Sautéed mushrooms are a delicious addition to so many recipes — if you cook them right. It’s unfortunately all too easy to end up with a soggy, rubbery mess rather than savory goodness. Luckily, there’s a simple key to achieving the perfect mushroom flavor and texture.
How to Avoid Soggy Mushrooms
According to Fine Cooking, it’s all about zapping up moisture ASAP. The spongy fungi are packed with a ton of extra water that can seep out and cause a mushy texture. “If the heat isn’t high enough, mushrooms boil and steam in their own released moisture rather than brown,” the website explains.
So instead, crank the heat up on your stove before the mushrooms even hit the pan. If you’re using oil, wait for it to get hot enough that it starts to coat and ripple around the pan; if you’re using butter, wait for it to get frothy. You want to be able to hear a sizzle as soon as you toss the mushrooms in.
The website also recommends cooking them in handful-sized batches instead of a huge pile. Start with just a few in the pan, then when they start to brown you can push them aside to add some more. You won’t have to worry about any of them overcooking or burning since it should only take a couple minutes for them all to reach your preferred color and texture.
Knowing the best time to salt your mushrooms can help avoid soggy results, too. Most pros recommend waiting until they’re almost done to add in a sprinkle — or even after you take them off the heat. Epicurious points out that salting too early can not only make more sneaky liquid to eke out and cause problems, but it will take longer for the mushrooms to cook and therefore produce a rubbery texture. They explain, “Salting mushrooms near the end of cooking, however, results in more concentrated flavor and an ideal meaty tenderness.”