There are all sorts of different mushrooms in the world.
From common edible mushrooms to exotic varieties from the far-east, the earth offers thousands of them.
Although they are technically a type of fungus, mushrooms are commonly recognized as a vegetable.
This article presents a list of edible mushrooms with pictures, nutritional values, recipes, and their health benefits.
So, here are nine of the most delicious types of mushrooms you can eat.
1. Cremini Mushrooms
Cremini mushrooms are a variety of fungus that belongs to the white button mushroom family.
The species name is Agaricus Bisporus, and this family of mushroom also includes portobello.
These three mushrooms—cremini, portobello and white button—are the three most commonly consumed in the world (1).
That being said, these three mushrooms are actually the same mushroom. Although they look different, the varying appearance just depends on age.
White button mushrooms are the freshest and youngest, then cremini, and portobellos have been left to mature for a long time.
Compared to white buttons, cremini mushrooms have a browner color, a meatier texture, and a deeper flavor.
Nutrition wise, cremini mushrooms provide an excellent source of the following micronutrients (2);
- Selenium: 37% RDA
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 29% RDA
- Copper: 25% RDA
- Niacin: 19% RDA
- Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5): 15% RDA
- Potassium: 13% RDA
- Phosphorus: 12% RDA
2. Morel Mushrooms
These are certainly one of the most unusual types of edible mushrooms.
Morel mushrooms (Morchella esculenta) look like honeycomb on a stick, and they have a strange, mysterious appearance which suggests we probably shouldn’t eat them.
However, eat them we can, and they taste as unique as they look.
If you have tried shiitake mushrooms before, then you’ll understand the “meaty” taste they have.
These are like that, only much more intense and they have a kind of nutty flavor too.
In short, if you like shiitake you’ll probably love Morels. I do.
Morels are Wild—Not Commercial—Mushrooms
It’s hard to cultivate morel mushrooms on a large scale, so it’s rare to find them in a store.
However, we can pick our own, or we can grow them ourselves.
Due to their unique appearance, many people acknowledge that morel mushrooms are the easiest—and safest—wild mushroom to identify
Growing kits to make your own are available too, and they can safely grow in the garden.
In regard to nutrition, morel mushrooms offer significant amounts of (3);
- Iron: 68% RDA
- Vitamin D: 52% RDA
- Copper: 31% RDA
- Manganese: 29% RDA
- Phosphorus: 19% RDA
- Zinc: 14% RDA
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 12% RDA
3. Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) is one of the most infamous types of mushroom and for a good reason; they taste delicious.
With a meaty, chewy taste, they go well with almost everything.
Enjoying the most popularity in Japan—their homeland—they are famous for having a variety of health benefits.
For instance, they are particularly renowned for their anticarcinogenic and antimicrobial properties (4).
A wealth of studies show that they may help protect against several medical conditions;
- In a randomized dietary study of 52 healthy men and women, those given dried shiitake mushrooms showed improved immunity and lower levels of CRP (a marker of inflammation). On the positive side, the dosage was at realistic consumption levels in everyday life (4).
Per 100g, shiitake mushrooms provide the following vitamins and minerals in large amounts;
- Copper: 45% RDA
- Pantothenic Acid: 36% RDA
- Riboflavin: 10% RDA
- Manganese: 10% RDA
- Zinc: 9% RDA
- Vitamin B6: 8% RDA
- Niacin: 7% RDA
Shiitake mushrooms are available in dried form too, which have a powerful concentration of flavor (and nutrition).
4. Oyster Mushrooms
As shown above, king oyster mushrooms are one of the biggest types of edible mushrooms.
They have a striking appearance and are very thick in shape, giving them an extremely chewy and spongy texture — a little bit like squid.
For this reason, roasting king oysters in the oven works best and leaves you with a deep, rich flavor — especially if you add a bit of butter and salt beforehand.
The mushroom goes by the scientific name of Pleurotus eryngii and it is native to Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.
The mushroom is easy to identify in the wild and, outside of Japan and Australia, has no poisonous look-alikes.
Nutrient-wise, king oysters provide the following micronutrients per 100g (8);
- Niacin: 25% RDA
- Riboflavin: 21% RDA
- Pantothenic Acid: 13% RDA
- Copper: 12% RDA
- Phosphorus: 12% RDA
- Potassium: 12% RDA
- Iron: 7% RDA
Oyster mushrooms are a species which have long been used as a medicinal mushroom.
Also, consumption of this edible mushroom appears to lower triglycerides and the LDL/HDL ratio (12).
Although they can be a little expensive, you can pick them up for a lower price if you go to a Chinese/Asian market.
5. Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Similar to morel mushrooms, the lion’s mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) has an unusual appearance.
It is a species of mushroom…that doesn’t look like one.
It is large, edible and certainly an interesting looking fungus, as you can see in this picture;
These mushrooms grow in the wild throughout Europe, North America and Asia. Although relatively rare in Western dishes, it plays a large part in Chinese cuisine.
Despite this, the mushroom has become popular in the health and supplement industry, and a variety of products are available. These include extracts, tablets, and even coffee-mix drinks.
However, rather than buying extracts, you can buy the real thing if you hunt around in some Asian grocery stores.
Otherwise, you can also buy them as dried mushrooms.
They taste pretty good and have a very intense meaty flavor.
6. Enoki Mushrooms
Enoki mushrooms (enokitake) are long thin white mushrooms which resemble a piece of string.
Again, they are one of the more unique looking mushroom varieties.
Enoki mushrooms taste great; they are also relatively simple to grow and cheap to buy.
In certain Asian and Italian dishes, they can act as a replacement for noodles and spaghetti due to their chewy texture and noodle-like appearance.
For the same reason, tossing some into a stir-fry has great results.
Here are their most significant nutrients on a per-100g basis (17);
- Niacin: 30% RDA
- Folate: 13% RDA
- Thiamin: 12% RDA
- Potassium: 11% RDA
- Pantothenic Acid: 11% RDA
- Phosphorus: 11% RDA
- Riboflavin: 10% RDA
Give them a try!
7. Button Mushrooms
Button mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) are the baby version of shiitake and cremini; they are still very fresh and at an early-life stage.
These white mushrooms are probably the most common—and widespread—variety in the world. In fact, they represent 90% of the edible mushrooms consumed in the United States (18).
Despite a common belief that these mushrooms aren’t as healthy as other types, they have some impressive health benefits.
First of all, their nutrient profile. Button mushrooms contain the following vitamins and minerals in substantial amounts (19);
- Riboflavin: 24% RDA
- Niacin: 18% RDA
- Copper: 16% RDA
- Pantothenic Acid: 15% RDA
- Selenium: 13% RDA
- Potassium: 9% RDA
- Phosphorus: 9% RDA
Studies on Button Mushrooms
Although they are not usually mentioned alongside the “medicinal mushroom” tag, button mushrooms have shown promise in clinical studies.
In particular, here are a couple of recent research findings;
- White button mushrooms enhance the strength of cells critical to the body’s immune system (19).
- In a study involving 24 healthy volunteers, 12 were assigned to eat a diet that included 100g button mushrooms daily, and the remaining 12 ate the same control diet except for the button mushrooms. Over two weeks, secretory immunoglobulin—an antibody involved in the immune system—increased by 56% in the button mushroom group only (20).
8. Portobello Mushrooms
If button mushrooms are the babies, then portobello mushrooms are the grandparent!
Portobello mushrooms are the same species—Agaricus bisporus—but at a late stage of life.
The mushrooms are therefore much bigger and wider in diameter, as well as being deeper and richer in flavor.
For me, they are one of the best types of mushrooms and baked portobellos are delicious — especially when they are stuffed with some cheese.
The mushroom provides the following major nutrients (21);
- Riboflavin: 28% RDA
- Niacin: 23% RDA
- Copper: 20% RDA
- Niacin: 23% RDA
- Selenium: 16% RDA
- Pantothenic Acid: 15% RDA
- Potassium: 14% RDA
9. Porcini Mushrooms
Porcini mushrooms (Boletus edulis) are one of the most popular sorts of mushrooms for culinary purposes.
Taste wise, they have a deep and mild nutty flavor with an intense aroma. Porcinis can be either purchased fresh at markets or in dried form.
Porcini mushrooms are also an attractive target for wild mushroom foragers, due to their easily identifiable features.
Animal studies suggest that extracts of these mushrooms help protect against cardiovascular disease.
For instance, repeated daily doses of the mushroom resulted in significant decreases in blood pressure, triglycerides, and an increase in HDL (22).
Foraging For Wild Edible Mushroom
Just a final note: always be careful if foraging for mushrooms in the wild.
It must be remembered that there are many non-edible mushrooms which contain potent poisons.
Never pick and eat a mushroom if you are not 100% sure.
Doing this without positively identifying the species is potentially very dangerous and—in some cases—can even be fatal.
Cooking and Pickling Mushrooms
For some tips on how to get mushrooms right the first time, every time see here;