Shiitake mushrooms have become more popular for their distinctly savory taste and many health benefits. But they can still be challenging to source in some areas, especially fresh shiitake mushrooms.
That being said, I’m going to share with you my go-to shiitake substitutes I use whenever my supplier runs out.
What are Shiitake Mushrooms?
Shiitake mushrooms are edible mushrooms native to East Asia and have been cultivated in Japan and China for centuries.
They have a distinctive flavor and are highly prized in many parts of the world. They are characterized by their dark, woodsy appearance and strong umami flavor, making them popular in dishes worldwide.
Shiitake mushrooms can come in several forms, such as dried, fresh, canned or frozen. However, they usually stay at their best quality while fresh or dried.
What to Think About when Substituting Shiitake Mushroom?
When substituting shiitake mushrooms, it’s essential to consider the texture and flavor.
Shiitake mushrooms are usually used as an umami booster and add a distinctive earthy and savory flavor. This is why we want to substitute them with other flavourful mushrooms.
6 Best Substitutes for Cremini Mushrooms from a Professional Chef
1. Porcini Mushrooms
Porcini mushrooms are one of my favorite substitutes for shiitake. They are packed with rich umami flavors and are commonly dried or fresh like shiitakes. They make an excellent choice for soups, stir-fries, risotto and pasta recipes.
Although they are more expensive than shiitakes, if you’re looking for a mushroom at a similar or cheaper, there are better alternatives.
2) Maitake Mushrooms
Maitake mushrooms, also known as hen-of-the-woods, are another mushroom that shares a robust savory flavor with shiitake mushrooms.
They are thinner mushrooms, so they don’t work as well for hearty stews or sauces. Although due to their thin edges, they work well with pan-frying as the edges start to crisp up.
3) Portobello Mushrooms
Portobello mushrooms are less flavorful than shiitakes but still make an excellent substitute due to their meaty texture and umami taste.
They are easily sourced and can be found in most groceries stores. They work well in dry cooking like grilling, pan-frying, and stir-fries but don’t add as much flavor to soups and broths.
4) Crimini Mushrooms
Crimini mushrooms are the less immature version of portobellos. They are smaller and have a more subtle flavor and a softer texture.
If you’re looking for something that has less intense umami notes than shiitakes, then criminis are a great choice!
5) Oyster Mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms are one of the best replacements for recipes with fish or seafood. They have a slightly briny flavor and are milder than shiitakes, but their taste works wonders with seafood recipes.
6) Lobster Mushrooms
Lobster mushrooms have a similar flavor to oysters but are more colorful and have a denser texture. They also make a great alternative for any recipes using fish or seafood.
7) Enoki Mushrooms
Enoki is another type of mushroom that brings some milder umami notes. Like shiitakes, they are commonly used in Asian cuisine and are versatile mushrooms that can be used in many types of recipes.
Yes, tried shiitake mushrooms can be used instead of fresh ones though it is good to note that the flavor and texture may differ slightly. Dried mushrooms have a much more concentrated flavor and are more chewy once cooked.
To rehydrate dried Shiitake mushrooms, soak them in warm water for approximately 20 minutes until soft. After, you can use both the mushrooms themselves and their soaking liquid as a mushroom broth.
Alternatively, they may be reconstituted straight into broths, soups and stews.
Just because you’re missing shiitake mushrooms, it doesn’t mean you can’t still make the recipe. Each mushroom listed can make an excellent substitute for shiitake mushrooms.