There’s a lot more to these fungi than meets the eye.

By Sarra Sedghi
May 01, 2019
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There are thousands of types of mushrooms, but you’ve probably only heard of a fraction of them. Mushrooms are unlike any other edible, which makes perfect sense given the fact that they occupy a completely different kingdom of living things. When raw, they’re rubbery to a point that almost isn’t appetizing, but a little heat and oil transforms them into something soft, yet toothsome—in short, irresistible.

There’s a lot more to these fungi than meets the eye: Mushrooms may be mostly water, but they’re rich in key nutrients like protein, potassium, and antioxidants. Plus, they’re packed with savory, meaty flavor without containing many calories. (Technically mushrooms aren’t plants, but they’re a great addition to plant-based diets.)

Mushrooms make a stellar side or pasta sauce or add-in, but larger varieties, like portabella or king oyster, make excellent substitutions for meat and seafood. They add umami flavor to savory pastries, work well with meat, and, when all else fails, make a solid pizza topping. Mushrooms work so hard and reap so many rewards it’s almost impossible to hate them.

Depending on your dish, though, different types of mushrooms fulfill different needs. If you’re looking to build a better burger, portabella is the way to go. In a pasta dish, however, cremini, shiitake, or porcini would be a better choice. We’ve broken down 13 common mushroom varieties, examined their differences, and highlighted the best ways to eat them.

Button Mushroom

Also known as white mushrooms, these are one of the most common types. They’re cultivated in more than 70 countries, making them one of the world’s most widely eaten mushroom varieties. They’re mild enough to be enjoyed raw and will make a no-fuss addition to simple dishes.

Recipes to try: Pizza Bianca with Arugula, Bacon, and Mushrooms, Stuffed Mushrooms, Buttery Mirin Mushrooms.

Portabella Mushroom