Fried Morel Mushrooms

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Fried morels, where have you been all my life? Seriously. I have eaten morels for decades, but only recently have I experienced the glory of the fried morel. I am not looking back.

Frying morels in flour, breading or batter is the go-to method of eating these most coveted of springtime mushrooms for most of North America. But not where I live, in the Pacific West.

A platter of fried morels
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Here we tend to sauté them with other spring vegetables and toss them into pasta, make risotto or somesuch. I looked down on fried morels for a long time… until I finally had some. I was wrong. Simple? You bet. But so, so good.

The secret is the coating on the mushroom. A good breading or batter will not only give you a nice crunch, but it will protect the morel inside, which will cook not by contact with the hot oil, but by steaming from within. Few other methods really highlight the actual flavor and texture of morel mushrooms.

But know that there’s a trick to this: You need a substantial breading or batter. Just a quick dip in flour isn’t good enough to get this effect. The reason is because you need to fry your morels for longer than you’d think because morels must be fully cooked to be safe to eat. Raw morels will send most people to the hospital.

Undercooked morels will send many of you to the porcelain bowl. How long? Hard to say, but 6 minutes per morel seems to work fine. To get there, you actually don’t want to fry your morels at ragingly hot temperatures; 325°F to 350°F is the sweet spot.

My breading of choice is flour, then egg wash, then flour one more time. I like this because it’s thick enough to get you that awesome steaming effect, but it’s not so thick that it’s all batter, like a beer batter would be. Tempura is another good choice. You could also use finely milled cornmeal, normally sold as “fish fry.” After all, some people call morels “dry land fish.”

Serve your fried morels very simply. After all, this is the culmination of long hours hunting for your quarry and you want to let them shine. You want something for tartness, though. I like lemon wedges, but malt vinegar is another good choice. Oh, and beer. Lots of beer.

Closeup of fried morels
4.58 from 45 votes

Fried Morel Mushrooms

Fried morels can be done in several ways, but I prefer this method. Be sure to cook them for at least 6 to 8 minutes, however, because undercooked morel mushrooms can give some people an upset stomach. You can also do this recipe with regular button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, or "pinks," which are wild meadow mushrooms.
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 people
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 12 ounces to 1 pound fresh morels
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Lard, butter or vegetable oil for frying

Instructions 

  • Slice large morels in half lengthwise and keep small ones whole. Drop the mushrooms into a bowl of cool water and shake them around a bit to let any debris fall out of the little nooks and crannies in them. Remove from the water and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Put the flour and all the seasonings in a bowl. Whisk together the milk and eggs in another bowl.
  • Pour enough oil, or lard or butter, into a large sauté pan to come up about 1/2 inch. You are shallow-frying your morels, like when you fry chicken. Heat this to at least 325°F and I prefer 350°F.
  • As the oil is heating, dust the morels in the seasoned flour. When the oil is hot, dip enough morels to fit into your sauté pan -- in one layer without touching each other -- into the egg wash, then into the flour once more. Shake off the excess flour and fry. You want the morels to be fully cooked so fry them for at least 3 to 4 minutes per side, adjusting the heat so they don't burn. If your heat's at the right spot, it all should sound like frying bacon.
  • When they're done, move the morels to a paper towel to drain. If you have a lot of morels to fry, put the paper towel in a baking sheet and set that in the oven set to "warm." Serve your morels with lemon wedges and lots of beer.

Nutrition

Calories: 311kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 1809mg | Potassium: 509mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 168IU | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 14mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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77 Comments

    1. DNV: Undercooked morels can be toxic, and raw morels are very toxic, and there are many species of false morels that are toxic, too.

    2. There are mildly poisenous morel look alike mushroom- look exactly like morel in color and shading but not spongy, just solid smooth flesh. I’ve only seen them small 2 in. or smaller.

    1. Perry: Yes, but only after sauteing. You can’t freeze uncooked morels, as they turn to mush when they thaw.

    2. Best way to preserve them is to dehydrate them. we do it every year. When you want to eat some just soak them in water for a few minutes and they puff right up.

    3. I actually dredge mine and then freeze them in a single layer on parchment. Once frozen solid i bag them. The trick is to make sure you do NOT thaw them before frying. Throw them into hot oil straight out of the freezer. They’re never mushy this way. Taste just like fresh.

  1. This is our go to recipe for morel mushrooms. This is the first thing my family asks me to cook when we find them.

  2. Oh oh, I washed my morels and my family has already gone to bed! Now what? If I dry them with a paper towel, will they keep until tomorrow night?

  3. Turned out delicious. All about battering and frying them right. Light and delicious. Not too much seasoning not too much batter. And your descriptiveness on the recipe didn’t leave any question. Awesome. Well worth the 6 hours I spent climbing up and down mountains in Maryland. Gotta love Appalachia.

  4. I use cracker crumbs a little course after dipping in egg and milk mixed together. Then fry in butter in hot skillet.

  5. These were amazing! Thank you so much for sharing the method as well as the breading recipe. I’ve apparently been frying too hot! I used butter and it was great. Yummy!!

  6. Way too much salt and way to much batter. My family wouldn’t even eat them and normally we love them! I’m sticking to my tried and true recipe of just salt, pepper, cornmeal and flour!
    Had to trash them and what a waste!

  7. Hello Hank,
    Since I could get fresh morels from the nearby Vosges mountain today, I will try them the way you suggest.
    We love this mushroom. The european variety seems to be a bit different from what I see in your pictures.
    A very traditional recipe from my father‘s ancestral home, the Jura mountains is

    Morels filled with pork sausage

    We have these often. Strangely, funnyly, I found a very similar recipe for filled morels in Andy Warhol‘s wonderful cookbook!
    Sincerely
    Alain

  8. My grandfather knew all of the secret and best places to find Morels and I grew up looking forward to the annual spring “mushroom fry”. He would some years bring back bushel baskets of them. Grandma cooked almost exactly as your recipe documents. There’s one thing that you didn’t mention that Gram would swear by and that’s you have to use a well seasoned cast iron skillet to really make the magic happen.

  9. I hope I screwed something up too. Southern Wisconsin yellows used for me and I didn’t get any of the mushroom flavor to come through. Love that that they didn’t shrink up like they usually do with the simple butter salt and pepper frying method but not enough flavor came through for me.

  10. Hank, Thanks for the insight. Yes, these were burn morels and they were on the small side. I’ll try in one more time and I’ll try and limit the amount of flour used.

  11. Not sure why, but mine came out terrible. No morel flavor at all. Just fried flour, like bad calamari. Huge disappointment. I’m a fan of your recipes and other comments were positive. So what did I do wrong? BTW, I used an instant thermometer and kept to fresh oil at 350.

    1. Mark: Hard to say. Sometimes if you use the very thin-walled burn morels in the West, they are not meaty enough to stand up to the flour-and-fry method. This is a Midwestern preparation, and their blonde morels are sturdier. That’s about the only think I can think of.

  12. I tried this recipe last week after collecting some really fresh morels. I now understand how crisping the outside and steaming the inside makes for a better fried mushroom. Alas, I didn’t have any beer or lemons on hand to go with the morels. I’ll be better prepared next time.

    Thanks Hank!

  13. I always roll morels in fine cracker crumbs after the egg. It adds much more flavor than more flour. I use whole wheat saltines though any favorite cracker will work. Be sure they are very fine. I use a heavy rolling pin with the crackers in a large zip lock bag.

  14. never take a friend to your favorite spot or you may have to snuff them when you find out they went back without you.