Have you tried making sautéed mushrooms before, only to be disappointed by a soggy texture and bland flavor? If so, you HAVE to try this tutorial for how to sauté mushrooms so they’re browned and SUPER flavorful! The secret to perfectly cooked mushrooms lies in how frequently you stir it (spoiler alert: NOT very frequently!).
You can use these sautéed mushrooms in pasta or quiche, serve them on top of steak or meatloaf, or just eat them on their own as a healthy vegetable side dish!
There’s one big trick that’s going to be so helpful for you if you’ve struggled to cook mushrooms correctly in the past, or if you don’t know how to do it yet. And there are a few other little tips and tricks I’m going to share that will ensure this technique is easy and FAST.
What kind of mushrooms to buy
You can use any mushrooms for this, but you’ll save some time if you buy pre-sliced mushrooms. They aren’t much more expensive, and they’re all ready to go!
My go-to for the most flavorful mushroom that you can buy at most grocery stores is baby portobello mushrooms. These are also known as cremini mushrooms. They’re inexpensive, and a little more flavorful than regular white mushrooms.
But using this cooking method will help bring out a LOT of concentrated mushroom flavor, so any kind will do!
How to wash mushrooms
Just place the sliced mushrooms in a colander, rinse with cold water, and shake off as much excess water as you can. Easy!
You may have heard that you need to wipe mushrooms clean with a towel instead of cleaning them with water. This is NOT the case! In fact, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, the author of The Food Lab (a GREAT, accessible read for the science behind why cooking works), details why in his book.
I also used to think you couldn’t “wash” mushrooms the traditional way because they would absorb too much water, and therefore be soggy and not as flavorful. In The Food Lab, Kenji experiments with just how much water mushrooms absorb when washed the traditional way and spun in a salad spinner.
He found they absorb only 2% of their weight in water, and there was no discernible difference in taste or texture if they were washed.
He DID recommend making sure you use them right away after washing- don’t let them sit for more than 15 minutes before using. And while he recommended using a salad spinner to dry them, I found that was unnecessary- a few shakes in the colander got a lot of the excess water off.
That said, if you prefer using a cloth to wipe mushrooms clean, you do you!
How to sauté mushrooms
It’s so easy to cook the perfect sautéed mushrooms in a skillet- just sauté in some butter, with a pinch of salt, and don’t stir frequently. The whole process takes about 10 minutes.
- While you’re washing the mushrooms, melt two tablespoons of salted butter in a skillet. You can use unsalted if you want, but you’ll need to add more salt.
- Add the mushrooms to the skillet immediately after washing them and shaking the excess water off. This will ensure the mushrooms don’t have time to absorb any excess water.
- Add a pinch of salt to the mushrooms. Salt will flavor the mushrooms, of course, but it also helps to draw out the moisture in the mushrooms, so they get more browned.
- Stir to coat the mushrooms in the butter. Then spread them out in an even layer.
- DON’T TOUCH THEM for 4-6 minutes! This is the most important part. The moisture will be drawn out of the mushrooms, so you’ll see it in the skillet. Then, if you don’t disturb it, the moisture will evaporate from the heat of cooking, leaving you with concentrated mushroom flavor!
- Stir 1-2 more times, leaving them alone for a couple of minutes in between.
- Once there is almost no moisture left in the skillet, and the mushrooms are a deeply browned color, you’re done!
What kind of skillet to use
While any skillet will work, I recommend using a nonstick skillet to make sautéed mushrooms. I’ve found it the easiest way to cook the mushrooms perfectly every time.
If you use a stainless steel or cast iron skillet, there may be little bits that get stuck to the pan. This is fine, if you plan on deglazing the pan and continuing to cook. Or, if you are fine spending a little more time washing the pan.
Here’s a link to the nonstick skillets I use. I find that they cook evenly, they last for a long time if you take care of them, and I love that they are oven safe, so you can easily use them for frittatas or the like.
How to use sautéed mushrooms
These sautéed mushrooms are so delicious on their own, they’d be great as a side dish! If you want, you can add herbs, like oregano, thyme, or rosemary, and/or onions, when you begin sautéing.
Recipes that use this technique
You’ve got to try out these easy recipes that use sautéed mushrooms as the base. Here are my favorites:
- One-Pot Orzo with Mushrooms, Brown Butter, and Thyme
- Beef Barley Soup with Mushrooms
- Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy
- Mushroom and Cheddar Omeletes
- Easy Mushroom Gravy
- Mushroom Brie Soup
- Healthy Chicken and Mushroom Stroganoff
- Creamy Mushroom, Chicken, and Wild Rice Soup
- Creamy Chicken Thighs and Mushrooms
Looking for more basic cooking techniques? Make sure you check out all my Cooking Techniques, Tutorials, and FAQs!
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Perfectly Browned Sautéed Mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons salted butter see notes for unsalted
- 16 oz. sliced mushrooms washed (I prefer baby portobello)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt more if using unsalted butter
- fresh cracked black pepper for serving, optional
- Melt the salted butter (2 tablespoons) in a large, preferably nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the sliced mushrooms and the kosher salt (1/4 teaspoon) to the skillet. Stir to coat in the butter, and spread the mushrooms out in an even layer, with as much surface area in contact with the skillet as possible.
- Allow the mushrooms to cook, WITHOUT STIRRING, for about 5 minutes, until much of the liquid has been drawn out of the mushrooms and has almost fully evaporated.
- Stir the mushrooms, trying to flip them over as much as possible (but not being obsessive about it). Spread them in an even layer again, and allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes without stirring.
- Stir one more time and allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes, until mushrooms are deeply browned and there is almost no liquid in the pan.
- Adjust seasoning if needed, adding black pepper if desired. Serve as is, or use in other recipes such as pasta or quiche.
- If using unsalted butter, increase the amount of kosher salt to 1/2 teaspoon.
- For a vegan version, use olive oil instead of butter.
- For a paleo/whole30/dairy free version, use ghee or olive oil instead of butter.
- You can wash the sliced mushrooms in a colander under running water- it's not necessary to wipe them clean with a towel to keep them dry. Just shake off as much excess water as you can.
- The provided nutrition information does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.