Why Use Dried Mushrooms Instead of Fresh? Here Are Five Reasons Why!

Dried mushrooms are favored for their intense flavor, extended shelf life, space-saving storage, easy rehydration process, and consistent year-round quality. These benefits make them a versatile and convenient choice in cooking.

There is nothing more frustrating than when you are following a recipe that calls for mushrooms and discover that there are none to be found in your fridge. Or the mushrooms you purchased last week but swear you bought just a couple of days ago have turned brown and slimy.

Dried Mushrooms Have a More Concentrated Flavor

When you take out the moisture in mushrooms, the complex proteins are broken down into simpler amino acids thus resulting in a stronger umami taste. Although you can just throw those dried mushrooms into your soups, stews, or broths for a better cooking experience rehydrate the mushrooms first and do not throw away the liquid. 

It will make an even richer more flavorful broth. It is better to rehydrate your mushrooms overnight to extract all that wonderful mushroom flavor.

Cover them with cool water. But if you are in a hurry, pour boiling water over them and they are ready in about 15 minutes.

Dried Mushrooms Will Not Spoil

This is pretty much self-explanatory. You just need to remember to keep your mushrooms away from direct light, in a tightly sealed jar, and away from humidity. 

That’s it. Do this and your jar or container of dried mushrooms will last indefinitely.

You Will Use Less Dried Mushrooms Compared to Fresh

If your recipe calls for a pound of fresh mushrooms use 3 ounces of dried. It doesn’t sound like much does it? 

But it is. Once the dried mushrooms are rehydrated they will plump up and expand thereby giving you the pound of mushrooms you need.

Dried Mushrooms Will Last Indefinitely

If the dried mushrooms are stored correctly they will last indefinitely. A tightly sealed mason jar often does the trick.

Keep the jar in a dark cool place. You can also keep your dried mushrooms in the freezer. 

Make sure to double bag before you do. You don’t want any liquid to permeate your bag.

I choose to store my dried mushrooms in a tightly sealed mason jar in my pantry.

A jar of dried mushrooms

Dried Mushrooms Are More Readily Available

Not only do you have to not worry about spoilage but they are also much quicker since they are ready to use. No need to wash or slice. 

Just rehydrate in water for use. Just grab your container from wherever you choose to store them and you will have mushrooms ready for your sauces, broths, or soups just about any time you need them. 

No running to the store. That in itself is a game-changer for me.

The closest local grocery store is 20 -25 minutes away and they do not carry dried mushrooms. Read more about Mushrooms and dried mushrooms here.

Where Can You Get Dried Mushrooms?

Online is where you will find a variety of dried mushrooms. With Shitake mushrooms being the most popular. 

You may be able to find them in the Asian food aisle of your local Walmart but the variety may be limited. I like baby Bella mushrooms and use them quite often in my spaghetti sauce.

You Can Dry or Dehydrate Mushrooms Yourself!

As I stated earlier I prefer baby portobello mushrooms. I don’t know why. 

Maybe because they are a meatier mushroom and I do like to bite into my mushrooms. Whatever the case is I make my own dried mushrooms.

On occasion, you can find baby Bellas on sale and when they are I buy them up.

Do You Wash Fresh Mushrooms Before Dehydrating Them?

No. Mushrooms are so absorbent they tend to soak up liquid like a sponge.

This will make dehydrating them harder. The best way to clean a fresh mushroom is with a lightly wet paper towel and rub it gently.

A point to mention here is that any time you buy cultivated mushrooms such as portobello or white button, what looks like dirt in the packaging is sanitized, composted peat moss, which the mushrooms are grown in and is safe to eat.

Dehydrated mushrooms

How to Dry or Dehydrate Fresh Mushrooms

  • Clean the mushrooms by rubbing gently with a wet paper towel
  • Slice mushrooms evenly. Well as evenly as you can. I cut mine about 1/4 inch thick. The thicker the slices, the longer it will take them to dry
  • Place evenly on either a baking sheet or the crisp tray of your dehydrator or air fryer. I used my air fryer oven. Make sure the edges or not overlapping each other
  • Place in the air fryer oven at 115 degrees for 6 to 8 hours. Mine was done at 7 hours. Remove from the oven and place into a tightly sealed jar or you can also seal them into  vacuum-sealed bags


My Final Thoughts

  • Intensity of Flavor: Dried mushrooms, like shiitakes or porcinis, offer a more concentrated flavor compared to fresh ones. This is akin to the difference between fresh and sun-dried tomatoes, where the drying process enhances the taste and aroma.
  • Extended Shelf Life: Dried mushrooms can be stored for long periods without spoiling, similar to how dried beans or lentils are pantry staples that last for months or even years, providing a reliable ingredient option.
  • Variety and Availability: Just as spices from around the world are accessible in dried form, dried mushrooms offer a wide range of types that might not be available fresh in local markets, allowing cooks to explore global flavors easily.
  • Space-Saving Storage: Dried mushrooms take up less space in the kitchen, much like how dried herbs and spices are more compact compared to their fresh counterparts, making them ideal for smaller storage areas.
  • Versatility in Cooking: They can be rehydrated and used in various dishes, offering flexibility in culinary applications, similar to how dried beans can be soaked and used in different recipes, from soups to salads.

Using dried mushrooms instead of fresh results in a more concentrated flavor, they will not spoil, you will use less in the long run, they will last indefinitely if stored correctly and if you dry your own you will always have some on hand. It just makes economic sense to use dried mushrooms instead of fresh.

Remember to clean with a wet paper towel. And never throw out your rehydrating liquid. 

It makes a sauce, soup, or stew, and a broth even richer and more flavorful by adding it right along with your rehydrated mushrooms. Store in a cool dry place.

Have you ever used dried mushrooms? If not I urge you to give them a try! 

You know that old saying “you never know until you try” applies here. If you do use dried mushrooms please leave me a comment below I would love to hear your thoughts.

And as always, have a wonderful day!


Q1: What are the benefits of using dried mushrooms instead of fresh?

  • Dried mushrooms offer a more concentrated flavor than fresh mushrooms. Removing moisture concentrates the natural umami taste, making them ideal for enhancing the flavor in dishes like soups, stews, and broths.
  • Dried mushrooms have a significantly longer shelf life compared to fresh mushrooms. They can be stored indefinitely in a cool, dark place without spoiling, which is especially useful for less frequent cooking needs.

Q2: How do you prepare dried mushrooms for cooking?

  • To prepare dried mushrooms, they need to be rehydrated. This can be done by soaking them in water. For quick rehydration, boiling water can be poured over the mushrooms, and they will be ready to use in about 15 minutes. For a deeper extraction of flavor, soaking them overnight in cool water is recommended.
  • When rehydrating mushrooms, it’s important not to discard the soaking liquid. This liquid becomes rich in flavor and can be used to enhance the taste of soups, stews, and sauces, adding an extra layer of mushroom umami.

Q3: Can you store dried mushrooms for long periods, and how?

  • Yes, dried mushrooms can be stored for long periods if kept in the right conditions. They should be placed in a tightly sealed container, like a mason jar, and stored in a dark and cool environment, away from direct light and humidity.
  • For extra protection, dried mushrooms can also be stored in the freezer. Double-bagging them before freezing helps prevent any moisture from getting in, which is crucial for maintaining their quality.

Q4: Are there any economical benefits to using dried mushrooms?

  • Dried mushrooms are more economical because you typically need to use less of them compared to fresh mushrooms. For example, if a recipe calls for a pound of fresh mushrooms, you might only need about 3 ounces of dried mushrooms, which will rehydrate to the required amount.
  • Since dried mushrooms last indefinitely and require less frequent replacements, they can be more cost-effective in the long run, especially for dishes that benefit from their intensified flavor.


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