How to Brown Mushrooms

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The technique of browning mushrooms is one of those key cooking skills that I have found is SO useful in so many dishes, and I use it very often. Because mushrooms are full of moisture, the key is simply to get that moisture to evaporate off quickly so they can caramelize. Browning mushrooms properly (a la Julia Child) takes so little time, but it is literally half the taste of a dish – it is THAT important!

How to Brown Mushrooms

1 or 2 T unsalted butter (can vary with the recipe)
8oz sliced mushrooms

Heat a medium saute pan on high. Add the butter and melt until you hear it start to sizzle. Add the mushrooms. Toss. Now leave it for a minute or two. Toss a little, and leave it again. Repeat. Add NOTHING – NO SALT especially – they won’t brown if you do. You may reduce the heat a notch, but keep them cooking in only butter, tossing occasionally, until they are all browned and AWESOME! Remove from heat and proceed 🙂

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10 thoughts on “How to Brown Mushrooms

    • Mushrooms are full of moisture. They won’t brown if you add salt because the salt will draw this moisture out of them too quickly, and you’ll end up with water in the pan. When that happens, the mushrooms will boil instead of sear. You want to caramelize the outside of mushrooms quickly, but you also want them to retain this moisture so they end up with the right texture and flavor 🙂

      • So prompt and informative! I’ve just learnt something new, thanks!! I guess washing shrooms is also out of the question? I’ve got this Asian thing where we wash everything (and I mean everything) rigorously before cooking.

      • LOL yes, you caught me at a good time 🙂 And yes, washing mushrooms isn’t good either. Mushrooms are strange – they are full of moisture, but they are also little sponges. If submerged, they will soak that water up, and then they definitely won’t brown. Instead, take a damp paper towel and wipe the dirt off. Great questions THANK YOU!

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