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All About the Button Mushroom

You are probably no stranger to button mushrooms, but did you know they are the immature form of the mushroom? That’s right! Button mushrooms are simply one version of this popular fungi, including portobello and cremini, at different stages of maturity.

Read on to learn all about this versatile mushroom variety including where to find them, different types of them, and even how to cook them at home!

White Button Mushrooms shot close up at a market

History and Cultivation

The button mushroom, also known as Agaricus bisporus, is an edible mushroom native to grasslands in Eurasia and North America. This species is, in fact, the most common type of cultivated mushroom in the United States, with cultivation beginning in the late 19th century.

The cultivation process for button mushrooms involves several steps:

  1. Preparing a damp and nutrient-rich growing medium, typically from composted manure.
  2. Sprinkling white button mushroom spawn onto the medium, mixing it into the top 2-3 inches.
  3. Placing 4-5 layers of dampened newspaper atop the spawn.
  4. Covering the container or grow kit with a plastic bag punctured with a few holes to help retain moisture.

This species of mushroom, having originated from grasslands, has adapted well to be cultivated indoors or in controlled environments. The continued growth and popularity of button mushrooms serve as a testament to their versatility and appeal in culinary applications.

Varieties and Identification

Portobello Mushrooms Health Benefits

These mushrooms are a popular type of edible fungus that have various varieties. In this section, we will focus on the three most common and widely consumed types: White Button Mushroom, Cremini Mushroom, and Portobello Mushroom.

White Button Mushroom

White Button Mushrooms are the immature form of the Agaricus bisporus species. To identify them, look for the following features:

  • Pale white color
  • Round or oval shape
  • Closed veil under the mushroom cap, hiding the gills
  • Dry yet plump surface
  • Measure 1 to 3 inches across

Cremini Mushroom

Cremini Mushrooms, also known as “baby bella” mushrooms, are a slightly more mature version of the Agaricus bisporus species. Key identification features of this mushroom include:

  • Light brown color and firmer texture
  • Similar shape to White Button Mushrooms
  • Slightly open veil under the mushroom cap, revealing the gills

Portobello Mushroom

Portobello Mushrooms are the most mature variety within the Agaricus bisporus species. Their flavor is stronger and earthier compared to both White Button and Cremini Mushrooms. To identify this variety, look for the following features:

  • Large, flat cap
  • Dark brown color
  • Open veil with exposed, dark brown gills

Nutrition and Health Benefits

tray of fresh button mushrooms, close-up, on a table

Button mushrooms, also known as white mushrooms, are the most commonly consumed mushrooms worldwide. They are low in calories but packed with essential nutrients that offer various health benefits.

Nutritional Value

In 100 grams of button mushrooms, you can find the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 22
  • Carbohydrates: 3 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Copper: 35% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) values
  • Zinc: 15% of RDI values
  • Selenium: 17% of RDI values
  • Riboflavin: 37% of RDI values

Storing and Cleaning Button Mushrooms

Purchasing button mushrooms from your local grocery store requires proper cleaning and storage to maintain their freshness and longevity. Here, we discuss some essential tips and steps to ensure your mushrooms are ready to use.

Cleaning Button Mushrooms

These mushrooms can often have some residual dirt on their surface. To clean them, it is advised to avoid using water as it can cause the mushrooms to become slimy and spoil faster. Instead, use a dry cloth or paper towel to gently rub away the dirt.

For more persistent dirt, you may also use a soft vegetable brush.

Storing Button Mushrooms

Proper storage is crucial to maintaining the mushrooms’ freshness. It is best to store them in the refrigerator to prolong their shelf life. You can take the following steps to store your mushrooms:

  1. Container choice: Place the button mushrooms in a paper bag to allow for some air circulation, which prevents excess moisture from developing inside the bag.
  2. Location in the fridge: Store the bag in the main compartment of your refrigerator, away from strong odors or flavors, as mushrooms can absorb these.
  3. Checking freshness: Button mushrooms can generally last between seven to 14 days in the fridge. However, inspect them periodically to make sure they remain firm and dry. Discard any mushrooms that show signs of sliminess or excessive moisture.

Cooking With the Button Mushroom

Stuffed portobello mushrooms stuffed with mozzarella and gorgonzola cheese and aromatic herbs on a black background, top view. Vegetarian food

Button mushrooms are versatile and can be added to numerous dishes, enhancing the flavor and texture of your meals. They can be consumed raw, cooked, or included as an ingredient in various recipes. In this section, we will discuss the common preparations of button mushrooms.


Button mushrooms are often used in salads, adding a unique texture and light earthy flavor. You can slice them and toss them into a fresh green salad or marinate them with vinegar, olive oil, and herbs for a delicious mushroom salad. They are also a great addition to pasta salads and grain bowls.


Sautéed button mushrooms are a popular side dish or ingredient that can be added to various meals. To make a simple sauté, heat butter or olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, add the mushrooms and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until they start to brown on the bottom.

You can also add minced garlic, thyme, parsley, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper for extra flavor. This method works well with steaks, chicken, or as a topping for rice and pasta dishes.


Adding these mushrooms to a stir-fry dish brings an extra layer of flavor and texture. The mushrooms can be sliced or kept whole, depending on your preference.

As a base recipe, you can combine button mushrooms with vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, onions, and broccoli. To cook, heat a wok or large skillet with oil and stir-fry the ingredients together. Add your choice of protein, such as chicken, beef, tofu, or shrimp, and then season with soy sauce, ginger, and garlic.

They are also commonly used in everything from pizza to soups, so get creative and see how you can mix them into your favorite recipes!

Wrapping up the Button Mushroom

Hopefully you’ve learned some uncommon facts about the common Button Mushroom, and are ready to incorporate it as a staple in your own pantry (or garden!).For more about other varieties of fascinating fungi, visit our mushroom page.