Can You Eat the Stems of Oyster Mushrooms? (Solved & Explained!)

Do you love mushrooms, but you aren’t sure how to cook them or which parts you can eat? You are not alone as many people have wondered the same thing about oyster mushrooms, one of the most popular types of mushrooms.

It is often asked whether you can eat the stems of oyster mushrooms. While you technically can eat them, it isn’t usually recommended. 

This is because the stems can be hard and tough, making them not very appetizing. However, the stems do serve a purpose as an additive to vegetable stock for flavor.

What Are Oyster Mushrooms?

Oyster mushrooms are one of the most popular types of mushrooms in the world as they can be grown in multiple countries. Used in most food cuisines, oyster mushrooms are extra popular in Korean, Japanese, and Chinese cooking.

What is in a Mushroom Grow Kit?
Oyster mushroom straw growing kit with large oyster mushrooms ready to harvest

These mushrooms are named as such because their caps are usually oyster shaped with tan, white, or gray gills. They are typically small when they grow in groups but can be larger if they are grown individually.

Oyster mushrooms have a flavor that is savory and delicate. Some people say they taste similar to seafood or black licorice. 

Although some people think they taste like seafood, these mushrooms are not to be confused with seafood. Oyster mushrooms are grown on land, not in the sea.

Can You Eat All Parts of Oyster Mushrooms?

You should avoid eating every part of an oyster mushroom. This isn’t because part of the mushroom is unsafe to eat, but because some parts might not taste good.

For example, you technically can eat the stems of oyster mushrooms, but you should avoid it. The stems won’t taste good because they are tough and hard. 

How to Remove Oyster Mushroom Stems

Removing stems from oyster mushrooms is extremely easy. You just need to use a sharp knife and carefully cut between the cap and the central stem. 

As you cut around the stem, you will see the individual caps start to fall off. When you’ve made your way all the way around, you can dispose of the stem.

Do You Cook Oyster Mushroom Stems?

While it isn’t always recommended that you cook and eat oyster mushroom stems, there are some vegan or vegetarian recipes that use the stems. For example, you can make a vegan bacon with oyster mushroom stems because they are so easy to slice.

You can also make a vegan “pulled pork” with the stem of an oyster mushroom. The stems shred easily, making them the perfect consistency for an imitation pulled pork.

Another way to cook oyster mushroom stems is shredding them to make vegetarian carnitas tacos. 

Vegan Bacon

Making vegan bacon is as easy as it is delicious. Start by preheating the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven heats, mix one tablespoon of olive oil, two tablespoons of soy sauce, half of a teaspoon of liquid smoke, half of a teaspoon of maple syrup, and a pinch of pepper, salt, and smoked paprika.

Slice the oyster mushroom stems into slices and marinate them in the mixture. Place the marinated mushrooms in a single layer on a baking sheet and put them in the oven.

Bake for fifteen minutes, take them out of the oven, flip them, and place them back in for another ten minutes. This will give the bacon plenty of time to get crispy and yummy.

“Pulled Pork”

Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash the oyster mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Use two forks to shred both the stems and the caps. Place them on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper.

Drizzle the shredded mushrooms with one tablespoon of olive oil, garlic, cayenne, salt, and paprika. Bake for about twenty minutes or until the mushrooms are around the edges.

Heat a second tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan on medium high heat. Add the mushrooms to the pan, add BBQ sauce, and cook for three to five minutes.

Mushroom Carnitas Tacos

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, clean the oyster mushrooms, shred them, and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Add in one tablespoon of olive oil, one teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, pepper, salt, cumin, oregano, and garlic powder.

Bake the shredded mushrooms for twenty minutes or until they are crispy around the edges. 

Why Eat Oyster Mushroom Stems?

Oyster mushrooms and their stems have several health benefits when eaten. They are low in calories and carbs, making them a great option for those who are trying to watch what they eat.

One cup of oyster mushroom caps and stems has only 28 calories with just 5 grams of carbs. They are also high in protein at 3 grams, low in fat at less than one gram, and high in fiber at 2 grams per cup.

Nutrient Rich

The caps and stems of oyster mushrooms are packed full of minerals, vitamins, and fiber. They also have smaller amounts of other nutrients like iron, vitamin D, and potassium. 


The stems and caps of oyster mushrooms also provide your body with plenty of antioxidants that reduce damage to the cells in your body. Antioxidants can help reduce liver damage and regulate cholesterol.

Heart Health Benefits

Oyster mushrooms are packed with compounds that can improve heart health. This includes beta-glucan fibers that reduce cholesterol production.

Blood Sugar Regulation

Mushroom oyster caps and stems can aid in regulating blood sugar. They work to increase the sugar use in your body while having proteins that increase blood sugar. 

A study was conducted in 2007 that had 30 people with type 2 diabetes eating 150 grams of oyster mushrooms each day for seven days. Each participant noticed great results and also experienced lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

Immune Support

Pleuran, a compound in oyster mushrooms, has immune-modulating properties. This helps the mushrooms have an antibacterial and antiviral effect.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

Oyster mushrooms also have anti-inflammatory compounds. This can help those who have inflammation issues inside their bodies.