Mushroom Stifado / Μανιτάρια Στιφάδο

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mushroom stifado on ladopsomo

mushroom stifado on ladopsomo (fried bread)

Mushroom stifado (στιφάδο με μανιτάρια) or mushroom stew is a hearty, handsomely delicious dish.  Stewed in red wine, garlic and roasted tomatoes with cinnamon and cloves, these mushrooms are outstanding – there’s just no other way to put it!

Serve mushroom stifado over rice or pasta or, my favorite, on top of ladopsomo/fried bread for a meal to remember.  The wonderful thing is, this simple recipe is one you can make any night of the week and is a go-to when you want to impress your guests.

Pearl onions are a key ingredients in this dish.  These are small, white stew onions. If you can’t find fresh pearl onions, they do come frozen.  The frozen variety are usually peeled already. An easy way to make quick work of peeling fresh onions – drop them into boiling water for 2-3 minutes and gently rub skins off with a dish towel.

pearl onions

pearl onions

I recommend using  roasted tomatoes in this dish for the most flavor but you can use canned, whole tomatoes as well and a good table red wine is fine. The generous amounts of rosemary and oregano are so aromatic and perfect pairs to your mushrooms.  Cinnamon and cloves might seem a bit out of place but you will be amazed at the depth of flavor they bring to the recipe – just remember to keep your cloves tied up in cheesecloth or a reusable tea bag so they don’t get lost in your stew and send someone to the dentist with a chipped tooth!

red wine, roasted tomatoes, cinnamon and garlic

red wine, roasted tomatoes, cinnamon and garlic

Browning the pearl onions and chopped garlic brings out their sweetness.  Remember, you’re not looking for dark brown, just a light golden color.  Stir the onions often to make sure they color on all sides.  And be careful to make sure your garlic browns but doesn’t burn.

brown pearl onions and garlic

brown pearl onions and garlic

A trick to maximizing the already fantastic flavors in this recipe is to allow the mushrooms to first soak up the red wine before any of the other flavors.  Doing this also allows you to deglaze the pan and pick up any little bits of browned onions and garlic as well as mushroom that may have stuck to the pan.

cook down mushrooms

cook down mushrooms

A tip to keep your mushrooms moist and meaty – brown the onions, garlic and mushrooms in just half the olive oil waiting to add the second half along with the other ingredients.  This way your mushrooms will not end up greasy and soggy. This step make a huge difference in the finished dish.

Cook all the ingredients over low-med heat and stir frequently.  I usually stir every 10 minutes or so to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.  Stirring also helps to give your overall dish more even flavoring. Just stir gently so you don’t bruise your mushrooms!

cook uncovered until most of liquid is absorbed

cook uncovered until most of liquid is absorbed

Mushroom stifado is delicious all on its own  and with a side of crusty bread is a meal in itself. It’s also the perfect topping for pasta or rice and  I love it heaped on top of ladopsomo/fried bread – never, never get tired of this meal!

mushroom stifado with lagana

mushroom stifado with lagana


  • 2 cups pearl onions, peeled (1 pound) or 14-ounces frozen if you can’t find fresh
  • 1/2 cup  olive oil, divided in half
  • 1 1/2  – 2 lbs mushrooms (5-6 cups trimmed)
  • 1/3 cup chopped garlic
  • 1 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 cups crushed  fresh or roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp rosemary, chopped or crushed very fine
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp whole cloves (tie cloves in piece of cheesecloth or reusable tea bag – do not add them loose)

Cooking Instructions

Clean and remove stems from mushrooms. Do not soak or wash mushrooms but lightly brush off any loose dirt with a damp cloth.  Set aside.

Peel pearl onions, if using frozen they often come already peeled.  For fresh onions, drop them in boiling water for 2-3 minutes and rub peels off with dishcloth.

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil (half the total recipe amount) in pan and brown onions and garlic on low heat. Brown the pearl onions for 3-4 minutes before adding the garlic and cook for an addition 2-3 minutes.

Remove onions and garlic from pan, set aside.

Add cleaned mushrooms to the same pan. Do NOT add the remaining 1/4 cup of oil at this time. There will be enough left behind from the onions/garlic.  Stir to coat mushrooms well and brown for 5 minutes on low-med heat.

Add wine to browned mushrooms and cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Scrape any bits of mushroom, onions and garlic from the bottom of the pan when you add the wine.

Add remaining olive oil, browned onions/garlic, tomatoes, herbs and spices. Stir to combine completely. Mushrooms should be just covered with liquids. If need be, add up to another 1/2 cup of liquid (1/4 wine, 1/4 cup water).

Cook over low-medium heat, uncovered, for 40 minutes until almost all of the liquid has been cooked off and absorbed.  Stir  gently every 10 minutes or so while cooking.

This recipe serves 4, can easily be doubled or tripled and can be spooned over rice or pasta and enjoyed alone with a piece of crusty bread.  Garnish with sprig of fresh rosemary or oregano.

mushrooms over pasta

mushrooms over pasta

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18 Responses to Mushroom Stifado / Μανιτάρια Στιφάδο

  1. Corinne March 8, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

    What are pear onions?

    • Kiki March 8, 2014 at 10:36 pm #

      PerL onions – I just fixed it, thank you! Kiki 🙂

  2. Marianthy Karantzes March 16, 2014 at 5:40 pm #

    I made this for the family today, we just ate, and it was a huge hit! Thank you…I love your blog, it really helps me cook Greek being vegan!

    • Kiki March 16, 2014 at 6:08 pm #


  3. Paula Stratigos March 16, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

    i didnt even know this existed!!!!!!!! <3 <3 <3

    • Kiki March 16, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

      Yes! So glad you found us 🙂

  4. Lana Vukovich January 8, 2015 at 5:20 pm #

    Kiki…………. the onions are listed twice. I keep reading the recipe, but am unclear……. just 2 cups or 4 cups…… help.

    • Kiki January 8, 2015 at 9:34 pm #

      Hi Lana! Just fixed it – thanks for picking that up! 2 cups of peeled pearl onions 🙂

  5. Carol March 2, 2015 at 12:39 pm #

    You mean peARL? Pearl onions are close relatives of the leek, in general they are sweeter than a common onion. (

    • Kiki March 2, 2015 at 2:51 pm #

      Yes, pearl (or stew) onions 🙂

  6. Georgia March 13, 2015 at 9:50 pm #

    Can you use dried oregano or does it have to be fresh? Same for the rosemary?

    • Kiki March 13, 2015 at 9:53 pm #

      Hi Georgia, I always use fresh but in a pinch, dried will work too. The flavor of the herbs will be a bit muted and I;m not exactly sure on the conversions of fresh to dried. Please let me know how you like it using dried! Kiki 🙂

  7. Antoinette November 1, 2015 at 9:18 pm #

    Hi. I grew up in a very traditional Greek home in Chicago. I love the flavors of the food from my heritage, and I am trying to limit animal products from my diet. I feel soooo much better without dairy and meat, and I also deal with celiac disease, so no gluten.
    I have been reviewing the recipes on your site and they are amazing. I can’t wait to go to the store with my list of ingredients and begin cooking!!!! Thank you so much. Kali orexi!

  8. Maikki | Maikin mokomin January 28, 2016 at 10:59 pm #

    Your blog is such a great source of inspiration because I love Greek cuisine and vegan food. Thanks for all these great recipes! 🙂

  9. Alexis October 9, 2016 at 1:16 pm #

    I just discovered this site and I’m loving it!! I recently became vegan and have been wanting to find new ways to cook that incorporates my Greek heritage. A question about this Mushroom Stifado…. does it hold up served at room temp? I’d like to bring it to a work potluck lunch. My plan would be to cook it up the night before. Would it need to be refrigerated? I’d love to hear your thoughts–Thanks!

    • Kiki October 10, 2016 at 5:10 pm #

      It’s delicious at room temp and I’d leave it out (covered well) overnight instead of refrigerate. And this is a great dish to make ahead because, like any stew, it gives the flavors time to really come together well. Good choice, your work mates will be very pleased 🙂

  10. Alexis October 12, 2016 at 5:23 pm #

    This recipe turned out great and was a favorite at the potluck. My coworkers loved it!! Thanks so much, Kiki!!

  11. AV October 3, 2017 at 12:03 pm #

    I tried this and thought it was really delicious! My take on it:

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