Rachael Ray's Crucial Tip For Top-Notch Prepared Stuffed Mushrooms

Whether you're hosting a party or just enjoying a weeknight dinner at home, stuffed mushrooms can be just the thing to kick your evening up a notch. Both elegant and indulgent, the beloved appetizer is a flavorful and textural delight. Despite being fairly easy to make at home, your stuffed mushrooms, if they aren't prepared properly, can quickly turn into a slimy, soggy mess, which is likely the opposite of your intended result. Luckily, Food Network star Rachael Ray has shared a bit of wisdom for how to avoid this exact issue and ensure that your homemade stuffed mushrooms are a hit.

Per the cookbook author, the crucial step in making this hors d'oeuvre is to drain your mushrooms, which she says you can do by pre-baking the fungi before stuffing them with your favorite filling. "Bake them upside down first, let all the liquid drain out, then partially bake them at a very high temperature for a few minutes," Ray advises on her website. "Once that's done," she adds, "let them drain, save all of that liquid, and put it into the stuffing."

Here's why you need to drain your mushrooms

You might not be able to tell by looking at them, but believe it or not, mushrooms are almost entirely made up of water — about 80 to 90%, to be precise — and when subjected to the oven's heat, that H²O begins seeping out. If you've already filled your caps without pre-draining them as Rachael Ray suggests, all of that delicious filling will get waterlogged as the appetizer bakes, causing it to slide out. Following Ray's advice will also give the mushrooms themselves a better flavor, as removing the water will help bring out all of those earthy, meaty, and umami flavors you've probably heard about. Additionally, pre-draining your shrooms will make your final product perfectly crisp and prevent a mouthful of mush.

Needless to say, Ray's pre-draining tip is imperative for putting together a platter of stuffed mushrooms that will impress party guests, but it's not the only important rule to follow when making this appetizer. As with most veggies, it's important to give your mushrooms a good wash before cooking them. However, since fungi are incredibly absorbent, you don't want to just throw them in a bowl and run them under water. Rather, remove dirt from your shrooms by gently wiping them with a damp sponge.