Easy, Delicious Lion’s Mane Mushroom Mac and Cheese

May 18, 2023

Creamy lion’s mane mushroom mac and cheese is your weeknight answer to a satisfying, nutritious meal the whole family will love. This recipe is vegetarian, full of flavor, and makes great leftovers!

Lion’s Mane mushrooms grow in the wild, but my first taste of this fungi was from a friend’s homegrown harvest. He was growing Lion’s Mane to study their ability to clean up land pollution, known as “bioremediation.” 

The fact that mushrooms can clean up pollution blows my mind, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to their incredible powers and gifts. . (A good read on this subject is Entangled Life: How Fungi Make our Worlds, Change our Minds, and Shape our Futures.) 

One reason I love incorporating lion’s mane into my family’s diet is because it supports brain productivity and creativity. The national educator for super-mushroom company Four Sigmatic, Danielle Ryan Broida, says that lion’s mane is like “a hug for your brain.” 

But there’s nothing better than eating something that’s both good for you and tastes delicious! Some would say lion’s mane is a vegetarian substitute to lobster, but much easier to cook.

In fact, lion’s mane mushrooms prefer simple preparation – just garlic, fat, and salt – making it easy to begin celebrating this mushroom’s existence at your own table! 

But for those of you who want to take it up a notch, you have to try this delicious Lion’s Mane Mushroom Mac and Cheese! 

With love and gratitude // E

Hand sprinkling minced parsley over a pot of golden brown mac and cheese

What Do Lion’s Mane Mushrooms Taste Like? 

Lion’s Mane has a flavor and texture similar to lobster or crab; stringy, meaty, and delicate. Once cooked, it’s slightly chewy, tender, and juicy.

How to Source Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

Lion’s mane mushrooms are in season during late summer through fall. You can also buy Lion’s Mane Mushrooms at our local farmers market, mushroom grower, or specialty health food store. With a little online research, you can even find spores to grow your own

To forage Lion’s Mane mushrooms, check out Forager Chef or The Mushroom Forager.

Two hands on top of a wooden cutting board over lions mane mushroom pieces, pulling apart a larger lions man mushroom

How to Store, Clean, & Prepare Lion’s Mane Mushrooms


Store unwashed lion’s mane mushrooms in a brown paper bag in the refrigerator. Avoid storing them in the vegetable drawer where there’s too much moisture. You want to place the mushrooms where air can flow around them. This will prevent them from getting soggy or moldy. Just keep in mind that some wild mushrooms store better in the fridge than others. Try your best to buy lion’s mane mushrooms close to when you plan to cook them. 


To clean the lion’s mane mushrooms, use a brush to remove any dirt particles. Then, wipe the mushroom clean with a paper towel. If the mushroom is particularly dirty, a quick dunk in a bowl of salty water will rid dirt or bugs. Avoid soaking the mushroom in water for too long otherwise, they will get water-logged and become soggy when cooked. 

Close-up of creamy cheese sauce poured over pasta shells

Lion’s Mane Mushrooms Health Benefits 

Having been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, the lion’s mane mushroom is a medicinal powerhouse. Here are just a few of its many health benefits: 

  • Supports the brain, heart, and gut health.
  • Protects against dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression.
  • Helps reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes, and ulcers.
  • Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. 

More Lion’s Mane Mushrooms Recipes

Lion’s Mane Mushroom Crab Cakes (via Forager Chef)

Lion’s Mane Mushroom and Onions (via Wicked Healthy Food)

Lion’s Mane Mushrooms with Saffron and Apples (via Seasonal & Savory)

Person pouring creamy cheese sauce poured over pasta shells



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Easy, Delicious Lion’s Mane Mushroom Mac and Cheese

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Adjust the amount of oil, butter, and garlic according to the number of mushrooms you have. You can’t go wrong with the quantities, however, overcompensate for oil and butter as the mushrooms absorb them fast!

  • Author: Emma Frisch
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings


  • 1 pound conchiglie (shell) pasta

  • 7 Tbsp butter

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • About 10 ounces lion’s mane, pulled apart like shredded chicken

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 cup AP flour

  • 1 ⅔ cup whole milk

  • 1 cup grated Parmesan 

  • 1 cup grated mozzarella

  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)


  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a rolling boil. Stir in just enough salt to make the water as salty as the ocean, and then add the pasta. Stir, return the water to a boil, and cook the pasta, uncovered, until al dente, according to the package instructions.  Drain the pasta and transfer it back to the pot, tossing it with 1 Tbsp of the butter to keep it from sticking. Cover and set aside.

  2. Melt 2 Tbsp of the butter in a medium sauté pan over medium-height heat. Once melted, lower the heat to medium and add the minced garlic and lion’s mane mushrooms, sautéing until the mushrooms are browned, 3-5 minutes. Season with 1/2 tsp of salt. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

  3. In a small pot, melt the remaining 4 Tbsp of butter over medium-high. 

  4. Once melted, lower the heat to medium and add the flour, whisking until smooth and continuing to whisk occasionally for two minutes until you smell a nutty aroma. 

  5. Slowly add the milk, whisking continually as you pour until the milk is incorporated and the mixture is smooth.

  6. Lower the heat to medium-low. Add the cheese and use a wooden spoon to stir until the cheese sauce is melted and smooth. The Parmesan will make the sauce salty but taste a bit (blowing first!) to see if it needs more. Season with the remaining salt. 

  7. Pour the sauce over the pasta and mix thoroughly. Stir in the lion’s mane mushrooms, distributing evenly. 

  8. Serve warm, garnished with parsley if desired. 

  9. Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop with a splash of milk.


If your lion’s mane mushrooms are particularly large, you can slice them into steaks, then quarter them into more bite-size pieces. 

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Craving more? Find more wilderness recipes likes this one in my cookbook Seasonal Family Almanac!

  1. They turned out perfect! First time I have ever had them. I was told by an elderly lady in my oorganic stire that i should add a touch of cream at the end. It was a nice addition to the garlic flavor.

    1. I’m THRILLED to hear that, and I absolutely love the idea of adding a splash of cream at the end. Fantastic!

  2. Pingback: Best Way to Cook Lion's Mane Mushrooms - Nutritious Mushrooms

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