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BEST Shiitake Mushrooms Substitutes + 1 To Avoid

I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of shiitake 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.

Porcini are the best substitutes for shiitake in terms of flavor, but they’re not cheap. Portobello mushrooms aren’t as strongly flavored, but can still hold their own in a dish and are readily available. Maitake mushrooms are also a pretty good swap. For a non-mushroom alternative, try tempeh.

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

The experiment

I made a batch of classic risottos to put several different shiitake mushroom substitutes to the test. 

Shiitake mushrooms have a rich, savory flavor with prominent earthy notes. They also boast a delightful meaty texture once cooked. They originally came from East Asia, but their umami-forward flavor has made them a popular addition to various Western dishes.

You can find them fresh or dried, and they’re used in everything from soups and ramens, to stir fries, stews, and pastas.

Here are the substitutes I tested and my verdicts:

SubstitutesSubstitute DirectionsVerdict
Portobello mushroomsReplace in a 1:1 ratio9/10
Porcini mushroomsReplace in a 1:1 ratio9/10
Maitake mushroomsReplace in a 1:1 ratio8/10
Oyster mushroomsReplace in a 1:1 ratio7/10
Cremini/white mushroomsReplace in a 1:1 ratio7/10
Mushroom powder1 tbsp = 3 tbsp whole dried shiitake7/10
Firm tofu or tempehReplace in a 1:1 ratio6/10
Dried shiitake mushrooms1 pound = 3 oz dried shiitakes9/10

Common uses for shiitake mushrooms

As a meat substitute: Portobello or oyster mushrooms are the best shiitake alternatives for this use. Or you can use tempeh.

For soups and broths: Porcini mushrooms are the best option here because of their strong flavor. And if you can’t find those, try using mushroom powder for flavor and button mushrooms for texture.

For stir-fries and sauces: Oyster mushrooms, maitake mushrooms, or portobello mushrooms are all good swaps in stir fries. Porcini and maitake mushrooms are delicious in sauces.

Portobello mushrooms 

Portobello mushrooms are a decent shiitake substitute. They’re widely available and won’t break the bank. The flavor isn’t as robust as shiitake mushrooms, but they’re the most mature of common mushrooms and did bring a rich, meaty flavor to my risotto.

You can always deepen their umami flavor with a sprinkle of MSG or even mushroom powder too! 

Pssst… remember to pull the stems out of your portobello mushrooms. Like with shiitake mushrooms, the stems are fibrous and not so pleasant to bite into. 

How to substitute: replace shiitake mushrooms in a 1:1 ratio with portobello mushrooms.

Porcini mushrooms 

Porcinis are a great swap for shiitake mushrooms if you want to replicate the strong, earthy flavour.

Their rich and woodsy taste is even more intense than shiitakes’ flavor, making them a perfect complement to decadent, creamy dishes like risottos or stronger proteins like red meat. Porcini mushrooms also have fleshier stalks and caps than your typical shiitake, which gives them a meatier bite. 

The caveat? Porcinis are only in season during autumn (October – September) and are foraged, like with the video below. This means they’re normally sold dried, and come with a hefty price tag. 

How to substitute: replace shiitake mushrooms in a 1:1 ratio with porcini mushrooms.

Maitake mushrooms 

On to maitake mushrooms, also known as “hen-of-the-woods” because their stalks are connected at the base, giving them a feather-like appearance.

They have a very similar texture to the shiitake mushroom, and the flavor isn’t too different either. They’re rich and earthy with an intriguing peppery twist. Bigger bunches of maitake mushrooms can develop a very strong flavor that you might find overwhelming, so stick to small or medium-sized bunches.

These make a particularly good replacement for shiitake in soups and stews, where their tender-chewy texture can shine.

How to substitute: replace shiitake mushrooms in a 1:1 ratio with maitake mushrooms.

Oyster mushrooms 

If you’re after the distinctly meaty texture of shiitake mushrooms, oyster mushrooms are a good choice. 

The catch is they’re not an exact flavor match. Their flavor is milder and sweeter. But luckily, oyster mushrooms are flavor sponges so you can season them up! I like mixing them with smoked bacon to emulate the smoky undertones of shiitakes. But you can also add a drop of liquid smoke if you have it.

Psst… King oyster mushrooms (also known as king trumpet mushrooms) are an option too. They’ve got a stronger umami flavor and a fleshy texture.

How to substitute: replace shiitake mushrooms in a 1:1 ratio with oyster mushrooms.

Cremini/white mushrooms 

Cremini mushrooms shouldn’t be your first choice when you’re scouting for a shiitake substitute, but they can work in a pinch.

They’re very widely available and are reasonably priced, so perfect for those shopping on a budget. And with a little kitchen magic, you can bump up their mild flavor.

A trick I picked up from Reddit was to roast the cremini mushrooms with salt and oil under high heat (about 400F). This helps concentrates their earthy flavor and gives them a meaty texture closer to shiitakes. 

They will shrink, but remember: this is flavor concentration at work! I also added a few non-roasted mushrooms to my risotto to bulk it up.

If that doesn’t appeal to you, you can simply up the umami flavor with other ingredients. Yeast extracts, MSG powder, fish sauce, and parmesan rinds are just a few examples of things you can add.

How to substitute: replace shiitake mushrooms in a 1:1 ratio with roasted cremini mushrooms.

Mushroom powder

If you’re only looking to replace shiitake’s savory, umami flavor, you can use mushroom powder. Some brands like Takii, are made from dried shiitake mushrooms so you’ll get the exact same flavor.

But a warning… it also contains salt. I didn’t realize this at first and ended up with a very salty risotto.

This sub would work really well mixed with regular button mushrooms above.

How to substitute: 1 tablespoon powdered mushroom = 3 tablespoons whole dried shiitake, or 4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms.

Tempe / tofu

If mushrooms aren’t your thing, you can use soy-based substitutes like tofu or tempeh in place of shiitake mushrooms. 

They have a substantial, meaty texture, making them a terrific substitute especially in stir-fries or stews. Tempeh already has a mushroom-like flavor, although it’s not as intense as shiitakes. And for the tofu, you can marinade it in a soy-based marinade first to infuse it with a dose of savory, umami goodness. 

Psst… both these ingredients are packed with protein too.

How to substitute: replace shiitake mushrooms in a 1:1 ratio with your chosen meat alternative.

Can I swap fresh shiitake for dried shiitake?

Yes you can use dried shiitake mushrooms as a substitute for the fresh version and vice versa.

To use dried shiitake mushrooms instead of fresh ones, you’ll need to soak them in hot water for about 20 minutes to reconstitute them (save the soaking water to use as stock). And you won’t need as many because the dried mushrooms have a more concentrated flavor.

The general rule is to use three ounces of dried mushrooms for one pound of fresh mushrooms.

There’s also a texture difference between fresh and dried shiitake mushrooms. The dried ones can be a little chewy, but the fresh mushrooms are nice and tender.

To use fresh mushrooms instead of dried mushrooms, you’ll need to use more if you want a strong flavor. Or you can top up the ‘umami-ness’ with something like yeast extract.

How to substitute: 1 pound shiitake mushrooms = 3 oz dried shiitake mushrooms (rehydrate before using).

Other substitutes to consider

The suggestions above are my top picks for shiitake mushroom substitutes, but here are more alternatives you can consider trying: 

  • Lobster mushrooms – these are a solid alternative if you want to switch things up. As the name suggests, they have a mild seafood-like flavor and boast a meaty texture close to shiitake mushrooms. They’re in season during late summer up to October
  • Golden chanterelles – these wild mushrooms have a similar meaty texture to shiitakes, but they have a sweeter, fruity flavor. They’re fabulous in cream-based dishes. But like porcinis, they’re expensive.
  • Enoki mushrooms – these are far from a perfect substitute, but they can work well in soups and ramens to add texture. The flavor is very mild though.
  • Eggplants – If you want a veggie swap, eggplant would be your best bet. It won’t work well in dishes where you’re relying on the shiitake mushrooms to flavor the dish, but in things like salads and rice bowls it makes a good swap.

Sun-dried tomatoes – substitute to avoid

I love sun-dried tomatoes, but I can’t recommend them as a substitute for shiitake mushrooms (and I’m not sure why other people do!).

They may have an umami flavor, but this is coupled with an intensely sweet-tart taste that is nothing like shiitake mushrooms. In fact, I think their flavor clashes with the earthy flavors of mushrooms.

Best Shiitake Mushrooms Substitutes + 1 To Avoid

I tested several different shiitake mushroom substitutes to find the best one. I was looking for a substitute that could replicate shiitake's texture and flavor.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Ingredient
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: shiitake mushroom substitutes, substitutes for shiitake mushrooms
Prep Time: 9 minutes
Total Time: 9 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Calories: 56kcal


  • 100 grams portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 0.75 grams dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 100 grams roasted cremini mushrooms
  • 100 grams oyster mushrooms
  • 100 grams porcini mushrooms
  • 100 grams chopped maitake mushrooms
  • 100 grams firm tofu or tempeh, chopped
  • 100 grams cauliflower/zucchini/eggplant, chopped


  • Cook your meal according to the recipe.
  • Add your chosen shiitake mushroom substitutes at the appropriate cooking time.
  • Mix until thoroughly combined and continue with the recipe.


Serving: 100grams | Calories: 56kcal

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