Please don’t butter the mushrooms…

I love mushrooms but I can rarely eat them outside my own kitchen because every chef on the planet seems to cook them in butter.

But a fried breakfast just isn’t a fried breakfast without mushrooms.

To me, mushrooms fried in oil, which is dairy free, taste delicious, so why the butter fettish?

Mushrooms fried in rape seed oil - no butter in sight

Mushrooms fried in rape seed oil – no butter in sight #DairyFree

Now I love a plate of bacon and fried eggs – usually the only things on breakfast buffets that I’ll risk having. Watch out for scrambled eggs as I found out to my peril once – these are often cooked using lots of dairy so steer well clear if you have a dairy allergy.

And of course, where breakfast buffets are concerned, be very wary of cross contamination. Look at how clean and tidy the area is and look at the serving tongs and spoons. Are there enough? Are they being swapped? If in doubt, don’t risk it and always check with the kitchen.

I’m very lucky I am not allergic to eggs so can enjoy the great British fry up. I think a plate of bacon on its own would be a very sad thing to behold.

The perfect freefrom breakfast

At home I can make my own delicious freefrom brekkie including:

  • Homemade wheat free eggy fried bread
  • Gluten free sausages
  • Wheat and dairy free hash browns – they do exist if you shop around
  • Mushrooms fried in oil
  • Bacon – best from the farm up the road
  • Fried courgettes
  • Sometimes saute potato slices

What is it about mushrooms and butter?

This year I haven’t found any hotels that don’t cook their ‘shrooms in butter.

I always check. I have to check everything, every time and the answer is always, ‘yes the the mushrooms contain butter.’

Now mushrooms don’t ‘contain butter’ so is this stock answer because most chefs cook mushrooms in butter or because they come ready packed in catering bags with butter and are just thrown in a pan? Are kitchens so busy these days that they cannot wash, peel, chop and cook a fresh mushroom?

It just really saddens me to the point where I can hardly bear to ask because the answer is always the same.

So this is a question for everyone but especially catering firms and also to chefs.

  1. Do mushrooms taste that much superior cooked in butter rather than oil? This probably is the case because let’s face it, most things generally taste better with butter.
  2. If you don’t have a dairy allergy, would mind or even notice if they were cooked in oil not butter?
  3. I suspect butter is the healthier option to oil but to any dieticians or nutritionists out there – what is the healthiest way to cook mushrooms?
  4. Do most chefs learn that mushrooms are better in butter and do most chefs cook them thus buttered?
  5. Or do, horror or horrors, mushrooms come ready buttered in catering packs? Please tell me this doesn’t happen…

If the later is the case I don’t want to eat them anyway. What a horrible thought. Processed food gone mad.

Same price for two items only – not a fair deal

I don’t like to be fussy and am just happy to eat what I can but I am fed of paying the same price for less food. The mushrooms are just the tip of the iceberg. I have rarely ever been offered some butter free mushrooms when I’ve asked, except on the odd occasion. When the answer is, ‘yes they contain butter’ the assumption is that this is it, I can’t have mushrooms. It’s very hard to reply, ‘and is it possible to get any cooked without butter?’

At the Hilton last year a very kind chef did me some dairy free mushrooms which came out after I’d finished the rest of my breakfast and had been cooked in vinegar. Weirdest mushrooms I have ever had but very kind of him to offer. It has rather put me off asking for some without butter though ;o)

It’s like pulling teeth. When waiting staff return and say, ‘yes the fryers have been used to fry things containing wheat’ and you have to ask AGAIN whether you can have an alternative carb that is freefrom. Otherwise you just end up reducing the number of things on your plate but paying the same. This irks me!

I pay the same as you for my breakfast but I don’t get the toast, the sausages, the beans, the mushrooms or the tomato. How is that fair?

But hey. I can eat eggs and mushrooms when I want to at home so for that I am eternally grateful.

Anyone else have mushroom cravings too? or is it just me? Any is anyone actually allergic to mushrooms?

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About Ruth

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She also won the Foods You Can People's choice Best FreeFrom blogger award 2014.


  1. Hi Ruth,

    Yes my wife has problems with dairy and I am more of the person pushing for equal servings. You pay for the meal with XYZ but only get XY. So I ask for something to substitute and this happens sometimes. Same with cooking, Yes I love my cheese and butter but can cook almost any dish without dairy, so why cannot a business… my guess they do not want, but I am sure they would change their mind if dairy was a bad as nuts. Currently you do not see peanuts on the menu so they have adapted, now lets work in daily.

    • Thanks for the comment Karl and I am very glad to see you sticking up for your wife and demanding she doesn’t miss out. I’m really bad at asking for substitutes but I must be more brave. I just dread that they’ll hate me and spit in my food!

  2. Hiya whereas I agree with your comments over the mushrooms .
    I Do take task for those of us with nut allergies !
    So we shift between dairy and other allergies , is it possible someone like myself would not think that mushrooms were cooked in say ground nut oil or for me rapeseed oil, sesame oil to which an anaphylactic reaction would ensue !
    I realise that there is a fine line here , are we talking of intolerance or allergy ?

    • Hi Colin, I have anaphylaxis if I eat nuts of dairy so I totally get your point. What I must remember is to ask them to check which oil. I have perhaps been being remiss and not checking if peanut oil is used… though I would doubt many kitchens would use it for a breakfast but I must be more diligent in my checking. I have been told there should be no protein left in nut oil but you don’t know how it’s been processed so not worth testing that. Thanks again and hope you get your freefrom mushrooms and breakfast next time you eat out.

  3. I am allergic to mushrooms and clove! Makes for a bit of a nightmare with breakfast buffets. Almost every brand of baked beans ever made contains clove under the ‘spices’ umbrella, as I have found out the hard way! The only ones that don’t Duchy Originals, and Aldi cheapest essentials. But how often are they going to be served?!
    Mushroom wise, I’m talking full anaphylaxis at the slightest contact so cross contamination is always a risk – grills being shared with meats etc. Or, and this is a genuine hotel screw up, the waiter who is adamant that none of the buffet contains mushrooms at all!!! None of it. He’s certain. I triple checked. Then promptly ended up being stretchered out of my friend’s wedding, epi-pens deployed, after it turned out the mini tarts contain a vegetable mix which, you’ve guessed it, included mushrooms!!! Head waiter was very apologetic. Just not very helpful when airways are swollen shut and I’m not breathing enough to care anymore!

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