Oyster Mushrooms 101 + Fried Oyster Mushrooms
Here’s everything you need to know about Pearl, Golden, Pink, and Blue Oyster Mushrooms, from how to cook them to the best recipes. Don’t miss the unbelievable fried oyster mushroom recipe at the end!
I always admire the bright yellow, pink, and neutral mushrooms on display at the market. If you’ve admired them too but haven’t been sure about how to use them, this post is for you!
What are Oyster Mushrooms?
Oyster mushroom is the common name for the mushroom species Pleurotus ostreatus. This fungus grows in temperate climates on and near logs and trees in the wild.
Commercially, they usually grow off of straw or sawdust that is packed tightly into plastic. One of the most popular types of mushrooms all over the world, oysters are mild in flavor with a wonderfully meaty texture.
Types: Pearl, Blue, Pink, Golden, King Oyster
Grocery store oyster mushrooms are usually of the Pearl Oyster variety, and light brown in color, but you may be able to find golden, pink, and even blue oyster mushrooms at your local farmers’ market!
I interviewed our local farmer to learn more about the different varieties. They are quite similar in flavor but vary in texture, mostly due to water content. Here are 5 of the most popular types of oyster mushrooms.
Pearl Oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus)
Pearl oyster mushrooms are the most common type in North America, and probably what you will find in the grocery store. They are mild, tender flavor but meaty, and work well in my dishes.
Blue Oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus var)
Blue oyster mushrooms are actually not blue when you find them in the store. Though the caps start out blue, once they mature, they are grey. They taste the same as pearl oysters and have a meaty texture that holds up well when cooked.
Pink Oyster (Pleurotus salmoneo stramineus)
Ruffly and bright pink, this species is also known as Flamingo, Salmon, and Strawberry Oyster. This species is meatier in texture. The pink color does fade when cooked. This pink variety is native to more tropical locations and grows better than the others in warmer weather.
Golden Oyster (Pleurotus citrinopileatus)
Golden oyster mushrooms are a stunning bright yellow color with delicate ruffled flesh. Their unique fragrance also sets them apart from other varieties. Native to Northern Asia, this variety is common in China.
King oysters are quite a bit different from the others listed here. They have much thicker stems (about an inch in diameter) and can be used in similar or different ways. They can even be sliced crosswise and used for vegan “scallops.” I will save king oyster mushrooms for another post.
Where to Buy
Wondering, “Where to find oyster mushrooms near me”? Here in Santa Barbara, CA, the best quality specialty mushrooms are found at the farmer’s market. However, many grocery stores carry them as well. Locally I’ve found them at Whole Foods and other stores that carry a wide variety of mushrooms.
If you can’t find them locally, you can grow your own! This kit looks fun!
Some people forage for oyster mushrooms as they grow on logs in the wild, but it’s important to be very careful as there are poisonous look-alikes.
How to Cook Oyster Mushrooms
These mushrooms are versatile and work well in most mushroom recipes. They would be great in our Vegan Mushroom Gravy or Farro Risotto. They are great in stir fry and go very well with egg dishes such as scrambles, quiche, or omelets, or creamy soups like Potato Leek. Try them on pizza or saute and use them as a garnish.
- Roast. Toss mushrooms with a drizzle of olive oil, crushed garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper to taste. Transfer to a sheet pan and roast at 400°F for 15 minutes.
- Sauté. Coat a cast iron pan with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil or butter and sauté the mushrooms with salt, pepper, and minced garlic until softened or crispy. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
- Fry. My favorite, and totally addictive, though not the healthiest, way to cook these mushrooms is to fry or air fry until crispy. The result is a crispy, meaty snack similar to fried chicken. See the recipe at the end of this post!
Fried Oyster Mushrooms
Where Lion’s Mane Mushrooms shred so similarly to crab they make excellent vegan crab cakes, Oyster Mushrooms are perfect for breading and frying. The mild and meaty texture is surprisingly similar to chicken tenders.
This is the same recipe I use for Baked Tofu Nuggets, which creates a very crispy exterior and juicy meaty interior. Like the tofu nuggets, you can use this recipe as an afternoon snack, or as part of a main meal when added on top of a salad or inside a sandwich or tacos.
Other Delicious Oyster Mushroom Recipes
- Oyster Mushrooms Rockefeller
- Mushroom Potpie
- Vegan Mushroom Etouffée
- Oyster Mushroom Tacos
- Vegan No-Clam Chowder
- 5 oz. oyster mushrooms (about 2 packages)
- 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs (panko or plain)*
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspooon cayenne pepper
- 2 eggs or flax eggs
- 2 tablespoons plain almond milk
- Vegetable oil or cooking spray
- Use a damp paper to clean the mushrooms as needed. Do not wash, or they may become water logged. Separate the mushrooms from each other. Cut off any dirty tough stems, but leave as much as possible as they are meaty and delicious!
- In a shallow dish (a pie dish works well), stir together the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, and cayenne. Set aside.
- In another shallow dish, whisk the eggs/egg substitute and almond milk together until smooth.
- Coat one mushroom in the egg mixture.
- Next, coat the mushroom in the breadcrumb mixture.
- Repeat until all the mushrooms are coated in bread crumbs.
- Prehat an air fryer to 375°F or heat about 1 inch of vegetable oil in a deep, medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, until just starting to sputter.
- If using the air fryer, coat the mushrooms liberally with cooking spray and air fry for about 15 minutes, checking occasionally, until crisp and golden.
- If pan frying, carefully add just a few of the mushrooms at a time to the hot oil, turning once or twice with tongs, until crisp and golden, about 1-2 minutes per side.
- Remove the fried oyster mushrooms from the oil/air fryer and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
- Enjoy right away while warm. Fried oyster mushrooms will lose some of their crispness after about 30 minutes but you can pop them back in the air fryer or toaster oven to crisp up again.
Choose the largest oyster mushrooms you can find for this recipe. I don't recommend substituting any other type of mushroom.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 3 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 366Total Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 5gSugar: 4gProtein: 16g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your favorite calculator.