Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

When you think of mushrooms, furry is probably not the first thing that comes to mind, but this is a mushroom that looks decidedly furry.  To me, they look like Tribbles, those purring creatures from my favorite episode of Star Trek.

Don’t you just want to pet them?  When you slice open a Lion’s Mane, the interior looks a lot like a tiny slice of cauliflower–lots of branching structure, radiating out from the base.  As you might imagine, this makes them soak up sauces with greater ferocity than your standard button mushroom. They are like delicious little flavor sponges.  All of those little branches also create a different textural experience, and this is a good “meat substitute” mushroom, when properly prepared.

I buy cultivated Lion’s Manes whenever they are available at our Farmers’ Market, from a Colorado grower called Hazel Dell.  They also grow certified organic Cinnamon Caps, Oyster Mushrooms, Shiitakes, and standard button mushrooms.  Mushrooms are one of my favorite foods, hands down, but for some reason I do not do shiitakes.  One of the rare foods I do not like.  However, give me a plate of Lion’s Mane or Oyster mushrooms, and you will make me happy.  Like many mushrooms, Lion’s Manes are considered something of a “superfood” due to their antioxidant properties, and you can buy them in powdered or extract form for medicinal purposes–but I much prefer to just eat them.  The best way to cook these is also really simple–brush them off, slice them, and cook them in some salted butter with some crushed garlic and a shake of ground white pepper.  Absolute heaven.

Update: Many people have asked where they can buy fresh Lion’s Mane Mushrooms around the country, and some readers have added helpful info in the comment sections of this post. If you know of a market in your area that carries them, please add a comment!  Oregon Mushrooms ships wild, fresh Lion’s Manes when they are available, and they are working on offering them dried.  Here’s a link to their page.

Cook them over medium-high heat and flip them just once, and the edges will get a little brown and crispy.  This, with some scrambled eggs, is one of my favorite breakfasts.  A note on cleaning: avoid washing these mushrooms whenever possible, as they will really soak up the water.  If you must wash them, be sure to squeeze them dry so they will have a chance to brown.  I clean mine by simply brushing or cutting off any debris.

Here’s my slightly more elaborate recipe, if you want to get fancy:

Lion's Mane Mushrooms with Saffron and Apples
Recipe type: Main Dish, Side Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 tart apple, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound Lion's Mane Mushrooms, brushed clean and sliced
  • A good pinch of saffron threads
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  1. Heat the butter in a 12-inch skillet, over medium-high heat. Add the apple slices and cook, stirring frequently, until the apples just start to soften (or to your desired texture).
  2. Add the mushrooms, saffron, and white pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are soft. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Thanks for reading,


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30 Responses to Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

  1. Chris of Stumptown March 23, 2013 at 11:11 pm #

    Hi Angela

    If I may ask, where did you obtain the idea to partner lion’s man and saffron? I ask because I have discovered that I really like lion’s mane and I am looking for recipes. Honestly I was quite surprised to see the combination of mushrooms and saffron, but after I thought it over, it made sense: saffron is a classic with shellfish. Now I am wondering how it might work in paella or risotto.

    A second question: if I were to make your recipe, do you think it would work well to soak the saffron in a little liquid and add that at some point? I prefer that as it seems to extract more flavor from the saffron threads.

    • Angela March 24, 2013 at 2:52 am #

      Hi Chris: The shellfish connection was definitely the thing that made me want to try the flavor pairing–and, I really love saffron, so I tend to try it in things just to see how it goes. Last year I made a saffron-buttermilk pie that I really loved, and I will make paella out of just about anything. The reason I didn’t soak the saffron was my instinct to minimize the liquid so the mushrooms would brown. However, the apples released too much moisture to let that happen, so I think soaking the saffron would maximize the flavor. Thank you for stopping by! I love people who really think about food.

      • Chris of Stumptown March 24, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

        I can tell you something from personal experience: cooked slowly in butter with leeks and red bell pepper, they are great partners with sablefish!

        Now I am wondering about mock shrimp fried rice.

        • Angela March 24, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

          Oh. My. The sablefish sounds amazing. I have used butter-poached lion’s manes in a type of fried rice dish–fantastic.

    • Louis J. Coursey, III November 20, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

      Lion’s mane mushroom and and and saffron is a powerful combination of a very effective, for many, remedy for brain injuries and patient rehabilitation. Deep sea fish that contain phosphorylated serine proteins can not only be tasty when added to this combination but may help make you feel great! My idea of using Lion’s mane and saffron came through years of research relative to nourishing and regrowing neurons. I wish you the best in healthy eating.

      • Angela November 20, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

        Thanks, Louis–I have read some interesting research about the health benefits of saffron and I think most people would benefit by adding more mushrooms to their diets. I also happen to love them, so that helps.

      • Karen May 13, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

        I’m healing from a brain injury—would love to know more….

  2. Rich May 5, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    I just used this recipe and it was fantastic. I left out the white pepper and used a non-dairy “butter”. I cooked the apples some first, then removed. Then cooked the thinly sliced Lion’s mane slowly until it was just a little brown, set on low/moderate heat. I then turned it down to low and added the saffron, then added the apples back. Nothing else was added and I took my time letting it cook. It was my first time cooking a Lions Mane and I had read that they generate a lot of water when cooking. Mine didn’t do that. The texture couldn’t have been better and the simple recipe let the gentle flavor of the mushroom come through

    • Angela May 5, 2013 at 8:52 am #

      Sounds so good! I need to get my hands on another bunch of these–so happy you had success with this.

  3. Mike T. November 10, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    I picked up a large one at one of my Farmer’s Markets and sliced it about 1/8″ thick and used it in place of pasta in a lasagna. It was EXCELLENT! Gluten and Grain Free! :-)

    • Angela Buchanan November 10, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

      Wow, that’s pretty brilliant! I have to try that.

      • cory g January 4, 2015 at 9:01 pm #

        I agree that sounds brilliant! I would love to try that! would be great as a gluten free meal. Thanks Mike T.

  4. jake summers January 11, 2014 at 10:35 am #

    This sounds amazing where can you by a Lions Mane and how much are they normally? Can’t wait to try them

    • Angela January 11, 2014 at 11:18 am #

      Jake, I get them from Hazel Dell mushrooms, which is Northern Colorado grower–not sure if they ship, however. Pacific Rim Mushrooms ships, and I know they have had them in the past. I think I paid about eleven dollars for a pound the last time I bought them–they are really wonderful, so I hope you can get your hands on some.

    • Nina Fedoroff December 28, 2014 at 11:48 am #

      The mushroom person at the DuPont Circle farmer’s market in Washington, DC, just started growing and carrying them.

      • Angela December 28, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

        Thanks for the info, Nina, I will add it to the post.

  5. Bradley April 17, 2014 at 7:25 am #

    Does anyone know of a place in Florida that sells Lions Mane Mushrooms? I have visited all but a few farmers markets in the area. I live on the west coast of Florida, in the Clearwater area, but I am not opposed to travel for these delightful treats.

    • Angela April 23, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

      Hi Bradley: I put out a message to my Florida friends, and one of them replied “I spoke with my produce guy and he said that he isnt able to get the Lions Mane mushrooms but a place called Coosemans Produce deals in specialty produce and ships everywhere and there is one in Tampa.” So I hope that helps!

  6. Christina October 7, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

    Hi, we ship wild lions mane to anyone in the United States, we ship to all 50 states. We only have them when they are wild, we do not have them cultivated unfortunately. I honestly think that wild lions man is much better tasting.

    • Angela October 7, 2014 at 6:16 pm #

      Christina, thanks so much, I will pass this on!

  7. Tammy Brewer December 30, 2014 at 10:52 am #

    Totally agree that the wild lions mane is the best but we grow them cultivated and other Gourmets like the Oysters and Shiitakes. Contact us at to place an order. We grow to your order. May take up to 3 weeks. Thanks

    • Angela December 30, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

      Thanks, Tammy, I know a lot of people will appreciate this info.

  8. Maria January 2, 2015 at 7:56 pm #

    In the Albany, NY area, Mariaville Mushroom Men sell cultivated Lion’s Mane in several area farmers’ markets. Here’s the link to the markets they go to: I don’t know if they ship.

    • Angela January 2, 2015 at 8:47 pm #

      Thanks, Maria!

  9. Laurel March 7, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

    We just had a fresh lion’s mane mushroom from the New Hampshire Mushroom Company — delicious! They are USDA certified organic. Here’s a link for those in the NH area: I cooked it sliced at medium temp (electric stove) in grapeseed oil, then added kale and pasta sauce. Yum.

    • Angela March 7, 2015 at 7:19 pm #

      Thanks for the info, Laurel!

  10. Chris March 14, 2015 at 8:56 am #

    I picked up some Lion’s Mane this morning at the Public Market in Rochester, NY. There is a mushroom emporium, Smugtown Mushrooms, just down Railroad Street from the market. Think I may try this recipe!

    • Angela March 14, 2015 at 9:45 am #

      Thanks for the info, Chris!

  11. David March 25, 2015 at 6:03 pm #

    I am trying this recipe this weekend. What items will pair well with it?

    • Angela March 26, 2015 at 10:09 am #

      David, it works well as a side dish with fish or meat, but it also works well on its own as a main course (the texture is really meaty). In that case a simple salad is a nice side.

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