Portobello (Portabella) Mushroom

Food Type:
Age Suggestion: 6 months +
Nutrition Rating:How nutritious a food is with a focus on the specific nutrients babies need for optimal growth. The more nutritious a food, the more stars it will have.
Prep Time:How much time a food takes to prepare safely for a baby. The more time-consuming a food is to prepare safely, the more clocks it will have.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Poop Friendly:Whether a food has qualities that help baby poop. Yes
Common Allergen: No
Jump to Recipe ↓
two portobello mushrooms before being prepared for babies starting solids

When can babies eat portobello mushrooms?

Portobello mushrooms (also marketed as portabella mushrooms) may be introduced as soon as a baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age. Heard you should wait? There’s no evidence to support delaying the introduction of edible mushrooms. Do always cook portobello mushrooms, though, as they can contain agaritine, a naturally occurring toxin. Thankfully, the toxin can be reduced by cooking, refrigerating, and freezing.1

Background and origins of portobello mushrooms

A mushroom is neither a fruit nor a vegetable, but a fungus, a scientific classification that distinguishes it from plants and animals for its unique biological attributes. More than 2,000 known edible mushroom varieties exist on our planet, each with a distinctive smell and taste, but portobello mushrooms are among the most widely consumed. Portobello mushroom is the same strain of fungus as the ubiquitous button mushroom; it has simply been allowed to grow to its mature size and develop a meatier, more robust flavor. Like button mushrooms, portobellos sprout in the wild (they originated in Europe and thrive worldwide today), but the fungi at your favorite grocer were most likely cultivated on a dedicated indoor mushroom farm, where growers can control air, moisture, and other environmental conditions.

Environmental Tip Icon Tip: Never feed your baby foraged mushrooms unless you are an expert mycologist, as there are plenty of poisonous look-a-like species growing in the wild.

Riley, 7 months, tastes portobello mushrooms for the first time.
Amelia, 9 months, eats portobello mushrooms for the first time.
Isar, 12 months, eats noodles with portobello mushrooms.

Are portobello mushrooms healthy for babies?

Absolutely. Mushrooms offer some protein and particular types of fiber that are not common in foods.2 They also contain vitamin D and most B vitamins, including B12 (typically available from animal meat) and folate to help fuel a baby’s cellular growth, and minerals like copper, selenium, and zinc—all essential nutrients that children need to thrive.3

Mushrooms also have a superpower: they contain nutrients found in both plants and animals, as well as nutrients that are unique to fungi.4 What’s more, mushrooms contain some phytonutrients that may offer antioxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties.5 6 7 8

It would be wise to cook portobello mushrooms before serving them to a child. Raw portobello mushrooms can contain a compound called agaritine that may be carcinogenic.9 10 11 12 Fortunately, cooking the mushroom can help significantly reduce the agaritine.13

There are thousands of varieties of mushrooms in the world, and many are not safe to eat. Always purchase mushrooms from a trusted source to minimize the risk of toxic exposure from accidentally eating poisonous mushrooms.

★Tip: Bring on the sun! Commercially grown mushrooms may contain less vitamin D than wild fungi, but exposing your farm-grown mushrooms to just 10 to 15 minutes of direct sunlight before cooking can increase levels of this vital nutrient.14 15 16

Are portobello mushrooms a common choking hazard for babies?

Yes. Mushrooms caps can be chewy and challenging for new eaters to break down in their mouths—and mushroom stems have a cylindrical shape that in the right size, can increase the risk. To reduce the risk, simply slice or chop the mushrooms, making sure you also slice through the stem, so it is no longer round. As always, make sure to create a safe eating environment, to stay within an arm’s reach of a baby during mealtime, and to check out our age-appropriate serving suggestions.

For more information, visit our section on gagging and choking and familiarize yourself with common choking hazards.

Are portobello mushrooms a common allergen?

No. Mushroom allergy is rare, although not unheard of.17 18 That said, mushrooms contain chitin, a common carbohydrate also found in crustaceans and insects that may contribute to an allergic response.19 Spores released by many mushrooms can be allergenic and cause problems for people with respiratory issues or sensitivities to airborne allergens. 20 Individuals with Oral Allergy Syndrome (also called “pollen-food” allergy syndrome) may also be sensitive to mushrooms.21 Oral Allergy Syndrome typically results in short-lived itching in the mouth and is unlikely to result in a dangerous reaction.

As you would when introducing any new food, start by offering a small quantity for the first few servings. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the quantity over future meals.

How to cut portobello mushrooms for babies with baby-led weaning?

6 to 9 months old: Offer long slices of cooked portobello caps for baby to munch and suck on. If they are too slippery, try rolling them in hemp seeds or breadcrumbs. You can also fold cooked and finely chopped portobello mushrooms into an omelet, then cut the omelet into strips for your baby to munch.

9 to 12 months old: At this stage, your baby’s pincer grasp (where the thumb and pointer finger meet) is developing, which makes it a great time to offer smaller pieces of food. Serve bite-sized pieces of cooked portobellos or chopped portobello folded into other dishes, like lentils, pasta, or quinoa. And swap in portobello mushrooms anytime in our mushroom ramen recipe!

12 to 24 months old: Offer cooked mushrooms (chopped or thinly sliced) on their own or folded into casseroles, eggs, grains, pastas, vegetables, or other dishes. Explore using mushrooms as a substitute for meat in recipes, and if you’re feeling up for a project, use mushrooms to make your own umami-packed seasoning sauce that can be used a substitute for soy sauce. If you haven’t already, this is a great time to introduce a utensil, preloading as needed for your toddler to self-feed.

For more information on how to cut food for babies, visit our page on Food Sizes & Shapes.

Recipe: Portobello Fingers

thin cooked slices of portobello mushroom rolled in hemp seeds

Yield: 2 ½ cups (2 adult-sized and 1 child-sized serving)
Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 portobello mushroom caps
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons hemp seeds (optional)

Directions

  1. Wash the mushroom caps and then use a damp cloth or paper towel to wipe away any lingering grit.
  2. Slice the mushroom caps into 1-inch thick strips.
  3. Peel and discard the garlic skin. Smash the clove.
  4. Heat the oil in a large skillet set on medium heat. Add the smashed garlic clove. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and golden, about 2 minutes. Discard the clove.
  5. Add the portobello strips in a single layer in the skillet and stir to coat in the garlicky oil. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  6. Roll the portobello strips in the hemp seeds.

To Serve: Scoop some portobello fingers onto a baby plate. Exact serving size is variable. Let baby’s appetite determine how much to eat. Serve as finger food and let baby self-feed by scooping with hands and trying to pick up the food. If baby need helps, pass a portobello finger in the air for baby to grab.

To Store: Cooked portobello fingers keep in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3 days or in the freezer for 6 months.

Flavor Pairings

Portobello mushrooms have an earthy flavor and meaty texture that pairs well with fatty foods like avocadomascarpone cheeseeggricotta cheese, and salmon; hearty grains like Khorasan wheatquinoa, and rice; and starchy vegetables like butternut squashpurple potato, and sweet potato. Mushrooms soak up seasonings, so try cooking with savory spices like allspice, coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, onion, and turmeric to introduce new flavors to baby.

Reviewed by

J. Truppi, MSN, CNS

V. Kalami, MNSP, RD

K. Grenawitzke, OTD, OTR/L, SCFES, IBCLC, CNT

S. Bajowala, MD, FAAAAI. (allergy section)

R. Ruiz, MD Board-Certified General Pediatrician and Pediatric Gastroenterologist

  1. Schulzová V, Hajslová J, Peroutka R, Gry J, Andersson HC. Influence of storage and household processing on the agaritine content of the cultivated Agaricus mushroom. Food Addit Contam. 2002 Sep;19(9):853-62. doi: 10.1080/02652030210156340. PMID: 12396396.
  2. Jo Feeney, M., Miller, A.M., Roupas, P. (2014). Mushrooms-Biologically Distinct and Nutritionally Unique: Exploring a “Third Food Kingdom”. Nutrition Today, 49(6), 301–307. DOI:10.1097/NT.0000000000000063. Retrieved December 29, 2020
  3. Feeney, M.J., Dwyer, J., Hasler-Lewis, C.M., Milner, J.A., Noakes, M., et al. (2014). Mushrooms and Health Summit proceedings. The Journal of nutrition, 144(7), 1128S–36S. DOI:10.3945/jn.114.190728. Retrieved February 2, 2021
  4. Jo Feeney, M., Miller, A.M., Roupas, P. (2014). Mushrooms-Biologically Distinct and Nutritionally Unique: Exploring a “Third Food Kingdom”. Nutrition Today, 49(6), 301–307. DOI:10.1097/NT.0000000000000063. Retrieved December 29, 2020
  5. Cebin, A.V., Petravić-Tominac, V., Djakovic, S., Srecec, S., Zechner-Krpan, V., (2018). Polysaccharides and Antioxidants from Culinary-Medicinal White Button Mushroom, Agaricus bisporus (Agaricomycetes), Waste Biomass. International journal of medicinal mushrooms, 20(8), 797–808. DOI:10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.2018027412. Retrieved December 29, 2020
  6. Yu, S., Weaver, V., Martin, K., Cantorna, M. (2009). The effects of whole mushrooms during inflammation. BMC Immunol 10, 12. DOI:10.1186/1471-2172-10-12. Retrieved December 29, 2020
  7. Yu, S., Weaver, V., Martin, K., Cantorna, M. (2009). The effects of whole mushrooms during inflammation. BMC Immunol 10, 12. DOI:10.1186/1471-2172-10-12. Retrieved December 29, 2020
  8. Adams, L.S., Phung, S., Wu, X., Ki, L., Chen, S. (2008). White button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) exhibits antiproliferative and proapoptotic properties and inhibits prostate tumor growth in athymic mice. Nutrition and cancer, 60(6), 744–756. DOI:10.1080/01635580802192866. Retrieved December 29, 2020
  9. Chen, S., Oh, S.R., Phung, S., Hur, G., Ye, J.J., et al. (2006). Anti-aromatase activity of phytochemicals in white button mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus). Cancer research, 66(24), 12026–12034. DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-06-2206. Retrieved December 29, 2020
  10. Toth, Nagel, Patil, et al. Tumor Induction with the AT-Acetyl Derivative of 4-Hydroxymethyl- phenylhydrazine, a Metabolite of Agaritine of Agaricus b/sporus1. Retrieved December 29, 2020.p
  11. Toth, B., Gannett, P., Visek, W. J., & Patil, K. (1998). Carcinogenesis studies with the lyophilized mushroom Agaricus bisporus in mice. In vivo (Athens, Greece), 12(2), 239–244.
  12. Toth, Erickson. Cancer Induction in Mice by Feeding of the Uncooked Cultivated Mushroom of Commerce Agaricus bisporus
  13. Schulzová, V., Hajšlová, J., Peroutka, R., Gry, J., Andersson, H. C. (2002). Influence of storage and household processing on the agaritine content of the cultivated Agaricus mushroom. Food Additives & Contaminants, 19(9), 853–862. Retrieved December 29, 2020
  14. o Feeney, M., Miller, A.M., Roupas, P. (2014). Mushrooms-Biologically Distinct and Nutritionally Unique: Exploring a “Third Food Kingdom”. Nutrition Today, 49(6), 301–307. DOI:10.1097/NT.0000000000000063. Retrieved December 29, 2020
  15. Simon, R.R., Phillips, K.M., Horst, R.L., Munro, I. C. (2011). Vitamin D mushrooms: comparison of the composition of button mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) treated postharvest with UVB light or sunlight. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 59(16), 8724–8732. DOI:10.1021/jf201255b. Retrieved January 12, 2021
  16. Keegan, R.J., Lu, Z., Bogusz, J.M., Williams, J.E., Holick, M.F. (2013). Photobiology of vitamin D in mushrooms and its bioavailability in humans. Dermato-endocrinology, 5(1), 165–176. DOI:10.4161/derm.23321. Retrieved January 12, 2021
  17. Koivikko, A. and Savolainen, J. (1988). Mushroom allergy. Allergy, 43(1), 1-10. DOI: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.1988.tb02037.x. Retrieved December 29, 2020
  18. Dauby, P.A., Whisman, B.A., Hagan, L. (2002). Cross-reactivity between raw mushroom and molds in a patient with oral allergy syndrome. Annals of allergy, asthma & immunology: official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, 89(3), 319–321. DOI:10.1016/S1081-1206(10)61962-X. Retrieved December 29, 2020
  19. Lee C.G. (2009). Chitin, chitinases and chitinase-like proteins in allergic inflammation and tissue remodeling. Yonsei medical journal, 50(1), 22–30. DOI:10.3349/ymj.2009.50.1.22. Retrieved December 29, 2020
  20. Tanaka, H., Saikai, T., Sugawara, H., Tsunematsu, K., Takeya, I., et al. (2001). Three-year follow-up study of allergy in workers in a mushroom factory. Respiratory medicine, 95(12), 943–948. DOI:10.1053/rmed.2001.1187. Retrieved December 29, 2020
  21. Kayode, O.S., Siew, L., Pillai, P., Haque, R., Rutkowski, K., Caballero, M. R. (2020). Mushroom allergy: Case series. The journal of allergy and clinical immunology. In practice, 8(1), 375–379. DOI:10.1016/j.jaip.2019.08.048. Retrieved December 29, 2020