three pictures of shiitake mushrooms

Last Updated on September 10, 2023

Looking for a substitute for shiitake mushroom? You’re in the right place! Shiitake mushroom replacements can be difficult to find sometimes.

However, there are a few good substitutes. While they may not have the same flavor as shiitake, they will still provide a similar texture and consistency.

three pictures of shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake Mushroom

What are shiitake mushrooms? They’re a type of edible mushroom that’s commonly used in Asian cuisine.

These mushrooms have a strong, earthy flavor and are often used as a meat substitute in vegan or vegetarian dishes.

a basket of mushrooms

Shiitake means ‘oak’ in Japanese, is typically cultivated on logs or oak tree stumps, and has a brownish-gray cap with white gills.

Shiitake mushrooms (scientific name: Lentinula edodes) have other names such as Winter mushrooms (donko /冬菇), Flower mushrooms (huāgū 花菇), northern mushrooms, and thick mushrooms.

It is actually the quality of mushrooms that differs between different names.

For example, Winter and Flower mushrooms are the most advanced category, characterized by bursting patterns after drying.

bursting patterns on shiitake mushrooms
Winter and flower mushrooms are high-grade Shiitakes. They have a flower-like cracking pattern on the mushroom’s upper surface. 

Why do Asians love them so much and what do they taste like? Shiitake mushrooms have a hearty, umami flavor that is both earthy and slightly smoky.

You can use them both fresh and dried in soups, stews, stir-fries, and rice dishes.

When purchasing shiitake mushrooms, look for ones that have firm caps with no signs of bruising or drying out.

Shiitake Mushrooms Nutritional Value

These mushrooms are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including copper, potassium, and vitamin B6.

They also contain compounds that may boost the immune system and have anti-inflammatory effects.

Shiitake mushrooms are generally safe to eat, but some people may experience an allergic reaction to them.

In addition, shiitake mushrooms contain a variety of enzymes that aid digestion and are good for health in general.

Substitute for Shiitake Mushroom (Other Types of Mushrooms)

If you like shiitake mushrooms in your dish because of their delicious umami flavor. But what if you can’t find them at your local grocery store?

Here are some other types of mushrooms that make great substitutes for shiitake mushrooms. Let’s take a look!

1. Dried Shiitake Mushrooms (👑The Winner)

a bunch of dried shiitake mushrooms

This has to be the winner among other shiitake substitutes for good reasons. I personally love dried shiitake mushrooms more than fresh ones. You might ask why?

Because they have been dehydrated with a concentrated flavor. Dehydrated shiitakes have a much richer umami flavor than fresh ones.

Hence, they have a very long shelf life at a much cheaper price than freshly harvested shiitakes. I have to say, if you want the best bang for the buck, definitely go for dried shiitakes!

In case you might be wondering what they taste like if you’ve never had dried shiitake mushrooms before. The most accurate way to describe the flavor is “umami.” Umami is a Japanese word that refers to the fifth taste, which means “savory” or “meaty.”

Taiwanese-Daikon-radish-stew-with-mixed-vegetables
I love dried shiitake mushrooms in my Daikon Radish Stew and Taiwanese Cabbage Stew.
Yaki-Udon-Stir-Fried-Udon-Noodles on a plate
The natural umami flavor from dried shiitake mushrooms takes our Yaki Udon to the next level.

Dried Shiitake mushrooms are an excellent way to add flavor and depth to any dish. Simply reconstitute them in water for about 20 minutes before use, and then add them to your recipe in place of fresh mushrooms.

The extra bonus is you can use the soaking water from rehydrating shiitake mushrooms as a soup base or a quick stock (this is an authentic Asian way of using shiitakes). And I’m sure you’ll be amazed at the difference they make!

2. Button mushrooms

fresh button mushrooms

They are a type of mushroom that can replace shiitake mushrooms.

Button mushrooms have a milder flavor than shiitake mushrooms, making them a good choice for dishes where the mushroom flavor is not the star of the show.

By the way, they’re also less expensive than shiitake mushrooms, making them a budget-friendly option.

3. Oyster mushrooms

mushrooms on a table

If you’re a fan of shiitake mushrooms, you’ll be happy to know that oyster mushrooms make a delicious substitute.

These mushrooms come in three varieties: golden oyster mushroom, blue oyster mushroom, and pink oyster mushroom. Their texture is similar to that of shiitake mushrooms, making them ideal for dishes that call for their popular cousins.

Oyster mushrooms are very versatile and you can use them in vegan birria tacos, vegan fried chicken, and stir-fries.

They have a mild flavor that is slightly sweet, making them a good choice for those who are not fans of the more earthy taste of shiitake mushrooms.

When cooked, oyster mushrooms release a lovely aroma that will tantalize your taste buds.

4. Cremini mushrooms

fresh cremini mushrooms

These mushrooms are native to Europe and North America, and they’re related to the white button mushroom. Cremini mushrooms are slightly larger than button mushrooms and have a darker color.

If you’re looking for a shiitake mushroom substitute, you can’t go wrong with cremini mushrooms.

Here’s what you need to know about this delicious variety. Cremini mushrooms are also known as baby bellas or brown mushrooms.

They have a rich, earthy flavor that’s perfect for savory dishes.

5. Portobello mushrooms

fresh Portobello mushrooms as shiitake replacement

Portobello mushrooms have a similar taste and texture to shiitakes, making them a great choice for vegan mushroom burgers.

Portobellos are also very versatile, so if you’re looking for a way to add some variety to your meals, they’re a great option.

You can use them in stuffed mushrooms, stews, pasta dishes, and more. And because they’re so hearty, they’ll satisfy even the heartiest appetites.

6. Porcini Mushrooms

fresh Porcini-Mushrooms

Porcini mushrooms are a type of fungi that have a strong, earthy flavor. They are a fantastic substitute for shiitake mushrooms in recipes.

Fresh or dried Porcini, your choice! When substituting porcini mushrooms for shiitake mushrooms, it is important to keep the ratio of 1:1.

7. Maitake Mushrooms

fresh mushrooms on a bamboo mat

Maitake mushrooms are a type of fungi that is closely related to the shiitake mushroom.

They have a similar appearance and taste, making them a good substitute for shiitake mushrooms in recipes.

Their traditional use in Chinese and Japanese medicine dates back centuries.

The health benefits of maitake mushrooms include antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, as well as immune boosters.

8. Enoki Mushrooms

a bunch of enoki

Enoki mushrooms are a common ingredient in many Asian dishes. They have a delicate flavor and are often used in soups (like my Tomato, Enoki Mushroom, and Tofu soup) and salads.

If you can’t find shiitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms make a great substitute.

These golden needle mushrooms are just as flavorful and will add a touch of umami to your dish. Plus, they’re much easier to find than shiitake mushrooms.

9. Lobster Mushrooms

dried lobster mushrooms

Lobster mushrooms are a type of fungi that gets its name from its bright red color and seafood-like flavor.

In contrast to other types of mushrooms, lobster mushrooms grow wild in forests instead of in cultivated beds.

They are an excellent source of antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

They are also a rich source of vitamins B and C, potassium, copper, and selenium. So next time you see them at your local grocery store, don’t forget to take some home to try out!

Non-Mushroom Options

What if you’re not a fan of shiitake mushrooms or have an allergy to them? Alright, don’t worry! There are plenty of other options to choose from.

If you’re looking for something with a bit more of a kick, these non-mushroom options can provide the same level of flavor and texture.

Here are our selected non-mushroom options for you:

1. zucchini

green vegetables

When it comes to finding a non-mushroom alternative for shiitake mushrooms, zucchini is a great option.

It’s meaty and juicy after cooked, and can easily take on the flavor of whatever you’re cooking it with.

2. eggplant

purple veggie

Eggplant is a great option for those who want mushrooms that is similar in texture to shiitakes.

It’s meaty and chewy, and it takes on whatever flavors you cook it with. They’re also fairly easy to find and cook with.

3. Cauliflower

bulbs of cauliflower

This veggie is having a moment and for good reason – it’s versatile, nutritious, and can be used as a stand-in for mushrooms in many dishes.

When cooked, cauliflower has a similar texture to mushrooms (meaty and chewy), making it a great option if you’re looking for something similar.

4. Tofu

2 block of tofu

Tofu is a type of bean curd, a healthy option for those looking for a Shiitake mushroom replacement.

It’s high in protein and has a similar texture to mushrooms. Plus, it’s easy to cook with and adds extra protein to whatever dish you cook.

5. TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein)

a plate of top

Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP or TSP), is a versatile, plant-based meat alternative that can be used in place of shiitake mushrooms in many recipes.

They are made from soybeans and are high in protein and fiber. It has a chewy texture and can be flavored to taste like many different types of meat.

TVP is a great choice for vegetarians and vegans who want a delicious, hearty meal without the use of animal products.

I always use TVP as my source of protein in Vegan Chili (TVP Recipe), Chinese Eggplant Stir-Fry with TVP, and Bitter Melon Soup.

Thanks to its unique spongy texture, it is suitable as a shiitake mushroom replacement if you try to avoid mushrooms.

TVP is high in protein and fiber and low in fat, a nutritious source of iron and calcium.

6. Tempeh

Tempeh-the super food

Another great option is tempeh. Like tofu, it’s high in protein and has a similar texture to mushrooms.

It’s also fermented, which gives it a slightly nutty flavor that pairs well with many dishes.

Our Vegan BLT with tempeh bacon and Five-Spice Pan-fried Tempeh Popcorn are the recipes you can’t miss out on.

My final thoughts on Substitutes For Shiitake Mushrooms

In conclusion, there are many substitutes for shiitake mushrooms that can be used in cooking.

While some may not be as flavorful, they can still be used in a variety of dishes.

With a little creativity, any dish can be made with a variety of different mushrooms.

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three pictures of shiitake mushrooms

(2023) Best Shiitake Mushroom Substitutes

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