a substitute for shiitake mushrooms
Porcini MushroomsIntense umami flavor, meaty textureUse an equal amount of porcini mushrooms as a substitute for shiitake mushrooms

Now let’s dive into each substitute in more detail:

1 – King Oyster Mushrooms

king oyster mushrooms

This cultivar of oyster mushroom is meaty, juicy, and savory.

It has an earthier flavor than the white or pink cultivated oyster mushrooms, which makes it a great substitute for that “meaty” element in vegetarian dishes like vegan bolognese or vegan steak and potatoes.

The texture of King Oyster mushrooms is quite strong, making it a good choice for dishes with bold flavors.

The mushroom needs to be cooked carefully to bring out the best flavor.

In addition, it’s crucial to note that this type of mushroom has to be cooked well to maintain a meat-like consistency.

  • Key Characteristics: King oyster mushrooms have a firm texture and a mild, slightly sweet flavor. They can be used as a substitute for shiitake mushrooms when you want a similar texture and a mild taste.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of king oyster mushrooms as a substitute for shiitake mushrooms. Adjust the quantity based on your recipe requirements.

2 – Portobello Mushrooms

portobello mushrooms

Also known as crimini mushrooms, portobellos are a great vegan alternative to many types of meat, including beef and mutton.

Their texture isn’t as firm as other types of mushrooms (like king oysters), but they stand up well against other strong flavors like garlic and soy sauce.

Portobello mushrooms can be cooked in various ways: roasted, fried, baked, and grilled – or even microwaved if you’re in a pinch.

They’re also incredibly easy to grow yourself; they’re relatively low-maintenance, and there are plenty of kits out there that allow you to raise your mushrooms at home without too much fuss.

  • Key Characteristics: Portobello mushrooms are large and possess a meaty texture with an earthy flavor. They make an excellent substitute for shiitake mushrooms when you desire a hearty and robust taste in your dish.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of portobello mushrooms as a substitute for shiitake mushrooms. Adjust the quantity based on your recipe requirements.

3 – Button Mushrooms (White or Brown)

button mushrooms white or brown

Button mushrooms are so common in Western cuisine that their ubiquity has led to the belief that they’re boring.

However, button mushrooms can be surprisingly flavorful if treated properly.

Button mushrooms are incredibly versatile – you can slice them up and use them as a delicious topping for burgers or pizzas, or even use them in dishes like vegan stroganoff.

They work best when sauteed in butter, but they can also be fried or cooked alongside veggies like onions and tomatoes (for vegan alfredo sauce).

Also, because button mushrooms are so common, you’re likely to find them at most grocery stores.

If you’ve run out of shiitake mushrooms but still need some mushroom options for your dish, try the button mushroom.

  • Key Characteristics: Button mushrooms, whether white or brown, have a mild flavor and a smooth texture. They work well as a substitute for shiitake mushrooms in recipes where a subtle mushroom taste is desired.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of button mushrooms as a substitute for shiitake mushrooms. Adjust the quantity based on your recipe requirements.

4 – Enoki Mushrooms

enoki mushrooms

This white Japanese mushroom is a great choice for vegan dishes.

Its small size makes it perfect for appetizers.

Its mild flavor works well in many different types of cuisine – making it an excellent replacement for traditional vegetables like carrot, turnip, or broccoli.

Enoki mushrooms are packed with vitamins and nutrients, so they’re especially beneficial to vegans and vegetarians who don’t get enough of their daily intake from the foods they eat.

One important thing to note is that because enoki mushrooms are so small, you’ll only be able to harvest a few at a time when you’re picking them in the wild.

This can make it quite expensive.

It’s much more cost-effective to get enoki mushrooms from a local grocery or food market, especially if you’re using them as a garnish.

  • Key Characteristics: Enoki mushrooms have a delicate texture and a mild flavor with a hint of sweetness. They can be used as a substitute for shiitake mushrooms when you want a light and subtle mushroom taste in your dish.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of enoki mushrooms as a substitute for shiitake mushrooms. Adjust the quantity based on your recipe requirements.

5 – Porcini Mushrooms

porcini mushrooms

Porcini mushrooms (also known as cepes) are a delicious type of mushroom ideal for vegan dishes.

Their flavor is mild and is elevated by the stronger flavors in the dish you add them to – so they’re not overpowering.

They can be cooked in various ways, including frying, roasting, and baking.

They also have a long shelf life, so if you’re trying to stock up on vegan ingredients for a potluck or party, porcini mushrooms may be a good option.

Porcini mushrooms are pretty common in grocery stores, but they can be difficult to find.

You’ll have the best luck looking for them at mom-and-pop stores, small grocers, or farmers’ markets.

  • Key Characteristics: Porcini mushrooms offer an intense umami flavor and a meaty texture. They are a suitable substitute for shiitake mushrooms when you desire a rich and robust mushroom flavor in your dish.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of porcini mushrooms as a substitute for shiitake mushrooms. Adjust the quantity based on your recipe requirements.

Conclusion

Shiitake mushrooms are a delicious type of mushroom beloved by vegans and non-vegans alike.

Finding them at grocery stores is pretty easy because they’ve become such a staple in vegan cooking.

However, if you’re ever out looking for some shiitake mushrooms and can’t find them – don’t worry.

There are plenty of other types of mushrooms out there that are just as delicious or even more delicious.

Try using crimini mushrooms, portobello mushrooms, button mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, or porcini mushrooms to replace shiitake mushrooms in your next vegan meal – you’ll be amazed at how delicious they are.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Shiitake Mushrooms

Searching for alternatives to shiitake mushrooms? Your quest ends here! Discover the five best substitutes that will seamlessly replace shiitakes in your recipes. Whether it's the earthy portobello or the delicate oyster mushrooms, these alternatives promise to add a unique and flavorful twist to your culinary creations.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 4 Servings

Ingredients
  

  • King Oyster Mushrooms
  • Portobello Mushrooms
  • Button Mushrooms White or Brown
  • Enoki Mushrooms
  • Porcini Mushrooms

Instructions
 

  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword substitutes for shiitake mushrooms
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