How to make crispy air-fried oyster mushrooms – these crispy oyster mushrooms are easy to prepare and perfect for serving up as a vegan chicken substitute! Plus, I’ve included an oven-roasted and air-fried version, adaptable to tons of seasonings, no matter the dish!
Mushrooms are an amazingly versatile ingredient. Whether you’re sauteing them to crispy perfection, adding as a filling to dumplings, cooking up into hearty mushroom ragu, adding to coffee, or using them to make a vegan fried chicken – like these air fried oyster mushrooms or this mushroom shawarma – you’ll never run out of ideas!
This crispy oyster mushrooms recipe yields wonderfully “fried” oyster mushrooms with a breaded coating and tender, juicy middle. Their meaty texture makes these roasted oyster mushrooms perfect for use in all sorts of meat-free and vegan dishes like vegan shawarma, po’boy sandwiches, etc. With the right seasonings, you can even serve crispy mushrooms in place of fried chicken!
More so, they make for a wonderful natural meat substitute in comparison to many of the mock meats available in store, and the vegan buttermilk coating helps to enhance the “fried chicken” vibes. Adapt the spices/seasonings used based on your mood and the dish for hundreds of ways to enjoy this crispy oyster mushroom recipe!
What Are Oyster Mushroom Benefits?
Not only do oyster mushrooms make for a great vegan chicken alternative, but they’re also packed with vitamins and minerals (like vitamin B5, folate, niacin, potassium, etc.), fiber, and other healthful properties.
More so, oyster mushrooms are full of antioxidants and may contain other healthful benefits, including blood sugar regulation, heart and gut health benefits, and even immune-boosting properties (with antiviral and antibacterial effects).
- Oyster mushrooms: the shape and texture of oyster mushrooms make them perfect for frying/roasting, especially as a meat substitute.
- Cornstarch: this should work with other starches (i.e., potato starch, sweet potato starch), but I’ve only tried cornstarch. You could also use flour (regular, chickpea flour, rice flour, etc.), but I find that I get crispier results with cornstarch.
- Breadcrumbs: use the breadcrumbs of your choosing. I used homemade. Use gluten-free if necessary or even panko breadcrumbs for a slightly “lighter” coating.
- Milk: use the milk of your choice. For these crispy oyster mushrooms, I used oat milk.
- Lemon: by combining the milk and lemon, we make a “buttermilk” substitute.
- Spices: swap out the spices based on the dish you’re serving the mushrooms in. This time I used a shawarma spice blend and salt. You could alternatively use garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, Mexican spice blend, garam masala, Cajun seasoning, Italian seasoning, chicken seasoning, etc. Or just some black pepper.
- Oil: use a neutral cooking oil like olive oil or avocado oil.
How to Make Air Fried Oyster Mushrooms
Step 1: Prepare the “batter” ingredients
First, combine the cornstarch with your spices of choice and the salt and mix. At the same time, prepare the vegan buttermilk by combining the milk and lemon juice (it’s best to let this sit for 5-10 minutes).
Place the cornstarch bowl next to the buttermilk bowl, next to the breadcrumb bowl, next to your baking tray or air fryer basket to create a simple “dredging station.”
Step 2: Batter the oyster mushrooms
First, prepare and clean the oyster mushrooms (read FAQs for tips) and allow them to dry if needed.
Then, cover the mushrooms with the cornstarch mixture before dipping each mushroom into the vegan buttermilk and then the breadcrumbs, making sure to coat it well. Repeat until all the mushrooms are fully coated.
Step 3: Cook the oyster mushrooms
For this recipe, I’ve tested air-frying and roasting the oyster mushrooms, so you can do either.
First, drizzle or spray some oil (spray is best if you have one) over the mushrooms, then arrange them in a single layer within your air fryer basket or an oven tray (to roast). It’s best to lightly grease the pan/air fryer tray to make sure none stick.
Air-fryer: cook the mushrooms, untouched, for 12 minutes at 400ºF/200ºC.
Oven: roast the mushrooms for 20 minutes at 400ºF/200ºC.
Once cooked, you should have golden brown and super crispy oyster mushrooms ready to enjoy!
How to Store
Fridge: store any leftover crispy oyster mushrooms in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days, lined with a paper towel. They will soften over time – however, you can re-crisp them up somewhat when reheating.
You may also be able to freeze the leftover fried oyster mushrooms for later and reheat with an air fryer/oven – though I haven’t tried, so I can’t guarantee results.
Reheat: while technically you can microwave these, the results will be soft. For that reason, I recommend broiling them.
How to Serve
There are several ways you can enjoy these crispy oyster mushrooms, primarily as a tasty meat alternative in meals like vegan shawarma, etc.
- To top soups – like this creamy tomato soup, mushroom soup, and Japanese ramen.
- Serve with salads – like this avocado cucumber tomato salad, Shirazi salad, this massaged kale salad, and other leafy green salads.
- In sandwiches and wraps – like a po’ boy sandwich or shawarma wrap.
- Add to tacos – use in place of softer mushrooms in these mushroom tacos.
- As an appetizer with a dip, like spicy mayo (dairy-free if preferred), ranch dressing, or vegan buffalo sauce.
- Serve over mashed potatoes with gravy or alongside smashed potatoes.
I tend to avoid deep-frying anything when possible (apart from this delicious traditional falafel). However, it is, of course, possible to make these as traditional fried oyster mushrooms. Fill a wok/pan with enough oil to be about 1 ½-2 inches deep and heat up. You can test the oil is hot enough by dropping a little of the “batter” in the pan, and it should start bubbling (alternatively, a thermometer should read 350-360ºF/176-182ºC).
For perfectly fried oyster mushrooms, drop several in at a time (usually 4-6 pieces, so they don’t affect the oil temperature too much) and deep-fry until golden brown in color (usually 2-3 minutes). Remove and place on kitchen towel to drain excess oil – then serve.
I’ve never had issues purchasing oyster mushrooms that are perfect for use, whether it’s from a farmers’ market or supermarket. However, to be on the safe side, it’s always best to look for oyster mushrooms that are uniform in color (a creamy white), with no bruising or “wetness” (i.e., sliminess).
If you’re lucky, you can get your hands on pre-separated oyster mushroom packs. Otherwise, you’ll need to separate them yourself. To do so, you can simply use your hands to gently pull the mushrooms apart (or use a knife) before using a small sharp paring knife to cut off the very rubbery stem part of the mushrooms.
Generally, oyster mushrooms are relatively clean. The most you’ll usually need to do is use a slightly damp paper towel to gently rub away any dirt.
Yes and no. Sure, any mushroom (most anyway) could be used to batter and cook. However, the benefit of using oyster mushrooms is the slightly firm and “meaty” texture that makes it great for meat alternatives and more satisfying than other mushrooms.
I think this depends on what seasonings you use. However, with their slightly meaty texture and neutral flavor combined with the right spices and “fried” crispiness – yes, these oyster mushrooms can 100% taste like fried chicken!
Other Mushroom Recipes
- Baked feta, spinach, and mushroom pasta
- Creamy mushrooms on toast
- Cream of mushroom soup
- Super creamy mushroom pasta sauce
- Mushroom and lentil vegan meatballs
- Sweet potato burger in a Mushroom bun
- How to Sauté Mushrooms To Perfection (Garlic Butter Mushrooms)
- Mushroom Shawarma Wrap (Vegan Shawarma)
- Vegetarian OR Vegan Birria Tacos (Oyster Mushroom Tacos)
If you try this vegan crispy oyster mushrooms recipe (chicken oyster mushrooms), I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
Crispy Air Fried Oyster Mushrooms (or Oven Roasted)
- 12 oz oyster mushrooms
- 7 oz oat milk or milk of choice (3/4 cup)
- 1 lemon 3 Tbsp
- 2 oz breadcrumbs use GF if necessary, 1 cup
- 1.5 tablespoon cornstarch or potato starch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon spice mix shawarma, Cajun, Italian – use the spices of your choosing, or just ¼ teaspoon black pepper for a natural flavor
Step 1: Prepare the ‘batter’ ingredients
- Combine the cornstarch with your spices of choice and the salt and mix. At the same time, prepare the vegan buttermilk by combining the milk and lemon juice (it's best to let this sit for 5-10 minutes).
- Place the cornstarch bowl next to the buttermilk bowl, next to the breadcrumb bowl, next to your baking tray or air fryer basket to create a simple "dredging station."
Step 2: Batter the oyster mushrooms
- Prepare and clean the oyster mushrooms (read FAQs for tips) and allow them to dry if needed.
- Cover the mushrooms with the cornstarch mixture before dipping each mushroom into the vegan buttermilk and then the breadcrumbs, making sure to coat it well. Repeat until all the mushrooms are fully coated.
Step 3: Cook the oyster mushrooms
- For this recipe, I’ve tested air-frying and roasting the oyster mushrooms, so you can do either.Drizzle or spray some oil (spray is best if you have one) over the mushrooms, then arrange them in a single layer within your Air Fryer basket or an oven tray (to roast). It’s best to lightly grease the pan/air fryer tray to make sure none stick.
- Air-fryer: cook the mushrooms, untouched, for 12 minutes at 400ºF/200ºC.Oven: roast the mushrooms for 20 minutes at 400ºF/200ºC.Once cooked, you should have golden brown and super crispy oyster mushrooms ready to enjoy!
How to Store
- Fridge: store any leftover crispy oyster mushrooms in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days, lined with a paper towel. They will soften over time – however, you can re-crisp them up somewhat when reheating.You may also be able to freeze the leftover fried oyster mushrooms for later and reheat with an air fryer/oven – though I haven’t tried, so I can’t guarantee results.Reheat: while technically you can microwave these, the results will be soft. For that reason, I recommend broiling them
- Remove the tough ends: my oyster mushrooms came pre-chopped with the tough end removed and some remaining stem. However, if yours have the stem attached still, you can remove it, just frying the “fan” pieces of the mushroom. For crispier pieces, you could even separate the fans into several 2-3cm pieces.
- Make sure not to overlap the mushrooms: they won’t become crispy enough if you overlap them too much as the residual heat from the shrooms will essentially “steam” everything around it rather than allowing them to crisp up. You may need to cook these in batches.
- For battered “fried oyster mushrooms”: if you prefer a simple battered mushroom instead of breadcrumbed, dip the mushrooms in the starch mixture then buttermilk and repeat once more for a thick “batter” coating them cook as recommended.
- Using less oil: I ended up drizzling the mushrooms with oil before air frying them. However, for even less oil, you can use a “spritzer.” It will help coat the oyster mushrooms more thoroughly, yet with less oil overall – it’s a win-win!
- Be generous with seasoning: these oyster mushrooms are neutral in flavor, so seasoning is important.