When I first made sautéed mushrooms I hovered over the skillet, eating one after another. Before I knew it, I’d taken half of them down. They are that kind of delicious.
And simple too—cook sliced white button or cremini mushrooms in an oil-slicked skillet until they begin to soften and release their juices. From there, you add shallots, butter, fresh thyme, salt, and black pepper, and continue to sauté until they are pleasingly tender. Serve them how you’d like, be it as a side dish to a vegetarian dinner, spooned over a grilled ribeye, or myriad other possibilities.
Another plus? Mushrooms are nutritious and very low in calories. Win win.
Sautéed Mushrooms are So Delicious
These mushrooms have an earthy flavor and meaty texture, not to mention a healthy dose of umami, which is part of what makes them so addictive. They’re also like little sponges, so they soak up all the wonderful flavors in the pan.
In this case, the fragrant combination of thyme and shallots cooked in butter. A touch of vinegar at the end gives it just the right hit of acid to bring the dish together.
No Need for Fancy Mushrooms
Part of the appeal of this recipe is that it doesn’t call for fancy, foraged, wild, or exotic mushrooms. No, this is done with garden variety fungi, either white button mushrooms or creminis, also called brown mushrooms or baby bellas. And why not? It only requires a bit of loving care to transform budget-friendly mushrooms into pure magic.
That being said, you can certainly mix it up by substituting other mushrooms for some of the buttons or creminis, such as chanterelles, shiitakes, oyster mushrooms, or maitakes.
Tips and Tricks for the Best Sautéed Mushrooms
Here are some tips and tricks for shopping for, preparing, and cooking mushrooms:
- When shopping for mushrooms, look for smooth, fresh, unblemished caps that are plump and neither dried out nor slimy. I recommend buying whole mushrooms rather than pre-sliced, but if you need the cooking shortcut, go for it.
- Give the mushrooms a quick cleaning. There’s some debate—use water or never use water—over the best way to clean mushrooms. I recommend you dump them in a colander and rinse under cold water, using your thumbs to slough off any dirt.
- Don’t crowd the pan. For a pound of mushrooms, use a skillet that’s at least 12 inches. This gives the mushrooms enough space to cook properly so they sauté—they will brown and become crisp-tender—instead of steam.
- Be a little patient. When you sauté mushrooms, you’ll see them transform in the pan. First, they’ll soften a bit. Then, they’ll release their juices. Don’t panic! The juices will evaporate as the mushrooms brown. To get the best result, it’s best not to rush it.
Ways to Make Mushrooms Even More Delicious
There are plenty of ways to play with this recipe and that’s half the fun of home cooking. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Use chives, chervil, or parsley in place of the fresh thyme.
- When the mushrooms are nearly done, add a splash of wine or sherry and cook for another minute or two.
- If you’re a garlic fan, add a minced clove along with the shallots.
- Use lemon juice instead of vinegar.
- Add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes for a kick of heat.
- Stir in a spoonful of crème fraîche or sour cream once the mushrooms are done cooking.
- Shower the sautéed mushrooms with Parmesan or another hard cheese.
- Add a teaspoon or two of white miso paste at the very end for a double dose of umami.
How to Serve These Mushrooms
This is a very versatile dish that can be served in endless ways. The most straightforward is to serve it as a simple side dish to roast chicken or roast beef. Here are a slew of other ways to enjoy them:
- As a hamburger topping along with melted Havarti.
- Spoon over crostini smeared with goat cheese for an appetizer or light lunch.
- Toss with cooked pasta along with grated Parmesan.
- Add to your favorite grain bowl alongside other cooked vegetables and a soft egg.
- On grilled steak, chicken paillard, or roasted salmon.
- Scatter over a pizza as soon as it’s out of the oven.
- Add to an omelet with plenty of black pepper.
- Use as the “meat” in your vegetarian or vegan sandwich.
Mushroom for Days
Easy Sautéed Mushrooms
Trouble finding cremini mushrooms? They are sometimes labeled as baby bellas or brown mushrooms.
- 1 pound white button or cremini mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1/4 heaping teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Prepare the mushrooms:
Put the mushrooms in a colander and rinse them under running cold water, using your thumbs to slough off any dirt.
Trim the bit of tough end of the stems. Cut the mushrooms into 1/3-inch slices.
Cook the mushrooms:
Set a large skillet (at least 12 inches) over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil. When the olive oil is hot, rippling, but not smoking, add the mushrooms. Sauté them until the mushrooms release their liquid and most of it cooks off, 4 to 5 minutes. The mushrooms should still be moist and tender.
Finish cooking the mushrooms:
Add the shallots, thyme, butter, salt, and black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium heat and sauté for a few minutes more until the shallot is translucent, the butter is melted, and the mushrooms are meaty and tender, but not too soft. Add the vinegar and stir well.
Taste and add more salt and black pepper, if needed. Serve warm.
Nothing beats sautéed mushrooms hot out of the skillet. They are still quite tasty a day or two after they’re made. Refrigerate them and gently reheat in a skillet over medium heat without any oil. You can also freeze them in a freezer-friendly bag or container. They will keep for up to 1 month. Simply defrost and reheat in a skillet.
Did you love this recipe? Leave us a review in the comments!