Maitake mushrooms have feathered edges and an earthy, peppery flavor! Here’s more about this variety and a tasty recipe for how to cook them.

Maitake mushrooms

What are these feathery, delicate clusters that look a little like a fluffed up chicken? They’re maitake mushrooms! We’re major mushroom lovers, and we’ve made it our goal to try them all. So imagine our delight when we found maitake mushrooms on the shelf at our local grocery. Move over, button mushrooms! The maitake has an earthy, peppery flavor: and this recipe makes the most of their uniquely beautiful flavor. Here’s a bit more about why you should grab some when you see them: and a tasty maitake mushroom recipe (jump right to it).

What is a maitake mushroom?

Is the maitake mushroom worth experimenting with in the kitchen? Yes, we think so. Here’s what you need to know this unique type of mushroom:

  • The maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa) is an edible mushroom that grows at the base of trees; it’s light brown and grows in feathery clusters. Also known as the hen of the woods mushroom, it’s native to North America, Europe and China. It’s been consumed for centuries in China and Japan; in fact, maitake means “dancing mushroom” in Japanese.
  • Where to find it? You can find this type of mushroom at some grocery stores or health food stores, farmer’s markets, or you can forage for it.
  • Are there health benefits? There might be. Some studies have shown the maitake mushroom may be better than other fungi at preventing or treating cancer (source). This variety is also rich in antioxidants, vitamin B and C, and fiber, among other nutrients.
  • What does a maitake mushroom taste like? It has a strong earthy, peppery flavor and is best served cooked. When you cook them, be sure to offset them with robust savory and salty flavors.
Maitake mushrooms

How to store and clean them

Got your maitake mushrooms from the store or market? Great! Here’s how to store them once you bring them home, and clean them before cooking:

  • Store the mushrooms in a paper bag in the refrigerator (not produce drawer). You can leave them in the package they come in. But the best way to store mushrooms is in a paper bag, which allows them to breathe. Leave them in the main part of the refrigerator to get good airflow, not the produce drawer.
  • Clean them with a quick rinse. If you see any dirt, give the mushrooms a quick rinse. Just don’t soak them or they can become soggy.
Maitake mushroom recipe

How to cook maitake mushrooms

Maitake mushrooms have a robust, almost peppery flavor: so you need to offset that with lots of savory and salty flavors when cooking them. The sautéed maitake mushroom recipe below pairs them soy sauce, sesame oil and garlic in a Japanese-style preparation. Here are the basic steps (or jump to the recipe):

  • Use your fingers to pull them into 3-inch slices. No need to use a knife here! Just pull them apart with your fingers, which maintains the organic shapes.
  • Cook on medium high heat for 2 minutes on 1 side, then 1 on the other. We like using sesame oil (standard, not toasted).
  • Add seasonings and cook 1 minute. Minced garlic, soy sauce, and a hint of Sriracha.
Maitake mushroom

Ways to serve maitake mushrooms

There are lots of other ways to serve maitake mushrooms once you’ve cooked them up. Eat them plain as a side dish, or try one of these ideas:

This maitake mushroom recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Hen of the woods

Sauteed Maitake Mushrooms


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Maitake mushrooms have feathered edges and an earthy, peppery flavor! Here’s more about this variety and a tasty recipe for how to cook them.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 ounces maitake mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil (standard, not toasted)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon Sriracha (or ¼ teaspoon rice vinegar)
  • For the garnish: chopped chives or sliced green onions (optional)

Instructions

  1. Wash the mushrooms and pat them dry. Use your fingers to pull them into 3-inch pieces. Mince the garlic.
  2. In a non-stick or cast iron skillet, heat the sesame oil over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes. Flip the mushrooms and cook 1 more minute on the other side.
  3. Add the garlic and cook until softened and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the soy sauce, Sriracha and salt and cook 1 more minute until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. Serve immediately as a side garnished with sliced chives or green onion tops, or with soba noodles.
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Sauteed
  • Cuisine: Mushrooms

Keywords: Maitake mushrooms

More types of mushrooms

There are so many other types of mushrooms to try! Sample them all:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for the article. It was very informative about maitake mushrooms. I just found 2 big bunches at the foot of one of my oak trees I wanted to find out what they were , if they were edible, and recipes to try. I’ll let you know how they turn out if you are interested. I
    live in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains and I understand this is a good area for these mushrooms to grow.