How to Make Perfectly Grilled Portabella Caps

Posted by Lindsey Roberts on Jun 9, 2020 8:50:00 AM
Lindsey Roberts

Ah, the Portabella. This big, bold beauty is no doubt the King of the Grilled Mushrooms. Unlike smaller button mushrooms, the Portabella’s wide, expansive cap spreads across the grates— and its gills soak up marinades like no other fungi, helping it to absorb flavor and retain moisture despite a little heat.

Best of all, these tender mushrooms are a plant-forward favorite, often eaten in lieu of a meat patty as a “hamburger” or sliced into thick vegan “steaks” on picnic plates. 

Here at Monterey we’re obsessed with Ports for summer grilling, and we want to make a believer out of you too! Here’s a step-by-step guide and fun video— straight from our fungi experts— on how to cook the perfect marinated Portabella caps on the grill:

Step 1: Decide whether to baste or marinate.

Portabella mushrooms have a robust flavor profile all on their own, however, their natural flavor can be enhanced 10-fold with a little seasoning— and equally little effort.

You could simply baste your caps with a coating of extra virgin olive oil and grill them just like that, or, you could kick things up a notch by whipping up an easy (yet super tasty) marinade. 

Here’s our go-to portabella cap marinade at Monterey:

Monte’s Mushroom Marinade

Yield: Makes enough to coat four large Portabella caps


3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp Italian seasoning


Close the ingredients in a plastic Ziploc bag and shake to mix well. Let it marinate for 10 minutes, shake it again and flip the bag, letting the other side marinate for another 10 minutes. 

Remove the caps from the bag and place them on a clean plate to prepare for grilling. 


Step 2: Prepare and preheat grill

While your mushrooms are marinating, prepare your grill. Light up the grill or stack the briquettes and brush down your grates to ensure they’re nice and clean.

If you’re using a gas grill, go ahead and turn it on high. If you have temperature controls, 375°F is the perfect heat.

If you’re using a charcoal grill, follow the steps below:

  1. Stack briquettes in a chimney grill starter over wads of newspaper. You’ll need enough briquettes to evenly cover the bottom of the grill.
  2. Light briquettes from the bottom and watch those babies burst into flames.
  3. Wait 10 minutes, and then check. Once your briquettes start to turn grey, dump into the bottom half of the grill.
  4. Once all coals are grey, you’re ready to start grilling.

While your grill is preheating, gather your grilling supplies. You’ll want to grab some long tongs with padding around the handle or an oven mitt to avoid getting burned. We also recommend grabbing a clean plate to place your caps on once cooked.


Step 3: Get grillin’!

Great. Now it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for— getting those mushrooms nice and juicy.

Place your portabella caps on your grill over direct heat* with the cap-side down so the mushroom gills are looking up at you. Immediately cover the grill with a grill-safe lid. Set a timer for five minutes and stay nearby. The secret to avoid burning your mushrooms is to remain close to the grill while cooking. 



After five minutes, check your caps. Use your long tongs to flip your mushrooms, being careful not to burn yourself. If lightly browned on the bottom, the caps are ready to grill gill-side down. Cook the opposite side for another five minutes, checking for those beautiful grill lines. 

You may need to continue to check on your caps in two-minute increments if you think they could use a little longer on the grates, flipping until you achieve your desired char. And there you have it: perfectly grilled Portabellas! 

*Direct grilling is a barbecue cooking technique in which the food is placed and cooked directly over the fire. When your mushrooms are only grilled over direct heat for short periods of time, it’s the perfect way to achieve those charred grill marks we all know and love. But be careful, if the caps sit too long over direct heat, they’ll burn and lose their delicious juices that make them so tender! Learn more about direct heat vs. indirect heat when grilling mushrooms here.


More Grilled Portabella & Mushroom Favorites

Our Portabellas fly off the shelves during the summertime and we understand why! There’s nothing quite like the smell and juicy taste of grilled mushrooms hot off the grates. 

If you love Ports, you’re sure to enjoy these other mushroom-friendly recipes for the grill.

Kebabs are another summer favorite. Check out our how to grill mushroom kebabs post too. They take just  five easy steps and pair excellently right alongside your Portabellas.


New to Grilling?

If you haven’t really sizzled shrooms on those hot grates before, that’s okay. We have a fun guide all about Summer Grilling with Mushrooms— just for you. 

This handy cookbook discusses the differences between indirect and direct heat on the grill as well as some tips and mouth-watering recipes to transform you from a novice tong-holder to a genuine grillmaster. 

Be sure to download your free how-guide and recipe book today!


Topics: Grilling, consumer