Shiitake mushrooms have a strong earthy, creamy, buttery, and meaty flavor and a soft, velvet, juicy texture. Shiitake are considered a delicacy, appreciated for its specific pleasant taste and aroma, which resembles porcini mushrooms. However, it might be difficult to find shiitake in the shops since they are more expensive than other varieties.
Luckily, even if you ran out of shiitake, you can easily find a more affordable shiitake mushroom substitute and make an amazing dinner.
What can I use instead of shiitake? The best shiitake substitutes are portobello, cremini, and porcini mushrooms, as they have a similar velvet and meaty texture, deep savory umami taste, and a pungent earthy, woodsy aroma. Enoki, oyster, and maitake mushrooms can also be used instead of shiitake, but they have a milder taste.
Portobello, cremini, and porcini are not the only shiitake mushroom replacement options, let’s dive into the 10 top shiitake alternatives (mushroom and non-mushroom) that will keep you satisfied.
10 Best Shiitake Mushrooms Substitute — Mushroom and Non-Mushroom
If you need to add shiitake mushrooms to your dish to make it more savory and meaty, but you cannot find them in the shop, no need to worry. We have created a list of the 10 best shiitake mushroom substitutes that will make your dinner mouth-watering.
- Portobello mushrooms
- Cremini mushrooms
- Porcini mushrooms
- Enoki mushrooms
- Oyster mushrooms
- Lobster mushrooms
- Maitake mushrooms
Portobello mushrooms have a very rich savory and mushroomy flavor, a strong woodsy aroma, and meaty texture close to that of shiitake, which makes portobello a wonderful substitute for shiitake mushrooms and perfect for grilling, frying, baking, adding to salads, pasta, risotto, vegetable stews, and meat dishes.
Portobello has a lot of protein and is often used as a substitute for meat. To make the dish extra flavorful, add some spices (oregano, basil) and onion. We recommend frying portobello with olive oil to fully reveal its rich, savory flavor and mushroomy aroma.
In terms of phosphorus content, portabello mushrooms are equated to seafood. It strengthens bones, prevents the destruction of tooth enamel, and stabilizes the hormonal state. B vitamins have a calming effect on the nervous system. Portabello mushrooms fight headaches and improve memory, thought processes, and other brain activity. Regular portabello consumption prevents stress, depression, and neuroses.
See also: Where Do Shiitake Mushrooms Come From?
Cremini mushrooms are considered an excellent shiitake substitute due to their woodsy, earthy, nutty, and slightly savory flavor. Cremini has a strong buttery and mushroomy aroma and soft, meaty texture that is perfect for making soups, sauces, salads, risotto, and pasta. Cremini also goes well with mashed or baked potatoes, meat, and poultry.
Cremini has a lot of health benefits, including improving appetite, preventing the formation of blood clots, reducing the risk of heart attack, relieving inflammation, improving brain function, and accelerating the work of the digestive tract. That said, if you substitute shiitake with a more affordable cremini, you will get not only a mouth-watering dish but also a lot of useful properties. Cremini is very filling as it has a lot of protein and is good for those who want to reduce meat consumption.
Porcini has a very soft, tender, yet fulfilling, and meaty texture, which makes it a perfect shiitake substitute for frying, baking, grilling, sauteing and stewing. Porcini is often used to make mushroom-based sauces due to its pungent earthy flavor and robust mushroomy aroma.
In Italian cuisine, young porcini mushrooms are eaten raw, seasoned with oil and lemon juice, adding parmesan. Porcini mushrooms go well with vegetable, meat, and porridge dishes. They are used to prepare soups, main courses, gravy, sauces, and various fillings for flour products — from pies to dumplings.
The porcini mushroom belongs to the first category. It contains many beneficial substances, in particular riboflavin, which is responsible for the normal function of the thyroid gland, the growth of nails, hair, skin, and overall health. Dried porcini mushrooms contain the alkaloid used in the treatment of angina pectoris. These mushrooms are rich in protein, carbohydrates, and glycogen (animal starch). In addition to protein compounds, porcini contains plenty of minerals, potassium salts, and phosphates.
Enoki mushrooms have a very delicate and pleasant earthy taste and a mild earthy aroma and can be used as shiitake mushroom substitutes in soups, sauces, pasta, and rice dishes. Enoki is often added to pies to make its taste more flavorful and intense. Enoki also goes well with meat (beef, pork, veal), poultry (duck, chicken, turkey), and salads.
Enoki is not eaten raw because of its chewy texture, so we recommend you fry, roast, grill, or boil it before adding it to other dishes. Enoki mushrooms go well with potatoes and other vegetables (zucchini, eggplants, carrots) and contain a lot of protein that keeps you full for hours. These mushrooms are often added to Korean salads as they retain their flavor, aroma, and texture after being subjected to heat treatment.
Enoki is used for the treatment of many infectious diseases, as well as for diseases of the lungs and anemia. Enoki mushrooms are rich in vitamins, so they are used to strengthen the immune system. Complex natural polysaccharides contained in the mushrooms do not cause negative reactions in the body but, at the same time, actively fight against the formation of malignant tumors.
Infusions and extracts from enoki mushrooms normalize blood pressure, strengthen the heart muscle and improve the functioning of the entire circulatory system.
Oyster mushrooms have a sweet and subtle seafood taste reminiscent of oysters. If cooked properly, oyster mushrooms have a delicate creamy umami flavor with hints of cucumber and watermelon and are used as shiitake substitutes in soups, salads, sauces, pasta, rice, and potato dishes.
Oyster mushrooms are easy to cook. If you buy frozen oyster mushrooms, thaw them in room temperature water, slice them, fry for 7-10 minutes with olive oil, and add finely chopped herbs or dried herbs.
Oyster mushrooms are used to make soups, vegetable stews, and sauces and are added to pizza, burgers, pasta, rice, and pies. They can also be dried, pickled, and grilled. To keep their velvet texture, soak them in room temperature water overnight before cooking.
Oyster mushrooms are high in protein. Due to this and the absence of fats and cholesterol, they are recommended for use in low-calorie diets. Also, the oyster mushroom has a high content of amino acids, vitamins E, C, B, niacin, and fiber. It is also appreciated due to the content of micro-and macroelements (potassium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, zinc).
Lobster mushroom has a dense and meaty texture and is very filling. It has a creamy, nutty flavor and a sweet aroma reminding of a boiled lobster. It has a slightly different flavor and texture than that of shiitake mushrooms but can be used as a shiitake substitute in vegetable stews, soups, pies, and sauces.
Lobster mushrooms can also be added to mashed, fried, or baked potatoes, meat, and fish dishes. Thanks to its sweet flavor and rich mushroomy aroma, it can be eaten as a standalone dish. Some lobster mushrooms can have a spice flavor, so you do not need to add garlic or onion when cooking them. Since lobster mushrooms are very common in the USA, you will not have any problem finding them in your local grocery shop.
Maitake is widely used in cooking. They are famous for their delicate creamy taste and pleasant earthy aroma. These mushrooms go well with shiitake and other oriental mushrooms but can also be used as their substitute. They are used to prepare miso soup, salads, sauces, and seasonings.
Maitake mushrooms are prepared very quickly. They can not only be boiled and fried but also steamed and grilled. Dried mushrooms are often added to vegetable stews or salads. Maitake can also be used as a side dish for meat and fish, and they perfectly complement potato dishes.
Maitake contains polysaccharides that have an immunomodulating effect and fight the immunodeficiency virus. Amino acids in maitake mushrooms stabilize protein metabolism and help lose weight. They also fight hair loss and regulate blood sugar levels, so they are safe even for those at risk of developing diabetes. Maitake contains a lot of protein and is often used as a meat substitute.
See also: What Do Shiitake Mushrooms Go With?
Eggplant is a great shiitake non-mushroom alternative as it has a delicate and meaty texture and a mild bitterness that makes any dish more flavorful. They can be grilled, boiled, fried, baked, stewed, pickled, and eaten raw. Eggplants have a rather spicy taste. Many people compare them to mushrooms or chicken meat, but the similarity is rather distant. The spicy aftertaste is quite strong, so it is better not to add black pepper when cooking eggplants. Fried, stuffed, and stewed eggplants go well with tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic, and any herbs.
The fiber contained in eggplants has a good effect on bowel function. Eggplant cleanses the intestines and biliary tract. They contribute to the removal of excess fluid and help the kidneys, especially with urolithiasis. Potassium and sodium salts contribute to the elimination of cholesterol, stabilize cardiac activity, and also have a positive effect on the liver. Minerals such as copper, cobalt, iron, and manganese found in eggplant improve blood composition.
Zucchini is an excellent non-mushroom shiitake substitute as it has a sweet and savory flavor, a delicate texture, and a lot of health benefits. Zucchini can be grilled, baked, fried, stuffed, roasted, stewed, and pickled. It has a soft, juicy texture and a mild woodsy smell. Zucchini has a soft, mild taste, which makes it a perfect choice for poultry, meat, vegetables, cheeses, cereals, and pasta dishes.
Zucchini has only 18-20 kcal per 100 grams, which allows it to be used in many popular diets. In addition to the low-calorie content, zucchini removes excess water from the body and helps to lose weight. In addition, the fiber contained in zucchini activates the digestive tract, improves intestinal motility, and accelerates metabolic processes.
Even though tofu has a slightly different taste and texture than shiitake or other mushrooms, when combined with soy sauce or lemon juice, it acquires a creamy and woodsy taste, which makes tofu a great shiitake mushroom replacement. Tofu can be boiled, fried, baked, smoked, marinated, and used as a filling for pies, added to pasta and rice.
Tofu is an excellent source of high-quality protein. It also contains iron, potassium, and magnesium, which have a beneficial effect on the work of the heart, phosphorus with calcium, which is involved in the formation of bones and muscle tissue, B vitamins, which strengthen the nervous system.
Tofu is rich in valuable amino acids, usually found in meat, and free radical scavenging isoflavones. Due to this composition and low-calorie content, tofu is recommended to be included in the diet of those who want to lose weight, athletes, and vegetarians. Tofu is often used to replace meat, milk, and eggs. It does not contain cholesterol and is easily absorbed.
Shiitake Mushrooms Substitute FAQ
Can I substitute porcini for shiitake? Porcini is a great shiitake substitute thanks to its deep savory, meaty taste, rich earthy and woodsy aroma, and thick velvet texture. Porcini can be baked, grilled, boiled, pickled, or added to pasta, rice, salads, pies, soups, and sauces. Porcini has a slightly stronger flavor than shiitake.
Can I substitute cremini for shiitake? Cremini’s texture is very close to that of shiitake’s, which makes cremini a wonderful alternative to shiitake in many dishes, including risotto, pasta, mushroom-based sauces, and soups. Dried cremini can also be used as a substitute for dried shiitake mushrooms.
Can I substitute oyster mushrooms for shiitake? Shiitake has a more pronounced, meaty flavored, and fibrous stems than oyster mushrooms, but thanks to their pungent earthy smell and delicate texture, oyster mushrooms are used as shiitake substitutes in soups, vegetable stews, sauces, and salads.
Can I substitute white mushrooms for shiitake? White mushrooms do not have a very pronounced mushroomy flavor like shiitake, so, if possible, it is better to opt for porcini or cremini. However, if you add enough herbs and spices, button mushrooms’ taste will intensify and become more robust.
Can I substitute baby Bella for shiitake? Baby Bella’s mild yet meaty taste makes it a good shiitake mushroom replacement in soups, pasta, risotto, pies, and sauces. Once cooked, its taste becomes more pronounced, and the aroma intensifies, making the dish more flavorful and delicious.