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Pickled Maitake Mushrooms Recipe

These Pickled Maitake Mushrooms (aka Hen of the woods mushrooms or Sheep’s head mushrooms) are hands down the best way to enjoy a bountiful year of fall foraging! Perfectly balanced tart with a hint of sweet makes for the perfect pickled mushroom side dish, appetizer or even to snack on right out of the fridge!

Pickled Maitake Mushrooms {aka Sheepshead or Hen of the Woods}

It was love at first bite for me and I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve already eaten 2 quart jars of these Pickled Maitake Mushrooms this year! So much for preserving them for later, right??

And let’s not ignore the fact that they are an absolutely breathtaking display in the jar – don’t you agree??

Pickled Maitake Mushrooms {aka Sheepshead or Hen of the Woods}

My mouth is watering as I type…..

I know this recipe may not intrigue many of you, but for those of you whom share our passion for wild foraged mushrooms, this is recipe for Pickled Maitake Mushrooms will quickly become your favorite.

What are Maitake Mushrooms?

Grifola frondosa (formal, latin name) is a polypore mushroom that grows in large size clusters at the base of oak trees predominately and/or dead stumps in late summer and fall (August, September, October and occasionally as late as November). You can occasionally find growing on the base of trees other than oaks, (like a maple tree) but it’s rare. They are a type of fungi that is a parasite that lives off the tree itself.

This edible mushroom is commonly known in North America and Europe as hen of the woods, hen-of-the-woods, ram’s head and sheep’s head mushrooms. Their most common look-a-like is black staining polypores, which don’t taste wonderful but also are safe to eat.

Much like chicken of the woods mushrooms (which are a bright orange/yellow color that grow ON dead trees) I consider these to be a beginner mushroom, no need to consult expert guidance if you have a basic knowledge of mushroom identification.

Pickled Maitake Mushrooms {aka Sheepshead or Hen of the Woods}

It is also known by its Japanese name maitake (舞茸, “dancing mushroom”) and is prized as a Chinese and Japanese medicinal mushroom for it’s health benefits.

It is known for both boosting the immune system and inhibiting the growth of various types of cancer cells. Additionally, maitake mushrooms have a hypoglycemic effect and may be beneficial for the management of diabetes.

Oh, and they taste AMAZING. Their earthy flavor makes them my favorite wild mushroom and I can’t wait all year to forage for this tender and delicious fungi! Now I’m craving their savory flavor, just thinking about them!!!

Pickled Maitake Mushrooms {aka Sheepshead or Hen of the Woods}

And even if you aren’t into foraging for mushrooms on your own, you can still make this amazing Hen of the Woods Recipe! You can typically find fresh cultivated Maitake Mushrooms at your local Asian grocery store, local grocery stores or try your local farmer’s markets. If you don’t see them, ASK!

How long does it take for these to pickle? Well, as hard as it is to wait – for good measure, give them at least 24 hours before you try them. The longer you wait the more tender their texture and flavorful the pickling with develop!

Pickled Maitake Mushrooms {aka Sheepshead or Hen of the Woods}

They will keep for MONTHS in the refrigerator, making them one of the easiest ways to preserve your bountiful harvest – that is if you can resist eating them all right away.

That is, if you can resist them, which obviously I can’t. This jar in the photo is the last one left of the 4 that I made this fall.

It’s taking me such extreme restraint to no eat them all.. right NOW.

And if you can’t hold back, don’t worry – these are 100% totally healthy so feel free to eat them all without any guilt!

Pickled Maitake Ingredients

These delicious marinated maitakes will become a family favorite, addictively delicous and a great way to preserve them in a unique umami flavor! This recipe also works for a variety of other mushrooms as well such as oyster mushrooms!

How to make Pickled Maitake

This is one of the easiest maitake mushroom recipes to make, with just a few basic steps. Simply clean your mushrooms, by breaking them into feathery clusters of leaves and give them a quick rinse to remove any dirt, which typically is found on the underside of the cap or “fronds” – you can use as much of the main bottom stem as you wish, making sure it is tender by breaking it apart. Thicker stems can be cute into thin steaks or as thick as 3-inch slices.

Once your mushrooms are clean, par boil in a pot of boiling water over medium-high heat & remove with a slotted spoon to drain before submerging into the marinade, aka pickling brine.

If you like this Pickled Maitake Mushroom Recipe, try these other Wild Mushrooms:

Pickled Maitake Mushrooms {aka Sheepshead or Hen of the Woods}

Pickled Maitake Mushrooms {aka Sheepshead or Hen of the Woods}

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  • In a medium sauce pot, fill 3/4 full with water. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Add cleaned maitake mushroom pieces and boil for 5 minutes. Drain, set aside to cool.
  • Combine remaining ingredients, add cooked mushrooms. Mix well.
  • Transfer to an airtight jar or other glass container. Store in the refrigerator. After 3 days you can enjoy them. They will keep for several weeks.


You can use olive oil in place of the avocado oil, but be advised it will congeal when refrigerated. Before eating your pickled mushrooms made with olive oil, you will want to let them come to room temperature first.
Avocado oil is a healthy, yet tasteless oil that does not congeal when cold.
Tried this recipe?Mention @hayley_inthekitchen or tag #hayley_inthekitchen!

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  1. I used this recipe with hen of the woods and it worked amazing! My MIL said it was the best thing she’s tasted in awhile…now, do you think this would also work with CHICKEN of the woods?? Please let me know if anyone has tried it!

  2. 5 stars
    I loved this it was a different way to use the mushrooms and it came out super yummy. I halved the recipe and didn’t have enough liquid to cover the mushrooms so next time I might make extra juice. Also really easy to make. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

    1. There are canned mushroom recipes that you can find on other sites. This recipe has not been tested for canning safety.

  3. At step 3 when you strain the mushrooms after boiling, do you not keep some of the boiled water to add to the jar? I was told that the boiled water has medicinal value, and the apply cider vinegar is a little bit too acidic with the recipe. So if you add a half a cup of that boiled water it may cut down on the acidity, and allow the ingredients to be fully submerged in the liquid water, apple cider vinegar and olive oil and last longer. What do you think of this? Thanks!.

    1. You are welcome to create your own unique custom recipe to fit your needs. Please let us know what tweaks you made and how it works out!!

  4. How many pints of canned mushrooms does the recipe (as is) make? Just trying to adjust the amount for what I’m canning. This turned out to be a HUGE year for mushrooms and I literally have 50+ lbs of maitake that I need to process! Going to use your recipe for some of those.

  5. My wife, my father and I would look for mushrooms up in Illinois. If we happen to find a sheep’s head, it was considered a prize. Oh, we always took along a gallon of wine and some cheese for a snack. Some of those sheep’s heads are immense. Miss that now that I live in Florida. Sheep’s head in Florida . . . Fat chance.

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