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How to Wash, Clean, and Dry Mushrooms

A bowl of white mushrooms
Stephen Gibson/Shutterstock.com

Mushrooms are a delicious and versatile addition to any meal, but they need to be properly prepped before eating. But because mushrooms are absorbent and can easily fall apart when scrubbed, you may be wondering if they need to be washed before cooking. Here’s what you need to know about prepping this food.

Should You Wash Mushrooms?

Someone washes mushrooms

Yes, you should wash mushrooms before eating them. Many people think it’s wrong to wash mushrooms thanks to a decades-old myth started by French chef Prosper Montagné. Montagné claimed that because mushrooms are porous, they will absorb water and lose their flavor when you wash them.

This isn’t true. The flavor of mushrooms comes from glutamate, which is stored in the cell walls of the fungi. It takes a lot of work to destroy the cell walls of a mushroom, and it won’t happen from a quick wash.

While some people prefer to wipe down mushrooms with a damp cloth before cooking, it’s a good idea to give them a quick but thorough wash. Mushrooms grow close to the ground and will collect dirt and grime because of this. Unless you want a little bit of soil in your next dish, a quick wash will get them clean and ready to eat.

How to Wash Mushrooms

Someone washes mushrooms in a colander
Tatjana Wagner/Shutterstock.com

Because they are spongey and delicate, you’re not alone if you’ve wondered how to wash mushrooms without ruining them. Fortunately, cleaning them is pretty simple.

All you need to do is rinse your mushrooms under cool water for a few seconds to get the dirt off. If you want, you can gently use your finger to rub any particularly dirty spots.

If you have a large batch of mushrooms you need to clean, it may be helpful to put them in a colander and gently swirl them around in there. Be careful not to shake or toss the mushrooms too aggressively, as this can bruise them and make them mushy.

HiramWare Stainless Steel Colander

Wash and drain mushrooms quickly and easily.

How to Dry Mushrooms

Mushrooms on a kitchen towel
Stepanek Photography/Shutterstock.com

Once your mushrooms are clean, it’s important to dry them before cooking. If they’re even a little bit wet, they won’t cook evenly and could end up being mushy.

The best way to dry mushrooms is by using a salad spinner. Simply place them in the salad spinner, spin them for a few seconds, and your mushrooms should be good to go. If you don’t have a salad spinner, you can also pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel or use a paper towel to blot any excess water.

OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner

Quickly dry mushrooms and other produce with the push of a button.

If you’re in a hurry, you can also put your mushrooms on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven on the lowest setting for about 10 minutes. This will help them to release any residual moisture so they’re ready to cook.

Mushroom Recipes to Try

Now that you know how to properly wash and dry mushrooms, it’s time to put them to good use! Here are some of our favorite mushroom recipes.

Garlic Mushrooms

Pan fried mushroom dish
Cafe Delites

This basic recipe will turn any batch of mushrooms into a stunning side dish full of flavor. Made with butter, herbs, and lots of garlic, these garlic mushrooms come together quickly and are melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

This recipe uses button mushrooms, but almost any variety will work, so go with your favorite. Try to pick mushrooms that are around the same size for even cooking. These sautéed mushrooms can be eaten on their own or served as a side dish for pretty much any meal.

Japanese Mushroom Rice

A bowl of Japanese mushroom rice
Just One Cookbook

Mushrooms are very popular in Asian cooking, and this Japanese mushroom rice dish is a great way to bring those flavors to your dinner table. The mushrooms are cooked with the rice to infuse the entire dish with an earthy, umami flavor.

Aroma Housewares Rice Cooker

A sturdy and affordable rice cooker.

This recipe uses a variety of mushrooms, including shiitake, shimeji, and eringi (king oyster), but you can mix and match with whichever ones you prefer. This dish is hearty enough to eat on its own, but you can also top it with a fried egg or some tofu if you want to add some protein.

Mushroom Pasta Skillet

A mushroom pasta skillet
Eat Well 101

Mushrooms work incredibly well in pasta dishes, and this mushroom pasta skillet is the perfect meal for any night. It’s super easy to put together and hearty enough to satisfy the whole family.

In addition to pasta and mushrooms, this dish is also packed with spinach, so you can feel good knowing you’re getting your veggies in. It’s a great option for a meatless dinner, but you can also add chicken or pork if you want to bump up the protein content.

Mushroom Galette

A Beautiful Plate

Mushrooms on pizza are great, but really lean into that earthy flavor by opting for a mushroom galette instead. A rich blue cheese mushroom filling is spread onto a sour cream crust, which is then baked until golden, creating a flavorful and comforting meal.

This rustic vegetarian tart gets heft from the mushrooms and a sharp, salty tang from the blue cheese. It can be served at room temperature if you prefer, but it’s best when eaten warm alongside a glass of wine. It’s the perfect lunch for fall or winter.

To wash or not to wash? From chefs to kitchen novices, people have mixed opinions about how to correctly prepare mushrooms, but here’s the best way.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
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