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All About the Shimeji Mushroom

Shimeji mushrooms are a group of edible fungi native to East Asia, and are also found in northern Europe and North America.

They encompass various species, with the authentic shimeji species being Hypsizygus tessellatus. These mushrooms, known for their small caps and long stems, are rich in umami-tasting compounds such as guanylic acid and glutamic acid, making them a popular and versatile ingredient in various dishes.

Read on to learn more about Shimeji mushrooms and how to cook with them at home!

Shimeji mushrooms on green cutting board

Types of Shimeji Mushrooms


Buna-Shimeji (Hypsizygus tessulatus), also known as brown beech or brown clamshell mushrooms, are one of the most popular varieties of these mushrooms. They have a firm texture and a nutty, slightly sweet flavor. Buna-shimeji mushrooms can be found in a variety of dishes, including stir-fries, soups, and pasta sauces.

To prepare buna-shimeji mushrooms for cooking, trim away the base of the mushroom bundle and separate the stalks to ensure even cooking. Both high-heat and low-temperature cooking methods work well for these mushrooms, and they can be prepared using either moist-heat or dry-heat methods, such as sautéeing, simmering, or roasting.


Bunapi-Shimeji, often referred to as white shimeji or white clamshell mushrooms, are a cultivated variety of shimeji mushrooms that have a similar flavor profile to buna-shimeji. They have a slightly milder taste, making them a versatile ingredient in a wide range of dishes.

These mushrooms can be found in the produce section of grocery stores, often alongside other mushrooms in micro-porous plastic packages.

Like buna-shimeji, bunapi-shimeji mushrooms can be prepared using various cooking methods, with both the stems and caps being edible. Be sure to separate the stems before cooking, to ensure even cooking.


Hon-Shimeji (Lyophyllum shimeji) is a mycorrhizal fungus that is considered to be more challenging to cultivate than other shimeji varieties. However, it remains a popular dish ingredient due to its rich umami flavor, thanks to its naturally occurring compounds like guanylic and glutamic acid.

To cook with hon-shimeji, it’s crucial to follow the same process used for other mushrooms: trim the base, separate the stems, and choose a suitable cooking method. Hon-shimeji mushrooms may not be as readily available in some regions though, due to their difficulty in cultivation.

Culinary Uses

Fresh raw brown shimiji shimeji mushrooms in yellow bowl Hypsizygus tessulatus is a mushroom native to East Asia. Vegetarian vegan healthy food plant Beech mushroom backdrop. A sprig of fresh rosemary

There are a variety of dishes you can prepare with shimeji mushrooms, including soups, stir-fried dishes, salads, hot pots, and omelets.

Soups and Stews

In soups and stews, these mushrooms lend their savory umami flavor, complementing many different ingredients. Often used in miso soups, the mushrooms provide a hearty texture and rich taste, making the dish more enjoyable and satisfying.

They also pair well with wild game and other rich, flavorful ingredients in stews, enhancing the overall taste.

Stir-Fried Dishes

Shimeji mushrooms are perfect for stir-fried dishes as they retain their shape and texture well during the cooking process. They can be combined with various sauces such as soy sauce or butter, and their nutty flavor adds a unique taste to the dish. Rice bowls often feature stir-fried shimeji mushrooms mixed with vegetables or meat, making them a popular addition to Japanese cooking.


In salads, these mushrooms can be served either steamed or pickled, providing a delightful contrast to fresh greens and other vegetables. Their earthy taste pairs well with vinaigrettes and dressings, and they add a beautiful visual element to the dish.

Hot Pots

Hot pots are a staple in Japanese cuisine, and shimeji mushrooms make an excellent addition to these communal meals. Their firm texture and appealing taste enhance the flavor of the broth and other ingredients, creating a delicious and comforting dish. You can mix them with various vegetables, tofu, noodles, and meats, making the hot pot an excellent way to experiment with different flavors.


Shimeji mushrooms can easily be incorporated into omelets. The combination of their nutty flavor and the savory goodness of eggs creates a scrumptious and satisfying meal.

Nutrition and Health Benefits

Raw brown shimiji shimeji mushrooms on black background top view. Hypsizygus tessulatus mushroom native to East Asia. Cooking preparing vegetarian vegan healthy food. Beech mushroom wallpaper.

Not only are Shimeji mushrooms delicious when eaten, they also offer a range of nutritional and health benefits.

Protein and Dietary Fiber

The mushrooms are a good source of protein and dietary fiber, making them an ideal choice for anyone looking to diversify their protein sources or increase their fiber intake. A 100-gram serving of Shimeji mushrooms contains 21 calories, 2 grams of protein, and 4 grams of dietary fiber.

A diet rich in protein and fiber can help maintain muscle mass, support digestion, and promote satiety, which may aid in weight management.

Antioxidants and Minerals

Shimeji mushrooms are known to contain various antioxidants and minerals that benefit overall health. Some of these include:

  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Copper

Due to their potassium content, these mushrooms can help maintain electrolyte balance and support healthy blood pressure levels. The presence of antioxidants may help protect against cell damage, which can lead to certain types of cancers.


Though Shimeji mushrooms may not be a significant source of vitamins compared to other vegetables and fruits, they still possess certain vitamins that contribute to their overall nutritional value. Some of these vitamins include:

  • Vitamin B group (B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6)
  • Vitamin D

Shimeji mushrooms’ B vitamins play a crucial role in energy production and support the body’s metabolism. Vitamin D, on the other hand, is essential for bone health and immune system function.

How to Purchase, Store, and Cook

Asian food - Chow Mein noodles, stir fried vegetables, soy sauce and shimeji mushrooms on wooden table

Selecting Shimeji Mushrooms

The best place to purchase shimeji mushrooms is at your local Asian grocery stores.

When choosing your shimeji mushrooms, look for clusters that are clean, firm, and free from any mold or decay. The mushrooms should have a fresh, earthy aroma and not show signs of being dried out.

Storing Shimeji Mushrooms

To keep your shimeji mushrooms fresh, follow these storage tips:

  • Store the mushrooms in a paper bag or a breathable container.
  • Keep them in the refrigerator, ideally away from direct airflow, to maintain their quality and prevent drying.
  • Make sure to consume the mushrooms within a week to prevent any decline in taste and texture.

Preparing and Cooking Shimeji Mushrooms

To prepare the mushrooms for cooking, follow these simple steps:

  1. Use a sharp kitchen knife to remove the base of the cluster.
  2. Separate the stems with your fingers.
  3. Wash the mushrooms under cold running water and gently remove any dirt.

When cooked, both the stems and caps are edible, and the mushrooms can be used in a variety of dishes. Shimeji mushrooms work well in high-heat and slow, low-temperature cooking, making them a versatile ingredient for your kitchen.

Here are some cooking methods to try:

  • Stir-frying: Cook the mushrooms in a hot pan with a bit of oil for a few minutes until they’re tender and lightly browned.
  • Roasting: Spread the mushrooms on a baking sheet, drizzle with a little oil, and roast at 350°F (180°C) for 10-15 minutes.
  • Simmering: Add the mushrooms to soups, stews, and sauces, allowing them to simmer and soak up all the flavors.

Suggested Dishes

Looking for shimeji mushroom recipe inspiration? Consider these ideas:

  • Shimeji Mushroom Risotto: Cook the mushrooms with Arborio rice, white wine, and vegetable broth for a creamy, flavorful dish.
  • Shimeji Mushroom Stir-fry: Combine the mushrooms with your favorite vegetables and protein, along with a savory sauce, for a quick and delicious meal.
  • Shimeji Mushroom Soup: Simmer the mushrooms with onion, garlic, and broth, then finish with your choice of fresh herbs and creamy coconut milk.

Plan Your Own Meal Using Shimeji Mushrooms

Shimeji mushrooms offer a unique nutty and savory taste that sets them apart from other mushroom varieties. If you’re looking for an array of flavors and textures that will help level up your culinary creations, give shimeji mushrooms a try!

To learn about other mushroom varieties, including how to grow or cook them at home, visit our mushrooms page!