We have a wonderful mushroom grower at our farmers’ market and as mushrooms are one of Donna’s favorite foods, I try to cook them as often as possible. (The above photo by Donna shows shiitake and sliced lion’s mane mushrooms.)

But a lot of people ask me the best way to cook them. While there’s no one single right way, my preferred method is a high-heat sear followed by a deglazing with white wine, then adding butter and finishing over low heat.

This goes back to my days as a cook at Sans Souci in Cleveland, where I worked only briefly. But the executive chef there was Claude Rodier, who had trained under French chef Roger Vergé. He told me the above—get the pan super hot; sear them to get color, which means flavor; then enrich gently with butter. This jibed with how Eric Ripert cooked mushrooms for Joel Robuchon. He basically had to sear each oyster mushroom individually, pressing down on each to get a good sear. And it works.


Get a heavy stainless-steel sauté pan very, very hot—it almost can’t be too hot.

Add a generous film of oil (mushrooms soak it up).

When the oil just hits the smoke point, add the mushrooms in one layer. Don’t crowd them too much or they’ll cool the pan down, simply release their moisture, and steam rather than sear.

Once they are seared I add minced shallot (or ramps, as shown below, since it’s ramp season), sauté them briefly, and pour in enough wine to cover the bottom. I add salt and pepper at this point, plenty of pepper. When the wine has mostly cooked off, I lower the heat, add butter, and swirl it in. You could also add cream and reduce it by half for a beautiful mushroom cream sauce.

Mushrooms, simple and delicious, and they go with just about any savory preparation.



If you liked this post on mushrooms, check out these other links:

© 2014 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2014 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.


13 Wonderful responses to “How To Cook Mushrooms”

  • Kiara

    I am so in agreement about mushrooms going with just about any savoury preparation. These look so tasty!

  • RoTMG Hacks

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  • Tamidon

    Once a year I do make morels like this, with cream, for as a special thing. I just serve them over toast. I’m actually doing it sometime this week since we’re in season here in MA (and my boss is willing to sell me 1/2# at cost)

  • Patricia

    That looks wonderful. Having bought mushrooms from the same vendor, I know them to be wonderful. I have a question about the technique you share in this post. I don’t drink. I don’t have wine in the house. I know “they say” the alcohol cooks out, but I still prefer not to cook with alcohol. So, what can I use instead? Homemade stock or water? Thanks you for you work. Ruhlman’s Twenty is my favorite book for cooking.

    • sjthespian

      Just to be clear, the alcohol in the wine never does cook out completely, it’s an old cooking myth. This page contains a table that shows just how much alcohol is left after various cooking times:

      As for a replacement, I’d use a home-made chicken or vegetable stock. You won’t get the same flavor you would get with wine, but it should give you the same results (although it won’t deglaze the pan as well as alcohol will).

      • Patricia

        Thank you for your response. Water or stock is what I usually use, I just sometimes feel “left out” because I don’t use alcohol. (I know it is silly. )

  • Allen

    Patricia, you can use water.
    It is great for deglazing, and keeps the flavor of whatever your trying to feature intact without imparting anything else.
    If you let it reduce, you’re concentrating the flavor, not watering it down.

  • Camusman

    I like to set aside the mushrooms after searing and use the pan for risotto, adding the mushrooms back in toward the end. Use homemade chicken stock in the risotto for especially good flavor. Finish with grated Parm.

  • biodata

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  • Jan

    A nice sear is also my favorite method for mushrooms. Instead of wine, I use Sherry. It adds a deeper dimension and enhances the earthiness of the mushrooms. Also, a dash or six of cayenne pepper.


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