How to Use Mushroom Powder

How to Use Mushroom Powder

A staple of Chinese wellness and cooking for centuries, mushrooms are the original superfood. In fact, reishi mushrooms are shown growing at the gates of heaven in ancient Chinese texts. The Western world has long loved cooking with Agaricus bisporus, the variety that gives us button, crimini, and portobello mushrooms, but the nourishing truth of mushrooms has attracted many over the last 20 years in particular. 

From boosting your immune system to feeling the flow with enhanced cognitive function, mushrooms are actually pretty easy to add to your daily routine. Mushroom powders, once limited in variety, are now common to add to your favorite things, from mushroom coffee or even simple teas with hot water.

What is mushroom powder?


At a basic level, mushroom powder is made of dried mushroom extracts that are ground into a fine powder. There are two types of mushroom powders you’ll encounter. The first is medicinal mushroom powder, usually found in your supplement or health aisles at the grocery store. The second is culinary mushroom powder, found in the soup, spices, or seasonings aisle.

Medicinal mushroom powder

You can cook with medicinal mushroom powder, too. The big difference is that you add culinary mushroom powder to dishes for flavor and depth, while most medicinal mushroom powders lack the umami flavor intensity most chefs are after.

This is perhaps medicinal mushrooms’ biggest advantage, however. You receive the health benefits, of which there are so many, from medicinal mushrooms without overpowering the flavor of your favorite things, whether it’s coffee or your banana bread recipe. Medicinal mushroom powders are usually made of 100% fruiting bodies, where the most bioavailable, beneficial compounds are.

Please be aware of medicinal mushroom companies that offer mycelium-based products, where the product may contain over 90% grain starch from the growing medium instead of mushroom caps, or fruiting bodies.

Culinary mushroom powder

Culinary mushroom powder utilizes the flavors of easier-to-find mushrooms like morels and shiitake mushrooms to amp up the tangy, earthy flavor of dishes like soups and pastas. To make mushroom powder, most home chefs will forage or buy fresh mushrooms and dry those out.

You can also buy dried mushrooms and make your own mushroom powder by grinding dehydrated mushrooms in a food processor and adding your own spices to the blend. Nutritional yeast plays well with powdered mushrooms in most recipes.

Nutritional benefits of mushrooms


Medicinal mushrooms, also known as adaptogens or functional mushrooms, aren’t hallucinogenic or psychoactive. They are rich in beta-glucans and polysaccharides, thanks to their extraction process, that our bodies don’t make on our own.

Polysaccharides alone have been found to act as a prebiotic, which promotes gut health, and the production fatty acids like acetate, which serve as an energy source for colon cells. Each mushroom offers different benefits, but overall, mushrooms are low in calories, fat, sodium, and are even cholesterol-free and gluten-free. They also pack a huge antioxidant punch, supplying vitamins and minerals our body needs to function well.

Reishi mushrooms have been known to help with mental resilience, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s therapy. Lion’s mane has been shown to improve nerve growth, boost memory, and treat tinnitus. Chaga has been shown to aid in diabetic kidney disease and offer incredible immune support.

How to choose mushroom powder

No matter what, to make sure you’re getting quality, your mushroom powder should be always be USDA organic, non-GMO, third-party tested and verified, and made with 100% fruiting bodies. While some studies show the benefits of mycelium, the ratio of mycelium to fruiting bodies is tricky to monitor today. There’s even an ongoing FDA petition to stop companies from using the word “mushroom” if it’s not made up of a percentage of fruiting bodies.

Choosing mushroom powder depends on your use. For culinary mushroom powders, I recommend shiitake, morel, porcini, and black trumpet. These varieties rehydrate easily and add a flavor profile that’s unmatched, especially when compared to the button mushroom family.

For medicinal mushroom powders, it depends on the benefits you seek. Most people prefer a blend of mushrooms to get as much good stuff as possible. The most common medicinal mushroom species are chaga, cordyceps, lion’s mane, maitake, reishi, shiitake and turkey tail. When it comes to medicinal mushrooms, the general consensus is 1-3 grams per serving.

How to use mushroom powder in your daily routine

1. Add it to your beverages


From coffee to tea to smoothies, mushroom powder turns any thing into a mushroom thing. Skip the premade mushroom coffee blends out there, most of which are full of grain starch, and simply add mushroom powder to your favorite coffee beans.

Why sacrifice the taste of freshly ground coffee beans just because you want a little health boost? The same goes for your precious herbal tea. With an earthy, mild flavor profile, medicinal mushroom powders should blend seamlessly into your favorite recipes, not make you pick a whole new one.

2. Add it to your soups and slow cooker meals

Any dish that’s simmering can benefit from a dash of mushroom powder. The trick is to add it to your broths, stews, or dishes after boiling on the stove to ensure you’re getting all of the good stuff. For slow cooker meals, sprinkle it on in the last few minutes of the cooking session for the same effect.

3. Make your own vinaigrette

Why buy vinaigrettes when they’re so easy to make at home? The basic recipe is one-third fat, one-third acid, and one-third flavor, which you can build through your choices of seasonings. Mushroom powder pairs so well with the fresh crunch of cucumbers and tomatoes.

4. Bake with mushroom powder


Baking with mushroom powder is an easy way to add that complexity or health boost to your recipe. Banana bread, olive oil cakes, and homemade chocolate chip cookies are always better with the addition of medicinal mushroom powder. Pancakes are an especially great blank canvas for your functional mushroom powder.

Embracing the ancient wisdom and versatility of mushrooms is so, so worth it. Whether added to your routine for a wellness boost or you’re on the quest for the perfect flavors, mushroom powders are really the best of nutrition and taste. Nature’s bounty is available for all.

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