How to sauté mushrooms to perfection with a simple process; these garlic butter mushrooms require just 5 ingredients and are so versatile – the perfect addition to tons of meals!
For any mushroom lovers, learning how to sauté mushrooms is an absolute must. These garlic butter mushrooms are a simple but flavor-packed addition to tons of meals – whether they’re used to top proteins, serve on toast, with rice, etc., the possibilities are endless!
I feel like I’m not even overstating it when I say these are the best sautéed mushrooms I’ve ever had – and with just 5 ingredients. Color me impressed, time and time again! Although for this particular post, I’ve used the method for sautéed wild mushrooms, the garlic butter sauté method works for most varieties of mushrooms – and most of the same tips apply too!
What makes these the best sautéed mushrooms? Well, not only are they pan-fried to perfection, but the garlic and butter yield super caramelized, lightly crispy, flavor-packed results. The only downfall is that it’s hard to stop eating them straight from the pan!
Top Tips For The Best Sautéed Mushrooms
- Don’t crowd the pan: Thank you, Julia Child, for this tip. It makes so much sense but is hard to follow through with mushrooms. The fact is, if you want wonderfully caramelized mushrooms, then you need to give the mushrooms room to fry rather than just steam and simmer in their own liquid.
If you’re trying to make lots of mushrooms, this may mean using multiple pans or cooking in batches. When sauteeing mushroom slices, you can cook a handful at a time, then push them over to the side of the pan once browned to make way for more – I slightly overfilled my pan even for these pictures, and you can tell!
- Don’t over-stir the mushrooms: This is the case with most things when sautéing. You want to give the mushrooms a chance to develop the crispy layer, which won’t happen if you’re constantly stirring the pan.
- Don’t be afraid of the heat: The saddest, limpest, ‘soggiest’ mushrooms I’ve ever had have always come from low and slow cooking options with low heat. That’s never going to produce the crispy crust you’re after. Instead, whack that heat up to medium-high or high.
- Allow the mushrooms to brown before seasoning: That way, you don’t risk impeding the mushroom’s caramelization or burning the herbs/spices.
- Bonus Tip: Using sliced mushrooms will always yield more caramelized results. I sautéed whole mushrooms (wild mushrooms) for this post, so they aren’t as caramelized. This is because the whole mushrooms take longer to release their liquid, for that to cook off before the mushrooms can then caramelize. Just don’t slice the mushrooms too thin, or it will have the opposite effect (read recipe notes!)
Garlic Butter Mushrooms Ingredients
- Mushrooms: including cremini, porcini, button, chestnut, shiitake, portobello, mixed wild mushrooms, etc. Depending on the type you use, you can choose to sauté the mushrooms whole, halved, or sliced. I sautéed wild mushrooms. If using button mushrooms, I’d also sauté them whole or halved. I enjoy white mushrooms best when chunkily sliced.
- Butter: or dairy-free butter if preferred. It adds amazing flavor to the mushrooms. The only issue can be its low smoke point. If you want to avoid the chance of burning the butter, you could use ghee (clarified butter) or use a combination of butter and oil, which helps to keep the butter from burning.
- Lemon juice: use fresh lemon juice; this will add just the most amazing ‘freshness’ to the butter-sautéed mushrooms.
- Garlic: Ffinely chopped or minced.
- Thyme: or your favorite herb or spices (read below for more suggestions).
How To Sauté Mushrooms To Perfection
Step 1: Clean the mushrooms
If you can avoid washing the mushrooms, then do. Instead, use a damp paper towel to wipe any dirt off the mushrooms. However, if they need washing, then don’t be afraid to do that either. The only thing you want to avoid is soaking the mushrooms for a long period of time.
When I wash these mixed wild mushrooms, I place them in a large bowl and fill it with water, quickly give them a swish around to loosen any dirt and carefully rub any bits clean and then drain them in a colander.
You can then pat them dry or even air-dry them in the sun (if you have time).
Step 2: Dry Fry The Mushrooms
First, chop the mushrooms if you need to. I didn’t with these wild mushrooms. However, you could tear them into more even sizes for better caramelization.
Then add the mushrooms to a large pan with no oil over medium heat for around 8 minutes, flipping once after 5 minutes. DON’T stir the mushrooms during the first 5 minutes – even if you’re tempted – otherwise, they won’t brown nicely.
As the mushrooms cook, they’ll release lots of water, which will evaporate before they can caramelize.
Chef’s Note: For an alternative method, you can use a little oil (not butter) at the beginning, and this will increase the caramelization before you add the butter. However, I love the results without adding the extra calories – so it’s up to you what you prefer.
Step 3: Add the Butter and Herbs
Once the mushrooms have softened and begun to brown, add the butter, minced/mashed garlic, and thyme (or herbs of choice) to the pan and sauté over medium-high heat, only stirring very occasionally, to allow the mushrooms to further brown and become coated in the garlic butter mixture.
Chef’s note: If you want to de-glaze the pan to pick up all the wonderful flavor from the brown bits on the bottom of the pan, then add 1-2 tablespoon of liquid (wine, sherry, broth, or even water) in the last 2 minutes, and stir the mushrooms continually until all liquid is evaporated.
Add any spices in the last 30 seconds of cooking, including any salt.
How To Serve Garlic Butter Mushrooms
There are dozens of ways to enjoy the simple butter sautéed mushrooms, here are just a few of my top options.
- On breakfast toast: Whether alone, in a creamy sauce, or with avocado – yummy!
- Served over proteins – like chicken, steak, or even tofu steak.
- Over soups and stews – like this Cream Of Mushroom Soup or Thai Inspired Vegan Green Pea Soup.
- Served with grains – like brown rice or quinoa.
- Over burgers – like this Pumpkin Bean Burger With Spicy Mayo Sauce.
- Over pizza – yes, you could have plain mushrooms, but why should you when you could add these?! Neapolitan pizza (Marinara style), Easy Zucchini Pizza Bites (Low Carb Pizza), or Butternut Squash Pizza with Pesto.
- Within omelets and over other egg dishes – like scrambled eggs (or scrambled tofu), egg clouds, etc.
- To top pasta dishes – like this Baked Feta and Cherry Tomato Pasta, Super Creamy Vegan Mushroom pasta, and this Easy Vegan Bechamel Pasta Bake.
- As a garnish for dips, they make the most wonderful garnish that you can go in with crackers or bread to scoop up.
Can You Freeze Sautéed Mushrooms?
Yes, technically, you can. But you’ll lose the fresh, caramelized, crisp exterior, which makes these so special. However, if you want to give it a go, then lay the sauteed mushrooms out in a single row on a large tray, freeze till solid, and then transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 3 months. That way, you can grab as many as you need at one time without them all sticking/clumping together.
If you’re going to do this, I suggest using the frozen sautéed mushrooms in recipes like soups, stews, and sauces – where the lack of crisp exterior won’t matter as much.
If you try this sauteed garlic butter mushrooms recipe, then let me know your thoughts and questions in the comments. I’d also really appreciate a recipe rating and would love to see your recreations – just tag @AlphaFoodie.
How to Sauté Mushrooms To Perfection (Garlic Butter Mushrooms)
- 10 oz mushrooms mixed wild, cremini, button, white, portobello, etc.
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon butter
- few sprigs thyme or your favorite herbs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper optional
Step 1: Clean the mushrooms
- If you can avoid washing the mushrooms then do. Instead, use a damp paper towel to wipe any dirt off the mushrooms. However, if they need washing then don't be afraid to do that either. The only thing you want to avoid is soaking the mushrooms for a long period of time.When I wash these mixed wild mushrooms, I place them in a large bowl and fill it with water, quickly give them a swish around to loosen any dirt and carefully rub any bits clean and then drain them in a colander.
- You can then pat them dry or even air-dry them in the sun (if you have time).
Step 2: Dry Fry The Mushrooms
- Chop the mushrooms if you need to. I didn't with these wild mushrooms. However, you could tear them into more even sizes for better caramelization.
- Add the mushrooms to a large pan with no oil over medium heat for around 8 minutes, flipping once after 5 minutes. DON'T stir the mushrooms during the first 5 minutes- even if you're tempted- otherwise they won't brown nicely.As the mushrooms cook, they'll release lots of water, which will evaporate before they can caramelize.Chef's Note: For an alternative method, you can use a little oil (not butter) at the beginning and this will slightly increase the caramelization before you add the butter. However, I love the results without adding the extra calories- so it's up to you what you prefer.
Step 3: Add the Butter and Herbs
- Once the mushrooms have softened and begun to brown, add the butter, garlic, and thyme (or herbs of choice) to the pan and saute over medium-high heat only stirring very occasionally, to allow the mushrooms to further brown and become coated in the garlic butter mixture.Chef's note: If you want to de-glaze the pan to pick up all the wonderful flavor from the brown bits on the bottom of the pan then add 1-2tbsp of liquid (wine, sherry, broth, or even water) in the last 2 minutes, and stir the mushrooms continually until all liquid is evaporated.
- Add any spices in the last 30 seconds of cooking, including any salt.
- Sauteed wild mushrooms don’t release as much water as white mushrooms – at least in the case of chantarelles, morels, shiitakes, etc. This means they are usually easier to sauté.
- If you’re using shiitake remember to remove their stems, which are quite leathery. Do so by trimming them where they attach to the cap. They can be saved to make vegetable stock or broths.
- Use a large, heavy-based pan: I’ve found these yield the best results as they retain heat well and spread it more evenly.
- Adding a little wine to de-glaze the pan can easily add tons of flavor. If you don’t have wine then you can use a little sherry or stock. All you need is just a tablespoon or two – once added, stir the mushrooms continually until the liquid has evaporated. This will help to capture all the extra flavor from the bottom of the pan.
- Don’t slice your mushrooms too thin: You might be tempted to cut them as thin as possible, thinking that thinner slices = crispiest results. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. instead, they’ll shrivel up into barely ‘nothing’ so keep them semi-chunky at least to hold their shape.
- Herbs: feel free to experiment with other herbs, of course. Rosemary, parsley, etc., or even a teaspoon of Italian Seasoning.
- (Optional) Soy sauce: to ramp up the umami flavor, add a light splash of dark soy sauce to the pan in the last 3-4 minutes. It will help to caramelize the mushrooms further and add depth to the flavor.
- For Spice: you could use a little chili oil in place of some of the butter. Also, add a pinch or two of red pepper flakes.
- For sauteed mushrooms and onions: thinly slice an onion and saute it in the pan for 20-30 seconds before adding the mushrooms and cooking as suggested.
- For sauteed mushrooms and spinach: spinach is packed with water, so you’ll never achieve super ‘crispy’ results when adding it to this mushroom dish. I suggest adding the spinach right at the end of the process until it ‘just’ wilts.
- Add wine: in the last 2-3 minutes of cooking, add a generous splash of white wine and allow it to cook off as you continue to sauté the mushrooms, stirring occasionally.