When making duxelles, I've noticed that you have to cook the mushrooms for a substantial period of time to get any flavor that doesn't taste like boiled mushroom. First, you need a while to get all the water out of the mushrooms (probably because I usually rinse the mushrooms to get rid of the dirt), and then after you need a while to sauté the mushrooms to develop the flavours - in combination that takes ~20 min in my experience. Even then the mushrooms taste nothing like the rich mushroom flavor I get from mushroom soups in restaurants. Is this an issue with seasoning? Or do you simply have to cook them for longer?

1 Answer 1


Harold McGee debunked the myth that mushrooms absorb water when you wash or rinse them. I can't remember if it was in his book "Curious Cook" or "On Food and Cooking." So, you rinsing or washing does not really add to the issue here. Mushrooms are already 80% - 90% water. So, yes, a substantial amount of the cooking time is devoted to evaporation. After evaporation of water, you begin to get flavors from caramelization and Maillard reactions. These flavors combine with shallot, garlic, and parsley. Different mushroom varieties also bring different flavors (could be a difference between your version and the restaurant). Also, restaurants tend to rely more on caramelization and Maillard than home cooks (who tend to be less patient), and they also (in general) season more heavily.

  • There are some reports that steaming the mushrooms at the beginning will get them to soften and give up their moisture sooner so it can be reduced to concentrate the mushroom flavors.
    – Joe
    Oct 6, 2023 at 11:25
  • 1
    Covering the pan until plenty of liquid has been released accomplishes the same thing.
    – Sneftel
    Oct 6, 2023 at 12:02

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