How to Cook Puffball Mushrooms

Are you looking for unique ideas on how to cook puffball mushrooms, but you don’t know where to start? Look no further, because we have you covered with recipes and puffball information.

7 Easy Tasty Puffball Mushroom Recipes

1. Sweet and Sour Asian Style Puffball

Prepared in much the way you might put together a traditional Asian sweet and sour chicken dish, using the substitute of cubed up puffball provides an amazing earthiness that makes this recipe unique. You can adjust the spice to your or your family’s comfort levels, whether you enjoy a nice, lingering warmth, or prefer to make your eyeballs sweat with the heat.

2. Puffball Pizza

While putting mushroom slices on your pizza isn’t exactly unheard of, using an enormous slice of puffball as your pizza crust is a pretty ingenious idea. Taking a nice, thick slice of giant puffball, as big as you can make it, this recipe guides you through preparing the mushroom so that you can add any toppings you desire and bake it like your favorite pizza.

3. Grilled Puffball with Rosemary and Garlic

Using a highly flavored brush on marinade – such as the rosemary and garlic olive oil marinade detailed here – you can add flavors to the already savory puffball mushroom. This recipe walks you through the easy process of creating a grilled meal from these delicious mushrooms, and you might just never fire up the grill again without tossing a few on.

4. Stuffed Puffballs

Accomplished much the same way that smaller mushroom caps are prepared, stuffed giant puffballs are like stuffed mushrooms on steroids. Instead of resulting in the small cup that you typically have, in this recipe you hollow a puffball mushroom to create a bowl, add the mushroom pieces you scooped out to the stuffing, and put everything back inside before baking to create an entire meal out of a single puffball.

5. Puffball Ravioli

In some puffball Inception, you stuff mushroom inside of mushroom in this recipe, creating an intensely savory, satisfying version of ravioli that might have you abandoning the flour pasta variety. The results are beautiful, soft on the palate, and can be serve virtually any way you would serve regular ravioli.

6. Puffball Parmesan

Made in the style of chicken Parmesan or veal Parmesan, the concept of giving a hefty slice of puffball the same breading and frying treatment is beyond brilliant. Using shredded Parmesan cheese as the entire breading itself instead of plain bread crumbs lends a great deal of flavor, and you can serve it with only marinara and cheese or add your favorite long pasta to round out the dish.

7. Sichuan Stir Fry Puffballs

There are many places online that will inform you how puffballs can serve as a far better tasting substitute for tofu in most savory preparations, but very few make the point better than this stir fry recipe. Based on the traditional Sichuan Chinese mapo doufu, this stir fry dish makes for a delicious meal with a new twist on the ingredients.

How to Identify a Puffball Mushroom

It’s easy to identify a real puffball mushroom by cutting it in half. There are some mushrooms that might resemble a small puffball when immature, but when sliced in half, you can see gills developing inside.

Puffball mushrooms are pure white inside, with no streaks of color or other features. There should be no sign at all of gills or a mushroom cap silhouette inside the mushroom, and if you have any doubts, it’s better to toss the mushroom rather than risk it being poisonous.

In this video, a woman explains how to check mushrooms to verify that they are puffballs and describes some of the varieties that can be mistaken for them. She also shows you how to make French toast from sliced puffball, making it doubly worth the watch!

Types of Puffball Mushrooms and Where They Grow

Giant Puffballs

The giant puffball variety is so named because of the mushroom’s sheer size. These can grow anywhere between four inches and 60 inches in diameter, though the absolute largest examples are a bit more rare.

Giant puffballs are one of the most well-known wild mushrooms in North America because of their shocking size. This mushroom species is definitely the hardest to overlook!

They are most commonly found in fields, meadows, and deciduous forests. While they can be found in temperate areas all over the world, they usually start popping up between later in the summer and autumn.

Purple-spored Puffball

This species is named quite obviously for the color of its spores. When the mushroom begins emitting them, they come out in a purple or purple-brown color, making it easily distinguishable.

For the most part, the purple-spored puffball is found in North America and Australia, in grasslands and prairie areas. However, it’s begun sprouting in other areas of the world, as well, so it’s worth mushroom hunters keeping an eye out no matter where you are.

Skull-shaped Puffball

This mushroom is also known as a brain puffball, owing to the folds, wrinkling, and cracks that develop all over the surface of the variety. While they don’t particularly look like a skull, they are pretty easy to recognize because of their strange, brain-like appearance.

They tend to grow on the ground in open woods, usually in uncrowded areas. Skull-shaped puffballs can be found in North America, Australia, and Asia.

Gem-studded Puffball

The name ‘gem-studded’ is the most genteel of this mushroom’s many names, including warted puffball, devil’s snuff box, and wolf farts. This species’ tell-tale feature are the tiny, delicate ‘spines’ that brush easily off when it’s touched, leaving behind a netting sort of pattern on the surface when they’re gone.

Gem-studded puffballs can be found in many places around the world. They tend to grow in open fields and along the side of roads, as well as grassy forest clearings, but they’re also well known for turning up in gardens.

Pear-shaped Puffball

Quite common and abundant, pear-shaped puffballs are called this because they often look like little upside down pears. They are also known by the name stump puffball, owing to their habit of growing on decaying logs.

These mushrooms grow plentifully and mostly in clusters, so you often can’t see the pear shape of them unless you pull one away from its friends. It isn’t uncommon for one large, fallen tree to become home to hundreds of these ping-pong ball sized mushrooms, and they will often grow on the same tree or log each year.

Pear-shaped puffballs begin turning up in autumn, and with their prolific growth habits, they’re hard to miss if they grow in your area. They are present around most of the world.

Can Puffball Mushrooms Make You Sick?

Young puffball mushrooms aren’t poisonous and shouldn’t make you sick. That said, there are some mushrooms that can resemble puffballs, and those imitators are poisonous.

Deadly amanitas mushrooms, such as the death cap mushroom or destroying angel mushroom, can be mistaken for harmless puffballs. It is for this reason that any puffballs you gather should be sliced in half lengthwise to check for the telltale signs of gills and cap shapes.

Can You Eat Puffball Mushrooms Raw?

Puffball mushrooms that are in their edible phase can indeed be eaten raw. They’re a wonderful addition to just about any meal, whether you prefer your mushrooms raw or cooked.

How Can You Tell If a Puffball Mushroom Is Edible?

Puffballs aren’t edible at all stages – too young or too old and they can cause gastrointestinal distress for some people, so it’s important to cut them in half even if you’re completely sure that what you find is a true puffball.

Cut your puffball mushrooms in half and check for discoloration. The inside should be pure white, with no markings, and no yellow, brown, or purple discoloration, and should be thrown away if you have any doubts at all.

Puffball Mushroom Storage

Puffballs should be refrigerated immediately, and they’ll keep in the fridge for about a week. Keep in mind that mushrooms are protein, and just like other proteins such as meat, they will go bad fairly quickly if you leave them out at room temperature.

When it comes to storage, you can dry puffball slices in a food dehydrator. If you plan to freeze your puffballs, it’s a good idea to cook them in whichever methods you prefer first, as raw puffballs can take on an unpleasant spongy texture after being thawed from freezing.

Puffball Mushroom Nutrition

While puffballs don’t seem very substantial, they are really quite nutritious. They contain most non-essential amino acids as well as all of the essential amino acids – called essential because our bodies can’t create them, and we have to obtain them from the food we eat.

Amino acids are compounds that play a huge number of critical roles in our bodies. They are necessary for things such as building proteins, as well as helping our bodies to create neurotransmitters and hormones.

How to Grow Puffball Mushrooms

When you want to grow puffball mushrooms, look for ones that have already turned brown, which means they’ll be ready to spread their spores. Very carefully, cut them off at the base with a sharp knife so that you don’t pop them, if possible, and place them in a paper bag.

Fill a gallon size glass jar with non-chlorinated water, and add 1/8 teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of molasses. Stir the water with a very clean spoon until the salt has completely dissolved.

Holding one of your harvested puffballs over the open jar, squeeze or otherwise pop the mushroom so that its spores fall into the water. Put the lid on and place your jar somewhere dark where it won’t be touched for two days.

After two days, take the jar out to the area where you found your original puffballs or select a hospitable area of your lawn. By pouring the water in the original area, you have a greater chance of a big harvest, but you can try growing them in your yard, as well.