Why Mushrooms on Steak is a Match Made in Heaven
Mushrooms on steak is a classic pairing for good reason. Mushrooms provide an umami flavor that complements the hearty richness of steak. The porcini mushroom in particular is known for its savory and slightly smoky flavor that enhances beef.
Mushrooms also add moisture to steak. As meat cooks, it loses juices. Mushrooms, which are about 90% water, release some of their moisture as they cook, keeping the steak tender and plump.
Nutritionally, mushrooms boost the health benefits of steak. Mushrooms are low in calories but high in B vitamins, copper, selenium, antioxidants and other nutrients. When combined with steak, they create a balanced meal that provides high-quality protein along with important micronutrients.
For the most robust and savory flavor, meaty mushrooms varieties like cremini, shiitake and porcini should be paired with equally hearty cuts of steak such as ribeye, New York strip, or filet mignon. Sautéing the mushrooms in butter or olive oil and serving them over the top of the steak allows their rich flavors to soak into the meat. A splash of red wine or balsamic vinegar added to the mushrooms helps cut through the richness of the dish.
Types of Mushrooms to Elevate Your Steak
There are many varieties of mushrooms that pair excellently with steak. Some of the best options include:
Cremini mushrooms are similar to white button mushrooms but slightly darker in color and richer in flavor. Creminis have an earthy, nutty flavor that complements beef.
Shiitake mushrooms have a robust, savory flavor with subtle notes of garlic and nuts. Shiitakes contain lentinan, a compound that may help boost the immune system and fight cancer cells.
Oyster mushrooms have a delicate texture and mild oyster-like flavor. They contain vitamin D, B vitamins and minerals like potassium, phosphorus and magnesium.
Oyster mushrooms also contain compounds that may help lower cholesterol.
|Mushroom Type||Description||Complementary Steak Cuts|
|Cremini||Rich, nutty flavor||Ribeye, strip steak|
|Shiitake||Umami-rich, garlicky flavor||New York strip, filet mignon|
|Oyster||Mild, oyster-like flavor||Filet mignon, flank steak|
|Porcini||Intense, savory flavor||Ribeye, strip steak|
|White button||Subtle, earthy flavor||Sirloin, T-bone steak|
Porcini mushrooms are prized for their savory, umami-rich flavor. Dried porcinis in particular impart an intense nutty and slightly smoky flavor. Porcinis are high in protein and contain compounds that may help reduce inflammation.
White button mushrooms have an subtle earthy flavor and meaty texture. They are high in B vitamins and copper, a mineral important for red blood cell formation and nerve health. White buttons work well with most cuts of steak but are especially complementary to chewier, robust cuts like sirloin or T-bone.
Using a blend of 3-4 mushroom varieties creates layers of flavors and textures that make the perfect topping for steak. Sautéing the mushrooms in butter, olive oil or beef tallow allows their flavors to intensify before serving them over the steak. Seasoning the mushrooms generously with salt and pepper locks in moisture and enhances their natural savory flavor.
The Perfect Mushroom Sauce Recipe for Steak
A rich mushroom sauce is the ideal accompaniment for steak. This recipe combines meaty mushrooms, garlic, shallots and red wine into a creamy sauce bursting with savory flavor.
-1 pound cremini, shiitake or oyster mushrooms, sliced
-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
-2 shallots, diced
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1/2 cup dry red wine such as Pinot Noir or Merlot
-1 cup low-sodium beef or vegetable broth
-1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
-1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
-Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, shallots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender, about 8 minutes.
- Add the red wine and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until reduced by about half, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, the thyme and Dijon mustard. Use an immersion blender to puree about half the mushrooms for a thicker sauce, if desired. Alternatively, puree half the sauce in batches in a blender and return to the skillet.
- Season with salt and pepper. Serve the mushroom sauce over steak or another hearty protein such as chicken or plant-based patties.
- For extra richness, stir in 2 tablespoons of heavy cream, coconut milk or other dairy or non-dairy milk along with the Dijon mustard. The mushroom sauce can be made up to 2 days in advance and reheated before serving.
•Use a mixture of mushrooms for more complex flavor. Porcini or shiitake mushrooms work well for intensifying the savory and umami flavors.
•For a thinner sauce, use vegetable or chicken broth instead of beef broth. For a gluten-free option, use tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.
•Add other aromatics like diced celery or carrots for extra flavor and nutrition. Fresh or sun-dried tomatoes also pair nicely.
•Splash of balsamic or truffle oil adds a pop of sweet and earthy flavor. Spoon the mushroom sauce over mashed potatoes, polenta or egg noodles for a heartwarming meal.
Grilled Steak with Mushroom Topping Recipe
This recipe combines ribeye steak, a flavorful mushroom topping and your choice of sides for a complete meal. Ribeye steak has excellent marbling that keeps it juicy when grilled. The mushroom topping, made of cremini, shiitake and oyster mushrooms sautéd in garlic herb butter, adds savory flavor and nutrition.
For the steak:
-2 bone-in ribeye steaks, about 1 1/2 inches thick
-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
-Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the mushroom topping:
-1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
-1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
-1/2 pound oyster mushrooms, separated
-1/4 cup unsalted butter
-2 shallots, minced
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, rosemary, oregano and/or sage
-Salt and freshly ground black pepper
-Grilled or roasted potatoes, corn, asparagus, Brussels sprouts
-Warm bread to soak up juices
- Bring the ribeye steaks to room temperature. Rub both sides of the steaks generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a lightly oiled cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the steaks and cook without moving until nicely browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook until the other side is browned and the center reaches your desired doneness, another 3 to 5 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer to a platter and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, garlic and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms release their moisture, about 8 minutes.
- Stir in the fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the herbs are fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Remove from the heat.
- Serve the mushroom topping over the top of the grilled ribeye steaks with your choice of sides. Enjoy!
Tips: For extra flavor, use mushrooms that have been dried – they will rehydrate in the butter and garlic and intensify the savory mushroom flavor. Browning the ribeyes in a skillet before grilling also adds more flavor. Pair the meal with a bold red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec.
How to Properly Cook Steak with Mushrooms
Cooking steak with mushrooms requires a two-step process: First, cook the steak to your desired doneness, then make the mushroom topping.
To cook the perfect steak:
- Bring a ribeye, strip steak or filet mignon to room temperature before cooking. Rub both sides with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Heat some oil in a cast iron skillet (or outdoor grill) over medium-high heat until very hot and shimmering. For medium-rare, cook a 1 1/2-inch thick steak 4 to 5 minutes per side.
- Flip the steak only once while cooking. Let the steak rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving to allow the juices to redistribute.
For the mushroom topping:
- Melt 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms such as cremini, shiitake, oyster and shiitake; cook until tender and browned, about 8 minutes.
- Add minced shallots and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in fresh or dried herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano or sage. Cook 30 seconds more.
- Remove from heat and season the mushrooms generously with salt and pepper. Drain excess moisture before serving over the steak.
- For extra richness, stir in a splash of cream, broth or truffle oil. A squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice also adds brightness.
Tips for the perfect steak and mushrooms:
•Use a neutral high-heat cooking oil with a high smoke point like canola or sunflower oil.
•Don’t crowd the mushrooms in the pan, which causes them to steam rather than brown. Cook them in batches if needed.
•Cook the mushrooms just before serving and spoon them over the rested steak. The juices from the steak will soak into the mushrooms, enriching their flavor.
•Flip the steak only once while it’s cooking. Repeated flipping causes moisture loss.
•For rare steak, cook about 3 minutes per side. For well done, cook 8-9 minutes per side.
•Let the steak rest before serving so the juices redistribute. Don’t cut into it immediately.
•Season the mushrooms and steak very generously with salt and pepper. The salt enhances the savory flavors.
Health Benefits of Adding Mushrooms to Your Steak
Mushrooms provide nutritional benefits that complement steak. While steak supplies high-quality protein, mushrooms contain B vitamins, copper, potassium, antioxidants and other nutrients.
B vitamins: Mushrooms are a source of B vitamins, including riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5) and folate (B9). B vitamins help convert food into energy, maintain healthy skin and muscles, and make red blood cells. Adding mushrooms to steak helps provide a balance of B vitamins.
Copper: Mushrooms contain copper, a mineral important for red blood cell production, bone health, and for breaking down iron in the body. Steak also contains copper, so pairing the two foods helps meet your daily needs.
Potassium: Mushrooms are high in potassium, which helps maintain blood pressure, muscle contractions, and ph levels in the body. A 3-ounce serving of mushrooms contains 10 to 15% of the Daily Value, adding that to your steak.
Antioxidants: Mushrooms contain antioxidants like ergothioneine that protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Mushrooms have high natural levels due to their exposure to light and oxygen during growth. Eating mushrooms regularly may help reduce the risk of some diseases.
|Nutrient||Amount in 3 ounces mushrooms||Amount in 3 ounces ribeye steak|
|B vitamins (riboflavin, niacin,etc)||20-40% DV||30-50% DV|
|Copper||10% DV||15% DV|
|Potassium||10-15% DV||5% DV|
|Antioxidants (ergothioneine, phenolic compounds,etc)||Significant amounts||Negligible amounts|
The nutritional benefits of mushrooms and steak are enhanced when consumed together in a meal. Mushrooms help round out the nutrients of steak, providing antioxidants, B vitamins, minerals and additional protein.
Adding mushrooms to steak also enhances the overall flavor experience. The savory, umami flavors of mushrooms pair perfectly with the hearty flavors of steak. Mushrooms add moisture, making the meal more satisfying.
For the most nutritious and delicious option, choose a variety of mushrooms to top your steak, such as cremini, shiitake and oyster mushrooms. A balanced diet containing high-quality lean proteins, whole foods and a variety of mushrooms and vegetables will provide the most benefits.
Tips and Tricks for Cooking Mushrooms on Steak
Here are some tips for cooking mushrooms to top steak:
Use a neutral high-heat oil. A neutral oil with a high smoke point like canola, sunflower or peanut oil allows you to cook at higher temperatures without burning. Save olive oil for low-heat sautés or dressings.
Don’t crowd the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms in a single layer in the pan so they get nicely browned instead of steaming. Cook them in batches if needed.
Cook mushrooms just before serving. Mushrooms continue to release moisture as they cook and stand, so cook them just before topping your steak. The juices from the rested steak will soak into the mushrooms, enhancing their flavor.
Season mushrooms generously. Mushrooms need aggressive seasoning with salt and pepper to bring out their natural savory flavor. Add salt, pepper, and even perhaps garlic or shallot to the mushrooms as they cook.
Searsteak first before roasting or grilling to build flavor. Getting a nice sear on both sides of the steak before finishing in the oven or on the grill helps it develop a flavorful crust.
Let steak rest before slicing or topping with mushrooms. Letting the steak rest for 5 to 10 minutes allows the juices to redistribute so they don’t pool when cut or topped with mushrooms.
|High-heat neutral oil||Canola, sunflower, peanut|
|Salt||Brings out savory flavors in mushrooms and enhances overall taste|
|Pepper||Adds heat and flavor to balance mushrooms|
|Garlic and shallots (optional)||Enhance savory and aromatic qualities|
|Searing steak||Creates flavorful crust before finishing with another method|
|Letting steak rest||Allows juices to redistribute so they don’t pool when cut or topped|
• Add fresh or dried herbs such as rosemary, thyme, parsley or chives to the mushrooms for extra aroma and flavor.
•Splash the mushrooms with broth, juice or wine to add more moisture as they cook.
•For extra richness, stir in a bit of cream, coconut milk or butter when the mushrooms are finished cooking.
•A squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice adds brightness to balance the earthy mushrooms and hearty steak.
•Grating fresh nutmeg, garlic or horseradish over the top of the mushrooms and steak brings spice and kick.
•Simmer the mushrooms with tomato puree or paste and serve them over steak for an umami-rich mushroom ragu.
•Stir in chopped nuts such as almonds, walnuts or pecans for added protein and crunch.
•A little truffle salt, truffle oil or fresh truffle shavings takes this dish over the top!