14 Best Ways To Use Canned Mushrooms

Mushrooms can be incredibly polarizing. In fact, there's probably at least one or two people in your household that just can't get used to the idea of eating mushrooms on a regular basis. It might even be you — and that's all right.

If you're here looking for ways to turn the handiest of mushrooms — the canned variety — into tasty meals, we've got you covered. Although canned mushrooms can be a bit more challenging because of the texture, they're also much easier to keep on hand. They're also incredibly versatile, and they're every bit as nutritious as the fresh variety — which is to say they're very nutritious. According to Healthline, they're packed with potassium, come with a side of the antioxidant selenium (per Medical News Today), and with that oh-so-important vitamin D.

Bottom line? You're not going to go wrong adding mushrooms to your diet, and that said, let's talk about some of the best ways to do that. Keeping a few cans in the pantry is a great way to start, because there are some amazing ways to prepare, use, and serve canned mushrooms that will not only get around the potential textural issues that can come with all mushrooms (and particularly canned ones) but will also turn even the biggest naysayer into a fan.

1. Add as a traditional ingredient in this soup

Entire generations have been raised on canned and condensed soup, and while there's nothing wrong with that, there are also so many more soup options out there for hearty, healthy meals that are perfect for lunch or dinner. Next time you're craving something warm and delicious, consider the hot and sour tom kha.

This traditional soup comes from South Asia, so it'll be perhaps unsurprising that this easy-to-make soup calls for ingredients like coconut milk, fish sauce, lemongrass, and Thai bird chiles. Like many soups, a lot of the ingredients are on the flexible side. One of our favorites uses chicken breasts and chicken stock, but regardless of other ingredients, mushrooms are always key. We recommend using a few different kinds of mushrooms for a more rounded flavor profile and found that enoki and straw mushrooms work pretty brilliantly together. Combine, stir, and simmer, and when your mushrooms are tender and your chicken is cooked through, it's ready to be served.

2. Sauté with white white for a delicious side

Coming up with something unique for dinner can be a bit of a challenge, to say the least. As if a main course isn't enough, then there are sides to consider ... and we could all use a few more go-to sides in our arsenal, right? You can absolutely just reach for a can of mushrooms, and with one secret ingredient, sauté up a restaurant-worthy side dish.

Sautéed mushrooms take just a few extra steps when they're coming out of a can instead of being used while they're fresh. Drain and rinse them, then pat them dry with a paper towel. (If you plan ahead, it also doesn't hurt to let them air-dry a bit before cooking, either.) And that's super important: If there's too much moisture, your sauté isn't going to come out completely right. Bottom line? It's worth the extra steps and time.

The other important part of sautéing is to make sure there's enough room in the pan. If it's too crowded, you're not going to get the result you want to see on the plate, and while this is true of anything you might want to sauté, it's especially relevant with mushrooms. Once they're cooked to the texture you're looking for, add a dash of white wine along with the garlic and salt, stir, and serve. Easy!

3. Mushroom gravy will win over any naysayers

If there's someone in the family that just absolutely does not agree with the texture of mushrooms, turning those canned mushrooms into a gravy is a great way to get all the flavor and health benefits without the complaints. The pickiest of eaters will be able to sift out the pieces, and everyone else will have a versatile, hearty gravy that's perfect for things like meatloaf, Salisbury steak, smothering meatballs and pasta, or even covering fries.

There are a few tips that go with this one: Kick-start the flavor with a roux first, then add the mushrooms after that's been cooking. Thicken with heavy cream, use gravy browning to deepen the color, and don't forget that this could very easily be a base to add other things to. Along with experimenting with different types of mushrooms, there's no way to go wrong with the addition of onions. For something holiday-inspired, mushroom gravy with chestnuts and cognac is the perfect finishing touch for a brilliant and hearty meal.

4. Use as a burger or sandwich topping

There are some food combinations that just work perfectly together like, well, peanut butter and jelly. Mushrooms and Swiss cheese are one of those combinations, and there's a reason why countless restaurants, steakhouses, and burger joints offer this as an option alongside their beef. Why not make it at home? And yes, you can take those canned mushrooms and turn them into an amazing burger topping.

How, exactly? It's all about the sauté. Drain your mushrooms completely first, then add them to a pan with already-hot olive oil and butter. Sure, you could stop there, but you could also go one step further. Add a dash of beer to the pan, turn down the heat, and let those mushrooms slowly caramelize — which doesn't just add flavor, but it'll create an amazing texture. Pile on a burger with a slice of Swiss, and here's the thing: The burger isn't even really required for this one. If you're looking for a hot but light lunch, ditch the burger and opt for just the mushrooms and Swiss on a toasted roll.

5. Include in an updated casserole classic

Tuna casserole might be one of those foods that seems like it was picked up and dropped on your dinner table straight from the 1970s, but some things are classic for a reason — and this is one of those things. Not only does it use pantry staples you're likely to have on hand any night of the week, but this one-dish meal means there's not going to be a pile of dishes left behind. Since you're essentially adding ingredients and putting them in the oven, it's also great for busy nights. That's an all-around win!

This old favorite has gotten a bit of an overhaul in recent years, with foodies upgrading ingredients to create something that's both timeless and trendy. (Try, for example, taking out the pasta and swapping in packaged scalloped potatoes for a tuna casserole that's even easier to prep). Another simple addition is canned mushrooms. Drain, chop, and mix for an addition that will blend seamlessly in with this creamy casserole, especially if you're already using cream of mushroom soup to really bring the whole casserole together.

6. Try something new with a moussaka

There are any number of reasons to add more vegetarian meals to the weekly rotation, and not even the most dedicated meat eater can say that there aren't a ton of delicious options out there. For one of those options, look no further than moussaka.

First off, what is it? As recipe developer Miriam Hahn explained to us, moussaka is a Greek dish that's layered in much the same way as a lasagna. Moussaka, however, is loaded with veggies instead of noodles and meat sauce. Pasta is replaced with potatoes and eggplant, and the meat is replaced with lentils. And those lentils are actually where the mushrooms come in.

Sandwiched between the layers of potatoes and eggplant is a stew- or chili-like mix of lentils, tomatoes, mushrooms, and seasonings like oregano and red pepper flakes. It's definitely an ingredient-heavy dish that does take some time to prepare, but all those ingredients mean it's perfect for canned mushrooms. Dice them, add them to the lentils and tomatoes, and not even the pickiest mushroom eater will complain that they're getting served the canned variety instead of the fresh.

7. Dress up everyone's favorite pasta bake

Whoever invented the idea of the pasta bake definitely deserves some sort of lifetime achievement award, because it's amazing. Along with being packed full of tomato goodness and other Italian flavors, baking it in the oven allows it to form that crispy crust that might just be the best part of the whole dish. It's also incredibly versatile — add garlic to taste, swap out the traditional beef for chicken or pork, or add a layer of pepperoni for a spicy kick.

And, of course, add the canned mushrooms. This may, in fact, be the easiest thing to add mushrooms to, because no matter what else you're adding, it'll work. The flavor profile of a pasta bake will be complimented no matter what kind of meat and cheese you're using, and if you're going vegetarian or even vegan, mushrooms will help round out this hearty meal. Best of all, with the exception of the cheese — and who doesn't keep extra cheese on hand? — a pasta bake can be assembled with pantry-friendly ingredients. Need to go grocery shopping, but just not feeling it? This super-easy pasta bake will come to the rescue, and allow you to put off shopping just a little bit longer.

8. Experiment with wild rice and risotto

Countless people were introduced to risotto by a screaming Gordon Ramsay who always seemed shocked that "Hell's Kitchen" contestants could get the seemingly simple dish so consistently wrong. That might make it seem like risotto exists somewhere between explainable science and an unknowable mystery, but it turns out that when you're not faced with the pressure of appearing on a cooking competition television show, it's not terribly hard at all.

Risotto is essentially rice, and while there are a ton of things you can do with it, one of the heartiest, most comfort-foodie options might just be to add mushrooms for a simple, creamy, hearty, yet amazing mushroom and roasted garlic risotto. It's the kind of dish that you might fully expect to see in a restaurant, so if you're looking for something to impress some guests, look no further than this rice dish topped with a pile of the fried mushrooms that are also stirred throughout.

Along the same lines, canned mushrooms also make a great addition to a wild rice sauté, especially if you're looking to elevate this one from a side dish into a full meal. Sautéing mushrooms, onions, and your other veg of choice before adding rice is such an easy meal that it seems almost unfair.

9. Serve up a hearty stroganoff

If beef stroganoff is one of those meals that you tend to forget about until something sparks a memory about how much you love it, consider this that something. Stroganoff is a hearty, creamy dish that might not be on anyone's list of healthiest meals, but sometimes you just have to indulge.

Mushrooms are an integral part of the dish, and even if someone picks out the chunks, it's just not the same without the flavor. And today, you don't have to settle for grandma's stroganoff, either: Recipe developer Michelle McGlinn has come up with an easy yet upscale-feeling version of stroganoff that starts off the gravy with cognac ... and you can't get much fancier than cognac.

And, while "stroganoff" is typically accompanied by the word "beef," it's completely possible to make a vegetarian or even vegan version of this dish. That, of course, is thanks in large part to the addition of mushrooms, which add to the heartiness and heft of the meal while keeping it meat-free.

10. Whip up a mushroom omelet

Whether you're looking for a hearty breakfast, a light dinner, or something in between, an omelet is always an excellent choice. These versatile dishes don't have to be just for breakfast, and while they're a great way to use up some leftovers that might be lingering in the fridge or the last bit of veggies in the freezer, they're also a brilliant way to use canned mushrooms.

Sauté the mushrooms first, either on their own or with some onions or peppers. Then, just fold them into the middle of the omelet in the middle of the cooking process, and that's it! (Pro tip: Keep moving the eggs as it cooks by shaking the pan, and wait until they're on the last leg of the cooking process to fold in those mushrooms.) Season as usual, add some more on the top if you like, and serve, and when you plate, don't forget that this is also a great opportunity to use up that last little bit of marinara sauce (or salsa) that's been hanging around in the fridge.

11. Slow cook some beef tips and mushrooms

Beef tips — or steak tips — are a great option when you're looking for an affordable cut of meat. While they might take more work than some other cuts of meat, they can still be delicious. The secret to making sure they come out perfectly (instead of tough or dry) is braising them, and that means cooking them low and slow. Slow cookers are great for this, of course, so on those days when you've got so much going on you just want to walk in the door and have dinner ready to go, this is your meal.

And canned mushrooms are brilliant for adding to the liquid. They'll help infuse those steak tips with a wonderful, earthy flavor, and you'll pretty much never go wrong by adding a dash of wine to the cooking process, either. Serve over noodles or alongside a baked potato for those nights when you want a not-so-heavy but still-delicious meal of comfort food.

12. Go old school with chicken a la king

Mushrooms have been a staple food for a long time, so it's not surprising they're featured in all kinds of old-timey recipes. Chicken a la king was made famous by the 1931 cookbook "The Joy of Cooking," and it's worth noting that it was this cookbook that was heralded by personalities like Julia Child as the cookbook that was the absolute necessity to have. And it still is — particularly because many of the recipes are still relevant today.

And that's definitely true of chicken a la king, which is a deceptively simple dish of chicken and veg served over noodles. We love it for a few reasons, and one of those — of course — is that it's a great vehicle for canned mushrooms. The flavor just works with the creaminess of the gravy and the other veg, and we also love it because it's a great way to cut down on food waste. Have some leftover chicken? This is perfect. Or what about leftover turkey? This is also a great recipe to reach for in those post-Thanksgiving days when the turkey just seems never-ending. Add the remnants from those bags of frozen veg that always accumulate, throw in that last onion, and fancy it up with those mushrooms.

13. Make your own cream of mushroom soup

A bowl of cream of mushroom soup is the perfect thing to warm up with after an afternoon of playing in the snow (because hey, just because adulthood is here, that doesn't mean there can't be any fun). That's not the only reason to keep some on hand, either. Because it was first invented in the waning days of the 19th century, it's been not only a soup but a key ingredient in countless dishes. Who hasn't had slow-cooked pork chops or tuna casserole that started with opening a can?

But here's the thing: Even though it's great out of the can, it's also surprisingly easy to make from scratch. That, of course, is where the canned mushrooms come in, starring in a creamy soup made with butter, flour, milk, garlic and onions, and broth. Why make it when you can just open a can? Because when you make it yourself, you can control the sodium in it. A single can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup has 2.5 servings, and each serving comes with a whopping 860mg of sodium — in other words, about 40% of the recommended daily intake. That's a ton of sodium, which means that for anyone looking to cut down, homemade soups are a great way to do it — especially when they're so easy!

14. Serve up a hearty lasagna

While everyone has their own personal tastes and styles, we can all get on board with a recipe that's versatile enough to easily adjust for whatever you might have hanging out in the pantry, fridge, and freezer. And that can definitely be lasagna. No beef? Use pork! Pepperoni left from making last night's pizza? Add a layer! Have a couple of breakfast sausages hanging in the freezer? Toss them those!

While lasagna might have a reputation as being an Italian staple, here's a fun fact: It's actually Greek! That's right — Ancient Romans learned of the dish after conquering Greece in 146 B.C., and it got an overhaul with ingredients local to the Italian peninsula and became a national favorite. It's internationally beloved today, and one of our favorite things to add is a can of mushrooms. Stir it into your sauce or just add it as a layer alone, you're not going to go wrong by opting to add these flavorful fungi to your favorite lasagna recipe. It'll be so good that you'll want to make plenty, and perhaps the best part of this recipe is that lasagna is amazing when it's reheated. So grab a roasting pan, make a massive batch, and you'll have meals for a few days.