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What are the Best Mushrooms for Pizza?

Mushrooms have a tendency to work well on pizza, but with so many varieties of mushrooms out there, is one variety better than the other? So, What are the Best Mushrooms for Pizza? Now, you may think that any old mushroom will do, but life is not always as straightforward as that.

So, for the sake of helping you to achieve the best possible pizza, it makes sense for us to go through the different mushroom options. After all, it’s the toppings that either make or break the entire pizza. So, what’s the verdict?

The Answer

The answer might come as a surprise. It turns out that Shitake mushrooms are often viewed as the best mushrooms to add to a pizza. 

A number of people may not even have thought of adding Shitake mushrooms as button mushrooms tend to be the variety of choice at a number of pizzerias. However, it turns out that while button mushrooms are pretty good, they are not the best.

Why Shitake Mushrooms are Best

The reason why Shitake mushrooms work so well is because of their depth of flavor. In general, this variety of mushrooms has more of a buttery and rich flavor to it when compared to other varieties of mushrooms.

Also, if you have dried Shitake mushrooms, and those are the only ones available, then don’t be afraid to use them. They give something of a smoky taste than other mushrooms, and they can completely change your entire pizza as a result.

But one thing we love about Shitake mushrooms is the way in which they deliver flavor without overpowering everything else. The rich flavor is strong without taking flavor away from the other toppings.

But we know that Shitake mushrooms may not always be available, so what are your other options? How do other varieties of mushrooms fare with pizza?

shitake mushroom pizza

The Button Mushroom

This small, white mushroom is the one people automatically think about when it comes to a mushroom on a pizza. However, it’s flavor can be slightly plain compared to other options.

But the button mushroom needs a bit of help if you want to really give your pizza a significant boost. For this, it works best if you lightly cook the mushrooms in advance using some garlic and oil while you should throw in some salt and pepper as well.

This does boost the flavor of the mushroom, and it’s certainly worth the extra work to help bring the flavor and taste out of the mushroom. You should not just quickly sautee them in a plain and boring way before adding them to your pizza.

But one thing we must stress is that other mushroom varieties are out there that work better on pizza than the button mushroom. That’s what makes it so surprising that so many pizzerias use the button mushroom as a staple topping.

However, we aren’t saying you should completely rule them out of the equation. They can still play a role, but you still need to do that extra work to really bring them to life.

The Portabella Mushroom

Portabella mushrooms have seen an increase in popularity, but how well do they work on a pizza? 

The Portabella mushroom tends to have much more of a meaty flavor to it, and that can work exceptionally well on a pizza. Also, this mushroom is always thicker and larger in size, so it does mean you can have larger pieces covering your pizza. 

The Portabella mushroom certainly packs a punch on a pizza, but you need to watch what you match it with from a toppings perspective. The meaty flavor has a tendency to come across as somewhat overpowering, so keep that in mind when matching it with other toppings.

The Morel Mushroom

Even though you may not have even heard of this type of mushroom, it’s something we think you should seriously consider. Yes it’s more scarce than others, but the taste and flavor it can deliver are outstanding.

The reason why the morel mushroom is so prized is thanks to the fact it has something of a nutty flavor. It has an earthy taste to it, and this will often change the complete taste of your pizza. 

Admittedly, it may take a leap of faith to try it out for the first time, but believe us when we say it’s going to be worth it in the end.

small mushrooms on pizza

The Cremini Mushroom

If you have never heard of the Cremini mushroom, then you are missing out on a mushroom that sits in the middle between having a meaty flavor and the blander taste of the button mushroom. 

These mushrooms have a small, brown appearance and yet they have this ability to add a significant amount of taste and flavor to your dish. 

We feel this type of mushroom is one of the best for those individuals who are perhaps not mushroom lovers but still want a bit of flavor added to their pizza. 

How to Choose the Best Mushroom?

There are more than 10,000 varieties of mushrooms, so it’s tough to cover all of them. However, those mentioned above remain the most popular.

With that aside, how do you think you would go about choosing the best mushroom for your pizza? Well, it’s all down to what you want to achieve with the pizza.

Several options, such as the Portabella have such a meaty flavor to the mushroom. That is why it remains so popular with vegetarians and vegans as it packs such a punch.

mushroom pizza

Always Cook the Mushrooms First

One thing you really need to remember to do is to always cook the mushrooms before you add them to your pizza. It just helps with releasing the flavor and you will tend to get better end results.

Slice them, sautee them, cook them in oil and add your favorite seasoning. If you want to keep it simple, then throw on some herbs and lemon juice when cooking. You may find it surprising as to the way in which this can release the flavor.

Can You Use Canned Mushrooms?

Can you even use canned mushrooms as a pizza topping? The answer is undoubted, yes, and they can work reasonably well. However, canned mushrooms do not have the same taste or burst of flavor when compared to fresh mushrooms.

But that’s not to say that canned mushrooms are not a good alternative. They can certainly fill a gap if nothing else is to hand. However, we would always recommend going for fresh mushrooms over and above canned mushrooms any day.

But What Goes Well With Mushrooms?

So you have selected your mushrooms, but what about the other toppings to go with it? Well, it turns out that a number of very familiar pizza toppings can work well with mushrooms. 

In general, you want something that has a real bite to the flavor to match up with mushrooms. Perhaps add in some pepperoni, throw on some onions, and go for a tangy pizza sauce.

For the cheese side of things, then it has to be Mozzarella. Nothing else has the ability to even compare with Mozzarella when dealing with mushrooms on a pizza. Go crazy with it, and you will love it.

But you don’t have to stop there. Arugula or even some garlic puree will also work. Both those options also come with a real bite, and that’s what you really need to look for.

Something a Bit Different?

If you want to throw on something a bit different, then can we recommend capers. They may look small, but they pack a significant punch with a pizza, and their salty taste can lead to more of a balance when you compare it to the meaty flavor of some mushrooms.

Also, don’t forget about bacon. Only use the smoked version, but don’t really use bacon with Shitake mushrooms. The smoky nature of both ingredients can actually become overpowering rather quickly, and you don’t want to experience that.

But perhaps the key is that mushrooms work well with any topping that is not just bland. This becomes even more important when you only have canned or button mushrooms. Using bland ingredients with bland mushrooms simply never works. 

Overall Conclusion

So if you plan on adding some mushrooms to your own pizza, then we do recommend using Shitake mushrooms. They simply provide the best flavor to your pizza without you needing to do too much to them.

But don’t worry if you fail to grab some Shitake mushrooms, anything will do just you will find a slight lacking in flavor and overall taste. 

Finally, a quick recap about the need for the other toppings to have a bit of a punch to them to go alongside mushrooms. If you do not like mushrooms on your pizza, then before you throw in the towel with it, make sure you check the other toppings first.

But get it right, and a mushroom pizza is going to set your tastebuds alight and do so with ease. So, get a few different varieties, and get making your own pizza to see which option you prefer.