Perfectly caramelized mushrooms require you to spend a bit of time at the stove, but the delicious and deeply flavourful results are 100% worth the effort. These golden brown sauteed mushrooms have slightly crispy edges and a satisfying, meaty texture. They’re vegan, paleo diet friendly, and gluten free.
How to make caramelized mushrooms
There a few tricks to achieving perfect caramelization on mushrooms, the first of which is to avoid rinsing or submerging the mushrooms in water to clean them. Instead, use a damp cloth to remove any dirt.
Another important tip is to make sure your mushrooms aren’t sliced too thick. About 1/4 inch thickness is ideal.
Once the mushrooms are cleaned and sliced, add them, along with some extra virgin olive oil (or substitute your preferred oil) and salt, to a large pan on the stove set to medium-high heat.
You can use a stainless steel sauté pan, a nonstick pan, a cast iron skillet, or any other type of large pan you prefer. Using a pan that is too small will result in overcrowding of the mushrooms which will make them difficult to caramelize, so be sure to choose a fairly large pan (about 12 inches is ideal).
It’s important to add the salt at the beginning of the cooking process because the salt helps the mushrooms quickly release their liquid into the pan. Caramelization can’t be achieved until all that liquid has evaporated.
Once the liquid in the pan has evaporated, the mushrooms will slowly but surely start to turn a golden brown colour. Be sure to stay by the stove and stir frequently to ensure the mushrooms don’t burn at this point.
Once the mushrooms are golden and caramelized, turn the heat down to low, then add the chopped garlic, thyme, and black pepper. Use fresh garlic and thyme if possible, but you can substitute garlic powder and dried thyme if necessary.
It’s important to wait until the mushrooms are caramelized before adding the garlic. If you were to add the garlic to the pan at the beginning of the cooking process it would likely burn.
Which type of mushrooms to use
I used cremini mushrooms this time, but any type of mushroom will work in this recipe. White mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, and oyster mushrooms are all good options.
Thyme and mushrooms are a classic combination, but you can add other herbs in addition to (or instead of) the thyme if you prefer. Fresh basil, parsley, tarragon, chives, and/or sage would all be delicious additions to this dish. Their dried counterparts would work too if you don’t have any fresh herbs. Be sure to add fresh herbs toward the end of the cooking process in order to preserve their fresh flavour.
Or for an extra hit of umami flavour, add a teaspoon of tamari or coconut aminos to this dish in the last couple of minutes of the cooking process.
What to serve with these sautéed mushrooms
These mushrooms are the perfect side dish for special occasions and celebrations, but they work equally well as a tasty addition to any casual comfort food meal. Add these sauteed mushrooms to any pasta or risotto dish, or use them as a pizza topping. These would make a delicious addition to many stews or soups too. Or spoon some caramelized mushrooms on top of a bed of this creamy baked polenta.
More mushroom recipes to try
These vegan meatballs are hearty and delicious. They’re perfect served with gluten free pasta and marinara sauce.
Or try this tasty vegan cream of mushroom soup. It’s easy to make and has a rich, creamy consistency.
- 5 cups sliced mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or substitute your preferred oil)
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- Add the olive oil to a large sautee pan on the stove and set the heat to medium-high.
- Add the mushrooms and salt to the pan.
- Cook the mushrooms until the liquid they release evaporates completely and they turn a golden brown colour. Stir frequently to ensure the mushrooms don’t burn (this should take approximately 15-20 minutes).
- Once the mushrooms are a golden brown colour, turn the heat down to low and add the garlic, thyme, and black pepper, then continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes.
- Serve hot, or store in the fridge for up to five days.
- Makes 4 servings of caramelized mushrooms.
- Optional additions include fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, chives, tarragon, or sage. Or for an extra hit of umami flavour, add a teaspoon of tamari or coconut aminos toward the end of the cooking process.
I’m Jennifer, the author at A Sweet Alternative. I create simple, gluten free recipes that call for nourishing, nutrient-dense ingredients.