The Culinary School Trick for Crispiest-Ever Mushrooms

published Mar 8, 2020
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Credit: Leela Cyd

Back when I was in culinary school I learned a small, yet super-smart trick for making the most perfect, irresistibly crispy mushrooms. Cooked in a hot, oil-slicked skillet, the centers are tender and meaty, just like you’d expect, but the outsides, especially the corners and edges, is where all the magic happens. They become unbelievably crispy, and the secret to making it happen, which I still use eight years later, requires no extra effort or ingredients. It truly couldn’t be easier.

How to Make Crispy Mushrooms

Typically whenever we cook vegetables, whether it’s on the stovetop or roasted in the oven, we start with a fat (usually oil) and season with salt and pepper. But for the absolute crispiest stovetop mushrooms, these rules don’t apply. Instead, you’ll want to hold the salt until the very end of cooking. That’s right, do not season the mushrooms at the beginning of cooking.

First, make sure the mushrooms are completely dry, then cook them in a hot skillet with some oil or butter as you normally would. Wait until you take them off the heat to shower them with a sprinkle of salt.

This seems like a really small thing, but it actually makes a big difference. The reason is that salt draws moisture out of food. So when you season the mushrooms immediately after tossing them in the pan, the mushrooms begin to release moisture, causing them to steam in the excess liquid in the pan. Waiting to salt them gives them a chance, instead, to sear and become crisp. That’s it! Give it a try, the next time you sauté mushrooms, and tell us how it went in the comments!

P.S. If you’re wondering what to do with your perfectly-crispy mushrooms, they’re great for topping salads, grain bowls, and ricotta toast. Plus, they’re my go-to trick for making a basic chicken dinner, bowl of pasta, or a couple pork chops feel a little bit fancy.