Umami is a savory flavor, found in meats and broths, and also in mushrooms and onions. In this gluten free and vegan Umami Seasoning blend recipe, ground mushrooms are combined with onion powder, ground mustard and other spices to create a deep, rich flavor, perfect for adding to thousands of recipes!
Umami is one of the 5 basic tastes, which also include sweet, salty, sour and bitter. The word umami translates to “essence of deliciousness”, so be sure to make a double batch of this seasoning mix to add delicious flavor to all of your meals!
In our house, we've been using beef bouillon and MSG for years to add umami flavor to our meals. When Trader Joe's introduced their own umami seasoning blend, I was immediately intrigued! I purchased the seasoning mix and came home to start testing it in recipes.
The one thing that threw me off about the Trader Joe's version is that the first ingredient is salt. This means that it's the most prominent ingredient in the seasoning blend.
I started testing my own umami blend recipe and found the perfect balance of ground mushrooms, onion powder and ground mustard powder. With salt as the fourth ingredient on the list, this umami powder still has enough salt, without it being the most prominent flavor in the blend.
If you can't find ground mushrooms, or dried mushrooms, I've also tested this recipe with nutritional yeast and garlic powder. While it doesn't have as strong of an umami flavor as the version with mushrooms, it's still a great healthy, vegan alternative to add umami flavor to recipes without using beef bouillon or MSG.
- Dried mushrooms (or mushroom powder) - I've always used dried mushrooms to make this recipe, because mushroom powder is hard to find and can be very expensive. It's super easy to make your own mushroom powder at home by simply adding dried mushrooms to a blender, then blending them into a fine powder.
- Note: I used dried shiitake mushrooms for this recipe, but I've also used a mix of dried mushrooms in the past to make the seasoning blend. Trader Joe's version uses a combination of dried porcini mushrooms and dried white button mushrooms. Feel free to use whatever you can find, or whatever you have on hand.
- Granulated onion (or onion powder)
- Ground mustard – you may also see ground mustard seed labeled as dry mustard or mustard powder at the grocery store. They’re all the same & can be used interchangeably.
- Salt - sea salt or kosher salt are my
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Black pepper
- Dried thyme
- Make the mushroom powder. Load the dried mushrooms into a high-powered blender, spice grinder or food processor. Blend or process them until they turn into a fine powder.
- Add the seasonings. Transfer the mushroom powder to a bowl along with the granulated onion, mustard powder, salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper and thyme, and stir everything together.
Ways to use it
Once you have your seasoning all mixed up you can put it to use! Try it on, well, everything! This multipurpose umami seasoning is good for everything from seasoning vegetables, to adding flavor to avocado toast.
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Sprinkled on avocado toast (or Avocado Egg Salad Toast!)
- Add extra flavor to Breakfast Bowls.
- Mix into scrambled eggs or an omelette.
- Season potatoes before roasting, baking or air frying.
- Add to salad dressings such as Almond Butter Turmeric Dressing or Vegan Poblano Ranch.
- Sprinkle over popcorn, instead of salt.
- Toss sweet potatoes in it before roasting them.
- Season veggies such as zucchini, carrots, broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts or green beans.
- Give fish like salmon a little something extra.
- Make a compound butter with the seasoning.
- Stir it into rice or cauliflower rice.
- Include it in casserole recipes, start with this Brussel Sprout Casserole with Mushrooms.
- Stir into soups and stews, especially this Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup.
- Season all kinds of burgers like Juicy Lucy Burgers, Spinach Artichoke Turkey Burgers, or Veggie Burgers.
- Use as part of your rub or marinade for steak, chicken, or pork.
- Mix it into macaroni and cheese.
- Use it to make vegan parmesan cheese for vegan caesar salad and pasta.
How to make it without mushrooms
If you're not a fan of mushrooms, or simply want an alternative to dried mushrooms or mushroom powder, try a combination of nutritional yeast and garlic powder.
This is how the popular plant-forward chain sweetgreen makes their umami seasoning that's found in most of their salad dressings and sauces.
One of the ingredients that adds umami flavor to recipes is parmesan cheese, so it's no surprise that nutritional yeast, which is a common vegan substitute for parmesan cheese, would also add that umami flavor to recipes.
Tips and tricks
- If you're using mushroom powder instead of dried mushrooms, you'll need ½ cup mushroom powder to make this recipe.
- Always use a kitchen scale to weigh the mushrooms if you're blending them into a powder. This will give you the correct amount of mushroom powder in the blend. If you don't have a kitchen scale, add a small handful of dried mushrooms to the blender and blend until you reach ½ cup mushroom powder.
Frequently asked questions
- What does umami seasoning taste like? Umami is one of the core tastes. You're likely familiar with sweet, salty, sour, and bitter; umami is a savory flavor that reminds many of a meaty taste.
- Is umami powder the same as MSG? Both are used to give similar effects to the taste of your food, however the two are different ingredients.
- Is umami powder the same as mushroom powder? Mushroom powder can give you an umami flavor, but umami powder usually contains other seasonings to elevate the flavor even more.
More seasoning blends
Fill up your pantry with all of these homemade seasoning blends.
- Shawarma Seasoning
- Everything Bagel Seasoning
- Jerk Seasoning
- Moroccan Seasoning
- Fajita Seasoning
- Italian Seasoning
- Taco Seasoning
- 1 ounce dried mushrooms
- ¼ cup granulated onion or onion powder
- 2 tablespoons ground mustard powder
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Add the dried mushrooms to a high-powered blender, spice grinder or food processor and blend for 5-10 seconds, or until it turns into a fine powder.
- Add the granulated onion, mustard powder, salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper and thyme to a bowl with the mushroom powder.
- Stir to combine all of the ingredients.
- Cover and store in an airtight container in the pantry for up to 6 months.
- The nutritional information provided is for one tablespoon of the seasoning blend. This recipe makes 8 ounces, or 16 tablespoons of the blend.
- Looking for a dried mushroom substitute? Use 6 tablespoons nutritional yeast + 2 tablespoons garlic powder instead.
- One ounce of dried mushrooms equals ½ cup finely ground mushrooms.