How to Substitute Dried Mushrooms for Fresh Mushrooms

Dried Mushrooms
Dried Mushrooms. © Flickr user Rebecca_Siegel

Cooking with dried mushrooms allows you to enjoy mushrooms when they aren’t in season, and it allows you to use mushroom varieties that may not be readily available to you in fresh form. But how do you use dried mushrooms when a recipe calls for fresh? Here’s the scoop on getting the substitution right.

How Many Mushrooms to Use

Use three ounces of dried mushrooms for every pound of fresh mushrooms called for in the recipe.

That may not seem like enough, but once they’re reconstituted, the mushrooms will expand to give you your pound.

How to Reconstitute Mushrooms

Dried mushrooms need to be reconstituted before they’re used (that's fancy for rehydrated), and there really isn't much to it. Just cover the mushrooms with room temperature water (enough to cover them completely), and allow them to soak for at least 30 minutes. Once they’re done soaking, remove the mushrooms, reserving the liquid, and rinse them in cool water to get rid of any residual grit. Then, add them to your recipe.

The soaking liquid (mushroom broth), is quite flavorful, and well worth hanging on to. Strain it through a coffee filter or a paper towel to remove the grit. Then, use it in place of some of the liquid in your recipe, or freeze it to use later.

In a Hurry?

Soak your dried mushrooms in warm or hot water to reconstitute them faster. Just know that the hot water will pull more flavor out of the mushrooms.

Since that flavor will be transferred to the broth, you can correct the problem by using some of the mushroom broth in your recipe.

If you plan to use your mushrooms in a soup, you can also save time by skipping the reconstitution process, and simply adding them to the soup pot. They’ll reconstitute as the soup cooks.

The only drawback to this method is that your soup could turn out a bit gritty, since you won’t be soaking and rinsing the mushrooms first. This poses more of a problem with grittier mushrooms, like morels, than it does with not-so-gritty mushrooms, like chanterelles.

More Ways to Store Mushrooms

Dried mushrooms are shelf-stable and take up little space, but there are other ways to store mushrooms that are worth exploring. Learn how to freeze mushrooms and how to extend their shelf life in the refrigerator.