medium shot of brown mushrooms - 10 Best Mushroom Varieties to Grow at Home

Although not technically a vegetable, mushrooms are an integral part of any diet. These fungi not only add texture and flavor to your meals, but can also provide powerful medicinal benefits.

Some, like lion’s mane, are great for boosting your immune system. Others, such as shiitake, are easy to grow at home on logs.

1. Shiitake

Lentinula edodes, commonly known as shiitake mushrooms, are among the most widely grown gourmet edible mushrooms in the world. They have a deep, earthy flavor that complements dishes from vegetarian to meat filled.

Shiitake is an excellent source of Vitamin D and contains vitamins B2, C, K, and minerals such as copper, iron, manganese, selenium, and zinc. It also has mycorestoration potential, which means it can break down hydrocarbons and other contaminants in soil.

Shiitake mushrooms have short stems and a thick, rounded cap that showcases variegated hues of tan to brown and white. They also have defined, curled edges. Typically, the stems are discarded once the mushrooms are reconstituted. Harvesting shiitakes is simple, just twist the stem gently and pull upwards. Shiitake mushrooms are often sold dried, but they can be re-harvested several times. They grow well using natural log cultivation, a practice that mimics wild mushroom growth in hardwood forests.

2. Enoki

With their awe-inspiring, miniature bouquets of thin stems, Enoki mushrooms have a delicate, fruity, and slightly earthy flavor. They cook quickly and are ideal for soups and stews, noodle dishes like soba or ramen, stir-fries, omelets, curries, spring rolls, sushi, and rice dishes.

You can find these beautiful little fungi and some mushroom grow supplies in your supermarket’s produce section. They are also a staple in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean cuisines. In the wild, they look brown or golden in color and have thicker stems than the cultivated enoki you’ll see at the grocery store.

Enoki mushrooms are a great source of vitamin D and have anticancer, antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. They are also known to improve heart health by reducing cholesterol and blood pressure. They are easy to grow at home using a mushroom kit.

3. Maitake

Maitake (Grifola frondosa) is a tan to brown mushroom with deep umami flavor. It grows in shelf-like clusters on the base of dead hardwood trees, particularly oak. In the wild, it’s commonly found between late summer and fall.

Maitake has a meaty texture and is versatile enough to be used in soups, stews, and homemade stocks. It is also a popular ingredient in Japanese and Chinese cuisines.

Like other mushrooms, Maitake is an adaptogenic functional food that helps boost immunity and balance blood sugar levels. It can be consumed fresh or taken in supplement form. It’s easy to grow these mushrooms at home if you follow a few simple steps. Creating an environment that mimics natural forest conditions and regularly misting the substrate are key.

mushroom in a tree trunk - 10 Best Mushroom Varieties to Grow at Home
4. Lion’s Mane

Lion’s mane is a tasty and easy mushroom to grow at home. It grows well on a variety of substrate types, but thrives best on hardwood sawdust supplemented with wheat bran. It fruits quickly when the conditions are right, producing cauliflower-like ‘bobbles’ with spines that grow longer as they mature.

When the spines become too long, they can irritate the stomach and are inedible. When eaten fresh, lion’s mane has a delicious seafood-like flavor and a stringy, meaty texture. It also contains many beneficial plant compounds, including polysaccharides, erinacines, hericerins, steroids, and alkaloids. These ingredients are thought to boost brain function, alleviate neurodegeneration, and reduce inflammation. They also fight oxidative stress, which can contribute to chronic inflammation and other ailments. They may even promote healing in patients with spinal cord injuries.

5. Pink Oyster

A tropical species by nature, pink oyster mushrooms love warm temperatures and high humidity to thrive at home. The beautiful fungus has a robust flavor and firm texture that translates well to cooking, especially when roasted or sauteed.

Like other mushrooms in the pleurotus family, pink oyster mushrooms are highly nutritious with protein, fiber and minerals to promote overall health. The delicious fungus also offers an array of antioxidants to keep your body functioning at its best.

Harvesting pink oysters requires a gentle touch because the delicate fruiting bodies often break apart. To prevent this, it’s recommended that cultivators use a twisting motion and slight upward pull to gently detach the mushroom from the substrate. This method allows for the removal of the mushroom without damaging the mycelium beneath, encouraging future flushes.

6. White Oyster

Known for its umami, white oyster mushrooms are versatile and tasty. They make a great addition to many dishes and are easy to grow at home.

The first step is to get your hands on mushroom spawn. This can be obtained online or from a local grower. It is mixed with substrate material such as sawdust, cardboard, or coffee grounds and put into bags to incubate.

Once the spawn has colonized the substrate it will produce coral-like clusters of primordia that will later form into mushrooms. The white oyster is a vigorous strain that can fruit well on both grain spawn and wood.

This cool weather strain is very fast to fruit and can be intercropped with greenhouse plants. It can fruit as early as April and December at temperatures between 35-50F. Often requires a cold shock to initiate fruiting.

7. Shimeji

A close relative of the elm oyster mushroom (Hypsizygus ulmarius), shimeji grows out of scars, nooks and cracks in dead hardwood trees like beech, oak, cottonwood and maple. It’s a favorite forager food, and is also easy to cultivate indoors on sawdust or straw.

When sauteed, stir-fried, grilled or simmered, shimeji mushrooms elevate your cooking. The earthy umami flavor they impart adds dimension to rice and noodle dishes. They pair well with Asian-inspired dishes like kimchi fried rice or ramen, as well as hot pots and stews.

Shimeji mushrooms are bitter when raw, but mellow out after cooking to reveal a nutty, slightly sweet flavor. Rich in beta-glucans, they boost the immune system. Like other mushrooms, shimeji mushrooms are a powerful source of antioxidants that can prevent damage from free radicals.

8. Yellow Oyster

Yellow Oyster mushrooms are a treat for the eyes and taste buds. They’re bright and fragrant with a citrus flavor and a nutty texture. They pair well with butter, soy sauce, garlic, tomatoes, chives and parsley. They can also be used to add flavor to soups and stews.

Yellow oyster mushrooms are easy to cultivate and grow in vibrant “bouquets” that have a wide appeal for culinary uses. Their mycelium quickly breaks down organic matter in the soil, unlocking nutrients and enhancing water retention, which is ideal for sustainable gardening.

This hardwood loving strain colonizes well on logs and other substrates like paper, cardboard, straw and sterilized sawdust. It can even be grown on coffee waste and cottonseed hulls. It is photosensitive so it’s best to use opaque bags if growing this strain indoors on non-log substrates.

9. Red Oyster

This vibrant, yellow to golden strain of oyster mushroom is a favorite in North America and Europe. When mature it has a delicate flavor reminiscent of fresh watermelon and roasted cashews. Like other pleurotus mushrooms it produces a beautiful spore print.

In nature, this hardwood loving variety fruits in clusters called shelves on rotting logs and dead trees. Look for it on oak, beech, birch and coniferous trees.

Oyster mushrooms are low in calories, contain a good amount of protein and unique compounds like ergothioneine with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. These benefits make this fungi a superfood to add to any diet! They are a natural source of zinc which helps support immune function, wound healing and DNA synthesis. They also have a high dietary fiber content. They grow well in warm temperatures and do well indoors.

10. White O2yster

Unlike other mushroom varieties that need specific substrates to thrive, oyster mushrooms colonize and grow on most types of hardwood logs. The mycelium then transitions into fruiting bodies that produce edible mushrooms.

During this stage, it’s important to provide adequate air exchange. This can be achieved by fanning or using a mister 3-4 times per day.

White Oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus) is a versatile strain that grows well in both bags and on hardwood logs. This strain has a convex cap that eventually becomes funnel-shaped and produces a meaty stem.

This strain is ideal for colder climates and prefers hardy hardwood logs. It’s also an excellent choice for unheated greenhouses. It can be found throughout the northeast and is a great alternative to enoki when growing in bags. This species has a strong flavor and is very nutritious.