Healthy Eating: Is It Safe To Eat Raw Mushrooms?

Many people serve raw mushrooms in salads at restaurants and during banquets at parties. But, are they really safe for consumption? Keep reading to find out what food safety experts have to say regarding the matter.

By Cookist

Eating mushrooms that are commonly served raw is usually safe however it is easier to digest them when they are cooked.

Anybody can eat mushrooms raw if they can stomach them however this is not always the most appealing way to enjoy them. Note that every mushroom they sell in stores is safe to eat raw or cooked.

Mushrooms like white mushrooms, cremini, portabellas and enoki can be enjoyed raw and are commonly used to make salads or consumed with a dip.

It's much simpler for you to eat mushrooms raw however those people may prefer the cooked ones because of some factors. For instance, cooked mushrooms have a soft texture while raw ones have a spongy one.

They also have an earthy taste compared to their cooked counterparts. This is why it is always best to think twice before using them raw in some food recipes.


Mushrooms like portabella and cremini have stems that can be hard to chew when raw so it is advised that you remove the stems if you plan to eat them raw.

Can humans digest raw mushrooms? 


Yes. This is because human stomachs contain something called chitinase, a substance that can break down chitin to a limited degree.

Mushroom cell walls are made of this chitin, which is also found in the shells of crabs and lobsters. Unfortunately, it is believed that the chitinase in the human stomach primary function is to get rid of chitin-based parasites and not to break down chitin.

So while humans can digest mushrooms, raw ones take more time and are harder to extract nutrients from. On the other hand, cooking mushrooms will help break down the chitinous cell wall and release the needed nutrients that humans can then absorb.

Raw Mushrooms are great if you want that fibre in your diet but know that eating mushrooms raw means missing out on other medicinal and nutritional benefits.

Some examples of mushrooms you can eat raw include: shiitake mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, and lion's mane.

Mushrooms that should not be eaten raw include reishi mushrooms, honey mushrooms and morel mushrooms.

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