May 17, 2022 5 min read

Lion's Mane mushrooms is gaining lots of traction for it's potential brain-boosting effects. This shroomy-supplement can be prepared fresh, dried and ground, or made into tea–there's really no limit to how you can take your daily adaptogenic dose.

In fact, Lion’s Mane is considered a delicacy in traditional cuisines and has often been compared to fine seafood, thought the mushroom itself is incredibly versatile.

That's great news for new consumers looking to work it into their daily dosing routine, but there's one question left unanswered–what does Lion's Mane taste like? And what's the best way to prepare it if you aren't a fan of the mushroom flavor? Here's exactly what you need to know:

Table of Contents
What is Lion’s Mane?
Not All Lion’s Mane Tastes the Same
How to Cook Lion’s Mane
Recipes to Hide Lion’s Mane Flavor
Lion’s Mane Flavor FAQs

Key Takeaways

  • Most people say Lion’s Mane tastes like crab or lobster. It’s slightly chewy and sweet with a seafood flavor.
  • Different Lion’s Mane products all taste different, and some are flavorless or work well for making beverages and other recipes that mask the mushroom’s flavor.
  • If you intend to use Lion’s Mane therapeutically, you should pay close attention to the dosage used, whether you’re taking an encapsulated supplement or cooking with fresh Lion’s Mane mushroom.

A lion's mane mushroom growing off the side of a native hardwood tree

What is Lion’s Mane?

Lion's Mane is an edible mushroom, known as Hericium erinaceus, which grows on hardwood trees in late summer and fall. This medicinal mushroom has been used for centuries in Asian herbal medicine to support healthy brain function. Lion's Mane has been examined for various health benefits, but only recently did its potential as a "brain booster" receive the attention it deserved. Modern research confirms its potential benefits for supporting healthy mood, a balanced immune system, and cognitive performance.

Not All Lion's Mane Tastes the Same

As much as we'd love to simply be able to say "Lion's Mane tastes like chocolate!" the truth is that not all Lion's Mane tastes the same, and different supplements will have different flavor qualities.

Let's break it down:

Quality Impacts Flavor

First and foremost, the quality of a Lion's Mane supplement will impact its flavor heavily. Poor quality products, especially those that are spoiled or contaminated, may have very pungent or chemical-laced flavors. This is a sign that something is wrong, and you should check the expiration date and test results to make sure you purchased a clean, fresh product.

If everything checks out but the product still seems "off," contact the manufacturer to get their take. If you have a good quality supplement, the flavor will likely fall into one of the following categories:

Fresh Lion's Mane Flavor

Lion's Mane mushrooms can be eaten fresh or prepared and cooked. The fresh mushroom has a mild "seafood-like" flavor, but the flavor enhances when the mushroom is cooked. Many people suggest Lion's Mane has a taste and texture similar to crab. It's tender and stringy, with a juicy, chewy bite. Its a well-known delicacy in many parts of the world because it takes on flavors and spices easily and makes for a versatile addition to many meals.

Lion's Mane Capsules Flavor

If a mushroom that tastes like crab meat doesn't align with your pallet, you can still reap the benefits of Lion's Mane without the flavor. Lion's Mane Capsules are a great option for those who want a flavorless dose.

Capsules are made by drying the Lion's Mane mushroom and grinding it into a fine powder. These supplements can be made either from the whole mushroom or the fruiting body–each of which may have their own benefits. Read "What is Lion's Mane?" to learn more about different dosing styles.

Lion's Mane Powder Flavor

Lion's Mane powder usually has a slightly milder taste than the fresh mushrooms. The powder is fine milled and has a texture that's close to powdered sugar. It's not nearly as bitter and bold as some medicinal mushroom powders, but goes well with a boldly-flavored beverage.

For this reason, many people use Lion's Mane powder in coffee, tea, or hot cocoa. You can also find different powder preparations that are pre-blended to perfectly compliment Lion's Mane's flavor profile, many of which contain other adaptogenic and nootropic supplements.

How to Cook Lion's Mane

Lion’s Mane mushrooms are extremely simple to cook–and simple is the best way to enjoy the fresh mushrooms delicate flavor and texture. There are many ways you can prepare Lion’s Mane, but we recommend just tossing them in butter or oil over medium heat. You can season them any way you like (a bit of salt, pepper, and garlic will usually do the trick!)

You only need to sauté the mushrooms over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until they shrink slightly and take on a golden brown color. Overcooking Lion’s Mane will cause them to get extra chewy, so take them off the heat as soon as the golden color is achieved.

A close up of the browning on freshly cooked Lion's Mane mushroom

If you want other ways to try preparing Lion’s Mane, try these recipes:

Recipes to Hide Lion's Mane Flavor

Lion’s Mane Cocoa Latte

To create a frothy latte with your Loin’s Mane powder, combine the following into 1 cup of warm milk or dairy-free milk:

  • 1 tsp Lion’s Mane powder
  • 1 tsp Pure Cane Sugar or other sweetener of choice
  • 1 tsp nut or seed butter (optional)
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch sea salt

Using a frother or blender, blend the ingredients until slightly foamy and enjoy while hot!

Lion’s Mane Vegan Crab Cakes

Because Lion’s Mane taste quite a bit like crab meat, it’s often used as a vegan alternative for making crab cakes. Even if you aren’t vegan, these Lion’s Mane Crab Cakes are delicious. Here’s what you need:

  • 8-10 oz fresh Lion's Mane mushroom
  • 1 flax egg (or regular medium egg for non-vegan version)
  • 1/2 cup panko-style breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely sliced green onion
  • 1 tbsp vegan (or regular) mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 3/4 tsp old bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard or ½ tsp dry mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp oil

Instructions

  1. Shred Lion's Mane Mushroom gently either with a fork or with your hands. The texture will resemble flaky crab.
  2. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, combine mushroom pieces, panko, flax egg, mayonnaise, green onion, soy sauce, old bay, mustard, salt, and pepper. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  3. Form mixture into several equal size round flat patties. This recipe makes 3-5, depending on size.
  4. Add oil to pan and heat to medium heat.
  5. Add patties to pan and cook gently for 3 minutes per side. The patties should be golden brown when finished.

Optional: Garnish with lemon, parsley, or serve with tartar or honey horseradish sauce for extra flair.

If you’re looking to use these recipes or others to your advantage for therapeutic purposes, you should adjust the dosage size accordingly. You may want to read more about Lion’s Mane:

Lion’s Mane Mushroom Flavor FAQs

Does lion mane taste good?

Many people enjoy the flavor of Lion’s Mane, equating it to the flavor of crab or lobster. It doesn’t have the bitter, woody flavor of most functional mushrooms, so it’s sometimes enjoyed by those who don’t care for the traditional mushroom flavor.

Does lion's mane taste like lobster?

Some people compare the flavor to lobster, crab, or other delicate, slightly sweet seafood. It’s used as a vegan alternative to crab and lobster in may recipes.

Does lion's mane taste sour?

Lion’s Mane is not sour. In fact, it’s slightly sweet with a little umami flavor. If your Lion’s mane tastes sour, it may have gone bad.

Is Lion's Mane sweet?

Slightly, but not like a dessert. There is a delicate sweetness to Lion’s Mane, much like crab or lobster.


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