Why Do Mushrooms Smell Like Fish

The diverse collection of fungi known as mushrooms comes in a wide range of colors, sizes, and shapes. They are present in almost every ecosystem, from the forest bottom to the ocean’s depths. In addition to their distinct visual features, mushrooms have a characteristic and occasionally strong odor.

The scent of fish is among the most distinctive and peculiar aromas connected with particular mushrooms. Some people find the scent when a mushroom smells fishy and repulsive, but others see it as a sign of a highly edible mushroom. So, why do mushrooms smell fishy? If mushrooms start to smell, you have a spoiled mushroom, and you can’t do anything to save them.

In our guide, you can learn more about how bad mushrooms could smell like fish and how some mushrooms have these smells where other mushrooms don’t. By the end, you’ll be able to tell if you have spoiled mushrooms or fresh mushrooms, and you can eat mushrooms without worries. (Learn How Much Is A Nob Of Butter)

mushrooms in a basket

Are Shiitake Mushrooms The Only Type?

There are countless varieties of mushrooms, and all have unique characteristics. In addition to being very adaptable, mushrooms are inexpensive, widely accessible, and quick to prepare.

Additionally, they require little preparation. You only need to clean, and sliced mushrooms are down to preference. You can eat mushrooms in nearly all world cuisine in some way.

You can steam, boil, deep-fry, pan-fry, roast, braise, and grill mushrooms. You can cook mushrooms using any technique that comes to mind! You probably know all these features of mushrooms, yet you may wonder why it is so important.

If you find your mushrooms are slimy, you have a failure in the storage procedure.

Shelf Life Of Mushrooms

Fungi produce spore-bearing mushrooms. Mushrooms are porous and meaty as they have soft and juicy flesh. Mushrooms quickly decay due to their high moisture content. Moisture feeds dangerous bacteria, which then grow.

Living mushrooms decompose swiftly after dying. This is faster than many fruits and vegetables, but not lightning fast.

Why Mushrooms Smell Fishy?

When you go to the grocery stores, you’ll discover mushrooms are mainly odorless with a mild earthiness. So, if you smell fish, be suspicious, as your fishy-smelling mushrooms are ruined.

Harmful microorganisms generate this odor. Bacteria are on all substances. When bacteria multiply too much, they become visible. One is a fishy odor. Mold or rot are more obvious signs. Many people disregard smell changes in their fruit, which appear before mold.

If your mushrooms smell weird, toss them. 

Which Mushroom Has a Fishy Smell Quickest?

The more delicate or thin mushroom varieties can spoil the fastest, although there isn’t any research on such things. These mushrooms have far less meat, which means they lose less moisture and thus get their fishy smell faster.

Mushrooms that are denser will generally stay longer. Once again, their structure renders them more resistant to moisture loss and mold growth. Knowing how to store mushrooms has the most significant impact on how quickly they develop a fishy smell.

Also, ensure you buy whole mushrooms rather than pre-sliced ones for your mushrooms to last as long as possible inside your refrigerator. (Read Can You Make Mac And Cheese Without Butter)

Are Fishy-Smelling Mushrooms Bad?

Knowing from experience that once your mushrooms start to smell fishy, you cannot use them. As we’ve seen, the overabundance of bacteria on the mushrooms causes the fishy smell.

You notice the tell-tale signs of deterioration after the bacteria have increased to the extent that they emit any smell. On the surface of the mushrooms, spots start to appear. They may even turn slimy at that point. Then, of course, comes the fishy, unpleasant smell, frequently followed by them starting to decompose.

chopped mushrooms

How To Tell My Mushrooms Are Bad?

Any smell comes from an overwhelming amount of bad bacteria. All food has surface bacteria, and as they multiply, they show noticeable signs, such as a fishy smell.

There are a ton of indicators that your mushrooms have degraded. As we’ve already mentioned, the fishy smell indicates that the mushrooms should be thrown out immediately. Here are some other common signs your mushrooms have started to spoil or are no longer usable.

Surface Spots

The first sign of bad mushrooms is this. Most edible mushroom mushrooms have a fairly consistent hue and don’t have spots. Because of this, think about using your mushrooms immediately if they display spots or discoloration.


After spotting, most mushrooms become slimy. Some can go slimy overnight, indicating they have been in the fridge too long.

Slime isn’t toxic, but it’s not tasty, and you can’t wash it off.

Color Change

This varies from mushroom spots as the mushroom shouldn’t change color. As they degrade and age, they often become darker. Depending on the color change, the mushrooms may still be usable. If it’s too extreme, trash them, as food poisoning is never worth the risk.

Change in Texture

Firm mushrooms are best, although this won’t mean they are rigid. These mushroom strands are robust but flexible, like Enoki.

Mushrooms that shrivel have either dried out or lost too much moisture from age. Depending on the moisture loss, they may be able. They may be rough, but still edible. If they’re shriveled and hollow inside, trash them.

Fishy Odor

As we’ve already established, any mushroom stench is a surefire sign that they’re bad. There shall be none to this regulation. You can get nauseated from any smell with just a whiff.

How To Prevent Fishy Mushrooms

You might currently be experiencing a lot of discouragement. When mushrooms spoil quickly and can’t even be saved in any way, why even bother buying them? As easy as it is to cause mushrooms to smell fishy, it’s just as easy to extend their shelf life and keep this from happening.

When keeping mushrooms, there are two critical considerations. These are the most crucial, and you should only take action to address them.

  • The first is to avoid putting mushrooms near water. Water will cause the development of bacteria, turning the mushrooms almost quickly slimy.
  • The second step is to allow the mushrooms room to breathe.

The greatest storage advice to keep mushrooms safe is here:

Buy Fresh

The leading cause of why people’s mushrooms nearly immediately go bad is they don’t check they have fresh produce. Even when mushrooms appear attractive from a distance, inspect them closely. Look for flaws or discoloration. Any mushrooms close to their expiration date can start showing noticeable signs of this. (Learn How Long Does Fresh Tuna Last In The Fridge)

Storing In Fridge

Mushrooms stored at room temperature will dry out in just a few hours.

The best place to store mushrooms is colder than at room temperature, even if you should maintain them dry and free from moisture. Additionally, the fridge will delay bacterial growth, which can cause slime and rot.

Store In Proper Containers

Never store mushrooms in an airtight bag or container. They all have large holes in them, which is why. By allowing the mushrooms to breathe, you can slow the rate of deterioration to help prevent condensation from accumulating.

Mushrooms should therefore be kept in their original packaging, in a brown paper bag, or on some paper towels. Many people recommend using a plastic bag, but this is useless for mushrooms.

However, you can line a plastic bag with a paper towel. Otherwise, a brown paper bag works great because it is quite porous.

Avoid Sliced Mushrooms

Unless you get mushrooms in a can, you should avoid any sliced mushrooms as shelf life is drastically reduced, and they emanate a fishy aroma, among other signs.

Do Mushroom Varieties Smell of Fish?

different kinds of mushrooms

Certain mushroom varieties can smell slightly fishy even when you have a fresh mushroom. The “fishy milkcap” is also known as Lactifluus volemus. That ought to tell everything you need to know about why do my mushrooms smell like fish.

After being cooked, fish generally has a much-reduced smell. But you should steer away from the following types of mushrooms if you find them repulsive:

  • Lactifluus volemus
  • Russula foetens
  • Phallus impudicus

Mushroom Varieties:

This guide to the most popular mushroom types should help you find what you’re looking for the next time you shop.


The button mushroom is sometimes known as the “white mushroom” With a mild flavor, you can use them in omelets, pizza, and more.

These are great, packed with breadcrumbs or another rich filling. 


Cremini is what we know as baby Bella and has a more earthy flavor and firmer bite.


Portobellos have a savory flavor and chewy texture, so they can be used instead of meat. For the best results, scrape off the dark brown gills before cooking your dish.


Shiitake mushrooms have light brown heads and thin stems. Their umami flavor will perk mushrooms any stir-fry. Despite being raw, shiitakes are best cooked.

Storage Tips

A few more tips are handy to prevent mushrooms from smelling like fish; smell them before using, and follow these steps before you get to that tage.

  • The mushrooms should be kept in absorbent because they will shed moisture in the refrigerator. Your best bet is a paper bag lined with paper towels.
  • Mushrooms release moisture, so keeping them in an object that can take in this moisture is better.
  • They shouldn’t be kept in store-bought container because it is usually made of plastic and will expedite deterioration.
  • Unless you notice a slimy texture, you don’t need to wash them before you cook.
  • To remove any extra dirt, carefully wipe the food with dry paper towels.
  • By keeping your mushrooms fresh, you can help avoid the possibility that they will begin to smell like fish due to deterioration.

Related Questions

Can you dry fishy mushrooms and use them?

Drying and eating fishy mushrooms is not advised. Decomposing components cannot be saved by cooking or canning. The food cannot be preserved since the harmful bacteria start multiplying so much.

How long do mushrooms last?

Fresh mushrooms that haven’t been trimmed in any way can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks if fresh and properly stored. Cooked mushrooms last 1 to 2 days.

Button mushrooms don’t keep as long as the baby Bella. Baby Bellas are smaller versions of Portobello mushrooms, often used as a meat substitute. Fresh whole mushrooms can keep for 7 to 10 days. Once sliced, they’ll keep for 5 to 6 days, so avoid meal prep until you’re ready to start cooking.

Can you freeze mushrooms?

At home, you can freeze mushrooms to increase their shelf life.

  1. One of the easiest ways is to steam in a steamer basket until soft, spread on a cookie sheet to flash freeze, and then add to a freezer-safe container.
  2. When you want to prepare mushrooms, ensure they are thawed properly before cooking.

Why Do Mushrooms Smell Like Fish

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