11 Mushroom Substrate Recipes (DIY Options That Work!)

Mushrooms are a great addition to any diet, and they can be grown in your own home with the right substrate recipes. There are many different DIY substrates you can use, but some of them work much better than others.

Here are eleven of the best mushroom substrate recipes that will help you get started growing your own mushrooms at home!

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Commonly Used Substrates for Growing Mushrooms

Due to the fact that sawdust and pellets are useful for growing any kind of mushroom, these are the most popular substrates. In addition, you’re likely to find the following:

  • Fanaticus mixture, best for cubensis
  • Coffee Grounds, great for shiitake and oysters
  • Straw, best for oysters
  • Rye grain, which grows fast so it’s good for making spawns of other types
  • Manure, great for mushrooms that naturally grow in it like buttons
  • Logs, best for all fungus that grows on dying trees
  • Coco coir and vermiculite, which can serve as a substitute for manure

Coffee Substrate Recipe for Oyster Mushrooms

Sterilize regular spent coffee grounds and add them to a clear plastic bag. You may want to add around a tablespoon of gypsum to prevent the material from sticking to itself.

Adding at least some rye grains to the mixture will help to provide extra nutrition, which is important when growing oyster mushrooms.

Hardwood Sawdust Recipe for Shiitake Mushrooms

Around a single pound of hardwood sawdust mixed with a pound or more of soy bean hull can produce big shiitake flushes. You’ll want to add just under 3 pints of water to keep it from getting too dry.

MushroomMediaOnline - 100% Oak Mushroom Pellets Substrate - 20 Pounds
We recommend these oak pellets. Click the image to check the current price on Amazon.

PF-TEK Recipe for Cubensis Mushrooms

Sterilize the following ingredients in a pressure cooker to make a good PF-TEK mix:

  • 60 mL water
  • ½ cup Vermiculite
  • ⅙ cup brown rice flour

These should be processed in a pressure cooker for around 45 minutes to ensure cleanliness. 

We recommend the two products below. Click the images to check their current price on Amazon.

8QT Professional Grade Vermiculite by Plantation Products
Anthony's Brown Rice Flour, 5 lb, Batch Tested and Verified Gluten Free, Product of USA

Straw Recipe for Blue Ostreatus

Straw, air and an appropriately sized fruiting container is all you’ll need to grow these large meaty mushrooms. They’re going to require more air than normal, though, which is why they’re a favorite of those who prefer to do all of their growing in the great outdoors.

Some people add at least some portion of coffee grounds in order to give their mushrooms some extra nutrients.

We recommend the chopped straw below. Click the image to check the current price on Amazon.

Standlee Hay Company Wheat or Barley Chopped Straw for Animal Bedding

Rye Grain Recipe for Spawn

Soak rye grains in water and add a cup of used coffee grounds. Add a tablespoon of calcium sulfate dihydrate to keep it from clumping together.

This can be used to grow any kind of mushroom spawn, though it’ll have to be transplanted to its preferred type of substrate once it’s begun to fruit. Most mushroom species don’t produce spawn that’s edible in any quantity.

Great River Organic Milling, Whole Grain, Rye Grain, Organic, 25-Pounds (Pack of 1)

Manure Recipe for Button Mushrooms

Mushroom growers tend to get creative when they’re mixing together manure, but you’ll usually want to base your substrate around two parts manure to one part coco coir. Add water to get it to the right field capacity, but don’t let it start to pool or drip because button mushrooms don’t like that.

Fungus growing expert Oliver Carlin recommends using a pressure cooker for around 2½ hours at 15PSI to sterilize it. This is especially important when dealing with natural sun dried manure, which understandably has a large amount of bacteria in it.

Black Kow Composted Cow Manure 4 lb. Size (1 Bag)
Plantonix Coco Coir Brick, OMRI Listed for Organic Use (5 Bricks)

Log Recipe for Shiitake Mushrooms

Rather than a recipe per se, you’re going to need a hardwood log that’s around 3-4 ft in length. Most mushroom growers recommend making sure that it’s at least 5 inches in diameter, though you don’t want to exceed maybe half a foot in width.

Drill inch-deep holes every four inches in a row. Stagger these in a diamond-shaped formation for best results and make sure to clear them out before you start to introduce shiitake spawn into them.

Coco Coir Recipe for Psilocybe

In general, you’ll want to use twice as much sun-dried horse manure for every part of coco coir you have. Therefore, if you have 8 lbs. of coco coir you’ll want to add an additional 16 lbs. of manure to it for growing mushrooms.

Most people won’t need to put together anything near this size, but it’s possible to do so. A good rule of thumb is to keep the entire mixture together around 10 lbs. or so to make the mixture manageable.

Plantonix Coco Coir Brick, OMRI Listed for Organic Use (5 Bricks)

Used Cardboard Recipe for Pink Ostreatus

Cardboard should be carefully soaked in boiling water, so you’ll probably have to rip it apart somewhat before you start to use it to grow mushrooms. Bring a pot with cardboard in it to a boil and then let it cool down naturally.

Preferably, you’ll want to use cardboard that hasn’t been bleached or dyed. Traditional packing containers, as well as the plain brown paper they come wrapped in, work best for this kind of mixture.

Some people have reported that even used pizza boxes work. You may want to remove any food scraps if you go this route.

Grain Recipe for Spawn Growth

Barley or even popcorn granules can be used in place of rye for growing mushroom spawn of nearly any species. Rinse your grains and put them into a pressure cooker with enough water for them to absorb.

Cook them for a half hour at 15PSI and then let them drain once it’s safe to open the cooker. You’ll want to pat the corns dry and place them into mason jars for later sprouting.

A few mushroom experts have suggested using poly fill to take up any extra space in the jars.

Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popcorn Kernels, Original Yellow, 8 Lb

How to Mix Substrates to Create Your Own Recipe

While you’ll want to be creative, you need to be mindful of what different substrates are like. Grains, for instance, can take the place of other grains.

Dead wood like logs can be interchanged with cardboard because they’re from the same family of materials. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but keep this in mind because you could get undesirable results if you try to grow mushrooms on the wrong type of substrate.

Add water to your mixture in small intervals. Don’t ever let it start to pool together regardless of how dry your substrate mix might be.