How to Tell if Mushrooms Are Bad: A Comprehensive Guide


Mushrooms are a delicious and healthy addition to any meal, but they can quickly go bad if not properly stored and handled. It’s important to be able to identify the signs of spoilage to avoid consuming contaminated mushrooms. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know to determine if mushrooms are bad and how to prevent spoilage.

Visual Cues

Fresh mushrooms should appear firm, smooth and dry. Signs of spoilage include slimy or wrinkled caps and discolored stems. Mold is another clear sign of bad mushrooms. It’s important to look for any damaged or bruised spots that might indicate that the mushrooms are past their peak freshness.

Refer to the images or examples provided to help you identify the signs of spoilt mushrooms.

Smell Test

Mushrooms should have a natural earthy aroma. A sour or musty smell is an indication of spoilage. Start by taking a whiff of the mushrooms to determine whether they have a normal or off-putting smell. However, keep in mind that some varieties of mushrooms naturally have a stronger smell than others, so try not to be too hasty in your judgement.

Touch Test

When you touch fresh mushrooms, they should feel firm and somewhat springy. If they are soft or mushy, they have likely gone bad. Avoid any mushrooms that have slimy caps or have stuck together. These are clear signs of spoilage.

Expiration Date

Check the packaging for an expiration date before making your purchase. If the mushrooms have passed their expiration date, it’s best to avoid them as they may have already started to spoil. The expiration date helps give you an estimate on how long the mushrooms should remain fresh and gives a benchmark to go by when storing and consuming them.

Always respect the expiration date and consume mushrooms before the date passes to avoid consuming contaminated food.

Pay attention to the storage instructions on the packaging as well and try to place the mushrooms in the fridge as soon as possible to ensure they stay at the desired temperature.

Storage Conditions

Mushrooms should be stored in a cool, dry place. High temperatures and humidity can cause mushrooms to spoil quickly so it’s important to avoid any such conditions. Avoid storing them near any items that emit heat or moisture as well.

Avoid storing mushrooms in plastic bags because they retain moisture leading to quick spoilage, rather keep them in a paper bag or a perforated plastic bag to allow air to circulate around the mushrooms. Make sure to never freeze mushrooms.

Mushrooms in a Container

If purchasing pre-packaged mushrooms, check for any swelling or damage in the container that might indicate spoilage. Any signs of damage or bruising on the caps of mushrooms should also be avoided. Choose a package that appears fresh and does not have any visible signs of spoilage.

Also, try to purchase mushrooms that are sold loose in a bin rather than pre-packaged mushrooms as they are known to have shorter shelf lives.

Cooked Mushrooms

Cooked mushrooms should be cooled and refrigerated within two hours to prevent bacterial growth. Consuming cooked mushrooms left out at room temperature for over two hours is not recommended.

When reheating cooked mushrooms, make sure they reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F to kill any bacteria. This should be done within two hours of removing the mushrooms from the refrigerator.


Learning how to tell if mushrooms are bad is essential for staying safe and healthy. As a refresher, always check for visual cues, smells, and textures, and remember to keep your mushrooms in ideal storage conditions to prevent spoilage before their expiration date. Additionally, remember that cooked mushrooms should be handled carefully to avoid contamination. Following these tips will ensure you have safe and delicious mushrooms every time.

For more information on how to identify the signs of spoilage in mushrooms, visit sites such as USDA and FDA to learn more.

Webben Editor

Hello! I'm Webben, your guide to intriguing insights about our diverse world. I strive to share knowledge, ignite curiosity, and promote understanding across various fields. Join me on this enlightening journey as we explore and grow together.

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