I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of mushroom substitutes to find the best one for every cooking occasion. Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry swap, or want a substitute that fits your diet, I’ve got the answers.
If you want to replicate the meaty texture of mushrooms, plant-based meat alternatives like tofu, seitan, or tempeh are the best substitutes. You can also use vegetables like eggplant or zucchini if you want to bulk up your dish. In terms of flavor, mushroom powder is an excellent substitute.
I made a big batch of creamy fettuccine alfredo to put loads of mushroom substitutes to the test.
Mushrooms are typically thought of as vegetables in the culinary world, but they’re actually a type of fungus. There are endless varieties of edible mushrooms, and they’re mostly added to dishes for their meaty texture and rich, umami flavor.
You can find them in everything from soups and stews to pizza and pasta. Or even just on toast!
Finding an exact substitute for mushrooms wasn’t easy – there aren’t many ingredients that can deliver both taste and texture-wise, so most of these substitutes are more like alternatives.
Easy Mushroom Substitutes
Tofu is a classic meat alternative you can use in place of mushrooms to bulk up your dish. It has a soft, sponge-like consistency when raw, but becomes meaty once cooked. Firm tofu is best for replacing mushrooms because the soft or silken varieties don’t have the same bite.
And if you have the time to spare, I highly recommend pressing your tofu block the night before you plan to cook it.
I know it’s an extra step, but like with mushrooms, drawing out excess moisture is key to achieving the perfect meaty texture and crispy bite.
Psst… since tofu is inherently bland, marinating it before cooking is also key to injecting it with flavor. Here’s an ‘umami bomb’ tofu marinade.
How to substitute: Replace mushrooms with 3/4 the amount of pre-cooked, marinated tofu.
Not the biggest tofu fan? Give tempeh a try instead. It’s made from fermented soybeans, which helps load it up with natural umami goodness and gives it a nutty, mushroom-like flavor. It also has a dense texture, although it’s not chewy like mushrooms.
An added bonus? Tempeh has more protein than mushrooms, making it an excellent option if you want to increase your protein intake.
You should be able to find tempeh in the organic sections of larger supermarkets, and if you don’t have any luck there you’ll be able to find it in a health food store. Although it’s generally not the cheapest ingredient.
How to substitute: Replace mushrooms with 3/4 the amount of crumbled or cubed tempeh.
Another plant-based alternative you can use in place of mushrooms is seitan. It’s made from wheat gluten, which gives it an even meatier bite than fleshy mushrooms like portobellos. the texture actually reminded me more of chicken than mushrooms!
But it doesn’t taste of much, so you either need to marinate it or rely on it soaking up the flavors of your sauce.
Note: Seitan is not a suitable option for those with gluten intolerances or celiac disease. Be mindful of this if you’re prepping for guests.
Psst… Seitan is the perfect substitute if you were planning on breading or deep frying the mushrooms
How to substitute: Replace mushrooms with 3/4 the amount of seitan.
Looking for a convenient and economical alternative to mushrooms? Beans have your back, and you’re not short on choice. Black and pinto beans fit perfectly into Latin American recipes (and have a mildly earthy flavor), while chickpeas are great with Mediterranean dishes. I went with white beans for my alfredo and it was great.
Beans pack a nutritious punch and offer more protein than mushrooms, which makes them a solid choice for health-conscious folks. The only caveat is they have a softer, creamier texture.
Psst… you can also use lentils in things like burgers or sauces where texture isn’t an issue.
How to substitute: Replace mushrooms with 3/4 the amount of cooked beans.
Artichoke hearts are probably the last thing on your mind when you think about mushroom substitutes, but don’t discount them straight away. They have a tender, meaty texture that replicates fleshy mushrooms surprisingly well.
They also have some flavor, unlike most of the previously mentioned substitutes. The flavor is sweet and nutty, so not very similar to mushrooms. But they tasted amazing in my alfredo… I might have even preferred it.
And the best part? They come pre-cooked in jars, so you can just toss them straight into your dish. Great when you realize last minute that you’re out of mushrooms.
How to substitute: Replace mushrooms in a 1:1 ratio with jarred artichoke hearts.
The vegetable world is teeming with options you can explore when mushrooms aren’t available. And you don’t need to limit yourself to one kind; you can mix and match.
Tender, mildly sweet veggies like zucchini, eggplants, and squash fit into most recipes without much fuss. Although they have a softer texture than mushrooms.
If you’re seeking an earthy flavor more similar to mushrooms, roast or grill the vegetables before using them. This won’t give you the same umaminess as mushrooms, but it will give the vegetables more depth.
For dishes like stews or casseroles where you desire a substantial, chunky substitute, potatoes are a robust alternative if your stew doesn’t already include them.
How to substitute: Replace mushrooms in a 1:1 ratio with your chosen vegetable.
Walnuts or pecans
Nuts are an innovative way to replace mushrooms in things like burgers, tacos, or “meat”balls. You’ll need to soak the nuts in water overnight to soften them, and then chop them into smaller pieces. You can then use them just like chopped mushrooms.
Both walnuts and pecans have an earthy, slightly bitter flavor which isn’t that similar to mushrooms but will slot in well with most other ingredients. But you can go with any nut you have to hand.
Pro tip: nuts are more calorific than mushrooms because of their natural (healthy) fats.
How to substitute: Replace mushrooms with 3/4 the amount of chopped nuts.
If you don’t mind a non-plant-based substitute, meat can make a good replacement for mushrooms (just as mushrooms are often used to replace meat).
Use red meat instead of big, hearty mushrooms like portobellos. Or chicken or fish instead of lighter mushrooms like oyster mushrooms.
How to substitute: Replace mushrooms with 3/4 the amount of your chosen meat.
Substitutes to replicate the mushroom flavor
The substitutes above can replicate the texture of mushrooms in your dish, but a lot of them struggle in the flavor department. Mushrooms are often used to add umami to a dish, so you need something to replace this.
If your recipe includes stock or water, you can replace some of it with mushroom stock to get that mushroom flavor. If you can’t find mushroom stock, then beef stock is the next best option (if the recipe doesn’t already use beef stock).
For my experiment, I cooked the pasta in mushroom stock to transfer some of the flavor.
How to substitute: Replace half (or more) of the liquid in your recipe with mushroom or beef stock.
If you don’t like having to keep fresh mushrooms on hand or can’t stand their texture, mushroom powder can be a lifesaver.
It has a deeply earthy and savory flavor that’s more intense than fresh mushrooms – 1 tablespoon of powder is enough to replace 4 ounces of fresh mushrooms. You can easily make your own mushroom powder at home with dried mushrooms from the store. I like to use a mix of different mushrooms to get a more complex flavor profile.
How to substitute: 1 tablespoon powdered mushrooms = 4 ounces fresh mushrooms
Other umami-rich ingredients
A few shakes of condiments like soy sauce, fish sauce, or Worcestershire sauce can instantly add an umami lift to a dish. Or why not try miso paste or a yeast extract like Vegemite or Marmite. They’re all loaded with glutamates and will turn your dish from bland to fabulous in an instant.
How to substitute: Start with 1 teaspoon of any of these umami-rich ingredients, and adjust to taste.
Can you substitute fresh mushrooms with dried mushrooms?
Yes, you can use dried mushrooms in place of fresh mushrooms and vice versa. Dried mushrooms have a more concentrated flavor than fresh ones, and they have a chewier texture once you rehydrate them.
Use around 1 1/2 ounces dried mushrooms for every 8 ounces of sliced fresh mushrooms. This might not seem like much, but dried mushrooms will expand when you soak them and fresh mushrooms will shrink down as you cook them.
You can also use canned mushrooms, but these will have lost some of their flavor so I don’t recommend it if you have another option.
Substitutes to avoid
I saw sun-dried tomatoes suggested on lots of other blogs, and while these do have of umami, they don’t taste anything like mushrooms. They are sweet, tangy, and acidic and the flavor is quite potent, so they could easily clash with the other ingredients in your dish.
I also saw lots of blogs mentioning onions, but the problem with onions is that most recipes will already use onions and you don’t want to be doubling up on them. Onions are also mostly meant to be invisible in dishes, they’re not able to help with bulking or adding texture.
For the same reason, leeks aren’t a good substitute either.
The best mushroom substitutes for particular dishes
- Pasta: Tempeh, other vegetables, mushroom powder.
- Pizza: Artichoke hearts, meat, zucchini.
- Stir fry: Tofu, tempeh, other vegetables.
- Stroganoff: Other vegetables, chopped nuts, extra meat.
- Chicken Marsala: Other vegetables, just leave them out.
- Soups and stews: Beans, other vegetables, mushroom stock.
- Veggie burgers: Chopped nuts, beans, tempeh.
Best Mushroom Substitutes + What To Avoid
- 1 cup chopped tofu
- 1 cup sliced tempeh
- 1 cup sliced seitan
- ½ cup beans
- 1 cup artichoke hearts
- 1 cup other vegetables
- replace liquid with stock/broth
- 1 tsp mushroom powder, adjust to taste
- 1 tsp MSG, adjust to taste
- 1 tsp other umami-rich ingredients, adjust to taste
- Cook your meal according to the recipe.
- Add your chosen mushroom substitutes at the appropriate cooking time.
- Mix until thoroughly combined and continue with the recipe.