Unique morel mushroom recipes can be hard to find, and it seems like everyone’s making the same old pasta and fritters. I’ve put together more than 50 creative ways to use morel mushrooms in the kitchen so you can enjoy every last bit of flavor from these short-season wild mushrooms.
Finding morels can be tricky, and they do have a number of look likes. Generally, you want to start looking just before the first dandelions blossoms, and around the time the wild strawberries bloom.
In warmer locations, that can be as early as March, but in most locations, it’s sometime in April. Here in Vermont, our morels don’t come out until late May (and sometimes early June).
They’re largely dependent on soil temperature, and they usually start fruiting when soil temperatures reach 55 degrees F (12-13 C) and stop fruiting when soil temps warm to around 62 degrees F (16-17 C).
Once you find Morels, you need to make sure you actually have true morels (and not look likes).
I wrote up a comprehensive guide to identifying morel mushrooms and avoiding look likes, but in a nutshell, you want mushrooms that have:
- Honey-comb like ridges and pits on the cap
- Hollow insides ~ Morels are always hollow from the bottom of the stem to the tip of the cap
- Stem attachment at the base of the cap, and is completely attached along the bottom ridge. (Not under the cap like a skirt or umbrella)
If you’re looking for a reputable source for morels fresh in season, D’artagnan sells fresh morels for a few months of the year, and they sell dried morels year-round. If you’re lucky, you may also find them at your local farmer’s market, but they’ll be just as expensive. No matter where you get them, morels cost a pretty penny…unless you forage them yourself.
Morel Mushroom Recipes
Regardless of the recipe, it’s important to clean your morels before cooking. They tend to accumulate dirt in their honeycomb ridges since they’re so close to the forest floor. They’re also frequently the home of slugs and other bugs, due to their hollow insides.
I’d recommend soaking fresh morels in a saltwater solution for about 10 minutes before cooking, which will drive out any occupants. All you need is a teaspoon or two of salt for a big bowl of water.
Once the morels are clean, pat them dry on a towel.
If you’re working with dried morels, you can rehydrate them by covering them in boiling in a bowl. Allow them to rehydrate for about half an hour before proceeding. (Or you can skip this step if they’ll be cooked in water or stock in the recipe, as is the case with risotto.)
Once your mushrooms are prepared, you can proceed with your recipe.
Simple Morel Mushroom Recipes
These simple morel recipes are easy to make and put the flavor of the mushrooms first, without complicated flavor pairings.
There are few things better than morel mushrooms sauteed in butter, and if you only have a handful that’s a wonderful way to go. If you’re looking for a simple way to please a crowd though, go with fried morel mushrooms (fritters) as they’re to die for.
- Fried Morels (Morel Fritters)
- Morels Sauteed with Butter
- Omelet with Morels and Ramps
- Fried Eggs with Ramps, Morels, and Bacon
- Stuffed Morels
Morel Pasta Recipes
Often enough morels are paired with pasta, as they have a rich meaty flavor, and their natural earthy richness works well with a plain starchy base of pasta.
You can keep it simple, by just adding sauteed morels to a basic pasta dish topped with parmesan and olive oil, or make it complicated with many of these fancy morel pasta recipes.
- Pasta with Morel Cream Sauce
- Morel Lasagna with Asparagus
- Morel and Asparagus Spaghetti
- Open-Faced Lasagna with Morels and Asparagus
- Creamy Orzo with Bacon, Fava Beans, and Morels
- Veal Ravioli with Morel Cream Sauce
- Ramp Pasta with Morels
- Morel Tortellini
Rice with Morels Recipes
Like pasta, rice forms a nice base to show off the lovely flavors in wild morel mushrooms.
I’m particularly fond of morel risotto, or any mushroom risotto really. Chanterelle risotto is also exceptional, and I really wouldn’t complain no matter what mushroom you used.
Morel Pizza, Bread & Toast Recipes
Like pasta, morels go well with all manner of simple carbs, and they’re exceptionally good on pizza and flatbread. Generally, when used on pizza, morels do best with a white pizza (without tomato sauce) so their flavors can dominate. That said, I wouldn’t object if you tossed morels on just about any pizza, so do what you need to!
In France, it’s traditional to enjoy morels in cream sauce on toasted brioche, but any good quality bread will do.
- Morel Pizza with Fontina and Crispy Shallots
- Asparagus and Morel Pizza with Garlic Confit
- Morel Focaccia
- Morels in Cream Sauce on Brioche (Morilles à la Crème)
Savory Morel Pies and Pastries
I’m a huge fan of savory pies, and we always find a way to incorporate them into our meal plan a few times a month.
More than a simple pot pie, savory pies (and hand pies) can include almost anything, and I absolutely love lamb, mushrooms, and leeks. Using morels only makes the pie all the more special.
You can also make simple hand pies with phyllo dough in just a few minutes, no need to make the pastry by hand if you don’t want to. And don’t forget morel quiche!
Whole Pies and Skillet Pies
- Wild Ramp and Morel Mushroom Pie
- Chicken, Morel and Asparagus Skillet Pie
- Smothered Veal and Morel Pie
Hand Pies, Pot Pies, and Tarts
Morel Mushroom Side Dishes and Sauces
Though they’re delicious, morels don’t always have to be the star of the show. Simply adding a few morels to a side dish will take it from basic to exceptional.
Butter-sauteed green beans are delicious, but toss in a few morels and they take an everyday dinner to new heights.
Fancy Morel Main Courses
Morels are a sweet find in the woods, and an expensive ingredient to buy. If you’re going to serve them, you might as well show them off with a truly extravagant dinner.
These fancy dinners feature morel mushrooms front and center, and they’re the perfect meal for a special date night at home.
Keep in mind that morels go exceptionally well with other wild foraged ingredients which are available this time of year, namely ramps (wild leeks), wild asparagus, and fiddlehead ferns.
Most of the morel recipes above are vegetarian and fancy in their own right, so I’m dividing these main courses by meat.
Chicken and Duck
- Roasted Chicken with Bacon and Morels
- Pan-Roasted Chicken Breast with Morels, Ramps, and Parmesean
- Creamy Braised Chicken with Jura Wine and Morels (Poulet au Vin Jaune du Jura)
- Roasted Morel Rubbed Chicken with Asparagus and Potatoes
- Duck Liver Mousse with Onions and Morels
Beef and Veal
- Mini Beef Wellingtons with Morels, Sherry, and Thyme
- Filet Mingon with Morels for two
- Morel Mushroom Crusted Veal Tenderloin
- Veal Chops with Morels and Parmesan Sauce
- Pork Chops in Morel Sauce
- Hazelnut Crusted Pork Chops with Morel Sauce
- Roasted Pork Loin with Morel Sauce
- Pork Meatballs in Morel Sauce
- Chinese Bacon and Morel Mushroom Stirfry
Wild Game (Rabbit, Venison, etc)
- Grilled Salmon with Morel Vinaigrette
- Trout with Morels
- Fish with Morel and Ramp Cream Sauce
- Pan-Seared Cod with Morels and Asparagus
Recipes for Preserving Morels
Sometimes nature smiles upon us foragers and we come home with more mushrooms than can be used before they spoil. In that case, preserving wild mushrooms isn’t all that hard and it will allow you to enjoy them year-round.
Morels are commonly dried, since they rehydrate so well. They’re also often sauteed in butter and then frozen, which allows them to go right from the freezer into the pan.
That’s it for morels, but if you’re looking for more wild recipes for foraged mushrooms, game, and greens, read on my friends:
- Chicken of the Woods Mushroom Recipes
- Squirrel Recipes
- How to Eat Crow (Literally)
- How to Cook Deer Heart
- Venison Liver Recipes
- Venison Recipes