Breaded and fried mushrooms seemed to disappear from party and catering menus sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s. Back in the day, you could encounter serving trays being passed around at cocktail parties and afternoon weddings with noshes such as mini-quiches, ham and cheese-filled puff pastry shells, and breaded mushrooms. I thought these were fun bites and I never really grew tired of them.
The only thing that was a little unappetizing was when the mushrooms had been deep-fried and became greasy or soggy if they sat on the tray for any length of time. I find that the air fryer is a better vehicle than a deep fryer for cooking breaded mushrooms. This is definitely a healthier preparation and brings this retro hors d’oeuvres into the 22nd century where people are more concerned about trans-fats and cholesterol from fried foods.
I have tried to make my own breaded mushrooms from scratch. Depending on the coating, I have had trouble keeping the breading or batter from falling off in the fryer. I highly recommend finding a good brand of premade, frozen, breaded mushrooms with well-seasoned and sturdy breading. Cook them in the air fryer right out of the freezer for best results. There is no need to defrost them.
Tips for Cooking Frozen Breaded Mushrooms in an Air Fryer
Like the other recipes for air-fried breaded frozen foods, it is best to cook in a single layer to ensure that nothing clumps together and so the air can circulate around each piece. And, I always encourage the cook to shake the bucket or turn each mushroom halfway through the cooking process for even browning.
Preheating the air fryer is debatable. My preference is to preheat. Some air fryer aficionados think it is fine to skip this step. I find it helps to better crisp the coating when frozen foods hit a warm basket or crisper plate.
The same debate goes for giving the crisper plate or basket a spray of vegetable or olive oil. I personally don’t always do that with breaded foods but feel free to especially if your air fryer is older and the ceramic or non-stick surface has been compromised or worn with use. Adding extra fat is not the goal when cooking in an air fryer.
If you aren’t cooking in batches, air-fried breaded food is often best when eaten right out of the air fryer while still hot and crispy.
The bottom line is that every air fryer is a little different. Experiment with temperature and timing. I like to cook one or two pieces before I ruin a whole batch when first trying a new recipe. Then, I write down what works best. Air frying is so fast that a test run will not take much time.
How to Serve Air Fryer Breaded Mushrooms
Chances are that you will never eat breaded mushrooms with a fork and knife. Like French fries, these tasty bites are best eaten with your hands. If they are small button mushrooms, you can pop an entire mushroom in your mouth and eat them in one bite.
While I do enjoy the mushrooms just as they are when the breading is well seasoned, a creamy dipping sauce is a great accompaniment. I am partial to a dipping sauce with a little bit of zip or funk. The zip would be a spicy component, such as horseradish or sriracha. The funk could be blue cheese. If neither of these appeals to you, ketchup or ranch dressing work just fine. I include a couple of sauce recipes after the air fryer frozen breaded mushrooms recipe. Go ahead and make your dipping sauce the day before and store it in the refrigerator until ready to use.
You can air fry a variety of appetizers to make a platter for everyone to snack on. Have a sheet pan ready and turn your oven on to 200°F. You will need to air fry in batches. As you complete one batch, place that on the sheet pan and keep it warm in the preheated oven. Do this with all subsequent batches and serve everything piled high on a serving platter or in a brown paper-lined basket.
Here are some ideas for what you can serve with your mushrooms:
- Pizza rolls with marinara dipping sauce
- Mozzarella sticks with spicy sauce
- Tater tots with ranch dip
- Okra with buttermilk dipping sauce
As I was typing in the frozen bites and links here, I realized that this party platter would appeal to both kids and adults. The kids will dive into the pizza rolls, mozzarella sticks, and tater tots while the adults might gravitate toward the mushrooms and okra. Okay, let’s be real. I would totally be going for the tater tots right along with the little ones.
You could make an additional platter with cheese, cured meats, grapes and fresh vegetable sticks to make a complete meal of small bites and finger food.
Air Fryer Frozen Breaded Mushrooms Recipe (Vegetarian)
- 1 bag of frozen breaded whole mushrooms (12 to 16 ounces)
- Dipping sauce of your liking (see recipes)
Total time:11 min – Prep time:1 min – Cook time:10 min per batch – Serves:3 people
1. Preheat your air fryer at 360°F for 5 minutes.
2. Place the frozen mushrooms on the crisper plate or in the basket of the air fryer in a single layer. Do this one at a time so the excess breading remains in the bag. Set the timer for 5 minutes.
3. Check the mushrooms and give the bucket a shake to rotate them. Continue to cook for up to 10 minutes until the breading is golden brown and crisp and the mushrooms are hot.
4. Serve warm with a dipping sauce (see suggested recipes below).
Dipping Sauces for Breaded Mushrooms
Horseradish Cream Dipping Sauce (Vegetarian, Gluten-free, Keto)
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup freshly grated horseradish or prepared horseradish
- 1 TBS Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar (can omit if using prepared horseradish)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper
Total time: 2 hours 10 min – Prep time: 10 min + 2 hours refrigerated – Yield: 1-1/4 cups
1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all the ingredients until smooth.
2. Cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours and up to overnight. The longer the better if using fresh horseradish.
3. Serve in dipping bowls or ramekins with your air-fried appetizers.
Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce (Vegetarian, Gluten-free, Keto)
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 TBS fresh lemon juice
- 2 dashes of hot sauce or sriracha(optional)
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 8 ounces crumbled Maytag or Gorgonzola blue cheese
Total time: 10 min – Prep time: 10 min – Yield: 1-1/4 cups
1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, hot sauce, and pepper until creamy. Stir or fold in the blue cheese.
2. Place the sauce in a serving bowl or individual ramekins and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve with your air-fried appetizers.