Jerky is one of the best snacks you can take with you when you’re on the go. Whether you’re on a road trip, running errands, or even cozied up at home watching a movie, the savory, umami flavor of jerky just can’t be beat.
But what if you’re a vegetarian or just don’t like the texture of regular beef jerky? Luckily there are lots of plant-based jerky options hitting the market so that everyone can enjoy this salty snack no matter their dietary preferences.
One of the most popular new jerkies to hit the market is made from mushrooms! These tasty little fungi make a great jerky base since they have a rich umami flavor, similar to meat, and chewy texture. They also absorb all the delicious seasonings so the flavor profiles are virtually limitless.
So, how do you choose the best mushroom jerky? You want American-grown mushrooms to be the first ingredient on the label. You’ll also want to look for companies that use natural ingredients and avoid artificial sweeteners. You can take it even further by looking for USDA organic options as well.
Finally, many companies are eco-conscious and use recyclable packaging, though these are often nice-to-haves, and not necessarily deal-breakers.
Read on to learn more about how to choose the best mushroom jerky and for a list of some great options available online.
How To Choose The Best Mushroom Jerky
When it comes to choosing the best mushroom jerky for that perfect savory snack, there are a few things you will want to look out for to make sure it’s as delicious as possible.
Check out the following Buyer’s Guide to help you pick the perfect mushroom jerky to make all your snack dreams come true.
1. Mushrooms As The First Ingredient
Regardless of what type of mushroom your jerky uses, you want to make sure that it is the first ingredient on the list. When companies write their ingredient listing, the item that is most predominant in the food takes the top spot.
If you want to make sure that you’re spending your money on quality products, make sure the first ingredient on the label is mushrooms. That means there aren’t a ton of fillers or soy products taking up space that should be reserved for mushrooms in your mushroom jerky.
Different types of mushroom jerky will use different varieties of mushrooms, which will give them a unique flavor and texture. Some common ones you’ll see on the list below include:
- Shiitake Mushrooms
- Portabello Mushrooms
- King Oyster Mushrooms
- Crimini Mushrooms
You might see some other varieties on the label depending on the brand, but these are the most common ones we’ve found in the most popular brands on the market.
2. Natural Flavors And Seasonings
There’s nothing worse than ripping open a bag of delicious jerky only to have it taste fake and chemically.
When you buy mushroom jerky, you want the natural umami taste of the mushrooms to be accented with other flavors, not completely washed out by artificial tastes.
Many mushroom jerky brands pride themselves on using natural flavors and ingredients, so it is one thing to look for on the label to help you figure out the quality of the product.
It’s cheaper to use artificial flavors and ingredients, so premium brands that use natural ingredients may be a little more expensive, but that is usually reflected back in the flavor and quality of the final product.
3. Natural Sweeteners
Just like you want your jerky to be flavored with natural flavorings and ingredients, you also want to look out for natural sweeteners such as agave, maple, monk fruit, cane sugar, etc.
Not every jerky is going to include a sweetener, but if it does, look for ones that are as natural as possible.
Choosing a brand that uses a natural sweetener means that the flavor will likely be a little more balanced than if they were to use an artificial sweetener.
These choices can often have weird aftertastes or flavors, which can throw off the taste of your mushroom jerky. Artificial sweeteners can also be unhealthy if consumed over time.
When enjoying mushroom jerky, you don’t want the overriding flavor to be sweetness, otherwise, you would just eat a cookie, fruit, or another sweet snack.
Some natural sweeteners don’t hit the taste receptors as strongly as the highly processed options so your jerky will taste more balanced.
4. USDA Certified Organic Ingredients
If you want to take things a step further, you can look for companies that use as many certified USDA organic ingredients as possible.
Organic ingredients are often better for the environment and can be more nutrient-dense than their conventionally grown counterparts.
Not every company is going to use 100% organic ingredients, but they may list several organic items on their label. That’s a great sign that the company is focused on nutrition and the health of their consumers and the planet.
So if organic food is on the top of your list of important aspects to search for, we’ve included a few brands that source as many organic ingredients as possible so you can have some great options to choose from.
If they aren’t certified organic, then non-GMO is another good option to look for.
5. Eco-Conscious Companies
Many mushroom jerky companies are creating this product as a plant-based alternative to meat-based jerkies, so they will often also focus on supporting the environment.
Supporting the natural ecosystem while enjoying your favorite mushroom jerky is a win-win in our book.
Mushrooms and fungi are an important part of the ecosystem and when they’re grown they don’t have as high of an environmental footprint as most animal proteins.
If you are enjoying plant-based foods as a way to support the environment, then looking for an eco-conscious company can take your commitment to the next level.
6. Recyclable Packaging
Part of being an eco-conscious company includes packaging mushroom jerky in recyclable containers.
Not every company is going to highlight this as a selling feature, but if your impact on the environment is important to you, then look for companies that offer recyclable packaging.
You might have to check with your local recycling plan, since not every community recycles every type of plastic, paper, or cardboard.
7. American-Grown Mushrooms
Another way to help reduce your environmental impact is by choosing mushroom jerky that is grown and harvested right in the United States. This means that the mushrooms won’t have to travel far for processing and production.
It’s also a great way to support local economies and farmers, since the growing, processing, and production of jerky stays right in local communities, providing jobs for folks right here at home.
These brands may be slightly more expensive, but the benefits for the environment and local economies are often worth the sticker price.
The 9 Best Mushroom Jerkies Of 2021
Now that you know what to look for in terms of the best mushroom jerky, you can take a look at the brands below to find the one that best fits your taste buds and budget.
|1.||Eat The Change Mushroom Jerky||Organic cremini and portabello, all-natural|
|2.||Moku Plant-Based Mushroom Jerky||King oyster, non-GMO, natural ingredients|
|3.||VEGKY Shiitake Mushroom Jerky||Shiitake, non-GMO, all-natural, sustainable|
|4.||Pan's Mushroom Jerky||Organic shiitake, all-natural, few ingredients|
|5.||Savory Wild Vegan Jerky||Portabello, USA grown, non-GMO, all-natural|
|6.||Primal Spirit Vegan Jerky||Shiitake, all-natural, non-GMO, individual packages|
|7.||Plumpy’s Mock Jerky– Mushroom||No pesticides, made in Taiwan, spicy option|
|8.||Shrooms Vegan Mushroom Crisps||Responsibly grown, non-GMO, dried mushrooms|
|9.||The Snak Yard Shiitake Mushrooms||Crispy, non-GMO, shiitake, resealable|
1. Eat The Change Mushroom Jerky
This mushroom jerky from Eat The Change hits the top of our list because it basically ticks every single box on the list and then some.
These mushroom jerkies are chef-crafted right in Bethesda, Maryland by Top Chef Alum Spike Mendelsohn and activist entrepreneur Seth Goldman.
The first ingredients on the list for all their flavors are certified USDA organic crimini and portabello mushrooms and the rest of the ingredients are all-natural and delicious. The mushrooms are grown and picked right in the USA and the packaging is recyclable.
They also upcycle ugly produce for use in their products. That means that they take vegetables that may be thrown away simply for their surface imperfections and use them to flavor their delicious mushroom jerky.
This is a company that you can feel completely confident supporting. If you don’t want to try the variety pack, then you can pick up the individual flavors.
2. Moku Plant-Based Mushroom Jerky
The mushroom jerky from Moku is another stellar option to try since it is made from delicious King Oyster Mushrooms and is sweetened with pineapple juice and maple syrup for a fresh, natural taste.
While they aren’t USDA organic certified, they are certified non-GMO, which is a good alternative.
This company uses tons of flavorful, natural ingredients so each bag of mushroom jerky is packed full of fresh tasting goodness.
They have formulated all their flavors in conjunction with a chef, so you know they’re going to be tasty. The flavors that come in this variety pack include: Original, Hawaiian Teriyaki, and Sweet and Spicy.
We can’t find anything about whether they source, grow, and package their products in the United States, so if that is something that is important to you, then you might want to choose another brand on this list.
The company is committed to supporting the health and integrity of the planet as well and highlights how much land and water is saved with each bag of mushroom jerky when compared to a bag of conventional beef jerky.
3. VEGKY Shiitake Mushroom Jerky
As you can tell from the name, this brand is made with one of our favorite mushrooms, shiitake.
While it doesn’t say that it’s organic, the ingredients are certified non-GMO, which is important to some folks since these companies often focus on natural ingredients.
The ingredient list on this mushroom jerky is great since the very first item is shiitake mushroom stems (they’ll give a great jerky texture) and there are no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners.
The company also states that they sustainably source their mushrooms, though it’s unclear where they’re grown. Regardless, this brand is a great option since it hits many of the targets we’re looking for in a high-quality mushroom jerky.
If you’re more of a spice fan, then this brand also sells a delicious wasabi-flavored shiitake mushroom jerky. It’s also made with natural flavors and ingredients with a great flavor and texture. They also have a chili-flavored jerky and a curry option for those who aren’t fans of wasabi.
4. Pan’s Mushroom Jerky
This delicious jerky has a great texture and is proudly made in the Pacific Northwest of the United States out of dried shiitake mushrooms.
The ingredient list on this mushroom jerky is about as natural as you can get, with very few ingredients that pack a ton of flavor.
The company doesn’t say anything about whether their packaging is recyclable or if the company is focused on eco-conscious policies.
However, many of the ingredients, including the mushrooms, are USDA certified organic, so that is always a good sign when it comes to a company’s quality.
There are tons of delicious flavors from this company and we highly suggest you give them all a try so that you can find your favorite.
Other Available Flavors:
5. Savory Wild Vegan Portabella Mushroom Jerky
We love portabello mushrooms and their texture is truly perfect for making a delightful mushroom jerky.
This choice from Savory Wild Vegan is grown and picked right in Pennsylvania in the USA and they are certified non-GMO (though not USDA organic).
They don’t use any preservatives or MSG in their products and their ingredient lists start with portabello mushrooms and then work down through a bunch of natural and tasty ingredients, without an artificial sweetener or flavor in sight.
This variety pack includes some interesting flavors such as Roasted Garlic and Black Pepper, Sweet Balsamic and Golden Fig, and Sesame, Ginger, and Korean Chili. The company doesn’t mention anything about their packaging being recyclable or whether they are eco-friendly.
Other Available Flavors:
6. Primal Spirit Vegan Jerky
Most of the Primal Spirit Vegan jerkies are made with vital wheat gluten or other plant-based alternatives, but the Hot and Spicy variety is made from shiitake mushrooms and makes a great choice for those looking for a pure mushroom jerky.
The first ingredient on the list is shiitake mushrooms and there are no artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners included. The company was founded by animal rights activists and they are very conscious about how their products impact the environment.
While they aren’t certified USDA organic, they are non-GMO certified. They also come in handy individual packaging, which makes them great to take with you on the go. This brand was voted Best New Vegan Snack by both PETA and VegNews, so you know it’s going to be tasty.
It’s also packed with plant-based protein, which makes it a filling snack for those busy days.
7. Plumpy’s Mock Beef Jerky – Mushroom Jerky
This mushroom jerky from Plumpy’s picks up a lower spot on the list because it isn’t made in the United States, so it has a larger ecological footprint.
However, it is made from Taiwanese mushrooms that are grown without pesticides.
There are some preservatives in this brand, but otherwise, their ingredient lists are great. The first item is mushrooms and then they use seasonings such as five spice to give their jerky a delicious flavor profile.
There are two options from this brand: Original and Hot, and they come in a variety pack. The cost is great too for the amount that you’re getting, especially when compared to some of the premium brands on this list.
If you want to try some authentic mushroom jerky, then Plumpy’s might be a perfect choice for you.
8. Shrooms Vegan Mushroom Crisps
This company is wonderful because they are focused on reducing air pollution and conserving energy.
They grow all their mushrooms entirely Indoors and their grow houses are heated with 100% natural gas.
The product is also certified responsibly grown, which means they are committed to using fewer pesticides in their growing process. When you look at the ingredient list, the first item is mushrooms followed by natural flavors, seasonings, and sweeteners, no preservatives.
They are also certified non-GMO, though they are not USDA certified organic. When compared to other brands on this list, the cost for these mushroom snacks is quite reasonable.
If you want to try some other flavors from this company, they have some really interesting choices such as Pizza (I haven’t seen any other brands with this flavor) and Mesquite BBQ.
Other Available Flavors:
9. The Snak Yard Shiitake Mushrooms
This choice takes the bottom slot, not because they are not a great brand or high quality, but because they are crispier than most traditional mushroom jerkies.
So they are a perfect choice if you are looking for something different and more chip-like that still uses mushrooms as the base.
Like jerky, this snack is dried out, but instead of a chewy texture, they are more crunchy like chips. They have a great ingredient list and don’t include any artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners. This mushroom snack is also a great price when compared to some other jerkies on this list.
It is also certified non-GMO and made with whole shiitake mushroom caps, whereas some other options use only the stems. That means you’re getting more of that great mushroom taste, texture, and flavor in every bite.
If supporting eco-conscious companies is important to you, then Snak Yard might not be the best brand for you since they make no mention about their commitment to the environment or whether their packaging is recyclable. It is resealable though, which will keep your snacks fresh.
As you can see, there are plenty of delicious mushroom jerky brands on the market for you to try. The flavor options are virtually limitless and it will be a fun time testing all the different types to find your favorite brand.
Remember to look for choices that list mushrooms as the first ingredient, are grown in the United States, and don’t contain any artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners. If you want to take it to the next level, you can choose brands that are organic and committed to environmental health.
No matter what your taste preference or your budget, this list is sure to have a mushroom jerky that suits your needs. Do you have a favorite mushroom jerky brand? Let us know who they are, why you love them, and where to get them in the comments!