13 Best Mushrooms You Can Grow At Home

Growing delicious, healthy mushrooms at home is easy, with more guides, kits, and information online each day. But with so many options, from colorful oysters to toothy lion’s mane, how do you know which to choose? Amateur mycologist Emily Estep names and explains 13 different mushrooms you can grow at home to help you make a shroomy selection.

White mushrooms thriving in rich, dark soil inside a cardboard carton.

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If you’ve already mastered the art of growing your own tomatoes and are ready for a different kind of choice edible, consider growing your own mushrooms. The world of edible fungi is expansive, with different flavors, colors, and textures to introduce some variety to your cuisine.

Not only are mushrooms excellent to add to your meal plan, but also, growing them is a fun and rewarding hobby. While it used to be more of a niche pursuit, these days, plenty of people are interested in getting fungi to flourish in the home.

But which species to start with? From mushrooms you see at the store and the farmer’s market, like shiitake and enoki, to fungi you’ve heard of people foraging, like chicken of the woods and lion’s mane, there are plenty of options, including these 13 best mushrooms you can grow at home.

Note: We are not mushroom identification experts. Due to potential toxicity, never eat a foraged mushroom unless you have confirmed its identity with a reputable source.

Oyster 

A close-up of scattered oyster mushrooms on a table, showcasing their delicate gills.
Growing oyster mushrooms at home using pre-colonized substrate kits is straightforward.

Oyster mushrooms may be the perfect beginner mushroom. In the wild, you can find these saprotrophs growing in clusters out of dead or decaying trees and logs, but in your house, they can be grown easily with affordable spray-and-grow kits.

These kits, which include a substrate block already colonized with mycelium, are probably the easiest way to grow at home. You typically just cut a hole in the plastic surrounding the block and mist it regularly until the fruiting bodies appear. Multiple species on this list can be harvested this way.

Oysters are great for beginners not only because there are lots of oyster spray-and-grow kits out there but also because they are truly aggressive colonizers. These shrooms want to grow.

There are a few popular and colorful species of oysters, including pink oysters, golden oysters, and blue oysters. Depending on which you choose, the flavor is slightly different, but they’re usually described as a bit nutty or meaty. Oysters can be prepared or used interchangeably with the button mushrooms usually purchased at the grocery store.

Shiitake

A close-up of brown shiitake mushrooms arranged on a woven surface.
You can grow these mushrooms on logs or using fruiting blocks.

Shiitake mushrooms are a familiar choice for growers, as you probably already see them at the grocery store. Traditionally added to miso soup, shiitake are native to East Asia but can be grown at home. Shiitake are a bit chewy, depending on how they’re prepared, with a meaty flavor.

These mushrooms are best grown on logs. Basically, you research which tree species are best for your desired mushroom (in the case of shiitake, alder and oak are two examples), purchase some spawn plugs or sawdust spawn, inoculate the right log, and mist or water it regularly. It can take up to a year for the fruiting bodies to emerge, but one log can continue to produce for years. Imagine your own continuously growing shiitake log!

If that sounds a bit intimidating, no worries. You can get shiitake fruiting blocks online, too. These blocks are a few steps up in difficulty from spray-and-grow kits, but they aren’t as much of a time commitment as growing shiitakes on a log.

Wine Cap

Close-up of a wine cap mushroom with a deep red hue, glistening in the light.
These have a nutty flavor reminiscent of cashews.

Wine cap mushrooms, also known as the burgundy mushroom or garden giant, can be grown directly in garden straw with sawdust spawn in the right conditions, which makes it an easier pivot for gardeners. Wine caps have a classic toadstool shape with a wine-colored cap, and they can get so large that they’re sometimes even called “Godzilla mushrooms.”

As for eating them, wine cap fans describe them as tasting nutty, like cashews, or like potatoes cooked in red wine, giving their name a double meaning.

Like many other mushrooms, wine caps are not very shelf-stable and should be eaten quickly if desired fresh. That said, wine caps respond well to being dried and then rehydrated for future use, so if you’re looking to add a big bed of wine caps to your garden, perhaps get a dehydrator.

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King Trumpet

King trumpet mushrooms displayed on a wooden plate, showcasing their brown caps and white stalks.
Growing these can be challenging due to their specific temperature and humidity requirements.

King trumpets are actually another species of oyster mushroom, though as the name implies, they’re the largest oyster option, the king of the oysters. These dense, chewy mushrooms can be up to eight inches long and, once cooked, have an intense umami flavor. They’re often used as seafood alternatives and described as scallop-like.

Spray-and-grow kits exist for king trumpets, though they’re so large you may want to opt for a fruiting block or try your hand at inoculating your own substrate with grain spawn. King trumpets require the attention befitting a king, because truthfully, they’re somewhat difficult to grow. This species is more picky about temperature and humidity, but they might be the perfect choice for someone looking to test their skills.

If you’ve mastered the smaller oysters, perhaps it’s time to level up with king trumpets.

Blewit

A large blewit mushroom with a wide cap, set against a backdrop of dried leaves scattered around it.
Avoid growing blewits unless you can confidently distinguish them from other toxic fungi.

Blewits are extra fun; between their bright purple color and toadstool shape, they almost look like they’re from a cartoon. Often found in piles of orange and red leaves, purple blewits stand out.

With caps that can get up to six inches wide, blewits are fairly sizable. They have a truly mushroomy taste and are great for sauteing with shallots and butter. Some say the flavor of blewits is strong, while others consider it to be a mild mushroom. You’ll have to try for yourself to find out.

Just like wine caps, blewits can be grown in outdoor beds, especially those that are rich in leaves, grass clippings, and similar decaying matter. They can be a bit tricky to grow, but if you have the right conditions, they’re worth the hassle. Blewits tend to fruit when temperatures drop below freezing in fall after a full season of growing, so they do take some time.

Additionally, blewits can be mistaken for other poisonous fungi, so don’t grow them unless you’re confident in your ability to identify them when they appear.

Chestnut

A dense cluster of chestnut mushrooms neatly arranged inside a cardboard carton.
These feature a golden brown color and nutty flavor.

Chestnut mushrooms are another clustering species that you can grow in substrate indoors or in logs. This species is more commonly grown in Japan but is becoming more popular in the United States as people discover the various edible fungi species they can grow at home.

These mushrooms both look and taste like chestnuts, with a golden brown exterior, a nutty flavor, and even a somewhat crunchy texture. They’re used in all kinds of dishes, as chestnuts can top salads, be added to soups, and make complex sauces.

Chestnuts can struggle if you don’t keep your eye on the humidity, so extra care during their earlier stages is critical. They also prefer cooler temperatures. While advanced technique is not needed, chestnuts could be difficult for beginners.

Pioppino

Numerous pioppino mushrooms, characterized by their brown caps and slender white stalks, arranged closely together.
Tiny pioppinos are versatile in soups and risotto.

Pioppino mushrooms are another clustering species that have a standard mushroom look, with velvet brown caps. They’re cultivated all around the world, with a history that goes back to the Roman Empire, mentioned in the works of Pliny the Elder.

Like other species on this list, pioppinos are described as nutty and earthy, with a little bit of bitterness. Their stems are meaty when cooked. Pioppinos absorb flavor well, which makes them ideal for soups and risotto. They are used both fresh and dehydrated, so if you’re able to cultivate them, consider drying them out for long-term storage.

These shrooms are more of an advanced option, as they’re finicky about temperature and humidity. If you’re ready to raise the bar, you can buy pioppino grain spawn to grow them indoors in sterile substrate, or you can purchase a pioppino fruiting block. Pioppinos aren’t a good fit for growing outdoors.

Nameko

Several clusters of brown nameko mushrooms arranged on a blue fabric background.
These are commonly used in Asian cuisine for their nutty, umami-rich flavor.

Like pioppinos, nameko mushrooms are another small, clustering species, this time with an orangey cap. These caps have a gelatinous layer on top, especially when found outdoors. Namekos is one of the most commonly cultivated mushrooms in Japan, and you can grow them too.

They are popular in stir fries, in soup, with noodles, and in a lot of Japanese hot pot meals. They have a nutty flavor that some compare to cashews and will add a punch of chewy umami to your dishes. Some growers even call them “butterscotch mushrooms” because of their unique taste.

Also like pioppinos, growing namekos isn’t for beginners, but it’s still worth a try. But unlike pioppinos, you can grow namekos outdoors, either with grain spawn in substrate or with spawn plugs in logs. They prefer cooler temperatures and consistent humidity, so if you live in a hot, dry area, you may want to pick a different species.

Enoki

A close-up of a troop of slender, white enoki mushrooms growing closely together.
Wild enokis are often darker in color, usually orange.

“Enoki” refers to a group of mushrooms you’ve likely seen before, whether served in a soba bowl or at a grocery store with an excellent mushroom selection. These tiny mushrooms have long stalks and tend to be all white in cultivation. They add a unique texture to dishes, as they can be quite chewy.

You may spot enokis on North American trees, though they appear most commonly in Asian cuisine. In the wild, they are often darker in color, usually a shade of orange, as opposed to the white enokis you will find at the farmer’s market. 

Simple enoki mushroom kits are available, so these are a decent beginner option. If you want to try something more difficult, you can also buy the grain spawn and colonize the substrate in a jar. Either way, you should have eye-catching enokis to throw in your next bowl of ramen. Some even say that if prepared correctly, enoki tastes like fried chicken. 

Chicken of the Woods

A Chicken of the Woods mushroom with orange and yellow hues, resting on a wooden table.
This offers a chicken-like texture and lemony flavor.

Speaking of poultry, chicken of the woods is easily one of the most commonly foraged mushrooms, known for its distinct orange appearance and, of course, for its meaty, chicken-like texture. But if you haven’t had luck finding this polypore in your neck of the woods, did you know you can cultivate it at home?

If you like the idea of growing mushrooms in logs, chicken of the woods may be the perfect starter mushroom. It’s not simple to grow, but mushroom fans are comfortable with this species because they know what it looks like. Be sure to choose an oak species, and look into your options online. You can purchase chicken of the woods spawn plugs, grain spawn, and even entire log kits.

When cooked, this mushroom pulls apart with a similar texture to chicken breast. Not only does it taste chickeny, but also, many fans report a hint of lemon. You can use this mushroom in pretty much any dish that calls for mushrooms and as a meat substitute. Consider “chicken” strips, “chicken” parmesan, or buffalo “chicken” pizza.

Maitake

A close-up of brown maitake mushrooms, showcasing intricate folds and textures under gentle lighting.
This mushroom takes one to two years before harvest.

Next on our list, another polypore: the maitake mushroom, also known as hen of the woods. These mushrooms grow in the northeastern US. They are often found at the bottom of trees and are gray-brown instead of orange. Despite their similar nicknames, “hen” and “chicken” are difficult to mix up.

Maitakes are also quite meaty and a little peppery, just like chicken of the woods. They grow similarly, too: with advanced techniques, using spawn plugs or grain spawn to inoculate a log. White oak, red oak, and bur oak are best. 

Both maitake and chicken of the woods are a significant time commitment, with one to two years required before they are ready to harvest. Some people hit the jackpot and simply discover hen of the woods growing on their land. If you’re patient, you can grow them yourself.

Reishi

A close-up of vivid brown reishi mushrooms with flat, glossy caps.
Their rich history and striking colors make them a worthwhile endeavor.

The last polypores on this list are reishi mushrooms, of the Ganoderma genus. Specifically, red reishi and hemlock reishi, each of which you can grow at home. These colorful shelf fungi are vibrant shades of shiny red and orange. Reishi aren’t as prized for their edibility, but they are well-known for their medicinal properties

In fact, Ganonderma species have been revered for thousands of years in China, with potential archaeological evidence to back it up. If people have been seeking out this mushroom since the Han dynasty, perhaps it’s time to try growing it in your backyard?

Cultivating both red reishi and hemlock reishi is an advanced operation. They grow best on logs outdoors via spawn plugs or grain spawn. However, their fascinating history and eye-catching color make it worth the effort. Plus, they are technically edible, and some people do eat them when they’re young and tender. More often, you can dry and make them into tinctures, teas, and powders.

Lion’s Mane

Fresh lion's mane mushrooms showcase their distinctive shaggy texture and ivory color.
This is ideal as a seafood substitute for dishes like crab cakes.

Last but certainly not least is lion’s mane, a unique bearded tooth fungus, unlike any other mushroom on this list. Lion’s mane grows off the sides of trees. It forms a round, white ball with toothy spines that hang down. Beyond its bizarre appearance, lion’s mane stands out for two key reasons: it’s a solid beginner mushroom, and it tastes like crab meat.

You can buy lion’s mane spray-and-grow kits that are shockingly easy. (I’m sure of it, because a lion’s mane grow kit was my first foray into growing mushrooms at home). And once you harvest lion’s mane, you have a perfect seafood substitute in your hands. Try using lion’s mane in place of crab meat for crab cakes.

If you prefer to experiment, you can grow lion’s mane at home in substrate, on logs, in fruiting blocks—you name it. This is one of the more popular and easy-to-find options on the online market.

Final Thoughts

Growing mushrooms at home doesn’t have to be a mystery. There are plenty of species you can cultivate, including these thirteen. They range not only in difficulty level but also in appearance, flavor, and texture. You can grow simple, familiar oysters with an easy-peasy spray-and-grow-kit. Or, encourage wine caps to grow right in your garden, or even try inoculating a log with chicken of the woods. The delicious, home-grown mushrooms you harvest will be worth the effort! Add them to soups, toss them in stir-fries, or use them as meat substitutes; the choice is yours. 

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