Menu
Search
Menu
Close

Color Taste-Off: White vs. Brown Mushrooms

By Cook's Illustrated Published May 2011

Despite their differing appearance, white button and cremini mushrooms (and portobellos) actually belong to the same mushroom species. But how do their flavors compare?

Despite their differing appearance, white button and cremini mushrooms (and portobellos) actually belong to the same mushroom species, Agaricus bisporus. Creminis are a brown-hued variety, and portobellos are creminis that have been allowed to grow large. We think of creminis as a recent introduction to the marketplace, but all button mushrooms were actually brown until 1926, when a mushroom farmer in Pennsylvania found a cluster of white buttons growing in his beds, which he cloned and began selling as a new variety. But does the loss of color mean a loss of flavor? To find our, we sautéed white button and cremini mushrooms and tasted them side-by-side in risotto and atop pizza. The flavor of the creminis was noticeably deeper and more complex. This difference in taste was also apparent, though less obvious, when we compared both types of mushroom sprinkled raw over salads. The lesson? If bolder mushroom flavor is what you're after, it's worth shelling out a little extra for creminis.

CREMINI
Brown-hued cremini boast rich, complex flavor.

WHITE BUTTON
White button mushrooms are comparatively mild in flavor.