One of our favorite ways to enjoy fall is with lots of Breaded Maitake Mushrooms. A splurge-worthy treat that’s naturally gluten-free, your whole family will beg for more!
After all these years of enjoy wild foraged (and cultivated) mushrooms it’s still hard to believe that something so obscure looking, can taste so amazingly delicious!
What are Maitake Mushrooms?
Grifola frondosa, more commonly know as a Maitake mushroom, Hen of the woods or sheepshead mushrooms are known for their traditional usage in Japanese/Chinese cuisine but unknown to most, grow prolifically in most parts of the United States (North America) & Europe, too!
Mostly found at the base of hard wood trees, we find the most under red oak trees (rarely elm or maples), during the fall months of September and October for us in Pennsylvania. They can be found individually as well as growing in large groups completely surrounding the tree. Maitake mushrooms (aka sheep’s head or ram’s head) range in size; as small as baseball and up to 2+ feet in diameter!
If you aren’t ready to head out into the woods to find your own, don’t worry many grocery stores and farmers market offer them as well.
Maitake mushrooms are my favorite of all the mushroom varieties. They have a meaty texture and extremely pleasant mushroom flavor. Not only do we enjoy them fresh but we also save them for later, 5 Ways to Preserve Maitake Mushrooms.
Ingredients for Breaded Mushrooms
Breading Maitake mushroom is extremely simple and you only need a couple ingredients:
- Maitake Mushrooms, any edible mushroom will can also be used.
- White Rice Flour
- Seasonings, I recommend my Homemade Season Salt
- Lard or other Fat for frying, butter or ghee will work too!
What is the best flour for Breading Mushrooms?
I’m sure the main question you have is why White Rice Flour, right?!?
Here’s the deal. In the 6+ years that I was completely gluten free, I had the opportunity to experiment with MANY different flours. Some options were ‘good enough’ when replacing wheat, but when it comes to making fried mushrooms, using White Rice Flour is simply the BEST for making fried mushrooms.
You may not realize that traditionally white rice flour is actually used in tempura because it produces such a light and crispy breading. It doesn’t become saturated with oily fat like regular wheat-flour.
How to make Breaded Maitake Mushrooms
Give your rice flour a little oomph with some of my homemade season salt; which is a blend of onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt, pepper, paprika and parsley, for the easiest gluten-free breading. Then dip your maitake mushroom pieces in to a bowl beaten egg wash then toss in your seasoned rice flour.
Arrange your breaded mushrooms on a tray or plate lined with wax paper.
For best results (this applies to all breaded foods) pop them into the freezer for a minimum of 30 minutes, but they can be made days to months (if properly stored) in advance.
By freezing the breaded hen of the woods mushrooms, this helps the breading to stick better to the food. And give you a little time to get your deep fryer heated up.
If you don’t have a deep fryer, I recommend THIS easy-clean deep fryer. We’ve had ours since 2016 and it’s still working great!
You want your deep fryer preheated to 350F, then working in batches, fry your breaded mushrooms (straight out of the freezer) for 2-3 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. If you have really thick or large pieces, you may need to fry them a little longer to fully cook maitake mushrooms and get that crispy coating!
If you don’t have a deep fryer, no worries! You can also cook this delicious side dish on the stove by giving them a sauté over medium high heat in a large skillet. And if you don’t want to use the stove to pan-fry you can also bake these in the oven or air fry them too!
Transfer your fried mushrooms to a plate lined with paper towels and drain well.
These crispy fried hen of the woods mushrooms are addictively delicious and you’re going to love them!
What to serve with Fried Maitake Mushrooms
Ok, so you have to promise not to laugh at me when I tell you this.
I really really LOVE dipping fried mushrooms in ketchup. I know, sounds so plain but trust me it’s honestly delicious. But here are a few other dip options for fried mushrooms that I highly recommend:
- Homemade Ranch, I know it’s ‘basic’ but it’s a delicious!
- Chipotle Ranch, for a spicy kick!
- Horseradish Sauce, I actually dip everything in this addictively delicious sauce.
- Fermented Ketchup, why not add some healthy probiotics to our favorite condiment!
I also like to garnish my breaded mushrooms with a little chopped parsley and grated parmesan cheese and serve them with a couple wedges of lemon for a fresh squeeze, just like my breaded calamari!
Breaded Hen of the Woods Mushroom FAQs
Can Breaded Maitake Mushooms be baked instead of fried?
Yes, however they will not be as crispy. Try 400F for 15-20 minutes.
Can Breaded Maitake Mushrooms be made in an Air Fryer?
Yes, I recommend air frying at 375 for 5-7 minutes. Feel free to spritz with cooking spray for extra crispy fried mushooms.
Will this recipe work with other types of mushrooms?
Yes, you can use any type of mushroom for this breaded mushroom recipe; chicken of the woods, chanterelles, oysters, morels, etc.
What types of fat are best for cooking fried mushrooms?
I always suggest lard for deep frying foods, if you don’t have it available try using avocado oil, coconut oil, palm oil, safflower oil or peanut oil. Other vegetable oils can be used but they are less healthy.
Can Breaded mushrooms be made ahead of time?
Yes, just keep them in the freezer. We make several batches every fall and after they are frozen solid on the baking sheet we transfer them to a sealed bag. They keep for months! Just deep fry from frozen.
I don’t have a deep fryer, can I make these on the stove top?
Yes, You can fry your breaded mushrooms using your favorite cooking fat (still 350F) in a skillet, pan or pot on the stove top. You will just need to flip them over a few times if your oil isn’t very deep.
If you like this breaded mushroom recipe, check out these related Maitake mushroom Recipes:
- Swedish Maitake mushroom Meatballs
- Pickled Maitake Mushrooms
- Wild Mushroom Paella with Chanterelles and Black Trumpet Mushrooms
- Morel Ramp Potato Chowder Recipe
- Pressure Cooker Wild Mushroom Broth
Breaded Maitake Mushrooms
- Prepare your maitake mushrooms by cleaning and breaking into individual pieces, set aside.2 cups maitake mushrooms
- Beat eggs with a splash of water until well combined, this creates your egg wash.
- Combine rice flour and seasoned salt, mix well.
- Dip each piece of mushroom into the egg wash then into the rice flour mixture. Place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Continue until all mushrooms are breaded.
- For best results, I recommend placing your breaded (raw) mushrooms into the freezer for a minimum of 30 minutes. This step helps the breading to adhered to the mushrooms.
- While your mushrooms are chilling in the freezer, preheat your deep fryer to 350F with lard or other cooking fat of your choice.
- Working in small batches, deep fry breaded mushrooms (directly from the freezer/frozen) for 2-3 minutes or until crispy. Larger, thicker pieces make take 3-5 minutes.
- Transfer fried maitake mushrooms to plate lined with a paper towel and season to taste with salt.