Whether you’re knee-deep in the vast world of outdoor TikTok, if you’re an aspiring forager or if you simply want to expand your culinary horizons, you may be interested in knowing about the different types of mushrooms. Sure, you’ve likely come across portobellos and shiitakes in the produce aisle at the grocery store, but there are so many varieties out there, waiting to be slow-cooked in stews and baked into casseroles. And on that note, identifying the non-poisonous varieties, however, is absolutely crucial, especially for foragers.

First: What are mushrooms, exactly?

To become a mushroom aficionado, it’s important to know what a mushroom really is. Technically, it’s the fruit of a certain type of fungi. Most have a cap and a stem, and many—but not all—are edible. Some can be used to emulate meat (mushroom nachos are truly amazing) while others add a little umami flair to whatever the main event may be. But at the end of the day, each one looks and tastes completely different.

RELATED: 40 Easy Mushroom Recipes That Will Make You Fall in Love with the Controversial Vegetable

19 TYPES OF MUSHROOMS TO KNOW

Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

1. Portobello Mushrooms

These massive, brown umbrellas are native to the grasslands of Europe and North America. They’re extremely thick and have an earthy-yet-meaty flavor, especially when marinated in olive oil and spices, before getting tossed on the grill. You can prepare them in a myriad of ways, but melting a little mozz on top and squeezing it between two slices of bread is a safe bet. Needless to say, they’re a must at barbecues, especially if you’re vegetarian.

BUY IT ($3 FOR 6 OZ.)

Nuts.com

2. Black Trumpet Mushrooms

The Black Trumpet is rather unusual looking, as it’s one of the only varieties on this list that’s almost completely black. Because they’re extremely difficult to grow, they are a predominantly foraged ingredient, and therefore, they’re often quite expensive. Black trumpets have a slight smoky flavor, and flourish when steamed and thrown into a salad, or if they’re made into a sauce for a savory roast chicken.

BUY IT ($15 FOR 2 OZ.)

US1StopShopping/Etsy

3. Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms

As another popularly foraged ingredient, Chicken of the Woods is extremely difficult to identify. Resembling many types of fungi, it lacks a stem, fanning out from trees and other types of plants. Many attest to its juicy, succulent and slightly citrusy flavor, which may very well be how it got its name. It’s often deep fried to emulate fried chicken, and is said to pair beautifully with steamed lobster.

BUY IT ($40 for 3 logs)

Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

4. White Button Mushrooms

White buttons look like your everyday, run-of-the-mill shroom, and that’s because they’re the most commonly consumed variety, according to Epicurious. They’re mild yet have full-bodied flavor, especially when sautéed or roasted. And whether you’re dipping them in hummus and eating them raw, or slicing them up and roasting them for some meatless tacos, they’re extremely versatile. They’re the Meryl Streep of mushrooms, one might say.

BUY IT ($4 for 16 OZ.)

Siri Stafford/Getty Images

5. Shiitake Mushrooms

These don’t just make for a funny punchline—they’re a real treat, too. Notable for their wavy ridgelines, shiitakes are velvety and incredibly robust. Add them to your next stir fry, whip them into some risotto or blend them into a savory bowl of mushroom soup for a cozy night in.

BUY IT ($4 FOR 3 OZ.)

MTC Kitchen

6. Bunashimeji Mushrooms

Native to East Asia, Bunashimeji mushrooms are recognized for their small caps and long stems. When eaten raw, they taste bitter and can be hard to digest, so it’s advised to only eat them cooked, according to Oregon Mushroom. They’re tender and buttery when cooked properly, though, so mix them into an omelet or try creating a “steak” sandwich with them.

BUY IT ($2 FOR 3 OZ.)

AMAZON

7. Maitake Mushrooms

Nicknamed Hen of the Woods (not to be confused with chicken of the woods!), these babies look like a mother hen sitting with her feathers ruffled. They’re tan, brow, and grey, and have a somewhat peppery flavor. They pair well with salty flavors—toss them atop some pizza or incorporate them into a chicken bake with prosciutto, to balance out their complex flavor.

$17 AT AMAZON

Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

8. Oyster Mushrooms

No, this isn’t a photograph of coral, nor is it a flower. However, it certainly is a mysterious and gorgeous sight to see. With a delicate-yet-complex taste, these integrate seamlessly into pasta bakes and taste great on their own when battered and fried.

BUY IT ($4 FOR 3.5 OZ.)

Jupiterimages/Getty Images

9. King Oyster Mushrooms

King oysters almost resemble blocks with their thick stems, which are almost as broad as their caps. They’re super aromatic, with a slight licorice taste in the finish. Impress your dinner guests by glazing them in miso, including them in your next batch of fried rice or sautéing them in Gochujang for something extra spicy.

$16 AT AMAZON

Martin Barraud/Getty Images

10. Chanterelle Mushrooms

If you’re delving into the world of foraging, chanterelles are the most popular wild edible shroom. These funnel-shaped beauties can come in a few different colors—mainly orange, yellow and white. They melt in your mouth, and some say they have a slightly tangy taste, making for a truly unreal cream sauce for a standing rib roast and pairing impeccably with eggs. What we’re trying to say is they’re definitely our new favorite brunch guest.

BUY IT ($40 FOR 2 LBS.)

John Foxx/Getty Images

11. Crimini Mushrooms

Psst: Crimini mushrooms are part of the same species as the button mushroom—they’re just brown instead of white. They basically taste the same as buttons, giving off a deeper flavor after they’ve been cooked. Try roasting them in garlic butter or including them in your next batch of chili, if you happen to grab some on your next grocery haul.

BUY IT ($2 for 8 OZ.)

Stockbyte/Getty Images

12. Enoki Mushrooms

Enokis are stringy and almost noodle-like. Hailing from Japan, they taste mild with a vague nutty flavor. They’re super delicate and can be thrown into a steamy bowl of udon noodle soup or fried with garlic and scallion sauce—and if you cook them long enough, the thin stalks will get extra crispy.

BUY IT ($5 for 5 OZ.)

Jupiterimages/Getty Images

13. Morel Mushrooms

Resembling a brain or peach pit, morels have a beautiful, wavy design on the cap, with a much thinner, shorter stem. Many attest to the fact they have a “woody” flavor, and since they’re literally found in the woods, it’s advised to boil them in salt water before consuming them. Include them in your quiche this Sunday, or whip them up with your grits and breakfast is served.

$13 AT AMAZON

Nearby Naturals

14. Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

Named for its resemblance to the head of a lion, the lion’s mane is relatively easy to recognize if you’re delving into the art of foraging. (In stores, you’re more likely to find it ground into a powder.) It has a tender taste, apparently resembling crab meat or other types of seafood. Make vegetarian “crab cakes,” or include them in your next seafood pasta dish for added flavor.

BUY IT ($28 for 2 OZ.)

Jupiterimages/Getty Images

15. Porcini Mushrooms

With semi-circle caps and thick white stalks, porcinis are another traditional-looking mushroom. The nutty, earthy variety has been described as “meaty,” and as a result, they make a solid base for red meats (ribs are a popular pairing).

$15 AT AMAZON

NUTS.COM

16. Wood Ear Mushrooms

This dark brown ear-like fungi generally grows on wood, mainly older trees. They’re extremely chewy and fragrant, yet they’re relatively mild. You’ve likely had them in hot and sour soup or in moo shoo pork, which both have bold spices and sauces, and truth be told, you may have confused it for some sort of meat, considering their unique texture.

BUY IT ($8 FOR 4 OZ.)

Dattelmann

17. Fairy Ring Mushrooms

Although you most likely won’t see any of these in Neverland, these auburn-capped mushrooms with off-white gills are often found grouped together in ring-like formations. They’re super dry and smooth, with a definitively sweet taste. They thrive atop a piece of toast, pair well with crayfish and other shellfish, and—of course—they can play an important role in a wide range of pasta dishes.

BUY IT ($3 for 3.5 OZ.)

Angelina’s Gourmet/Bonanza

18. Cauliflower Mushroom

Although it closely resembles the adaptable cauliflower, this mushroom has a musky flavor, with hints of almond and fennel. Incorporate these babies in a dish with wild rice, or into a frittata, but seriously, don’t forget to pour yourself a glass of wine to sip alongside ‘em.

BUY IT ($25 FOR 1 LB.)

RELATED: 25 Different Types of Berries (And Why You Should Try Them All)

PureWow may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

From Around The Web