Perhaps you’re tired of the unpleasantness of forcing down a bunch of dried psilocybin mushrooms that taste like bitter, stale sunflower seeds. Or maybe you’ve been applying your culinary skills to cannabis and want to pivot to making some dishes that are even more entheogenic. Whatever brings you to the art and science of cooking with magic mushrooms, there are many advantages over more common methods of preparation and ingestion. In this article, we will take a deep dive into the world of cooking with magic mushrooms. We’ll overview how heat can affect the shroom’s potency, what to consider when dosing, as well as some top tips and recipes to get you started.
Why Cook Your Shrooms?
Undoubtedly the simplest way of consuming shrooms is eating them whole. However, the tasty and creative recipes you can cook up with shrooms makes the overall dosing experience much more enjoyable. Eating psilocybin-infused chocolate or drinking a shroom smoothie is easier than choking down a bag of cracker-dry shrooms. Even in the simplest of recipes like these, the bitter, unpleasant taste of the mushrooms is masked effectively. In more involved recipes like risotto, the shrooms can even be brought out flavorfully.
Cooking shrooms also breaks down the raw mushroom material–the indigestible chitinous cell walls–making it easier on the stomach. This is especially true when working with extraction-based methods, like a simple psilocybin alcohol extraction. However, the combination of psilocybin and a full stomach can potentially cause digestive discomfort. We’ll soon discuss some tips to minimize nausea and bloating to have the best trip possible.
Cooking Effects on Potency
Whether high temperatures degrade the active compounds in psilocybin mushrooms is a contentious question among psychonauts. Since there hasn’t been extensive research to shed light on the matter, the evidence is anecdotal.
However, a recent study published in October of this year may have begun to crack the question. In one part of this study, the researchers heated 5 samples of dried P. cubensis mushroom powder for 30 minutes at six temperatures (between 25-150°C). They then analyzed the alkaloidal content at the thirty-minute mark and found the biggest potency drop-off (~80%) for psilocybin and the other alkaloids between 125 and 150°C. Interestingly, the psilocin content increased at higher temperatures due to psilocybin being dephosphorylated from the heat, followed by its rapid oxidation.
Considering the recent findings above, along with the abundance of anecdotal evidence, psilocybin potency seems unaffected by boiling at 100°C (after all, mushroom tea has been common for decades). At higher temperatures, the alkaloids’ heat degradation is very likely time-dependent, so the less heat, the better. Other factors such as the pH, moisture content, and amount of exposure to oxygen can all contribute to the potency question as well. In summary, keeping away from long cook times and high temperatures (like roasting) will minimize any losses. Using no-bake recipes can avoid the heat potency degradation problem altogether, so we’ll be sharing some of those in a later section.
Similar to cooking with cannabis, dialing in the optimal dose when cooking with magic mushrooms is essential for an enjoyable time. It’s important to note that there is a lot of individual variabilities when it comes to dosing. The correct dose for you is dependent on many factors, including:
- The mushroom. What mushroom species and/or strain are you cooking with? Is the mushroom fresh or dried? Some shroom species, like P. azurescens (azzies), are several times more potent than the much more popular P. cubensis (gold cap shrooms). Within the P. cubensis realm, some strains (like Penis Envy) are considerably stronger than other popular strains like B+ and Golden Teachers. Also, keep in mind, potency can vary not only within species and strains but also across harvests. In regards to the form of the mushroom–if the mushroom is dried, only 1/10th the dose of a fresh mushroom is needed. This is because fresh shrooms are approximately 90% water.
- The individual. Factors that influence dosage here include, but are not limited to, body weight, how much one has eaten, tripping experience, and tolerance levels. A 120lb person may need half the dose of someone twice as heavy. Someone who tripped a day ago versus 30 days ago may need 10-20% more for the same effects. And, of course, a seasoned heroic doser may be comfortable cooking at doses much higher than a first-timer. Check out this Magic Mushroom Dose Calculator that accounts for some of these factors.
- Cooking methods. Factors such as the temperature used for cooking, pH levels, and moisture content can all influence the potency, and therefore the dosage. A highly acidic dish accelerates the conversion of psilocybin to psilocin, a process that normally happens in the stomach. This can result in a faster onset and a stronger trip, and so you may need less of a dose in this case. Due to potential potency losses from heat, a no-bake cookie recipe may need a smaller dose than a high-heat stroganoff, for instance.
Easy Does It
Despite the multitude of factors that can influence the right dosage, a good rule of thumb when starting out is to start slow and dose low. This will help you gauge the effects and pace yourself, especially if you’re embarking on a multi-course meal. Dosages in the microdose or mini dose territory, perhaps between 0.15-0.50g of dried mushroom, are a good starting point. Exact dosages can be easily and accurately measured out using a high-precision scale. When possible it’s recommended to cook with the mushroom in dried powder form. This not only helps distribute the active compounds evenly in the recipe but also maximizes the surface area in the stomach so that psilocybin can absorb most efficiently.
Remember–it’s a lot easier to eat or drink more after a few hours if you’re not where you want to be, than to try to come down from a trip after too strong of a dose!
Top Tips When Cooking with Shrooms
Starting with lighter recipes can help you gauge how your stomach reacts to psilocybin-infused meals and drinks. If you’re not already an avid cook, it can also build up your shroom-cooking prowess for more complicated recipes. Consider starting with an herbal psilocybin-infused tea, smoothie, or chocolate truffles before embarking on heavier meals like shroom burgers or risottos.
Try Cooking with Ingredients that Aid Digestion
Nausea and GI discomfort is an unfortunate reality for many people with shrooms, and often these side effects can sour the early parts of the mushroom experience. Luckily, there are several helpful herbs and spices you can add to alleviate any sick feelings. Besides being a well-known anti-emetic, ginger can help ease an upset stomach and potential bloating while the stomach contends with psilocybin and the rest of the meal. Other ingredients, like mint and honey, can be very helpful to soothe the stomach and GI tract.
Consider Working with Extractions
Several extraction methods exist to pull the highly-soluble active compounds out of the mushrooms. The most simple and common among them is a simple water extraction (i.e. mushroom tea). Other extraction methods, like soaking the mushrooms in ethanol or honey, provide a host of benefits over working with the mushroom itself.
Extractions let you avoid the taste of the earthy mushrooms and cuts down on the intimidation factor of working with a lot of shrooms. Avoiding the mushroom material also means it’s much easier on the stomach and helps to minimize unpleasant bodily side effects. Instead, you are left with a trip that feels cleaner and has a quicker onset.
In addition, extractions have very long shelf lives, so they can be stored for years without loss of potency. For instance, alcohol extractions stored in a portable dropper can be easily thrown in the freezer. Then, you can add it to more recipes with minimal fuss later on.
Top Shroom Recipes to Try
In general, recipes that call for gourmet mushrooms can be converted into a psychedelic recipe. In this section, we will overview some of our favorite recipes for shroom desserts, beverages, and main dishes.
Making magic mushroom chocolates is an ancient and venerated practice. In the Pre-Columbian era, the Aztecs combined shrooms with cacao, the main antioxidant-rich ingredient in chocolate. In addition to making it much more palatable, combining chocolate with shrooms extends the shelf-life of psilocybin considerably.
This beginner-friendly, no-bake chocolate shroom recipe avoids the loss of potency associated with high temperatures. While this recipe makes just pure chocolate treats, a variety of additional ingredients (e.g. cacao nibs, shredded coconut, crushed toffee) can be added after mixing in the mushroom powder to the melted chocolate.
- 1 large saucepan
- 1 large bowl (glass or metal)
- Chocolate mold
- 12oz of meltable chocolate (bag of chips or bars)
- Digital scale
- Coffee grinder
- Dried magic mushrooms
- Weigh out your mushrooms to the desired dose. To do this, multiply the number of chocolates your mold makes by the mushroom dose you desire per chocolate. For instance, if your mold makes 7 chocolates and you want each to be a 0.5g dose, you will need 3.5g of dried mushroom.
- Grind the dried mushrooms into a powder with a coffee grinder.
- Fill the pot halfway with water, and stack the metal or glass bowl on top. This makes a double boiler.
- After the water heats up to a gentle simmer, add the chocolate to the top bowl. Stir continuously, but make sure not to get any water inside the bowl.
- Once the chocolate is well melted, let it cool slightly. Then, add the mushroom powder and stir thoroughly.
- Carefully pour or spoon the chocolate mixture into the molds.
- Place the molds into the fridge to let them cool. Once they’re solid, they’re ready to go!
Reality Sandwich also recommends you check out these other great recipes for shroomy treats:
Magic mushroom beverages are another time-tested and delicious shroom edible. You can choose from a variety of magic beverage recipes, depending on the occasion and your preferences. You can add ground mushrooms or extracts to any of your favorite drinkable items. This includes everything from tea and coffee to smoothies, juices, milkshakes, and even cocktails.
It’s recommended to add ginger or other digestion aids when possible to magic beverages to stave off any potential nausea. In addition, adding citrus to shroom drinks speeds up the conversion of psilocybin to psilocin, resulting in a stronger trip. This idea is at the heart of the Lemon Tek method, which involves soaking the shrooms in acidic lemon juice before consuming them.
Shroomy Fruit Smoothie
Not only are they healthy, but smoothies are also a great way to mask the earthy taste of the mushrooms. While you can use any of your favorite juices or fruits, this recipe uses bananas and honey to calm the stomach as well as blueberries (which pair surprisingly well with shrooms). If you’re in the mood for a citrus smoothie, lemon tekking prior to throwing them in the blender can make for a more potent smoothie.
You will need:
- A blender
- 1 ½ cups of apple juice
- 1 cup of frozen blueberries
- ¾ cup of greek yogurt
- 1 banana (halved)
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- Your desired dose of Psilocybes (fresh or powdered if dry)
- Load the blender with all ingredients.
- Blend on low to start, then increase to high until completely smooth and creamy.
Other Recommended Beverage Recipes
If you want to move beyond simple snacks and beverages, you can get creative with hearty psilocybin-infused main dishes. Generally, while potency degradation is not a huge issue, no-bake recipes and recipes with short heating times are most often recommended within this realm. Many people find recipes that call for rich and heavy flavors pair the best with the earthy taste of mushrooms, either when powdered or rehydrated. Let’s take a look at one such recipe.
Grilled Cheese Shroomwich
The following recipe was adapted from the highly recommended new release The Psilocybin Chef Cookbook, by Dr. K. Mandrake and Virginia Haze. In total, this takes about 20 minutes between preparing and cooking.
- 2 slices of sourdough bread
- 2 slices of cheese, such as American, cheddar, muenster, or Swiss
- 1 tablespoon of red onion marmalade
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Good-quality butter
- 0.5g of ground shrooms
- Using a cutting board, butter each piece of bread on one side.
- Top one slice of bread with your favorite cheese on the buttered side.
- Spread the other slice of bread with the red onion marmalade.
- Press together the cheese and marmalade sides to make a sandwich.
- Butter the outside of the bread.
- Heat a griddle or non-stick pan over medium-low heat.
- Cook the sandwich for 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown.
Other Great Magic Mushroom Main Dishes to Try:
CONTRIBUTING RS AUTHOR: DYLAN BEARD
Dylan is a freelance science writer and editor based in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. After finishing his physics degree and dabbling in neuroscience research at UC Santa Barbara in 2017, he returned to his first love—writing. As a long-term fan of the human brain, he loves exploring the latest research on psychedelics, nootropics, psychology, consciousness, meditation, and more. When he’s not writing, you can probably find him on hiking trails around Oregon and Washington or listening to podcasts. Feel free to follow him on Insta @dylancb88.