Ready To Grow Delicious Mushrooms At Home? These 8 Kits Make It Easy
You can cultivate tomatoes, basil, and eggplants at home—why not mushrooms? These superfood fungi are packed with fiber, protein, and antioxidants, but they can get pricey at the grocery store. Luckily, there are kits that make growing them yourself practically foolproof.
From button to portobello to shiitake, your home-cooking menus are about to get a serious (and affordable) upgrade with these expert-recommended mushroom grow kits.
How to grow mushrooms at home.
While some mushrooms are easier to cultivate than others, there is a wide variety that can be grown at home. "Growing from kits is the easiest way to go, and ideal for first-timers," explains Britt Bunyard, the co-author of The Beginner's Guide to Mushrooms.
With a mushroom kit, you also won't have to worry about the animals and pests wreaking havoc on your outdoor garden. These kits make it simple to grow mushrooms right in your own kitchen (or even inside a closet!).
Mushroom kits often include everything you'll need to get growing. To get them started, you'll need just a little water and a small amount of space. "Most mushrooms grow with dappled sunlight, so a small 12-inch-by-6-inch spot on your kitchen counter works perfectly," says Alex Dorr, mycology expert and founder of Mushroom Revival Inc.
"Most grow kits include a 'myceliated block,' which is the mycelium (roots of the mushroom) growing over a substrate (most likely a hardwood sawdust), which creates a hardened 'block,' which mushrooms grow from," Dorr adds. When conditions are right, "pins," or baby mushrooms, will begin to grow and the mushrooms can double in size each day.
What to look at when choosing a grow kit:
- Type of mushroom: With so many easy-to-use kits available these days, Brandy Hall, founder and managing director of Shades of Green Permaculture, says the most important thing to look for in a kit is the type of mushroom you like to eat. "From oyster to shiitake to Lion's mane, you can find a kit for just about any type," says Hall.
- Ease of use: From there, you'll want to think about your experience level growing mushrooms. "Some kits are one-step: You simply open the package (you may need to soak with water), and growth immediately ensues. This kind of kit requires no other materials, tools, nor skills," says Bunyard. Meanwhile, if you do want a more hands-on approach, other kits may require inoculating a separate substrate that is not included with the kit.
- Size: Then, consider how many 'shrooms you're hoping to get your hands on. Some kits will produce one "flush," or harvest, of mushrooms, while others can produce multiple flushes, Dorr explains.
- Growing conditions: Additionally, you'll want to look at the growing conditions necessary before choosing a kit. While most kits can be used most anywhere, some do require more or less humidity or particular low-light conditions. You want to make sure you're set up for success from the beginning.
- Warranties & guarantees: "I'd also recommend buying your kit from a reputable retailer or company to ensure the quality is there," says Hall.
The 8 best mushroom growing kits of 2023.
For those ready to dive into growing edible fungi in their own home, here are mushroom and gardening experts' favorite mushroom kits at the moment. Whether you're looking to grow a large harvest to feed a group, are dabbling in mushroom growing for the first time, or want to branch out into more unique varieties like Lion's mane, there's a kit that's right for you.
- Best all-around: Back to the Roots Organic Mushroom Grow Kit
- Best for a stunning meal: Forest Origins Pink Oyster Mushroom Grow Kit
- Best for shiitakes: Root Mushroom Farm Store Shiitake Mushroom Growing Kit
- Best for families: Willow Mountain Baby Bella Mushroom Growing Kit
- Best for pizza lovers: Mushroom Adventures White Button Mushroom Growing Kit
- Best for an outdoor garden: North Spore Wine Cap Sawdust Spawn
- Best for beginners: Smallhold Blue Oyster Grow Kit
- Best for basement growing: Field & Forest Lion's Mane Table Top Farm
Best all-around: Back to the Roots Organic Mushroom Grow Kit
This kit was mentioned again and again by mushroom experts, so we went straight to Back to the Roots' co-founder and co-CEO, Nikhil Arora, to learn more about this iconic mushroom growing tool.
"We fell in love with the magic of growing our own mushrooms—it was so fast, easy, and sustainable," Arora tells mbg. "After a few years of farming them and selling them to restaurants, grocery stores, and farmers markets, we realized we could shrink down what we were doing into a tabletop experience to help anyone, anywhere discover that same wonder of growing their own gourmet mushrooms."
Back to the Roots provides everything you need during the incubation process, and Arora guarantees there's absolutely no green thumb required to successfully grow mushrooms using this organic kit.
Back to the Root Organic Mushroom Grow Kit ($28.96)
Best for a stunning meal: Forest Origins Pink Oyster Mushroom Grow Kit
For a mushroom that's as pretty as it is tasty, try growing Pink Oyster. This mushroom, which grows quickly in clusters, starts out in a vibrant coral pink color, then fades as it becomes ready to harvest. The mushroom caps will curl as it matures, after about seven days or so.
This kit, which comes on a "log," has to be watered frequently, particularly as the growth picks up, but once they're ready to harvest, get ready for a delicious mushroom that tastes a bit like seafood according to some spore connoisseurs.
Forest Origins, Pink Oyster Mushroom Grow Kit ($29.99)
Best for shiitakes: Root Mushroom Farm Store Shiitake Mushroom Growing Kit
If you love the chewy, buttery taste of shiitake mushrooms, then this kit from Root Mushroom Farm Store is for you. The pre-inoculated log should be used as soon as it arrives, and, with water and the humidity tent properly set up, pins will begin to form fast. You could enjoy two to three flushes out of this one kit.
Shiitakes are a favorite of home cooks, and they're used in a variety of cuisines. An added bonus: These meaty mushrooms are known for supporting immunity and heart health.
Root Mushroom Farm Store, Shiitake Mushroom Growing Kit ($36.99)
Best for families: Willow Mountain Baby Bella Mushroom Growing Kit
This easy-to-use kit from Willow Mountain is all about quantity, growing up to four pounds of mushrooms within four to six weeks. Aaditya Bhatta, editor and founder of Plantscraze, tells mbg, "The larger-than-average Willow Mountain kit produces a higher yield of mushrooms, making it ideal for a large family or for cooking for multiple dinners."
Willow Mountain custom-makes each kit and ships fresh, fully colonized substrates. If you go with their kit, you will need to follow the instructions to create a humidity tent around your 'shrooms shortly after receiving the package. You can pick the mushrooms at any point, depending on the size you want, and reviewers note that their entire substrate was covered in firm mushrooms within weeks.
Willow Mountain, Baby Bella Mushroom Growing Kit, ($29.95)
Best for pizza lovers: Mushroom Adventures White Button Mushroom Growing Kit
If you're someone who loves mushrooms on your pizza, salad, or sandwich, it's time you start growing white button mushrooms at home. These two to three-inch smooth mushrooms are delicious raw, and this kit from Mushroom Adventures is designed to grow quickly, producing mushrooms at full size in about seven days.
All you need to add is water to the substrate, and with this one kit, you should get several flushes, totaling around three pounds, over the course of three months. It sounds like it's time for a pizza party!
Mushroom Adventures, White Button Mushroom Growing Kit ($39.95)
Best for an outdoor garden: North Spore Wine Cap Sawdust Spawn
Dorr recommends North Spore's mushroom kits and says the wine cap variety is a great choice to start with, with its mild, nutty flavor and multiple flushes. This particular kit does not come on a log but rather it should be grown in a bed with sawdust and wood chips to help the spores spawn. If you'd prefer to grow your mushrooms outside, this kit should be your go-to—you could even see these wine cap mushrooms continue to grow for several years.
These earthy mushrooms are best when cooked, so break out your favorite grilled or sauteed mushroom recipes!
North Spore, Wine Cap Sawdust Spawn ($25)
Best for beginners: Smallhold Blue Oyster Grow Kit
This blue oyster grow kit, also recommended by Dorr, includes a block that will serve as the foundation for your new mushroom colony. Over the course of seven to nine days, with regular twice-a-day misting of the block (but not directly on the mushrooms!), you'll have beautiful blue oysters ready to harvest.
These mushrooms are easily harvested with a simple twist and pull. Blue oysters are often best cooked and have a meaty texture and a taste that, again, is reminiscent of seafood (hence the name!).
Smallhold, Blue Oyster Grow Kit ($34)
Best for basement growing: Field & Forest Lion's Mane Table Top Farm
"I have personally used kits many times, and my preferred source is Field and Forest Products in Peshtigo, Wisconsin. As to which species to choose...this may be the hardest part! Lion's mane are very easy to grow and excellent to cook with," Bunyad says.
This kit produces up to 1.75 pounds of the striking (and furry!) Lion's mane mushroom, which grows well between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit at high humidity. Lion's mane thrives in a basement setting—ideal if you prefer to keep your mushrooms out of the kitchen. Once it starts to fruit, get ready for a decadent treat. Some people describe Lion's mane as tasting like lobster.
Field & Forest Lion's Mane Table Top Farm ($24)
The final fungi.
Once your mushrooms are ready to eat, Dorr has two last tips: First, store your mushrooms in a paper bag or vegetable crisper drawer rather than a plastic bag. Second, he says, "We do not recommend washing your mushrooms. All you'll need to do is cut off the 'butt' of the mushroom and you're good to go. Submerging or washing mushrooms will most likely leave them soggy!"
The bottom line.
Heather Bien is a freelance writer currently living in Washington, DC. She received her B.A. from the University of Virginia, and has written for Apartment Therapy, MyDomaine, HelloGiggles, StyleBlueprint, The Knot, The Everygirl, and other lifestyle websites. She writes about home and lifestyle, personal development, relationships, and more.