Sautéed Morel Mushrooms Recipe (2024)

Why It Works

  • Sautéing in oil over high heat, instead of butter, allows mushrooms to brown without the risk of burning.
  • A generous pat of butter added toward the end of cooking helps emulsify the stock or water into a rich, creamy sauce.
  • Soy sauce adds umami depth, while lemon juice brightens the dish up.

Mushrooms, for the most part, make me think of autumn. Except the morel. Likeasparagus,peas,ramps, and fiddleheads, morels are a harbinger of spring, and a welcome earthy counterpoint to the fresh, grassy flavors of those other vernal ingredients. Morels are also easy to prepare and cook, as long as you know a few key pieces of information.

Choosing and Cleaning Morels

Sautéed Morel Mushrooms Recipe (1)

As you'll find with a lot of mushrooms, the biggest risk with morels is that they soften and rot. Seek out morels that are fresh, firm, and dry—avoid ones that are either desiccated and shriveled or soft, wet, and spongy.

Large morels are more prone to sponginess, since they're often older and already starting to break down. Smaller morels, as you can see in the photo above, are generally a safer bet, though if you do find beautiful big ones, by all means, grab 'em.

Sautéed Morel Mushrooms Recipe (2)

Be sure to check your morels for critters like worms, which often set up residence in the little frilly nooks in the mushrooms' caps—the silky threads they excrete may look like white mold, but it's actually a sign you have some unwanted dinner guests. Morels are wild mushrooms, so it's common to find bugs on or in them. There's no reason to avoid morels with worms (though heavily infested mushrooms might be more trouble than they're worth), as long as you take the time to pick those little visitors out.

You should also inspect the morels for dirt and debris, cleaning them off with a dry pastry brush.

Trimming Morels for Cooking

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Start by slicing off the tough/dirty end portion of each stem.

Sautéed Morel Mushrooms Recipe (4)

Then slice the morels in half lengthwise. You'll notice that they're hollow inside. I usually leave them halved, though you're free to quarter them lengthwise, or divide them even more if they're particularly large.

Cooking Morels

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To cook morels, start by searing them in oil over high heat to brown them, just as you would other mushrooms.

The morels will soften and brown. Some recipes have you cook morels from start to finish in butter, but we find that the butter will burn before the morels are sufficiently browned. It's better to brown the mushrooms first, saving the butter for the end.

Sautéed Morel Mushrooms Recipe (6)

Then add minced onion,shallots, and/or garlic, lowering the heat to prevent scorching. (If you add these before browning the mushrooms, you risk burning them as the mushrooms sear.)

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Add a very generous pat of butter, which will melt and soak into all the little crevices in the morel caps.

I like to add a splash of soy sauce, which pumps up the umami depth, along with some lemon juice, to brighten the whole thing up. A littlestockor water helps emulsify the butter into a creamy, mushroom-y sauce that's just thick enough to both coatandsoak into the morels.

Sautéed Morel Mushrooms Recipe (8)

Some green herbs right at the end, like parsley, chervil, or minced chives, add a hit of freshness, and, of course, seasoning with salt and pepper is important. Just make sure to go easy on the salt and taste as you go if you've used soy sauce—it's already brought some saltiness to the mix.

Let's end it there, before I give in to the temptation to make a "morel of the story" joke.

May 2015

Recipe Details

Sautéed Morel Mushrooms

Cook10 mins

Active10 mins

Total10 mins

Serves4to 6 servings


  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) vegetable or canola oil

  • 8 ounces (225g) morel mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and split in half lengthwise

  • 1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon; optional)

  • 2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter

  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) fresh juice from 1 lemon

  • 1/4 cup (60ml)homemadeor store-bought low-sodium chicken stock, or water

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs, such as chives, chervil, or parsley

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat oil in a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring and tossing occasionally, until well browned, about 4 minutes total.

    Sautéed Morel Mushrooms Recipe (9)

  2. Reduce heat to medium-high and add shallot and garlic (if using). Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add butter, soy sauce, lemon juice, and chicken stock or water and cook, swirling pan, until liquid reduces and morels are coated in a creamy sauce, about 1 minute. Stir in herbs, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

    Sautéed Morel Mushrooms Recipe (10)

Special Equipment

Large cast iron or stainless steel skillet

  • Morel Mushroom
  • Spring Sides
  • Vegetarian Sides
  • Stovetop Vegetables
  • Vegetable Sides
Sautéed Morel Mushrooms Recipe (2024)


What is the best way to eat morel mushrooms? ›

Morel mushrooms tossed with a little flour and sauteed in butter is the purists' way to enjoy these seasonal delicacies.

How long should you cook morel mushrooms? ›

Heat vegetable shortening in a large skillet until very hot. Roll mushrooms in flour and tap off excess; gently lay mushrooms in the hot shortening. Pan-fry until golden brown and flour coating is crisp, 5 to 8 minutes, turning often. Drain morels on paper towels, salt to taste, and enjoy your treasures!

Why can't you eat morels with alcohol? ›

Buying and cleaning morel mushrooms

Never eat raw or undercooked morels, and avoid eating them when consuming alcohol, as morels contain small amounts of hydrazine toxins. These are destroyed when cooked, but can still cause issues in people with a sensitivity to mushrooms.

Do you have to soak morel mushrooms before cooking? ›

While a soak isn't necessary, it is a good way to clean morels and make sure that there's no dirt or bugs in any of the crevices. The best way to soak morels is to place them in a bowl of lightly salted water for about five minutes. Once the soak is done, be sure to thoroughly pat the morels dry.

When not to eat morel mushrooms? ›

Avoid those that are bruised or slimy. Practice safe storage methods. Store morels in breathable packaging such as a paper bag at a temperature of 40° F or below. Avoid using plastic bags for storage, because plastic bags cause the mushrooms to “sweat,” which promotes growth of bacteria and molds.

Do you eat the stems of morel mushrooms? ›

It is best to cut the morel with a knife an inch or less of the stem. The stem is totally edible and delicious, it is simply not industry standard to have a very long stem and the longer you go the more likely it will be dirty, sandy, gritty. If you pluck, your mushroom will be dirty and frayed.

How do you know when morel is fully cooked? ›

Sauté morel mushrooms about five minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

How to tell if morels are bad? ›

Note the discoloration and decaying taking place along the stem and just under the cap. You also should be able to see the moldy white creaming texture setting in. This type of decay is not an uncommon trait on the yellow morels – another indication the morel is a bit sickly.

How long will morels last in the fridge? ›

Resist the urge to hoard your morels; they are best eaten within four days of picking them. 4. Keep them fresh in a brown bag or a bowl with a damp paper towel over them in the fridge—if you don't use them in five days, they're history.

Do all morels have worms? ›

Look at each morel closely, and leave behind any that are soft and mushy. Don't worry about worms, as there will always be worms, but you will thwart them, my friend. If you see a patch of fuzzy white stuff in one of the 'shroomy crevices, don't worry about that either, as it's not mold but the sign of a worm.

What are the symptoms of morel mushroom poisoning? ›

CharacteristicNo. (%)
Case-patients n = 41Control participants n = 22
Vomiting22 (53.7)NA
Abdominal distension or bloating22 (53.7)NA
Lightheadedness18 (43.9)NA
22 more rows
Mar 14, 2024

What happens if you eat undercooked morels? ›

An investigation into this outbreak found that consumption of morels at the restaurant was strongly associated with GI illness. Consumption of raw morels was more strongly associated with illness than was consumption of partially cooked morels, although even partially cooked morels were associated with illness.

How to get bugs out of morels? ›

😅 For certain mushrooms, like Morels and Oysters, a *short* soak in water/saltwater is not going to harm their texture and will quickly draw out/kill bugs and larvae that may be inside. I would not suggest more than a couple tablespoons of salt per few cups of water, as the mushrooms may become too salty.

What are the best ways to eat morel mushrooms? ›

Morel mushrooms don't need much to be at their best—just a simple sauté with minced shallot, garlic, butter, and a couple flavor-enhancing secret ingredients. Kenji is the former culinary director for Serious Eats and a current culinary consultant for the site.

Is it safe to eat morel mushrooms raw? ›

Consumption of morel mushrooms, which are generally considered edible, was strongly associated with gastrointestinal illness. A dose-response relationship was identified, and consumption of raw morel mushrooms was more strongly associated with illness than was consumption of those that were at least partially cooked.

Should you refrigerate morel mushrooms? ›

Resist the urge to hoard your morels; they are best eaten within four days of picking them. 4. Keep them fresh in a brown bag or a bowl with a damp paper towel over them in the fridge—if you don't use them in five days, they're history.

What are the benefits of eating morel mushrooms? ›

Morel mushrooms contain a lot of vitamin D. They are also a low-fat, plant-based food that makes a great addition to a heart-healthy diet as an ingredient or as a meat substitute. Adding more plant foods to your diet can lower your cholesterol, give you more energy, and supplement your diet with a wealth of nutrients.


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