Entertaining can be difficult, especially when you’re tasked with coming up with a variety of different dishes to appease dietary restrictions and food preferences. Luckily, these crispy fried mushrooms check just about every box: they’re vegetarian, easy to throw together in the moment (or in advance), and they’re a crowd-pleaser in just about every circumstance.
Pair them with your favorite dipping sauce and they’re surprisingly kid-friendly, too—that extra crispy coating from the addition of panko breadcrumbs keeps them delightfully crunchy and fun for kids and adults alike.
Cremini or Button Mushrooms Are Best for Frying
This recipe calls for cremini or button mushrooms, but the sky’s the limit in terms of which mushrooms you can use. Cremini mushrooms are preferred for their small-to-medium size—which makes the perfect, poppable, bite-sized appetizer—but just about any variety of mushroom will work here.
Try it with sliced portabella mushrooms for a meaty taste and texture, shiitake mushroom caps for an umami-forward snack, or you can even experiment with less common varieties, like oyster mushrooms.
The Best Way to Clean Your Mushrooms
Cleaning mushrooms can also be a tedious task, but it doesn’t have to be. I prefer to use a damp sponge to remove any visible dirt from the mushrooms themselves, and I’ve found that it’s the easiest technique for quickly cleaning a large batch of mushrooms.
The Secret to Super Crispy Fried Mushrooms
In my testing, I found that the mushrooms that were only beer-battered were perfectly delicious and crispy in the moments after frying, but eventually lost their crunch and became soggy.
To combat this phenomenon and create a final product that would stay incredibly crunchy even hours after frying, I found that a double-coating made all the difference: First, dip the mushrooms in a tangy beer batter, then roll in panko breadcrumbs to keep them much crispier, much longer.
Don’t Forget to Dredge
Tossing the mushrooms in a light coating of flour before battering them shouldn’t be overlooked, either. Mushrooms are famously watery, which you’ll know if you’ve ever sautéed them and seen just how much moisture they release. That light coating of flour helps the batter to adhere to each and every mushroom. Without it, the batter won’t adhere as nicely, and you’ll be left with an uneven coating when it comes time to fry ‘em up.
Deep Frying Without Fear
Deep frying can conjure up feelings of anxiety for even the most experienced home cooks — but it doesn’t have to. These are some of my favorite tips for deep-frying successfully and alleviating some of the stress while you do so.
- Prepare your battering, frying, and cooling stations ahead of time. The process of frying moves incredibly quickly, so it’s important to make sure all your tools, equipment, and “stations” are ready in advance. While your oil heats up to temperature, place a wire rack or paper towel-lined baking sheet right next to your frying vessel, so you can quickly and easily remove the finished fried mushrooms from the oil before they burn.
- “Deep” frying these mushrooms doesn’t require a vat of oil. Since the battered mushrooms float at the surface of the oil, I found that 2 inches of oil in your frying vessel is really all you need. There’s no reason to waste massive jugs of oil! Two inches was more than enough for the mushrooms to cook evenly without any hot spots, so there’s no need to pick up an extra-large container of frying oil before you make these.
- Make sure your frying vessel and other equipment is dry as a bone before starting. When it comes to frying, water is the enemy. Even the tiniest droplets of water can cause annoying (and occasionally dangerous) splattering when they come in contact with the hot oil, so pay careful attention to make sure anything that’ll come into contact with the hot oil is dry, from the vessel itself, to the thermometer, to your slotted spoon or spider you’ll use to turn and fish out the mushrooms.
Super Sauces for Dipping Mushrooms
1 pound small or medium cremini or button mushrooms
3/4 cup lager-style beer
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
6 cups canola oil, more as needed
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Flaky salt, as needed
Fresh thyme leaves, for serving
Clean and trim the mushrooms:
Use a damp sponge or paper towel to gently scrub off any visible dirt on the mushrooms. Slice off any woody or soft ends from your mushrooms with a knife and place them into a large mixing bowl.
Prepare the batter:
Add the beer, buttermilk, soy sauce, and cracked egg into a medium bowl and whisk together until fully combined. Use a sieve to sift in 1 cup of the all-purpose flour, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Whisk the batter until no lumps remain and set aside.
Add a little more flour or liquid to the batter, if needed, to get the consistency just right.
Heat the oil:
Add the canola oil to a clean, dry Dutch oven or other heavy-bottom frying vessel, using just enough to fill the vessel with 2 inches of oil. Heat over medium-high until the temperature reaches 350°F using an instant-read or candy thermometer, then adjust the heat as necessary to maintain the temperature.
Prepare the battering and frying stations:
Add the panko to a small bowl and set it next to the batter, then place a baking sheet with a wire rack next to your frying station. Alternatively, you can line the baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels to soak up any excess oil.
Set aside a clean plate to place the breaded mushrooms on.
Coat the mushrooms:
Toss the mushrooms with the remaining 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour until each mushroom has an even, thin layer of flour coating it.
Dip each floured mushroom into the beer batter, let the excess drip off, then toss in the panko breadcrumbs until evenly coated.
Remove to a clean plate and repeat with the remaining mushrooms.
Fry the mushrooms:
Carefully add the first 10 mushrooms to the hot oil, adjusting heat as necessary to keep the oil temperature as close as possible to 350°F throughout the frying process.
Allow them to fry for 2-4 minutes, or until the bottoms are deeply golden brown, then use a spider or slotted spoon to carefully flip each mushroom.
Fry the other side for another 2-4 minutes, or until each mushroom is evenly golden brown.
Using your spider or slotted spoon, remove the fried mushrooms to your wire rack or paper towel-lined baking sheet and sprinkle liberally with flaky salt.
Repeat, in batches of 10 mushrooms, until all the mushrooms are fried — likely twice more.
Serve the fried mushrooms:
Allow the final batch of fried mushrooms to cool for 5 minutes, then plate all the mushrooms on a large plate or serving platter. Sprinkle with more flaky salt as needed, and scatter fresh thyme leaves throughout.
These mushrooms are HOT when they first come out of the fryer! As good as they may look, let them cool a bit before you bite into them.
Serve with your preferred dipping sauce and eat while warm.
Storage and reheating instructions:
Refrigerate or freeze any remaining fried mushrooms in a tightly-sealed plastic or reusable bag. Leftover fried mushrooms will last for up to 4 days in the refrigerator and up to 1 month in the freezer.
To reheat refrigerated mushrooms, placem on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 10-12 minutes, or until warmed through and crisped.
To reheat frozen mushrooms, bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 21g||27%|
|Saturated Fat 2g||10%|
|Total Carbohydrate 39g||14%|
|Dietary Fiber 3g||12%|
|Total Sugars 4g|
|Vitamin C 3mg||17%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|