Six people live in my home. Three of us love mushrooms and the other three absolutely hate them. In order to make everyone happy, we try to serve mushrooms on the side so only those who want them add them to the plate.
However, in some recipes, the mushrooms are chopped up and you can’t take them out or eat around them. But the flavor mushrooms add is an undeniable benefit.
One way we found to add the deep flavor of mushrooms without the texture some of us don’t love is by adding a scoop of Porcini or Shiitake mushroom powder to our recipes.
You can create savory flavor in a dish by making your own mushroom powder, buying mushroom powder mixes, or substituting Porcini or Shiitake mushrooms for each other.
If you want umami flavor, but not from mushrooms, try adding MSG, garlic powder, thyme, or a couple of drops of truffle oil to your recipes. If your main goal is to increase the nutritional or medicinal qualities of your recipe, you should consider some other options. Nutritional yeast increases the amount of protein and vitamins in your dish. The tomato paste will change the flavor profile, but it offers a boost of vitamins and iron. Finally, an assortment of medicinal mushrooms is prized for their immune, brain, gut, mood, and energy support. Try them in mushroom coffees or tea blends.
Keep reading to find details about the two main reasons you would need a substitute for mushroom powders in a recipe and the best options for both.
Mushroom Powder Substitutes
Umami is the fifth category of taste after sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. It refers to savory flavors.
When you want to increase the depth of umami flavor in a dish, add a scoop of mushroom powder to your meatballs, burgers, soups, pasta sauces, and risotto.
1. Make Your Own Mushroom Powder
If the recipe you have called for mushroom powder, but you don’t have any, you can make some yourself if you can find dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms.
- First, Put your dried mushrooms into a food processor or blender.
- Pulsing the food processor a few times to break the mushrooms into chunks.
- Then run the food processor for one minute.
- Let the powder settle in the food processor for a few minutes before removing the lid.
- Pour the blend through a strainer and return the larger pieces to the food processor for further powdering.
When you use mushroom powder in a recipe, 1 tablespoon of mushroom powder will substitute for
- 3 tablespoons whole dried mushrooms
- 4 ounces of fresh mushrooms
- 2 ounces canned mushrooms
2. Substitute Porcini Powder for Shiitake Powder
Porcini mushrooms are common in Italian and French recipes. They have a very short growing season and are very popular.
The combination of their popularity and lower availability may make porcini mushrooms more expensive than other varieties.
Porcini mushrooms have a deep, nutty and earthy flavor. You may be able to find dried porcini mushrooms in a well-stocked grocery store.
Shiitake mushrooms look very similar to Porcini mushrooms and have a similar flavor profile. They have a meatier, less earthy flavor with a mild sweetness. shiitake mushrooms are popular in Asian cultures and recipes.
They are more affordable and available than Porcinis, and you are likely to be able to find dried shiitakes at your local grocery store.
Because of their similarities in taste, you can use either Porcini mushrooms or Shiitake mushrooms to make a mushroom powder at home.
3. Purchase Pre-Made and Mixed Mushroom Powder Online
Mushroom Powder Blends with Salt Added (Use for Flavor, not Nutrition)
Multiple brands of mushroom seasoning powders are available to purchase. Kinoko Yugo Fusion Seasoning, All Natural Mushroom Seasoning, and Yuen Mushroom Seasoning, all contain mushroom powder, salt, and mushroom extract.
They don’t specify which kind of mushroom the powder is made from.
These powders are vegetarian, soy-free, gluten-free, and free from MSG. One serving size, 1 teaspoon, doesn’t have any measurable nutrients except for sodium.
You should reduce the amount of salt you add to your recipes since these blends already contain salt.
Takii Umami Powder is a mushroom powder blend made with shiitake mushrooms, salt, mushroom extract, and calcium carbonate.
Use ½ to 1 teaspoon of seasoning in your stir-fry, pasta sauce, and burgers, One serving of this seasoning doesn’t have any measurable nutrients except for sodium.
You should adjust the amount of salt in your recipe since this mixture has salt added.
4. MSG (Monosodium Glutimate)
Kikunae Ikeda was a Japanese Scientist who isolated and identified umami as the fifth taste. He developed MSG as a flavor enhancement for bringing out the umami flavor in recipes.
You can add a sprinkle of MSG to a dish just like you would add a sprinkle of salt to bring out the flavor.
MSG increases the meaty, savory, umami flavor, but doesn’t add any mushroom flavor. It makes a surprisingly good popcorn topping too.
Some people have reported symptoms of nausea, migraine, or a rapid heartbeat when they eat foods with MSG added.
Generally, these are brief and do not need medical treatment. Discuss with your doctor if you feel that MSG might be causing these symptoms and whether you should avoid foods that contain it.
5. Garlic Powder
Garlic powder has a distinctive flavor that will add an umami taste to your dishes. It is distinctly different from mushrooms, so be sure that you want a different flavor profile when you include it.
While garlic powder has a similar texture to mushroom powder, you might also use fresh garlic, dried garlic, or ground garlic instead. Any of these options will provide the umami flavor in your dish.
6. Truffle oil
Truffles are part of a species of mushroom that grows among the roots of trees. They are rare and extremely perishable making them quite expensive.
They have an earthy, pungent flavor that adds a unique quality to dishes in high-end restaurants.
Truffle oil is sometimes used as a substitute for truffles or for mushroom powders to increase the umami flavor of recipes.
However, truffle oil doesn’t come from truffles. The oil is infused with the flavor compounds found in truffles.
When you search for truffle oil, you should look for oil derived from natural ingredients and avoid those that have the words “essence” or “aroma” in them.
Use truffle oil sparingly if it is something you enjoy. Add only 1-2 drops right before serving to spread the flavor through the dish without overwhelming it.
Thyme is an herb with an earthy, slightly bitter flavor in the mint family. You can use it as a substitute for mushroom powder in soups, pasta sauces, and dry rubs for meat.
Use 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme in your recipe in place of 1 teaspoon of mushroom powder.
Thyme has small amounts of nutrients like potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Thyme has some potential as a medication in pain relief, cough suppression, and anti-microbial properties.
These claims have not been proven in studies, but are rather used in traditional herbal medicine.
8. Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast is produced specifically to be used in cooking to add a cheesy, savory, or nutty flavor.
You can find fortified nutritional yeast that has vitamins added to increase the nutritional content.
Unfortified yeast doesn’t have any added vitamins. Nutritional yeast is naturally low in sodium and calories. It is vegan, fat-free, sugar-free, and gluten-free.
Nutritional Yeast is a complete protein and contains high quantities of B complex vitamins.
It is a great addition to a vegan diet since it adds up to 5 mcg of Vitamin B12 which is essential for the creation of red blood cells.
Add 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast to your dish in place of 1 teaspoon of mushroom powder in your recipe.
9. Tomato Paste
Like garlic powder, tomato paste can substitute for mushroom powder, but it will add a distinctly different flavor profile.
Tomato paste adds an acidic and mildly sour taste to a recipe. Add 2 tablespoons to meatballs, pasta sauces, or fish dishes in place of 1 teaspoon of mushroom powder.
You can purchase tomato paste in a can or make your own. Heat tomatoes in a pan so you can pull the skins off.
Then blend them in a blender and strain out some of the liquid. Cook the resulting pulp down to evaporate more of the liquid until you get a thick paste.
In addition to flavor, tomatoes add nutritional value to your dishes. Tomato paste is high in lycopene which is beneficial for heart health. 2 tablespoons of tomato paste contains 9% DV of Vitamin E, 8% DV of Vitamin C, 4% DV of Vitamin B6, and other important vitamins.
Furthermore, it has 13%DV of copper, 7% potassium, 5% of iron, and other essential minerals.
Homemade tomato paste only has the amount of sodium you add to it, so if sodium is a concern, you should read labels of store-bought tomato paste carefully for added sodium.
10. Mushroom Powder Coffee Substitutes
If you are adding mushroom powder to meals for nutritional benefits, you might consider mushroom coffee, tea, or other drinks for the nutritional punch you are looking for.
Mushroom blends for nutrition are made from different mushrooms than porcini and shiitake which are used primarily for flavor.
Mushroom drinks are made from a combination of ground coffee beans or instant coffee crystals and ground mushroom powder.
This creates an earthy coffee blend with only a subtle mushroom flavor, that has half the caffeine of coffee and is more nutrient-dense.
The health claims made about mushrooms have not been proven in human trials, though they have been used in traditional medicine for years.
Studies in lab tests have confirmed some of the claims but they haven’t been confirmed in human studies.
Some mushroom powders have shown immune-boosting properties. Others have demonstrated some potential in cancer prevention, allergy reduction, and reduction in blood cholesterol levels.
11. Mushroom Blend Hot Chocolate
Daily Harvest Chaga + Chocolate Latte is another mocha latte option. Daily Harvest offers little pods that contain one serving of caco, Chaga mushrooms, reishi mushrooms, coconut, vanilla, and maple syrup.
Blend the contents of the pod with a cup of hot water, milk, or your favorite non-dairy option. The packaging is even 100% compostable and recyclable.
12. Mushroom Blend Tea
Mud/Wtr is a tea and mushroom combo you can combine with hot water, milk, or your favorite non-dairy beverage.
This drink blends organic black tea with Chaga, reishi, lion’s mane, and cordyceps mushroom powder for calm and focus.
The flavor is further enhanced with cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, nutmeg, and cloves.
13. Mushroom Blend Coffee
Four Sigmatic makes several varieties of Mushroom Coffee. Their Perform coffee has L-Theanine and Cordyceps mushrooms for energy and focuses throughout the day.
They also have a Chill Decaf Coffee with Reishi and Chaga for relaxation in body and mind. Four Sigmatic coffees can be made in a French press or a drip coffee maker. They also have smoothie powders and creamers for further supplements.
Deme Medicinal Mushroom + Cacao contains reishi, lion’s mane, maitake, shiitake, and turkey tail mushrooms.
What makes this drink special is the Fair Trade coffee, cinnamon, cacao, cayenne, and coconut milk powder.
You can blend one packet of Deme with hot water to enjoy a mocha latte with a nutritional kick. Deme reports that this drink can clarify your mind and boost your immune system.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the nutritional content of mushroom powder?
One serving of Porcini mushroom powder (about 28g) has 105 calories and about 14 carbs.
It offers about 14% of the DV for protein and 28% of the DV for iron making this ingredient an excellent nutritional supplement for vegetarian and vegan diners.
These mushrooms may reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and promote weight loss.
One 28 gram serving of Shiitake mushroom powder has 88 calories and 22 carbs. This mushroom powder has 2 grams of protein, 39% of the DV of copper, 33% of the DV of vitamin B5, and 6% of the DV of Vitamin D.
Shiitake mushrooms may help prevent cancer and inflammation, lower cholesterol, and have anti-microbial properties. More studies are needed to confirm these effects.
What is Umami Flavor?
When we explain different tastes, we often refer to 4 taste groups, sweet, sour, salty, and bitter.
However, these categories don’t cover everything. Umami is the term used to describe the “fifth taste” of savoriness.
It refers to a unique taste and the receptors that allow you to experience it separately from the other four.
How do You Use Mushroom Powder?
The mushroom powder is easy to use. You can add 2-3 tablespoons of mushroom seasoning powder to any dish that needs a pop of umami flavor.
Add it to your stir-fry, soup, stew, gravy, or casserole to add layers of flavor.
Which mushrooms are best for flavor?
White Button / Cremini / Portabella
A mild tasting, common, and affordable mushroom in American grocery stores in the white button mushroom. These are good raw, pickled, on a pizza, deep-fried, cooked in gravies and stir-fries, and sautéed on top of steaks.
Cremini or Baby Bella mushrooms are a brown strain of white buttons. They are more dense and flavorful but are just as versatile as the white button mushrooms.
Portabella mushrooms are the largest and most mature variety of the white button mushroom. When they are full size, they have a similar texture to steak. The caps can be used as a substitute for meat patties.
Shiitake mushrooms have a savory, umami, slightly smoky aroma. They are a good meat substitute for vegan and vegetarian dishes and work best in cooked meals rather than as a raw ingredient.
If you are looking for substitutes for Shiitake Mushrooms in meat or seafood dishes, check out our article about Substitutes for Shiitake Mushrooms.
Oyster mushrooms grow in clumps on rotting logs. They have a mild flavor that might remind you of seafood or salty water.
These mushrooms taste best in cooked dishes because they have a metallic taste when they are raw.
Maitake or Hen of the Woods
This variety of mushrooms has an earthy, woodsy flavor and a wispy texture. They add an umami flavor to soups, stews, and sauces.
Which Mushrooms are Best for Medicinal Supplements?
The claims made about mushrooms as medicinal supplements are based on traditional medicine.
They have not been substantiated in formal human studies. Before you begin using a nutritional supplement, you should consult your medical professional for potential side effects or drug interactions.
Chaga mushrooms are rich in antioxidants which may boost your immune system. Supporters claim these mushrooms support brain health and liver function.
The Lion’s Mane mushroom contains beta-glucans and other compounds which are known for healthy brain and nerve function.
They may protect against tumors, boost the immune system, and help prevent neurologic diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Traditional medicines use Reishi Mushrooms for their calming benefits. They help with restful sleep and stress reduction.
The Turkey Tail mushroom is thought to boost immunity and fight cancer cells. Furthermore, the turkey tail may improve gut health.
Cordyceps mushrooms may increase your feeling of energy. People who use them report that they protect from allergies and improve lung health.
The Maitake mushroom contains compounds that work on the blood and cardiovascular system.
In some lab tests, these compounds have reduced blood sugar and cholesterol. Furthermore, they may help regulate blood pressure and assist with weight loss.
Recipes that Use Mushroom Powder
Porcini Mushroom Steak Rub
- Combine 3 tablespoons of Porcini mushroom powder, 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Rub the mixture into 2 sirloin steaks.
- Place them in a plastic zip-top bag and refrigerate 2 hours to overnight.
- After marinating, grill or cook the steaks on a griddle.
- Serve with a baked potato and roasted squash.
Marinara Sauce with Mushroom Powder Boost
- In a deep saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
- Add 2 minced cloves of garlic and ½ tablespoon each of dried oregano, basil, and thyme. Saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Add a can of crushed tomatoes and 4 tablespoons of tomato paste. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
- Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste, then simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add 1 tablespoon of mushroom powder and continue to simmer on low for 20-30 minutes.
- Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Combine ½ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder, 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast flakes, ½ teaspoon porcini mushroom powder, and ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, and salt to taste.
- Sprinkle the mixture over freshly popped popcorn for a unique, savory movie night.
Whether you need to increase the umami flavor in your dish or you are working on adding a nutritional boost, you can find good substitutes for Porcini or Shiitake mushroom powders.
Try MSG, garlic powder, or thyme to add umami flavor to your favorite dishes. For added nutrition use nutritional yeast, tomato paste, or medicinal mushrooms.
Whatever you choose, you can find ways to incorporate more umami flavors and nutrition into your life.
My name is Keren Tayler. I am a stay-at-home mama to three lovely girls, Sarah + Rachel + Hannah. Prior to becoming a mom, I had a successful career in the accounting field, steps away from becoming a CPA. I decided to give up on my career in order to raise my own kids (as opposed to letting a nanny do it, no judgment here :)) I learned a lot and I love sharing it with other moms. Along the way, I also became a Certified Food Handler.