Mushroom powder is a seasoning powder used to enhance the umami profile in savory dishes and to add the earthy flavor of mushrooms. You can use it in both Western and Eastern dishes so it’s pretty versatile. The big problem is that you won’t find it in many brick and mortar grocery stores. If you need it right away and don’t have time to wait on an online order, there are a few alternatives. Here are some of the best mushroom powder substitutes to try:
Your best bet: Make your own mushroom powder
Mushroom powder is actually quite simple to make yourself. For the most basic version, all you need are dried mushrooms and a food processor or blender. Of course, you will want to use the right mushrooms. While you can make mushroom powder with any kind of dried mushroom, the preferred ones for flavor are shiitakes and porcinis. You can use either of those mushrooms or a blend of the two.
Some mushroom powder recipes include a few other ingredients such as salt and chili flakes, but the mushrooms are all you really need. Simply place your dried mushrooms in the food processor or blender and process them until they become an extremely fine powder. You can then add your mushroom powder to dishes exactly as you would the store-bought variety. Store your mushroom powder in an airtight container and it should be good to use for several months.
A decent second choice: Garlic powder
Garlic is popular because of its ability to bring an earthy umami flavor to savory foods. That ability is present in both fresh garlic cloves and dried, ground garlic. Garlic powder has more or less the same texture as mushroom powder, which is one of the factors that make it a great substitute. It also works in most of the savory recipes that will require mushroom powder.
The one downside of garlic powder might be that it has a very distinctive taste. Garlic’s flavor is different from that of mushroom powder. The flavor should work in most — if not all — of the dishes that require mushroom powder, but it is something to keep in mind.
In a pinch: Nutritional yeast
While it has long been a popular condiment among fans of health food, nutritional yeast is coming into its own among regular foodies as well. You will often see it referenced as a vegan substitute for parmesan cheese and its flavor is sometimes described as cheesy. While this is not 100 percent accurate, it is the most similar flavor that will be familiar to the average person.
A better comparison might be bouillon powder because what nutritional yeast provides is a hefty dose of meaty flavor but without the sharpness of parmesan, just like mushroom powder. While you can cook with it, it does its best work when you sprinkle it on your food at the table. Like mushrooms, it brings a powerful dose of essential nutrients. Nutritional yeast contains large amounts of vitamins and minerals like riboflavin, niacin, and zinc.
Monosodium glutamate is the king (or queen, if you prefer) of all umami seasonings and will work in any dish that can do with some savory enhancement. Use it in any recipe that calls for mushroom powder. You won’t get the mushroom flavor, but you will get the rich meatiness.