Shiitake mushrooms can be considered the most recognizable mushrooms in the world in terms of their physical appearance. These are the typical mushroom profile of tan to dark in color and umbrella-like caps growing between 2 and 4 inches. These edible mushrooms are fungi that naturally grow on decaying hardwood trees.
Shiitake mushrooms are a staple of Southeast Asian cuisines. They are commonly used to sauté up a side dish, or added to stir fry vegetables, noodles or soup ramen.
If a recipe needs them and you can’t find some stocks in your local grocery store, here are some substitutes that you can use.
- Portobello Mushrooms
- Cremini Mushrooms
- Porcini Mushrooms
- Oyster Mushrooms
- Lobster Mushrooms
- Sundried Tomatoes
- Enoki Mushrooms
Roughly 83% of shiitake mushrooms are grown in Japan, but they are also produced in the United States, Canada, China, and Singapore.
Now, let’s discuss a bit more about this common ingredient and the potential substitutes in detail.
20 Best Substitute For Shiitake Mushroom
Shiitake mushrooms or Lentinus edodes contain a chemical called lentinan. These are the most commonly eaten mushrooms in the world.
The lentinan and other chemicals in shiitake are said to stimulate the immune system. They are often used for medicinal purposes, such as treatment for the common cold and flu. However, scientific studies should still be conducted to support these claims. [Source]
These mushrooms are low in calories, but they contain fiber, B vitamins, and other essential minerals. They are also rich in polysaccharides, lipids, sterols, and terpenoids, which are known to boost the immune system, lower cholesterol levels, and help prevent cancer.
At the top of our list for the best Shiitake Mushroom Substitutes are portobello and cremini mushrooms because they are readily available in most supermarkets.
They both have similar flavor and texture to shiitake, making them ideal substitutes. Feel free to also experiment with the rest of the alternatives below.
Portobello mushroom is the best substitute for shiitake mushroom because they have similar flavor profiles and textures. They both have the same earthy scent and firm texture. Using portobello to replace shiitake doesn’t make much difference in a recipe that specifically requires shiitake.
Portobello has a rich savory flavor, strong woody aroma, and a distinctly meaty texture. It can be used for frying, grilling, and baking. They are ideal to add in salads, pasta dishes, risotto recipes, meat dishes, and vegetable stews.
Frying portobello mushrooms using olive oil brings out their richness and earthy aroma. Oregano, basil, and onion also help enhance the flavor of portobello.
Cremini mushrooms are said to be the best fresh mushroom alternative to shiitake. They have an earthy, nutty, woodsy, and savory flavor, making them a good shiitake mushroom substitute.
It has a strong buttery aroma and meaty texture perfect when cooking pasta dishes, risotto, soups, sauces, and making salads. It also goes well with meat, poultry, and baked or mashed potatoes.
The texture may be a little different from shiitake, but close enough to work in soups and sautéed dishes. The preparation of cremini mushrooms is also different from shiitake.
Cremini has more moisture and will need a few more minutes to cook. Cremini will also shrink more than shiitake does, hence, you might need to add more of the cremini in your recipe. It also tends to be spongy in texture.
Cooked tofu, like cooked mushrooms, is soft, though tofu has a paler color. Tofu does not have much flavor on its own. Hence, you’ll need to soak it in a savory liquid seasoning.
Tofu is available in many different types according to its softness. The softer kind is ideal for soup recipes. The firmer ones are excellent for stir-fry dishes.
Silken tofu is more delicate but creamy and often used in soups, as well as other popular Chinese dishes. It is often used as a meat replacement, too.
Zucchini is one of the non-mushroom alternatives to shiitake. It is sweet and savory. There is a lot you can do with zucchini – stuffed, grilled, fried, baked, roasted, pickled, and stewed.
It is soft and juicy with a mild woodsy scent. Its mild taste goes well with your choice of meat, poultry, cheese, cereals, pasta, and vegetables.
Porcini mushrooms are soft and tender with a meaty texture. It is an ideal replacement for shiitake for frying, grilling, stewing, sautéing, and baking recipes. Cooks also prefer using porcini in making mushroom-based sauces because of its pungent and earthy flavors. It also has a robust mushroomy aroma.
Porcini goes well with meat, vegetable, and porridge dishes. In Italian cooking, porcini is eaten raw, simply drizzled with oil and lemon juice, then parmesan cheese.
The thick stem of the porcini is removed and not included when cooking because it is not as good to eat as the cap.
Oyster mushrooms are almost similar in size to shiitake mushrooms, and they both have the same firm texture. This kind of mushroom has a slight seafood flavor.
You can cook them the way you cook shiitake mushrooms. They are best used in soups and sautéed dishes. Oyster mushrooms may not be as popular as the other kinds of mushrooms, but vegans and vegetarians know them well.
This kind of mushroom has a couple of varieties. Pearl oysters are tender and small, and often grow in bulks. The king oyster is meatier and good for grilling. It has thick stems and small flat caps.
Technically, these are fungi. Lobster mushrooms are ideal alternatives to shiitake mushrooms because they almost have similar flavors. They also have a hint of seafood flavor like oyster mushrooms. They are dense and meaty. They are creamy and have a nutty flavor.
As a replacement for shiitake, you can use them when making sauces and pies, or cooking soups and vegetable stews. They can also be added to baked, fried, or mashed potatoes, fish, and meat dishes. You can create a lobster mushroom dish on its own because of its rich mushroom aroma and sweetness.
Lobster mushrooms are quite common in the U.S., so it won’t be difficult to find them in your local grocery store.
Sun dried Tomatoes
Sun dried tomatoes may have their unique brightness and acidity, quite uncommon in most mushrooms, but there is a rich earthiness similar to shiitake mushrooms.
You can use sundried tomatoes to replace shiitakes in dishes with stronger flavors so that the mushrooms do not overpower all the other flavors. Sundried tomatoes are chewy, similar to the “springy” texture of shiitake.
Enoki mushrooms are commonly used in East Asian soups. They have a long, straw-like shape.
While enoki and shiitake mushrooms are different in almost every way, we can still recommend using enoki in place of shiitake because of its mild flavor. When added to your soups, enoki enhances the flavor and texture of your dishes.
Maitake mushrooms are also called hen-of-the-woods, sheep’s head, and ram’s head. They grow in bulk, resembling a bouquet. They are very delicate and commonly grow at the base of oak trees.
The term maitake means dancing mushrooms in Japanese since according to stories, people danced with joy when they found these mushrooms.
They can be fried or added when making omelets, sauces, and salads. But if you need a meaty replacement for shiitake mushrooms for a stir-fry or stew recipe, maitake mushrooms may not be the most ideal alternative.
Maitake mushrooms have savory and earthy flavors, with a hint of spiciness.
Fingerling potatoes are the smaller potatoes that you see in supermarkets. You can cook them in whole or cut each piece in half, and add them to your recipes.
Generally, potatoes won’t bring any strong flavors to your dishes. However, they are a good way to soak up and hold sauces and broths. Sautéing sliced fingerling potatoes bring out their earthy flavor.
Eggplant is another versatile vegetable that you can use instead of shiitake mushrooms. It has a milder flavor profile. Its soft texture when cooked is similar to the texture of cooked shiitake mushrooms.
It has a high water content; hence, you need to cook them a little while longer. Sesame oil and soy sauce enhance the flavor of eggplants.
Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are smoother and firmer than most kinds of beans. They have a mild meatiness and can be used when cooking soups and braised dishes.
They are easily available in supermarkets, and you can get them canned for easy storage in your pantry for a longer time.
Green Bell Pepper
Green bell pepper has a strong vegetal flavor, and it is less sweet than a red bell pepper. It goes well with savory dishes.
Though they cannot become a direct replacement for shiitake mushrooms, green bell peppers help tie any dish together.
Jackfruit is typically used in savory dishes and vegetarian pulled pork. It is firm and meaty, and the texture is similar to shiitake mushroom.
Tempeh is native to Indonesia and Malaysia. It is a fermented ingredient, rich in protein, and is a good meat substitute. It is a soybean product with a savory flavor.
You can use it for frying, baking, and making salads.
Celery is another healthy alternative to shiitake mushrooms. It is rich in Vitamin K, which helps prevent excessive bleeding and blood clots. It has a high water content, which is good for cleansing the body.
Though it doesn’t have the same texture as shiitake mushrooms, if you are cooking a creamy and savory shiitake dish, then this is a suitable substitute. It is often used as a base for soups and sauces.
Beets are versatile. You can cook them, pickle them, and eat them as a condiment. You can add them to your salads too.
Beet juice is also a good addition to your dishes too. If you have a good burger recipe using shiitake mushrooms, beets would be an excellent substitute for shiitake.
Corn is another ideal substitute for shiitake mushrooms when making salads, congee, and soups.
Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
Dried shiitake mushrooms have a stronger aroma and flavor compared to fresh shiitake mushrooms, but they are an ideal substitute for each other.
You can soak the dried mushrooms in water to soften them before cutting, and rinse them in cold water before cooking. They go well with many Chinese dishes.