Mushrooms are a versatile ingredient that can be used in many dishes, from pasta to stir-fries. However, like any fresh produce, proper storage is essential to maintain freshness and flavor. Follow these tips on the best ways to store mushrooms.
Purchase and Transport
- When buying mushrooms at the grocery store or farmer’s market, look for ones that are firm and smooth. Avoid mushrooms that appear slimy, wrinkled or have dark blemishes.
- Do not wash mushrooms before storing them. Washing removes their thin protective outer layer. Only wash right before cooking.
- Place mushrooms in a paper bag or wrap them in paper towels when transporting home. Do not use plastic bags, which can trap moisture and accelerate spoilage.
Refrigeration is the best way to prolong the shelf life of mushrooms.
- Place mushrooms in the refrigerator in their original container if it’s breathable (like paper or cardboard). If not, transfer to a paper bag or wrap in paper towels.
- Do not place in plastic bags or airtight containers—mushrooms need air circulation. Trapped moisture causes sogginess and spoilage.
- Store mushrooms in the main compartment of the refrigerator, not the door. The temperature fluctuates too much in the door.
- Whole mushrooms last 3-7 days in the fridge depending on the variety.
- Trim the end of the stem if dried out or woody before storing.
- Keep them in their original container or place on a plate covered with a paper towel.
- Do not wash before refrigeration.
- Sliced mushrooms are more perishable and last only 2-3 days in the fridge.
- Place them in a container or zip top bag lined with paper towels to absorb moisture.
- Press out as much air as possible and seal the container/bag.
- Remove the gills on the underside of portobellos with a spoon since they spoil quickly.
- Place portobellos smooth side down on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Cover with another paper towel and refrigerate up to 7 days.
Freezing is a great long-term option for storing mushrooms.
- Clean the mushrooms by gently brushing or wiping with a damp towel (do not wash under water).
- Slice or chop mushrooms if desired, keeping pieces uniform in size for even freezing.
- Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze until solid, about 2 hours.
- Transfer to freezer bags or airtight containers, pressing out as much air as possible.
- Seal and return to freezer.
For Best Quality:
- Use mushrooms within 5-8 months for optimal flavor and texture.
- Label bags with the date. Use oldest first.
- Do not refreeze mushrooms if thawed.
- Place frozen mushrooms in the refrigerator overnight to thaw.
- Mushrooms can also be added directly to soups, sauces or other hot dishes to thaw and cook.
- Do not thaw at room temperature or in warm water. This causes mushiness.
Dried mushrooms have an indefinite shelf life if stored properly, allowing you to enjoy their umami flavor year round.
Storing Dried Mushrooms:
- Keep dried mushrooms in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. A kitchen cabinet works well.
- If bought in bulk, consider transferring to smaller airtight containers or bags. This prevents excess air exposure each time the big bag is opened.
- Avoid storage areas that are hot (like above the refrigerator) or exposed to moisture. Heat and humidity cause dried mushrooms to mold.
- Properly stored, most dried mushrooms will last up to one year. Chanterelles and morels have a shorter shelf life, around 3-6 months.
Rehydrating Dried Mushrooms:
- Place dried mushrooms in a bowl and cover with boiling water.
- Soak 15-30 minutes for sliced mushrooms, or up to an hour for whole mushrooms, until softened.
- Save the soaking liquid! It is full of concentrated mushroom flavor and can be used for stocks, soups, etc.
- Reconstituted mushrooms can be used immediately in any recipe calling for fresh mushrooms.
Storing Cooked Mushrooms
Leftover cooked mushrooms should be stored promptly in the refrigerator. Follow these guidelines:
- Let mushrooms cool slightly before refrigerating. Do not cover hot mushrooms—this creates condensation that speeds spoilage.
- Place cooled mushrooms in an airtight container and refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking.
- Mushrooms that have been cooked in a sauce or dish (like mushroom pasta) will last 3-4 days. Plain cooked mushrooms only keep 2-3 days.
- Do not freeze cooked mushrooms; they become mushy when thawed. Freeze uncooked mushrooms only.
Signs of Spoilage
Check mushrooms occasionally during storage for signs they have spoiled, including:
- Shriveled, rubbery or dried out appearance
- Dark or slippery patches on the surface
- Strong musty odor
- Visible mold
- Excess moisture in the storage container
Discard mushrooms immediately if they exhibit any of these characteristics. Do not taste mushrooms that show spoilage—cooking does not destroy toxins from fungal growth.
Storage Tips by Mushroom Variety
The shelf life varies for different types of mushrooms based on their structure and moisture content. Here are some specific tips:
White Button Mushrooms
- The most common mushroom variety
- Store in paper bag in fridge up to 7 days
- Good for both short-term fridge storage and freezing
- Related to white buttons but with brown caps
- Store the same way, in fridge up to 7 days
- Holds up well when frozen
- Mature brown cremini mushrooms with open caps
- Last 3-4 days refrigerated
- Remove gills before storing
- Do not freeze well—texture suffers
- Delicate mushrooms with small caps
- Refrigerate 3-4 days in paper bag
- Chop or slice before freezing for better texture
- Have firm, slightly curved brown caps
- Keep refrigerated up to 7 days
- Remove stems, which spoil faster
- Delicate aroma is lost when frozen
- White mushrooms with long, thin clustered stems
- Wrap ends of stems in damp paper towel
- Refrigerate up to 7-10 days in paper bag
- Blanch before freezing to prevent decay
- Foraged wild mushroom with nutty flavor
- Store refrigerated 2-3 days
- Do not wash until ready to use
- Best frozen after slicing into pieces
Proper storage helps mushrooms retain their freshness, delicious umami flavor, appealing texture and nutritional benefits. Follow these guidelines on fridge, freezer and dried mushroom storage. With the right techniques, you can enjoy fresh or preserved mushrooms long after bringing them home from the market.