Portobello vs button mushrooms (they’re kinda the same)
You might want to sit down and prepare for this news.
Portobello mushrooms. Crimini mushrooms. Button mushrooms. White mushrooms. Supermarket mushrooms. Whatever you call them — they’re all the same stinkin’ mushroom.
Scientifically speaking, it’s called agaricus bisporus. And the mushroom has coined so many different common names (and appearances) due to being picked at different stages of its lifespan.
So, when we’re talking about “portobello vs button mushrooms” we’re actually comparing the same species. Buuut just like a pug vs a great dane, we can still highlight some differences.
So what is agaricus bisporus? What are the benefits? And are there any differences between crimini, button and portobello?
Introducing agaricus bisporus
When you dial up your local pizza place and order the mushroom special — chances are they’re using agaricus bisporus.
It’s believed this not-so-humble mushroom makes up to 90% of mushroom consumption in the US. And with it being the primary variety available in supermarket chains across Australia, we don’t expect the stats to be much different here.
Naturally, it grows in grasslands, fields and meadows across Europe and North America. But today, it’s the world’s most popular mushroom largely due to its suitability for commercial production.
The young immature versions of agaricus bisporus often appear white and may be known as button mushrooms, white mushrooms or common mushrooms. As they grow older, they can start to brown, commonly known as crimini, brown or portobello mushrooms.
“I was today years old when I learnt portobello, button and crimini mushrooms are all the same mushroom”
Shocking, we know.
But if you’re ready to move past that fact, let’s take a broad look at the nutrition and benefits of agaricus bisporus.
- Loaded with fibre
- Low in carbohydrates and high in protein
- Packed with vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, copper, iron and magnesium
- Rich in antioxidants which can neutralise free radicals
- High in potassium which is good for the heart, muscles and nerves
- Rich in beta-glucans which are good for heart health, blood sugar, immunity and more
- Rich in active compounds (like polysaccharides, amino acids and triterpenoids) which may have antimicrobial, antidiabetic, antifungal and anti-inflammatory effects
- Damn delicious on toast
What’s the difference — portobello mushroom vs button mushrooms vs crimini mushrooms?
As you can see, there’s no real difference between portobello, button and crimini mushrooms when it comes to their species, origin and nutrition.
But as for appearance and flavour, let’s take a closer look…
Kinda like the baby, button mushrooms are harvested in the earlier stages of the agaricus bisporus lifespan. They have a white colour with a subtle, mild, almost bland flavour — which can transform into something delightful when fried up with butter and salt (delish).
Kinda like the teens, crimini mushrooms meet halfway between button mushrooms and portobello mushrooms. They’re browner in colour and have a deeper, earthier flavour than button mushrooms — while still not being as fully developed as portobello.
Kinda like the adult, portobello is the largest, fully mature version of agaricus bisporus. It’s been given the most time to grow, allowing it to hold less moisture than button and crimini mushrooms and a stronger mushroom-y flavour.
Are cooking mushrooms medicinal?
The term “medicinal mushrooms” has surged in popularity in recent years.
They can be defined as macroscopic fungi, used in the form of extracts or powder, for medicinal and nutritional purposes. Notably, they also contain a particularly high concentration of active polysaccharides (AKA long chain carbohydrates which are really, really good for you).
So the question is, are these common supermarket mushrooms — like button, crimini and portobello — considered medicinal?
And the answer isn’t as straightforward as we’d hoped. Paul Stamets (a renowned American Mycologist) stated that “all gourmet mushrooms are medicinal” which would suggest agaricus bisporus falls into this category. Winning.
Yet at the same time, agaricus bisporus is largely used in cooking rather than as a health supplement (like powders, tinctures and capsules).
So, while most mushrooms contain powerful and nutritious compounds (ahem, we’re not talking about poisonous or psychedelic kinds) it’s expected they’ll vary in their ratios and overall benefits.
Are you looking to try something different to supermarket mushrooms?
After years of feeling like you have a wealth of different mushroom options at the supermarket — this article might come as a rude shock.
At Natura Mushrooms, we’re passionate about sharing the holistic benefits of fungi with you. And that includes fun varieties you might have never heard of — like Lion’s Mane, Turkey Tail, Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps and Maitake. There are so many more mushrooms out there when you sift through all the portobellos.
We grow, harvest and source a range of medicinal mushrooms on our 100% off-grid farm in Gippsland, Victoria. Then, we delicately extract them using a combination of hot water extraction and dual extraction methods. You can discover our range here…
- Mushroom powders (hot water extraction)
- Mushroom dual liquid extracts
- Mushroom dual liquid extracts and hemp seed oil
Still not sure? Take a look at our mushroom supplement purchasing guide to find the best solution for you.