Can You Eat Mushrooms Raw: Answered

Whatever the case, you may prefer to eat raw mushrooms, or at least be thinking about it. You may consider that once upon a time, people used to just eat what they could find, and surely mushrooms were a part of that menu, right? 

A lot of restaurants will have menus with a salad that contains mushrooms in it, so, you would probably assume it is okay to eat mushrooms raw. 

We do need to look into it though. 

Can You Eat Mushrooms Raw

A majority of white mushrooms, button mushrooms, and shiitake mushrooms are all fine to be chowing down on. You can often find them raw in plenty of salads in some very posh restaurants. 

However, it is not always okay to eat mushrooms raw and that is what we are going to talk to you about today. You need to consider a few factors when you want to eat a raw mushroom. 

Top Smoothie Tip: If you want to put a mushroom in a smoothie, consider organic mushroom powder for some additional nutrition and ease!

Are Mushrooms Better For You Cooked Or Raw?

We have already spoken about some mushrooms which you can definitely eat raw or cooked, which are regularly consumed in restaurants and at our dinner tables at home. 

Before you cook up a mushroom if you are unsure if you should have it cooked or raw, consider first if it is better for you to eat them raw or cooked. 

We will look at this in a moment, but let’s first confirm what we already know you are suspect.

Generally cooked mushrooms are much healthier for you. They also have anti-cancer properties, so when you cook these mushrooms, the nutrients that do absorb into your body much better. 

This being said, they do lose a significant amount of water mass when you cook them, so they will also lose some of these nutrients too. Thus, when eating cooked mushrooms, you need a larger helping of them.

Why Is It A Tricky Answer?

Can You Eat Mushrooms Raw

This answer kind of conflicts with itself doesn’t it? Yes. This is because when you cook mushrooms or eat them raw, you would generally think they contain the same amount of nutrients, right? Well, sadly, a majority of mushrooms are actually losing their nutrition when they are cooked. 

However, there is an important factor that explains why eating a raw mushroom is not as healthy as eating a cooked mushroom. You see, pretty much everything that is growing or living will have cells within. 

Inside these cells, nutrition is found. 

Raw mushrooms have much tougher walls to protect these cells, and the walls make digesting the nutrition in a raw mushroom much more difficult. To put it simply, when you eat a mushroom raw, the nutrients inside it are significantly more difficult for your body to digest.

The Benefits Of Eating Cooked Mushrooms & Raw Mushrooms

Regardless of whether you are eating a mushroom cooked or raw, there are plenty of benefits or pros. So, let’s take a look at this. 

  • Mushrooms are very rich in antioxidants
  • Mushrooms also contain potassium and a lot of vitamins as well, which are essential and all targeted towards helping keep your body fighting fit and healthy. 
  • In relation to antioxidants, mushrooms also contain a property that when consumed, aids in fighting off cancers.

What Are The Side Effects Of Eating Mushrooms Raw?

While there are plenty of benefits to eating mushrooms, however, there are side effects as well, or cons, if you will. Note that these negatives are not true of every mushroom, but we are talking about mushrooms as a whole here. 

  • Some mushrooms may contain toxins. These toxins are often much more potent when mushrooms are raw. These toxins have the ability to impact your immune system, and some can have even more dire side effects as well. 
  • Some mushrooms will also contain pathogens and bacteria. The bacteria you may find inside these mushrooms can have an impact on your digestive system, and it could even lead to food poisoning. Which we all want to avoid.

Remember that not every mushroom will have effects like these, but you should always consider it before you eat mushrooms raw. Especially if they are not purchased from a superstore.

Are Raw Mushrooms Deadly?

This might sound dramatic, to wonder if a mushroom could kill you, but it is not actually dramatic at all. Know, however, that not all mushrooms are made equal, and some mushrooms are not safe to eat. 

Let’s consider what you should and shouldn’t eat when it comes to mushrooms and why. 

But first, can you eat a mushroom without it killing you? 

Of course, you can. 

However, some mushrooms are toxic to humans. They contain poisonous toxins which can be extremely harmful to us, however, most of these will be found in the wild. You should always double-check what mushroom you are looking at and if it is safe or unsafe to eat raw or cooked. 

Some mushrooms can even be deadly raw, and some are just straight-up deadly, raw, or cooked. 

Why Shouldn’t You Eat Wild Mushrooms?

As tempting as they look, do not go eating mushrooms in the wild, not unless you’re a mushroom expert. A lot of wild mushrooms look alike, and therefore you could easily perceive a mushroom as being safe when it is actually poisonous. 

Sadly this can actually lead to some super serious side effects. Some of these repercussions could be minor, but some could be fatal, and are you really willing to take that chance? 

If you are not a mushroom pro then you should not be going out looking for wild mushrooms to eat. Even if you are stranded and come across some, we still do not recommend even thinking about picking them!

Eating Raw Mushrooms While Pregnant: Okay Or Not?

Some foods are just not safe to consume during pregnancy, mushrooms are one of these. Some mushrooms may be safe to eat while pregnant, but you should not risk it. 

Most of the nutrients in mushrooms will not be easily digestible when raw anyway, however, you would be risking toxins entering your body, and hurting you and your baby. 

This may not be the case for you, or for every mushroom, but always follow your doctor’s and midwives advice when pregnant

Does Cooking Mushrooms Eliminate Bacteria?

We have been cooking our food for a long time, so our bodies are just used to cooking food, instead of raw food. It was just an adaptation as we evolved. However, this is not always true when we face vegetables. 

Mushrooms and vegetables do have bacteria in them, this does mean they may also contain pathogens. When you cook food it removes it. So, while we can eat these things raw, it is not always wise to do so, especially if you have a compromised immune system.

Can You Get Rid Of Toxins By Cooking Mushrooms?

Now, it is important to ask if toxins get destroyed by heat as bacteria do. 

Toxins in mushrooms will not like heat, so as the mushrooms are heated, the toxins within will die. 

Mushrooms can contain Hydrazine, and Formaldehyde, both of which are killed off as soon as they are heated up. In fact, this is extremely important and is exactly why you should heat up mushrooms. 

Formaldehyde itself is especially dangerous and has been linked to some cancers!

Feeling Fungi

closed cup mushroom

Know that not all mushrooms are dangerous, the ones found in superstores are typically just fine, however, if you do want to eat a mushroom raw, you may be receiving less nutrition than if you were to cook it. 

If you just enjoy mushrooms raw, always clean the mushrooms first and make sure they are safe. Should you be pregnant, always ask your doctor for a diet list first. 


Fungi FAQs:

Can You Eat Raw Mushrooms In Salad?

Fresh mushrooms bought from grocery stores, superstores, or markets are safe to eat be they raw or cooked. Cremini, Enoki, white mushrooms, portabellas, shiitake, and so on are all safe to consume.

Is Eating Raw Mushrooms Good For You?

No, not really. Raw mushrooms have thick cell walls which make them harder to digest and block off the nutrition

Can You Eat Chestnut Mushrooms Raw?

Chestnut mushrooms can be served cooked or raw, but it is still better to eat them cooked, for the nutrients.

How Can You Tell A Mushroom Is Poisonous?

To tell if a mushroom is a poisonous look at the gills on the cap underside. Poisonous mushrooms will have gills that are free of the stem, whereas edible ones will be attached to the stem.


To summarize quickly, it’s best practice to just eat cooked mushrooms rather than raw. You can of course be totally safe eating some mushroom varieties raw, but your body will have a hard time digesting them.
Next time you are in a dilemma, just cook your mushrooms!

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