5 Mushrooms that Taste Like Steak

Glistening Inkcap mushrooms growing on dead wood.
© Alex Manders/Shutterstock.com

Written by Marisa Higgins

Published: December 11, 2023

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Dirty mushrooms, porcini, clean them

Mushrooms are full of nutrients, and they make a great low-calorie meat replacement.

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Mushrooms are an exceptionally versatile fungi, often used to accompany vegetables in various dishes. Interestingly, some mushrooms mimic the taste and texture of steak. If you’re a vegetarian, or if you’re looking to cut out red meat, mushrooms might be a culinary lifesaver. Let’s dive into five mushrooms that taste like steak, exploring their nutritional benefits and ways to incorporate them into your weekly meal plan.

1. King Oyster Mushroom

King oyster mushroom scallops

Here is a beautiful presentation of king oyster mushroom scallops.

©Elena Zajchikova/Shutterstock.com

King oyster mushrooms are often used in Asian cuisine. Sometimes referred to as the king trumpet mushrooms or French horn mushrooms, the king oyster mushroom tastes great when grilled, boiled, or sautéed. Though typically used as a side dish, these mushrooms are easily the main feature of any meal. 

2. Portobello Mushroom

portobello mushrooms ready to be cooked

It’s no wonder that portobello mushrooms are a wonderful replacement for steak.

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If you’ve ever seen a portobello mushroom, it’s no surprise that these meat-shaped fungi mimic steak when seasoned and cooked properly. These mushrooms have a dense texture and are exceptionally versatile. Portobellos are a great substitute for a number of meat products. When shopping for a portobello mushroom, seek out firm mushrooms with little to no wrinkles (which can indicate aging). The best way to ensure your mushroom is cooked to perfection with a steak-like taste, is to prioritize and enhance the natural portobello flavor by complementing the mushroom’s texture and meatiness. You can do this by choosing acidic marinades, using items such as balsamic vinegar or soy sauce. 

3. Shiitake Mushroom

Shiitake mushrooms in a bowl with herbs

Shiitake mushrooms have a wonderfully meaty, chewy texture and complex, savory, nutty taste.

©New Africa/Shutterstock.com

These mushrooms are a staple in Japanese cuisine. The umami-flavored shiitake mushroom provides an earthy taste, and is excellent when served baked, stir-fried, and sautéed. Due to their shape and texture, shiitake mushrooms could easily be used as a substitute for steak in tacos or stir-fries. 

4. Maitake Mushroom

Maitake mushroom, Grifola frondosa

“Hen of the Woods” is another common name for miatake.


Found at the base of oak trees, this mushroom looks oddly like a piece of deep-fried chicken. Some also refer to it as the “hen of the woods mushroom” because of its ‘feathery’ exterior. Just like all of the mushrooms on this list, maitake mushrooms are best served cooked, especially since this mushroom and many others can cause GI distress if eaten raw. These mushrooms are perfect for roasting or grilling, and many individuals recommend flattening the maitake mushroom before grilling it to give it a steak-like appearance.

5. Cremini

Sautéed cremini mushrooms

These mushrooms are basically portobellos that were picked before totally maturing.


Cremini mushrooms are dense and savory. If you add a little soy sauce and Worcestershire, they can taste quite a bit like a steak. The texture of this mushroom resembles a tender, buttery cut of steak, and with a quick pan-fry, this mushroom will make a great steak dish substitute. 

5 Mushrooms that Taste Like Steak

Mushrooms offer many nutritional benefits. They are low in calories and have no cholesterol, but contain protein, vitamins, and antioxidants. With their often-meaty texture, it’s no wonder that mushrooms can easily be used as a tasty, wholesome alternative to steak. Mushrooms provide such diverse flavors and are exceptionally versatile. No matter if you’re looking for a meat replacement, a healthy alternative, or simply a new recipe, mushrooms could be the answer. If you’re looking for ways to experience vegetarian “steak”, be sure to give these five mushrooms a try.

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About the Author

Dr. Marisa Higgins is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on travel, places to visit, and fun activities. Marisa holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and French, a Master of Arts in English, and a Ph.D. in English, and she's spent the past decade teaching, writing, and researching. She lives in Knoxville, TN with her husband, and their Beagle-Chihuahua, Rumi, and cat, Rory.

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