Caramelized Mushrooms – Skillet and Air Fryer Instructions

Looking for the perfect way to cook mushrooms? Give these caramelized mushrooms a try! They’re super flavorful and so easy to make. Plus, they pair perfectly with burgers, avocado toast, and risotto. This recipe guide includes both skillet and air fryer mushroom instructions.

Gold spoon picking up sauteed mushrooms

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by ​The Mushroom Council. All opinions are my own; I never feature a brand that I don’t love! 

What are caramelized mushrooms?

Caramelized mushrooms, or sauteed mushrooms, are essentially mushrooms that are cooked for a longer period of time to bring out extra delicious, umami flavors. This is the same idea for caramelized onions or sweet potatoes. Caramelizing is my favorite way to cook mushrooms. Believe it or not–I actually used to not like mushrooms until I had them prepared this way! That’s because it makes them super tasty and easy to add to all different types of recipes. 

Caramelized mushrooms in a white bowl

Are mushrooms healthy?

As a dietitian, mushrooms are an ingredient I’m always recommending others add to their plates. They’re rich in nutrients while remaining low in calories. In fact, just last year the Mushroom Council conducted a study and found that when you add just one serving of mushrooms to your meal (around four button mushrooms) you add more fiber, potassium, selenium, B vitamins, vitamin D, and zinc without adding any additional fat or calories! 

Mushrooms may also help with weight management and the nutrients in them help keep our immune system strong. Read more about the benefits of mushrooms here.

How mushrooms can help with the rising food costs

I love purchasing mushrooms because they add so much to meals for a low cost. That means you can extend the servings of more expensive ingredients by layering in mushrooms. For example, try making a “mushroom meat blend” by cooking together 1 pound of ground meat and 1 pound of finely chopped mushrooms. This works well with lean ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken, or even a plant-based meat.

Adding caramelized mushrooms into breakfast, lunch, and dinner can help make these meals go further. Plus, they add amazing savory flavor, moisture, and sneak in extra nutrients—all while being gentle on the planet!

Mushrooms are super sustainable

Did you know mushrooms are one of the most sustainably produced foods? That’s because they require very little land, water, and energy to grow. Here’s some fun facts:

  • Just 1 acre of land can produce 1 million pounds of mushrooms! 
  • To produce a pound of mushrooms, requires just under 2 gallons of water. And as a frame of reference, the average shower uses 17 gallons of water!
  • Producing a pound of mushrooms only generates only 0.7 pounds of CO2 equivalents (one of the greenhouse gases). For reference, in 2021 the U.S. produced 4.87 billion metric tons of CO2.

All this to say–you can feel good about enjoying these caramelized mushrooms as a sustainable addition to your meals!

Savory mushrooms in a white bowl

How do you cook mushrooms?

You can make these caramelized mushrooms in a skillet or in the air fryer. Let’s break down both cooking methods.

How to make skillet mushrooms

  1. Add oil to your skillet. I recommend using a somewhat large pan to fit all your mushrooms. 
  2. Add over mushrooms. You can buy pre-sliced mushrooms to save time or buy whole ones and slice them at home. Either way, make sure to thoroughly rinse them under water before cooking. For this recipe, I’m seasoning with a simple mixture of garlic, salt, and pepper.
  3. Cook until caramelized. Be patient – this process takes anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat. You’ll want to stir every so often.
  4. Add liquid as needed. As you cook them, you’ll most likely start to see the mushrooms sticking to the bottom of the pan. That’s normal. When this happens, add over 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or broth as needed to deglaze the pan. Repeat the deglazing process as needed when the liquid clears and the mushrooms stick again.
  5. Garnish if desired. Once the mushrooms are nice and golden, you can turn off the heat and garnish with any fresh herbs or dried herbs you like.

How to make air fryer mushrooms

  1. Preheat the air fryer. This isn’t “essential”, but I typically like to preheat my air fryer for even cooking. You can do this by setting it to 350ºF for about 3 minutes before adding the mushrooms.
  2. Mix ingredients in a bowl. In a large bowl, toss together mushrooms, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. This ensures everything is evenly coated.
  3. Cook until caramelized. This should take around the same amount of time as cooking in the skillet–10 to 15 minutes. Be sure to remove the basket and stir every few minutes.
  4. Garnish if desired. Once the mushrooms are nice and golden, you can remove from the air fryer and garnish with any fresh herbs or dried herbs you like.

What to serve with caramelized mushrooms

Cooked mushrooms are delicious on their own, but even better when added to recipes. In fact, adding mushrooms to breakfast, lunch, and dinner is a great way to bulk up your meals and allow them to go farther throughout the week. Perfect for extending your grocery dollar and saving money!

Here’s some pairing inspiration:

How do you store leftovers?

If you have leftovers, don’t throw them out! You can store any extra caramelized mushrooms in the fridge or freezer. 

  • Fridge: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days. I like to label the container as “caramelized mushrooms – enjoy by XYZ date” so others in my household know what they are.
  • Freezer: Store in the freezer in an ziptop bag or mason jar for up to 10-12 months. Be sure to fill the mason jar to the top or press out as much air as possible. You can even vacuum seal to ensure you get the freshest flavor upon thawing. And don’t forget to label and date for easier organization. If you want individual portions of caramelized mushrooms, freeze them in muffin tins (watch this video tutorial!)

Need more help with recipes for your busy schedule?

In my coaching + cooking program, I help busy people with beginner cooking knowledge become confident in the kitchen so that they can enjoy nourishing foods they love and stress less about mealtime. Click here to learn more about this virtual program led by a dietitian.

How to Make Caramelized Mushrooms

How to Make Caramelized Mushrooms

Yield: 1 cup caramelized mushrooms
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

These caramelized mushrooms are super flavorful and so easy to make. Pair with burgers, avocado toast, and risotto. Skillet and air fryer mushroom instructions below!

Ingredients

  • 1 heaping tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces white or baby bella mushrooms, washed and sliced (feel free to buy pre-sliced mushrooms if available)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Water or broth, as needed
  • Fresh or dried herbs of your choice – optional for topping (thyme, rosemary, basil, parsley, etc.)

Instructions

    Skillet Instructions:

    1. Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Ensure oil is hot and easily moves around the pan. 
    2. Add mushrooms, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
    3. When mushrooms start sticking to the bottom of the pan, add over 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or broth as needed to deglaze the pan. You may need to do this 3 to 4 times throughout the caramelization process. 
    4. Once mushrooms are golden brown and slightly shrunk in size, remove from the heat.
    5. If desired, sprinkle over herbs before serving.

    Air Fryer Instructions:

    1. Preheat air fryer to 350ºF for 5 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss together mushrooms, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.
    3. Add mushrooms to air fryer basket and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    4. If desired, sprinkle over herbs before serving.

    Notes

    Storage: You can store any leftover caramelized mushrooms in the fridge for up to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 10-12 months. See detailed storage instructions above.

    How to Use: See food pairing inspiration above to enjoy with your caramelized mushrooms!

    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1 cup caramelized mushrooms
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 180Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 600mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 2.5gSugar: 4.5gProtein: 7.5g

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