If you’re fond of any dish that requires mushrooms, then you may find that oyster mushrooms are some of the most tasty and versatile of all mushrooms. With the 7 types of oyster mushrooms quite widely available, the chances that you’ll run out or be unable to find any oyster shrooms for your meal adventure are low.
However, if you’re making a delicious oyster adventure and can’t find any of these subtropical fungi anywhere, I’ve got you covered with some great alternatives to substitute oyster mushrooms with.
The best oyster mushroom substitutes include porcini, button, or cremini mushrooms, portobello mushrooms, chanterelles, abalone mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, eggplant, tofu, and tempeh. The choice of oyster mushroom substitute will depend on the type of oyster mushroom your dish calls for to achieve similar tastes and textures.
With 7 different oyster mushrooms to choose from, it can be tricky to substitute these with a suitable choice that is similar in texture and taste to each oyster mushroom type.
What Is an Oyster Mushroom?
Oyster mushrooms are found in the subtropical regions, and they are named for the uniquely “shellfish” shape they form, unlike the round button mushroom.
A typical oyster mushroom has almost no stem, with the leafy shape of the “oyster” forming directly from the ground or growing medium.
The oyster mushroom’s fins or gills (the finely webbed surface below the upper cap) are pale to lilac gray in color. The delicate fins are often spotted with spores, which help spread the aroma of the slight licorice and earthy scent.
If you love cooking with oyster mushrooms, then you probably prefer the king oyster mushroom, which is “meaty” in texture and has an umami taste that complements most dishes.
However, if you’re making soups, stir-fries, or casseroles, you should also consider the more hardy pearl oyster mushroom.
What Can I Use Instead of Oyster Mushrooms?
There are a few substitutes for oyster mushrooms, and while you can probably throw in most types of mushrooms, you do want to get the flavor profile just right.
Your substitution should have the same delicious taste, nutty-yet-umami palette, and spongy texture that soaks up rich sauces for extra yum.
If you are making a dish that requires a longer cooking time, then substituting oyster mushrooms with tofu or tempeh can help preserve texture better than some of the softer and more spongy oyster mushrooms (which may disintegrate during cooking).
For those with an intolerance to mushrooms or other fungi, it may be wise to substitute oyster mushrooms with eggplant or tofu.
But let’s get into all the deets on how to substitute oyster mushrooms.
9 Best Substitutes for Oyster Mushrooms
1. Porcini Mushrooms
For substitution of king oyster mushrooms, porcini mushrooms are a great option, even though it’s a slightly more pungent one.
Porcini mushrooms closely copy the meaty texture of the king oyster mushrooms and offer the same chewy texture.
Substitute in a ratio of 1:1 if you’re used to the porcini taste. However, if you find porcini too fragrant, you can tone it down with half porcini to a full serving of king oyster mushrooms.
2. Button or Cremini Mushrooms
A common replacement for most mushrooms is the use of cremini or button mushrooms. These little buttons of joy are popular across Europe, the Americas, and parts of Africa.
Since cremini grows prolifically, it can be cultivated in most climates, which ensures you can source button mushrooms locally.
Cremini mushrooms have a nutty and flavor-rich taste that works well with sauces, stews, soups, and more.
You also won’t have to face the bitter mushroom scent, so substitute equally at 1:1.
3. Portobello Mushrooms
When button mushrooms have matured more, they grow much larger, taking on a browner skin and a more mellow and fragrant taste.
The spongy texture makes for a great substitution with oyster mushrooms, so substitute in an equal ratio of 1:1.
Giant size portobellos are excellent substitutes for king oyster mushrooms as the laminae or gills under the mushroom cup are similar.
If a nice peppery sauce sets your tastebuds a watering, then substitute your pearly oyster mushrooms with chanterelle mushrooms. As a bonus, chanterelles add a nice color boost too, so your eyes can also feast.
Chanterelles have a slightly peppery taste that works well for more spicy dishes. Substitute in a ratio of 1:1 if you like a richer flavor profile.
5. Abalone Mushrooms
Yes, this is a mushroom, even though it’s named after the crustaceans.
Abalone mushrooms have a smoother underside, and they feature a strong buttery taste that works well for sauces and soups. Substitute in a ratio of 1:1.
6. Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms are similar in taste and texture, and the end result resembles a well-done steak, making for an ideal oyster mushroom substitution. Substitute at a ratio of 1:1.
For non-mushroom substitutions, eggplant is ideal. It offers a similar spongy texture and umami flavor profile with a hint of earthiness.
It also soaks up sauces well, so it’s ideal for sauce-rich dishes.
Substitute in equal proportions based on the size needed, so a small eggplant for a medium oyster mushroom.
Made from bean curd, tofu is a chameleon that easily adapts to new flavors and textures. Tofu easily substitutes king oyster mushrooms and the flavor matches well.
Tempeh is made from soybeans that have been curdled or fermented. The texture is similar to oyster mushrooms and can be substituted in an equal ratio of 1:1.
Some added salt may be needed to stir up the flavor profile.
What Mushrooms Taste Like Oysters?
Oyster mushrooms have a similar flavor to button mushrooms, portobello mushrooms, and eggplant.
Can I Substitute Oyster Mushrooms for Button Mushrooms?
Button or cremini mushrooms are very similar to oyster mushrooms, so a simple substitution is possible. If more flavor is needed, add a bit of salt.
For larger oyster mushroom substitutions that need a bigger mushroom, try portobellini mushrooms.
My Last Foodie Thoughts
Mushrooms remain top of my favorite foods list, and you can even grow them in your own home. However, substituting can be challenging if you don’t know what flavors and textures work.
Fortunately, you can go for button mushrooms if the overall flavor profile is uncomplicated.
What would you use to substitute oyster mushrooms in your home?