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How To Tell If Mushrooms Are Bad?

Are you unsure about the freshness of your fungi and wondering how to tell if mushrooms are bad?

Worry not, as this comprehensive guide will provide you with all the essential tips and tricks to ensure you’re consuming safe and delicious mushrooms.

How to tell if mushrooms are bad or Spoiled


If mushrooms are bad, they will usually have a slimy surface, be discolored, or have visible mold. You can also tell if mushrooms are bad if they give off a foul odor. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to throw them out.

You can tell if your mushrooms have gone bad by smelling them, feeling them and how they look. These are the best ways to make sure they have not spoiled you.

Now if they are bad here are some mushroom substitutes.

1. Do the mushrooms smell?

The easiest way to tell if your mushrooms have gone bad is if they are smelly. Now it is hard to describe the smell but you will know it if you smell it.

Trust me you will say to yourself… yep these are no good!

You won’t have an earthy smell to them. To be honest they should smell kind of like dirt lol. Or that smell you get as you walk through a forest.

If they don’t smell and they look pretty good you might consider freezing your mushrooms before they go bad.

2. The mushrooms are slimy

When a mushroom has gone slimy this is a good sign that they are going bad.

They should not look wet at all. Mushrooms love moisture as they will suck them up. You want them to look crisp and fresh!

Usually, at this point, you will have already experienced that they have a bad smell.

3. Are they bruised and soft

When the mushrooms are getting bruised they are typically in the first stages of going bad.

This means that it is time to use them before they hit the other stages of smelly and slimy.

Typically this is very easy to notice on white button mushrooms seeing that you can really see the difference in color.

How long do mushrooms last?

Expiration of MushroomsRefrigerated
Whole Fresh Mushrooms7-10 days
Sliced Fresh Mushrooms3-5 days
Cooked Mushrooms5-7 days

If your mushrooms are good and you want to know how to cook them, check out my post on how to sauté mushrooms and onions.

How to prevent mushrooms from going bad

  • Store them quickly. Store the mushrooms in the refrigerator as soon as you can after purchasing them from the market or grocery store. You want to keep them cold.
  • Store them in a container that can breathe. Typically they come in a container that has air holes in the plastic wrap container. Don’t put them in an air-tight container when you get them home.
  • Use them quickly. Like all produce, it is a good idea to get them cooked as soon as you can. It is typically best to shop for produce a couple of times a week.

How to choose fresh mushrooms at the grocery store?

This comes down again to using your senses. You want to make sure they don’t smell and that they are not bruised or look slimy.

Personally, I look for packages of mushrooms with the date closest to the current date. They typically mark them when they put them on the shelf.

If I’m buying organic mushrooms I am looking for the best date possible!

My favorite of all the mushrooms has to be the cremini mushroom. It has great flavor and is a close cousin to the white button mushroom. Most people think of it as the baby Bella.

So in the end-use your best judgment. I do not know at what stage the mushroom could make you sick after it has gone bad. Give it a touch and sniff and look it over closely!

Tofu, along with mushrooms is a great vegetarian substitute, find out how to tell if tofu is bad.

Frequently Asked Questions for Mushrooms Going Bad

Eating wild mushrooms can be risky, as some toxic species closely resemble edible ones. Unless you’re an expert in mushroom identification, it’s safer to stick to store-bought mushrooms.

When properly stored in a paper bag or wrapped in a damp cloth, fresh mushrooms can last up to a week in the refrigerator. Keep an eye out for signs of spoilage.

It’s best to avoid slimy mushrooms, as this is a sign of decay. Consuming spoiled mushrooms can lead to food poisoning and other health issues.

If mushrooms emit a foul, sour, or ammonia-like odor, they are likely spoiled. Fresh mushrooms should have a mild, earthy scent.

To spot bad mushrooms, check for any discoloration, dark spots, or wrinkles on the surface. Fresh mushrooms should have a smooth and evenly colored appearance.


In conclusion, learning how to tell if mushrooms are bad is essential for every home cook and mushroom enthusiast.

By recognizing the signs of spoilage, such as foul odors, sliminess, or discoloration, you can ensure the safety and quality of your meals.

Keep this guide handy, and you’ll be a mushroom inspection expert in no time!

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