Exploring the Top 9 Mushrooms for Perfect Pizza Toppings

Discover the best mushrooms for pizza

Mushrooms have long been recognized as a versatile ingredient that can enhance the flavor and texture of a variety of dishes. When it comes to pizza, the addition of mushrooms not only brings a delicious umami flavor, but also provides a meaty texture that complements a variety of toppings. In this article, we will explore the best mushrooms for pizza and delve into their unique characteristics that make them a perfect choice for this popular dish.

Mushrooms and Pizza: An Unlikely But Delicious Pairing

Traditionally, pizzas have been thought of as simple and quick dishes that require minimal ingredients. But as pizza grew in popularity, chefs and home cooks began experimenting with different toppings, expanding the culinary possibilities of this beloved dish. Mushrooms, with their meaty texture and umami flavor, proved to be a surprising and delicious addition to pizza.
Mushrooms offer a variety of flavors and textures that enhance the overall taste experience. Their versatility allows them to be paired with a variety of ingredients, making them a popular choice for both vegetarians and meat lovers. The introduction of Pizza Boscaiola, featuring porcini and champignon mushrooms, further solidified the use of mushrooms as a delicious pizza topping.

Why mushrooms on pizza are a great idea

There are several characteristics that make mushrooms an excellent choice for pizza:

1. Umami Flavor

Mushrooms are known for their ability to impart a distinct umami flavor to any dish, including pizza. This savory flavor adds depth and complexity to the overall flavor profile. Mushrooms can absorb and enhance other flavors during cooking, making them incredibly versatile. While mushrooms can be used raw, cooking them with herbs or marinating them beforehand intensifies their flavor, resulting in a more pronounced taste.

2. Meaty texture

One of the appealing aspects of mushrooms as a pizza topping is their meaty texture. While most pizzas consist of a combination of soft and firm textures from the dough and other toppings, mushrooms add a chewy and substantial element to the overall mouthfeel. As the mushrooms cook in the oven, they tenderize and lose moisture, concentrating their flavor and adding a unique chewiness to the pizza.

The best mushrooms for pizza

Now that we understand why mushrooms are a fantastic addition to pizza, let’s explore some of the best mushroom varieties that can take your pizza to the next level:

1. Portabella Mushrooms

Portabella mushrooms are one of the most popular mushroom choices for pizza worldwide. These mushrooms have a meaty flavor profile that can mimic certain notes of meat, making them an excellent option for vegetarians seeking a savory experience. With a firm but juicy texture, Portabella mushrooms become deliciously tender when cooked in the oven.
To add Portabella mushrooms to your pizza, chop or slice them and combine them with tomatoes, chopped chili peppers and generous amounts of freshly grated cheese. As the cheese melts and caramelizes over the mushrooms, it gives the pizza an irresistible flavor without the added protein.

2. Cremini Mushrooms

Also known as baby portabella mushrooms, cremini mushrooms share many similarities with their larger counterpart. They have a slightly softer texture while offering a comparable flavor profile. These compact mushrooms are often preferred in smaller pies due to their size and shape.
Like portabella mushrooms, cremini mushrooms can be used in a variety of pizza recipes. They pair well with cheese, tomatoes, onions, and other savory vegetables that enhance their natural umami flavor. Pre-cooking the mushrooms by sauteing them can enhance their flavor, but keep in mind that they may become even softer when cooked in the oven with the pizza. For extra meaty flavor and texture, marinate the mushrooms with salt, garlic and spices before adding them to the pizza.

3. Button Mushrooms

Button mushrooms are recognizable by their small, button-like appearance. These immature versions of cremini mushrooms offer a milder flavor but retain a smooth, firm and slightly chewy texture. Despite their less developed flavor, button mushrooms work well with a variety of toppings.
To incorporate button mushrooms into your pizza, consider adding sliced or chopped mushrooms along with fresh onions, tomatoes, basil, and spicy seasonings. A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil can enhance the overall flavor and ensure that this simple topping idea steals the show.

4. Morel Mushrooms

Although relatively rare, morel mushrooms are highly sought after for their unique flavor and texture. Unlike other mushrooms, morels offer a balanced flavor with hints of wood and earth, rather than intense umami flavors. They are ideal for classic pizzas that require a harmonious blend of ingredients.
Due to the deeper flavors of portabella, cremini and button mushrooms, morel mushrooms may not be the first choice for those seeking a strong mushroom presence on their pizza. However, if you appreciate nuanced flavors and enjoy exploring different culinary experiences, incorporating morel mushrooms into your pizza can be a delightful and gourmet option. These mushrooms pair well with delicate cheeses such as goat’s cheese or feta, as well as fresh herbs such as thyme or rosemary. Remember, morel mushrooms are best enjoyed when they are in season, typically in the spring.

5. Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms have long been revered in Asian cuisine for their unique flavor and medicinal properties. These mushrooms offer a rich, smoky and slightly earthy flavor that adds depth to any pizza. With a firm texture that becomes tender when cooked, shiitake mushrooms provide a delightful chewiness that complements other toppings.
When using shiitake mushrooms on pizza, consider slicing them thinly or using whole caps for a visual and textural contrast. Shiitake mushrooms pair well with ingredients such as caramelized onions, garlic, soy sauce, and sesame oil, creating a fusion of flavors that can take your taste buds to new culinary heights.

6. Porcini Mushrooms

Porcini mushrooms are highly prized for their intense flavor and distinctive aroma. These mushrooms have a meaty texture and provide a robust umami flavor that enhances any pizza. While fresh porcini mushrooms can be difficult to find, dried porcini mushrooms can be rehydrated and used as a flavorful alternative.
To add porcini mushrooms to your pizza, rehydrate them in warm water and drain them before adding them to the pizza. Combine them with other ingredients such as mozzarella cheese, caramelized onions, fresh thyme and a drizzle of truffle oil for a truly indulgent and gourmet pizza experience.

7. Oyster Mushroom

Oyster mushrooms are known for their delicate flavor and velvety texture. These mushrooms have a subtle sweet and earthy flavor that pairs well with a variety of toppings. Oyster mushrooms are known for their ability to absorb flavors during cooking, making them an excellent choice for adding a variety of complementary flavors to your pizza.
When using oyster mushrooms as a pizza topping, tear them into small, rustic pieces or leave them whole for an aesthetically pleasing presentation. Combine them with ingredients like fresh herbs, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze for a delightful burst of flavor.

8. Chanterelle mushrooms

Chanterelle mushrooms are prized for their delicate, fruity aroma and unique flavor profile. These mushrooms offer a subtle peppery flavor with hints of apricot and a velvety texture that adds a touch of elegance to any pizza. While fresh chanterelles are seasonal and harder to find, dried chanterelles can be rehydrated and used as a suitable alternative.
To add chanterelles to your pizza, rehydrate them in warm water, drain and sauté briefly before adding them as a topping. Pair them with ingredients such as fontina cheese, caramelized onions, fresh thyme and a sprinkling of sea salt to create a pizza that showcases the delicate flavors of these exquisite mushrooms.

9. Truffle

Although not technically a mushroom, truffles deserve an honorable mention when it comes to pizza toppings. Truffles are prized for their intense aroma and unique earthy flavor. They add a luxurious touch to any dish, including pizza. Truffle oil, truffle paste or shaved truffles can be used to infuse your pizza with the unmistakable taste and aroma of these gourmet delicacies.
When using truffles on pizza, remember that a little goes a long way. Shave or grate truffles sparingly over your pizza so that their flavor is not overpowering. Pair them with ingredients like mozzarella, prosciutto, arugula, and a drizzle of truffle oil for a truly indulgent and decadent pizza experience.

Bottom line

Mushrooms offer a remarkable array of flavors and textures that can elevate any pizza creation. From the meaty and robust flavor of portabella mushrooms to the delicate and earthy notes of morel mushrooms, each variety brings its own unique characteristics to the table. Whether you prefer a classic pairing or an adventurous fusion of flavors, incorporating mushrooms into your pizza opens up a world of culinary possibilities. Experiment with different mushroom varieties, explore creative toppings, and enjoy the delicious experience of a mushroom-infused pizza that will delight your taste buds and leave you wanting more.


Which mushroom varieties are best for pizza toppings?

Some of the best mushrooms for pizza include portabella, cremini, button, morel, shiitake, porcini, oyster, chanterelle and truffle.

Do mushrooms add a special flavour to pizza?

Yes, mushrooms offer a unique umami flavour that adds depth and complexity to the overall flavour profile of a pizza.

Can I use dried mushrooms instead of fresh?

Yes, dried mushrooms can be rehydrated and used as a suitable alternative to fresh mushrooms, particularly varieties such as porcini and chanterelles.

How should I prepare mushrooms before using them as pizza toppings?

Mushrooms can be sliced, chopped or torn into smaller pieces, depending on your preference. Sautéing or marinating them beforehand can enhance their flavour.

Are there vegetarian-friendly mushroom options for pizza?

Yes, mushrooms provide a wonderful meaty texture and flavour, making them an excellent choice for vegetarian pizza options. Portabella mushrooms in particular can mimic certain meaty notes.