Skip to Content

What is the best way to prepare portobello mushrooms?

Portobello mushrooms are a variety of mushroom that is cultivated and eaten around the world. They are a mature form of the common white button mushroom, allowed to fully grow and develop their characteristic large, meaty size and browned caps. Portobello mushrooms have a deep, earthy, mushroomy flavor that makes them a popular ingredient in many dishes, from salads to sandwiches to entrées. Their versatility and hearty texture means they can be prepared in many ways, from simple sautés and grills to more elaborate dishes. When cooking portobello mushrooms, there are some key techniques to follow in order to get the best texture and flavor. Read on to learn about choosing, cleaning, and preparing portobello mushrooms using various cooking methods.

Choosing Portobello Mushrooms

When selecting portobello mushrooms at the grocery store or farmers market, look for mushrooms with large, intact caps that are about 4-6 inches across. The gills underneath should be dark brown, not black or slimy. The mushrooms should feel firm and plump, not dried out or withered. Soft, wet spots indicate the mushroom is past its prime. Always check that the stem is attached and not broken. Portobello caps with some amount of white showing are simply younger mushrooms; the flavor and texture will be comparable to fully mature brown mushrooms. You can purchase portobellos loose or in pre-packaged containers. Avoid portobellos packaged in plastic wrap, as this can lead to spoilage. For loose mushrooms, select those that are similar in size so they will cook evenly.

Cleaning Portobello Mushrooms

Portobello mushrooms should always be cleaned before cooking. Use a soft brush or damp paper towel to brush away any dirt or debris clinging to the mushroom caps and stems. Do not wash portobellos under running water, as they can easily absorb extra moisture. Use a spoon to scrape out the black gills on the underside of the mushroom cap. The gills tend to turn slimy when cooked. Removing them allows flavors to better penetrate the mushrooms during cooking. Break off the woody stem end, which can also be tough when cooked.


Most cooking methods call for preheating a broiler, oven, grill or pan before cooking the portobello mushrooms. This helps ensure the high heat necessary to get the browning reactions that give the mushrooms their rich, umami flavor. Preheat broilers and grills for at least 5-10 minutes at high heat before adding mushrooms. Ovens should preheat for 15-30 minutes at 400-450°F depending on the size. Pans and skillet can be preheated on the stovetop for 2-5 minutes on medium high or high heat before adding oil or mushrooms. Properly preheating according to recipe instructions is key for cooking portobellos correctly.

Marinating Portobello Mushrooms

Marinating the portobello mushrooms before cooking is an optional but highly recommended step. The marinade helps tenderize the meaty mushrooms and adds extra flavor. Typical marinades include olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, herbs, and spices. Lemony marinades brighten up the earthy mushrooms. Soy sauce, sesame oil, and ginger make an Asian-inspired marinade. Marinate the portobellos for 30 minutes up to overnight in the refrigerator, turning occasionally to distribute the marinade. The mushrooms will absorb more marinade when left to sit longer. Drain off excess marinade before cooking.

Cooking Portobello Mushrooms

There are many methods for cooking portobello mushroom caps to bring out their best texture and richest flavor:


Grilling portobellos is one of the most popular cooking methods, as it gives great charred flavor and firm yet tender texture. To grill portobellos:

– Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat.

– Brush the mushrooms lightly with olive oil to prevent sticking.

– Place the mushrooms gill side down first. Grill for 3-5 minutes without moving them to get nice grill marks.

– Flip and grill the other side for another 3-5 minutes.

– Grill the sides of the mushrooms for just 1-2 minutes to gently cook without burning the curved edges.

– Brush with a glaze or marinade during the last 1-2 minutes if desired.

– Remove mushrooms from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.


Broiling portobello mushrooms in the oven is similar to grilling. To broil:

– Place a rack in the top third of your oven and preheat the broiler to high.

– Brush a rimmed baking sheet with oil and arrange mushroom caps gill side down.

– Broil for 5-6 minutes until starting to brown.

– Remove pan, flip mushrooms, and broil another 3-4 minutes to brown the other side.

– Optionally brush with oil or glaze and broil 1 more minute.

– Let mushrooms rest 5 minutes after removing from oven.


For deeper flavor development, try roasting portobellos in the oven:

– Preheat oven to 425°F.

– Toss mushroom caps and stems with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

– Arrange in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet, gill side down.

– Roast 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until browned and tender.


To sauté portobellos on the stovetop:

– Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

– When oil is hot, add mushroom caps gill side down.

– Cook 4-5 minutes without moving for browning.

– Flip and cook another 3-4 minutes to brown the other side.

– Add garlic, herbs, or other aromatics the last 1-2 minutes of cooking.


For very soft, tender mushrooms try braising portobellos:

– Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a skillet over medium high heat.

– Brown mushrooms cap side down, about 2 minutes per side.

– Add 1⁄4 cup broth, wine, or water and bring to a simmer.

– Cover pan, reduce heat to medium low and cook 10 minutes.

– Uncover, let liquid reduce 5 more minutes to thicken into a sauce.

Portobello Mushroom Doneness

Portobello mushrooms are done cooking when they have browned and their flesh has softened. The caps will feel firm yet tender when poked, not rubbery. Depending on size, most portobellos take 8-12 minutes total cooking time to develop these ideal textures. Smaller mushrooms will be done faster. Cut into a mushroom to check for doneness – properly cooked mushrooms will be moist through without any raw-looking flesh remaining. Mushrooms cooked whole in soups, stews, etc. will take longer to become fully tender.

Serving Ideas for Cooked Portobello Mushrooms

Portobello mushroom caps and sliced stems can be served in many ways once cooked. They make delicious sandwiches layered with cheese, tomatoes, spinach and condiments on a bun. Sliced grilled portobellos are great over salads or pasta. Portobellos pair well with starchy sides like polenta, mashed potatoes or rice to soak up their juices. They can be stuffed with breadcrumbs, cheese, herbs and baked as a hearty vegetarian entrée. Finely chopped portobellos can be mixed into risottos. Marinated and grilled portobello slices shine as a pizza topping. Their versatility makes them a tasty addition to many meals.

Storing and Reheating Leftover Portobello Mushrooms

Cooked portobello mushrooms will keep refrigerated for 3-5 days stored in an airtight container. The flavors tend to deepen over time as the mushrooms marinate in their own juices. Leftover cooked mushrooms can be enjoyed cold in salads and sandwiches or reheated in a skillet, microwave, or oven. Add a splash of wine, broth, or water to prevent dried out mushrooms when reheating. They pair well mixed into rice, pasta, and grain dishes. Chopped portobellos can also be added to soups, stews, omelets, and other dishes when reheating. Fried rice is another excellent use for leftover grilled or sautéed mushrooms.


With their substantial size, hearty texture, and savory flavor, portobello mushrooms are ideal for cooking in place of meat. Their versatility allows for endless possibilities, from simple sautés to elaborate stuffed preparations. By properly cleaning, marinating, and cooking using high-heat methods that brown and crisp the caps, you can enjoy portobello mushrooms at their finest. Grill, broil, roast, or sauté the mushrooms, being careful not to overcook. Served on buns, over greens, with grains, or blended into other dishes, portobellos make a satisfying and delicious ingredient. Follow these tips for preparing perfect portobello mushrooms every time.