Puffball mushrooms are one of the more distinct varieties of edible fungi around. Although relatively uncommon in grocery stores, these shrooms have a wide forage area, are easy to identify, and have a unique texture that makes puffball mushroom recipes some of the easiest to make.
If you’ve never tried puffball before or want to get more creative in the kitchen, these are the best ways to whip up this fantastic fungus.
As Utah State University writes, the flavor of puffball mushrooms is less obvious than their appearance.
To some, the mushrooms have an absence of taste, acting as a blank palate for however you season or sauce them. Others find that puffball shrooms take the flavors of the forest, giving off a woodsy, earthen aroma and flavor that’s a touch nutty.
Puffball mushrooms are not too difficult to find when foraging, but for those who don’t make it out to wilder places often, these mushrooms are tough to come by.
According to USU, puffballs don’t keep for long and must be eaten directly after harvesting. They wouldn’t look too hot on grocery shelves.
Fortunately for foragers, the National Park Service categorizes this particular species as one of the “Foolproof Four” of edible mushrooms. It matures in late summer and early fall, and so long as mushroom hunters note the distinct characteristics of safe-to-eat fresh puffballs, they’re in for an awesome meal.
Note: you should ALWAYS ID these mushrooms with info from experienced foragers. They have some unsavory doppelgangers, which can cause harm if consumed.
Despite looking like giant marshmallows, we don’t advise eating these wild mushrooms without cooking them. Puffballs are wrapped in a tough outer skin, and the inner white flesh is dense and firm.
It’s not a bad thing, though. These characteristics make Calvatia gigantea great for cooking.
Wild foods can bring unique flavors into your kitchen, but nobody wants to eat a side dish or appetizer plate that looks like an experiment gone wrong.
One thing to know about puffballs is that they will deflate in volume when exposed to high or medium heat. This occurrence is especially likely if they aren’t coated with breading, which is why a standard recipe for sauteed puffs is less common than other fungi.
That said, the first time you cook puffballs, you’ll likely be turning them a crispy, golden brown. Puffballs are great pan-fried or deep-fried, and the all-white mushroom meat holds well for this specific purpose.
Because of the thick texture, you can also shred them up for various uses. Here are the best giant puffball mushroom recipes from around the web. All mushroom recipes have been ranked from beginning to expert!
The most difficult part of this puffball recipe might be just finding the mushrooms. Press garlic and rosemary into the flesh, then coat with olive oil and sear.
Yep, this is exactly what it sounds like: a recipe where the pizza crust is a large slice of puffball. Though not a particularly crispy crust, this recipe will offer unmatched subtle flavor and texture.
Are we sad that this recipe doesn’t include any actual mozzarella? Maybe a little. But vegans deserve good recipes too. You can even use a little leftover pizza sauce for dipping, and a squirt of lemon juice always brightens up a fry-coating.
Instead of making croquette stuffing from the puffballs, the puffballs ARE the croquette. It’s too easy. Cheese is sandwiched between two puff slices, sealed with eggwash, and coated in panko. Are you drooling? We’re drooling.
We love a vegetarian schnitzel recipe, especially one that starts by opting for gluten-free breadcrumbs. We suggest turning up the black pepper within the coating, but otherwise, this is a fun, unique recipe.
Albeit simple and worth including, this recipe is missing a few simple steps that could make the crispy coating a bit better. For one, add some flour to the parmesan when you dredge your puffball slices. Dried spices can also help bring out more flavor.
Here’s a breakfast pie recipe that doesn’t require even mushroom slices but allows for a bit of fun with the box shredder. You’re unlikely to find a morning meal with more umami.
Your fried patties will be made from slices of mushroom, coated, and fried. Be sure to work in batches and not overstuff the pan — frying foods need room to breathe. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure the oil is roaring hot before you fry, or else the coating may float off.
Unlike her schnitzel recipe, Kitchen Frau doesn’t call for large slices of puffball in this (which is what we expected). Instead, the puffballs are chopped, ground, processed, or shredded into a mix with other veggies, bonded with eggs, then fried. Yum!
A pasta sauce made from cream, shredded puffball, and parmesan cheese turns an ordinary meal into something exceptional. We recommend adding a sprinkle of crushed red pepper overtop, adding a pop of spice that raises the dish from overly decadent to well-balanced.
The majority of the cooking time in this recipe comes from allowing the mushrooms to shrink and cook off some of their natural water. After that, whipping up a sauce that you can jar and store in the freezer is a quick and easy way to store puffballs for later.
Unlike a concentrated puffball puree, this recipe has a softer taste that doesn’t need diluting. Instead, you’ll turn these ballooning shrooms into a simple dip for vegetables, french fries, or crackers.
Rather than large sheets of pasta, you can make gluten-free lasagna just by swapping it out for slices of giant shrooms. Our note: if you want to make this recipe from scratch, plan in advance as it calls in sub-recipes for bechamel & tomato sauce. Hit the grocery to cut some prep time.
You might not have all the ingredients on hand for this one, but tracking them down is worth it. The author calls for puffies “sliced in half,” but we recommend diced mushrooms that mirror the shape and size of tofu cubes you might use in a recipe like this.
This recipe can be another tough one, requiring a dehydrated mushroom powder made from puffballs. If you have the time and equipment, we can’t think of a cooler way to use them.
If there’s anybody who knows a thing or two about how to make the most from your puffball mushrooms, it’s the Forager Chef, Alan Bergio. Along with tips for dehydrating them into a powder for later use, this puffball puree turns a notoriously hard-to-store mushroom into a decadent topping for steak, burgers, or even a regular sandwich.
Parisienne gnocchi is made from pate a choux dough, one of the most straightforward gnocchi dumplings you can make by hand. In this case, the recipe is expert level as it requires having pre-dehydrated the puffballs ahead of time for mushroom flour.
In the recipe time, Forager Chef doesn’t include that you need 3-4 days for your puffballs to soak up the marinade. Keep that in mind, and you’re on the road to easy vegan jerky.
There are loads of ways to cook these shrooms, but fewer ways to store them and keep them fresh. So, prepare as many of the best puffball mushroom recipes as possible and enjoy the fruits of your forage.