Mushrooms can improve any kind of pizza by adding a mouthwatering umami flavor as well as a meaty texture that can go well with any combination of pizza toppings. Which mushrooms work best on pizza? The best types of mushrooms for pizzas include portabella, porcini, button, cremini, shiitake, and many others. Additionally, although not technically a mushroom, truffles make a fantastic addition to any type of pizza! To find out more about how mushrooms go on pizza, their flavor, and the best foods to pair them with, read on!
Pizza And Mushrooms — An Unlikely (Yet Delicious) Pairing
When it came to pizza toppings, mushrooms weren’t always a popular option. As a rule of thumb, pizzas were thought to be a quick and easy dish that didn’t require a lot of ingredients or time to prepare. Sure, that’s how folks in the 18th and 19th centuries saw pizza. After several decades, the common pizza began to gradually experiment with new toppings. Many people think the rise in pizza’s global fame is directly related to the variety of toppings available.
This working-class meal was catapulted into the spotlight as it gained popularity, and it was around this time that people began to radically alter their conceptions of what pizza could be. Pizza makers began experimenting with new ingredients that could boost flavor without adding excessive sauces or meat. The addition of mushrooms occurred in this fashion.
Perhaps even more so than other foods, mushrooms can be used in a wide variety of ways. The meaty textures and umami-rich flavors of these edible fungi are a welcome addition to any dish. Pizza Boscaiola popularized the use of mushrooms in pizza toppings.
For this unique pie, we combined the earthy flavor of porcini mushrooms with the bright, meaty texture of champignon mushrooms. Cream, a mountain of cheese, and some common vegetables atop a flaky pie crust: pure heaven.
Why Mushrooms On Pizzas Is A Great Idea
Here are some of the characteristics that mushrooms add to pizza:
Naturally, mushrooms provide opportunities for flavor exploration. Mushrooms are very popular for many reasons, one of which is that they give any type of pizza an unmistakable umami flavor. When vegetarians want their food to have a distinctly meaty flavor, they are the best option. However, you can also get a variety of different and subtle flavors from different types of mushrooms (more on this below).
Mushrooms’ capacity to absorb different flavors as they cook may be their best quality. While mushrooms can be added raw, cooking them with herbs first will typically result in a deeper and more pronounced flavor. To give mushrooms an even richer flavor, some pizza makers may marinate them before adding them to the pizza.
The second reason mushrooms are so popular as a topping is that they add so much texture. The dough and toppings on most pizzas have a combination of soft and firm textures. But, with mushrooms, you can go a little deeper and add a chewy, meaty texture that elevates the pie’s mouthfeel.
Mushrooms have a firm texture when raw, but they tenderize in the oven as they cook. They will also lose moisture, which concentrates their flavor and gives them a unique chewy texture. The best part is that they don’t require any special cooking techniques and are also very easy to prepare!
Best Mushrooms For Pizza
Here are some of the best mushrooms that you can add to virtually any pizza!
1. Portabella Mushrooms
There is a good reason why portabella mushrooms are by far the most popular type found on most pizzas worldwide. Due to their intensely umami-rich flavor, these mushrooms are the go-to option for many vegetarians because they can mimic some flavor notes of meat. They have a firm, juicy texture that can be cooked in the oven to become incredibly tender.
Portobello mushrooms pair well with all kinds of cheese and can enhance pizzas that use strong-tasting cheeses (like goat cheese). Slice or chop fresh portabella mushrooms, then top with tomatoes, chopped red chili peppers, and plenty of freshly grated cheese for the best results. Even without any protein, the cheese will add an irresistible flavor to the pie as it melts and caramelizes over the mushrooms.
2. Cremini Mushrooms
Baby portabella mushrooms and baby bella mushrooms are other names for crimini mushrooms. These mushrooms have the exact same flavor and texture as portabella mushrooms, but with a slightly softer texture. In terms of size and texture, you can think of these mushrooms as a slightly younger portabella. Due to their compact shape and prized flavor, they are occasionally preferred over portabella in small pies.
Similar to portabella, cremini can be used in any pizza. Their natural umami flavor is enhanced and complemented by cheese, tomatoes, onions, and other savory vegetables. However, keep in mind that precooked mushrooms may have an even softer texture when cooked in the oven with the pie. These mushrooms can also be sautéed beforehand.
To give the mushrooms an irresistibly meaty flavor and texture, try marinating them in salt, garlic, and hot seasonings before adding them to the pizza. For the best results, always cook at a high temperature for a shorter period of time.
3. Button Mushrooms
You only need to take a quick glance at button mushrooms to understand why they were given that name. These tiny, button-shaped fungi are one of the most popular types of mushrooms consumed worldwide, and they share many characteristics with portobello and cremini mushrooms (since they are all the same).
Yes, button mushrooms are simply young versions of cremini mushrooms, also known as baby portabellas. This mushroom species goes through three growth stages, with the first producing button mushrooms, the second producing cremini, and the third producing mature portabellas.
Despite being descended from delicious and texture-rich mushrooms, button mushrooms have a milder flavor because they are a less developed variety. They do, however, have a smooth, firm, and slightly chewy texture that goes well with almost any topping.
Along with fresh onions, tomatoes, basil, and hot sauce, we advise adding sliced or chopped button mushrooms. We promise that this straightforward topping idea will be the star of the show if you finish it with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil!
4. Morel Mushrooms
One yellow and two gray morel mushrooms (Morchella esculenta) in a group, isolated on a white background, were found in a back yard in Indiana, USA.
Due to their scarcity, these mushrooms can be challenging to locate, but they are among the best-tasting mushrooms for pizza.
Morel mushrooms offer a balanced flavor and texture with hints of woodsy and earthy flavor notes as opposed to the meatiness and intense umami flavors of other common mushrooms.
These mushrooms work better on traditional pizzas that call for a harmony of ingredients. As they have a richer flavor, portabella, cremini, and button mushrooms frequently overpower the more delicate flavors of the other ingredients in a pizza. Here, morel mushrooms truly shine! They bake up well and go well with any kind of cheese and topping.
Although they might not be immediately noticeable, these mushrooms will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the pizza’s overall flavor, which is why they are so highly valued! You don’t want a bland mushroom, do you? Afterward, choose darker morel mushrooms, which have a delicious, smoky flavor.
5. Oyster Mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms are not only visually appealing but also delicious on pizza! These mushrooms are prized for their especially seafood-like flavor and well-balanced texture and are distinguished by their caps that resemble oysters. The best thing about oyster mushrooms is that they offer a change of pace from other popular toppings and can enable you to discover new flavors.
Although it is very difficult to pinpoint the precise flavor notes of oyster mushrooms, most connoisseurs concur that they have strong umami flavors and a few licorice-like undertones. With rich ingredients like cheese and flavorful protein, you get a flavor that pairs incredibly well with hints of sweetness, earthiness, and mild spice.
To get a well-rounded flavor from all the ingredients, we suggest pairing oyster mushrooms with seafood toppings. For the best results, add them whole, chopped, or sliced! To intensify the flavor of these mushrooms even more, marinate them in garlic and other seasonings.
6. Shiitake Mushrooms
In Asia, shiitake mushrooms are the standard selection. These mushrooms are not only a prominent ingredient in many delicious and well-known Asian dishes, but they also rank among the best pizza toppings ever!
Shiitake mushrooms and portabella or cremini mushrooms have many similar tastes and textures. When cooked, they provide roughly the same meaty flavor with a slightly more tender mouthfeel.
These mushrooms stand out due to their unique shape. They have a slender body with a light brown color and an inedible stem. Use these mushrooms just like button mushrooms by chopping off the stem. For meatier bites, you can also slice or use them whole in pizzas.
7. King Oyster Mushrooms
Are you looking for a mushroom that retains its original texture after cooking? Then king oyster mushrooms are the way to go.
These mushrooms are related to oyster mushrooms, as you might imagine, but they are larger and tougher!
The meaty texture and savory flavor of king oyster mushrooms rivals that of cremini and portabella mushrooms.
When cooked, they take on a richer flavor and shine out, especially when coupled with mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
However, keep in mind that these mushrooms can be a little chewier than the other species of fungi on our list. We recommend pairing these mushrooms with a pizza with a lot of toppings to balance off the chewy texture.
8. Maitake Mushrooms
The Japanese word for maitake mushroom is “dancing mushroom,” roughly translating. This species of mushroom has been used extensively in numerous recipes in many different cuisines for many years. Maitake mushrooms’ intriguingly spicy yet savory flavor, which pairs nicely with fish, meat, and chicken, makes them an excellent pizza topping. They have a very striking rose-like appearance that is characterized by brown petals that spiral in on themselves.
Sliced or chopped, this mushroom is the ideal kind to use. To add even more flavor, you may also sauté it with extra virgin olive oil and garlic. Try combining these mushrooms with any kind of strong cheese and practically any variety of vegetables.
9. Canned Mushrooms
Mushrooms in Cans Don’t have the money or time to pursue some of the choices on our list? Just know that no one will condemn you if you use ordinary canned mushrooms to make pizza at home. Sure, these mushrooms aren’t as good as the ones listed above (and may have a slightly different texture owing to brining), but they’re a fantastic substitute when you can’t find the “gourmet” kinds.
Portabella or cremini mushrooms are commonly found in canned mushrooms. Always read the back of the can to find out what kind of mushrooms you’re getting! Simply drain the brine, rinse them, and chop as needed. To save time, canned mushrooms are also pre-chopped!
Bonus Round: Truffles!
Truffles Okay, so this can be viewed as cheating, but stick with us! Truffles are essentially fungus that grow underground and produce spores.
They offer a flavor that is quite distinctive and delectable and can give your pizza a high-end finish. Although they may be pricey, if you have access to truffles, we strongly advise adding a few thin slices to your pizza to give it an earthy, savory, or slightly gamey flavor, depending on the type of truffle. Bake a pizza using cremini mushrooms for the greatest taste. After baking, add some truffle oil, dust, or shavings to the remaining toppings to give your pizza a richer flavor.
Mushrooms are an excellent way to add flavor and texture to any pizza. Now that you know how valuable they are as a topping, as well as which ones to put on pizza, here are some relevant questions we thought you might have!
Can you add multiple combinations of mushrooms to a pie?
Yes, you can put a variety of mushrooms on your pizza, but we recommend only one type per pie so that they can provide their own flavors without crowding the surface. Increasing the amount of mushrooms may also hide the taste of other components!
How do you stop mushrooms from getting soggy?
When mushrooms are baked alongside other moist items, they might become soggy. An easy solution is to sprinkle some salt on them. The mushrooms won’t get too mushy in the oven because the salt helps remove excess moisture.
Should you always cook mushrooms before adding them to a pie?
When using thin slices or chopped pieces, you can add raw mushrooms because their size and shape will help them cook more quickly and release extra moisture. To assist them release extra moisture when using larger pieces, consider cooking the mushrooms with some butter, garlic, or just olive oil. The texture of larger mushrooms will also be primed by sautéing them before baking!