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Chicken of the Woods Mushroom – Nutrition & Health Benefits

Chicken Of The Woods Mushroom

The Chicken of the Woods mushroom is considered a medicinal mushroom for it’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.  We will discuss the nutritional facts how to identify it and some of its uses.

If there was one kind of mushroom that has a special place in my heart then that would be the Chicken of the Woods mushroom.

As the name implies, this type of mushroom tastes just like chicken. Yeah, I know the phrase “tastes just like chicken” is what we usually use when we try to explain how something we can’t really explain tastes like but Chicken of the Woods really tastes like the real thing.

I can remember going to my father’s place around early fall and foraging for Chicken of the Woods on a nearby golf course. We would just slice the fresh mushroom and saute it with a little oil, salt, and pepper.

I think what makes this mushroom my favorite is because of just how big it gets.  Most of the other mushrooms are a good appetizer but this one could literally feed you whole family for dinner.

And with it’s extremely high protein content, it is almost like you caught a wild chicken for dinner.

What is Chicken of the Woods Mushroom?

The Chicken of the Woods mushroom has has 18 distinct clades that fall under the Laetiporus clade with the same nutritional benefits but they look different:

  1. Laetiporus ailaoshanensis
  2. Laetiporus baudonii
  3. Laetiporus caribensis
  4. Laetiporus cincinnatus
  5. Laetiporus conifericola
  6. Laetiporus cremeiporus
  7. Laetiporus discolor
  8. Laetiporus flos-musae
  9. Laetiporus gilbertsonii
  10. Laetiporus huroniensis
  11. Laetiporus miniatus
  12. Laetiporus montanus
  13. Laetiporus persicinus
  14. Laetiporus portentosus
  15. Laetiporus squalidus
  16. Laetiporus sulphureus
  17. Laetiporus versisporus
  18. Laetiporus zonatus

sulphereus vs cincinnatus

They are all very similar in appearance with different shades of colors.  Overall, it is a brightly colored fungus that is most often found in clustered nests. You can find them in trees both living or decaying.

My favorite one is the is the Laetiporus sulphureus clade but if you happen to find any version they are all good.  One big difference between the L. sulphureus and the L. cincinnatus is the L. sulphureus has a cream colored pore surface while the L. cincinnatus has a white colored pore surface.

Most of the time they are found in oak but are found in other types of trees including:

  • Eucalyptus
  • Cherry wood
  • Willows
  • Yew

The fungus attacks decomposing trees and helps to return the nutrients back to the earth.

If you have some dead Oak trees that are starting to decompose near you then be on the look in September and October for this mushroom.

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large chicken of the woods mushroomMost full grown Chicken of the Woods grow anywhere from 2 to 20 inches across. The biggest brackets found in the wild can have a large fruiting body as big as 120 pounds.

The largest Chicken of the Woods mushroom was discovered by Ty Whitmore back in October of 2005.  He cut it off of  a maple tree next to a creek.

He then took it into a grocery store in Maysville Missouri to get it weighed.  It weighed in at 56 pounds and was measured at 30 inches wide by 16 inches long.

Whitmore believes it should have weighed in at around 120 pounds because when he cut if off the tree the biggest half of it fell into the creek.

The probelm was when he cut if off the biggest part of it fell into the creek.

It’s always exciting to forage for these types of wild mushrooms because there is a chance you will find a large bracket that you can brag to your other forager friends.

One of the cool things of this mushroom is how soft an pliable it is when compared to other brackets like the Reishi.  The Reishi is really hard compared to this one.  Basically this is a choice mushroom when it comes to cooking it.

Chicken of the Woods Identification & Poisonous Look Alike

The Chicken of the Woods mushroom happens to be one of the easiest mushrooms to identify and is perfect for a beginner mushroom hunter.  It is bright orange and yellow and can be spotted from far away.

Not only is it easy to spot but there are only 3 other mushroom that look ‘somewhat’ similar to it.  But if you understand a couple of key characteristics you will see how easy it is to distinguish from it’s look alikes…Even the poisonous one.

Check out another article we have written to see how easy it is to identify and tell apart from its look alikes:

mushroom grow kit from spores

chicken of the woods identification & look alikes

Chicken of the Woods Nutrition Facts

Mushrooms have long known to be an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. The Chicken of the Woods mushroom is no exception.

It is a good source of protein, dietary fiber, potassium, Vitamin C & A.

Nutrition Facts – Per 100 g (1.5 Cups)

  • Calories: 360
  • Carbohydrates: 71 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 21 g
  • Fat: 2 g
  • Potassium: 150 mg
  • Vitamin C: 10% of daily recommendation
  • Vitamin A: 5% of daily recommendation

*Nutritional information is in dry weight and sourced from 2 studies done on laetiporus sulphureus [1] [2].

21 Grams of Complete Protein!!!  Good luck finding another vegetable that has that much protein in it for a 1 cup serving.

The same amount in weight of chicken has 20 g of protein while most vegetables contain less than 5 g of protein in the same!

For people who are leaning towards a vegan or vegetarian diet, this can solve all your protein deficiency problems.

3 Chick of the Woods Medicinal Health Benefits

1)  Ant- Inflammatory Benefits

The Acetly Eburicoic Acid present in this mushroom has been proven in studies to stop the activation of macrophages which then suppresses of inflammatory diseases.

Also, it contains exopolysaccharide (EPS) that induces the inhibition of pro-inflammatory mediators in cells.

2)  Antibacterial Support

Studies have proven it to be an strong antibacterial and anti-fungal which will assist your body in fighting infection and will boost your immune function.

3)  High in Antioxidants

High in antioxidants to include:

mushroom grow kit from spores
  1. quercetin
  2. kaempferol
  3. caffeic acid
  4. chlorogenic acid
  5. lanostanoids

You can definitely tell it’s high in quercetin by it’s bright orange pigmentation.

This allows you body to fight off free radicals which cause the majority of cellular damage in the body.  Which also can help in reducing cancerous tumor cells, relieve allergy symptoms and prevent neurological disease.

How to Cook & Store Chicken of the Woods Mushroom

Once you correctly identify this mushroom you will want to know how to make it taste delicious.  Not only that but if you happen to harvest a lot of the mushroom you will want to know how to store it so it doesn’t lose it’s texture or flavor so you can enjoy it later on.

Check out another article we have written on how to cook and store Chicken of the Woods mushroom here:

how to cook and store chicken of the woods mushroom

Potential Side Effects or Risks

It is also worth noting that the mushroom can cause allergic reactions to some people. Nothing too dangerous but it can result in swollen lips.

Worst case scenario includes vomiting, dizziness, nausea, and disorientation. This only happens in some people when excessive amounts of the mushroom is ingested.

Another thing to be wary of is to check what kind of tree the mushroom came from.  Chicken of the Woods mushrooms are parasitic by nature and can sometimes absorb the oils from the tree it lives in.

So when a Chicken of the Woods mushroom is found on a eucalyptus tree, it can often cause what feels like stomach flu due symptoms due to the amount of oil in the mushroom. Just stick to the mushrooms that grow on oak trees as they are the safest.

Wrap Up

There is also a way for you to farm for Chicken of the Woods. However, it may take a little bit of effort and time on your end as they demand a specific type of substrate.

However, once you get the prep work done it’s all about ensuring you provide the right conditions for the mycelium to proliferate. After that, it’s all about waiting for the mushrooms to sprout.

mushroom grow kit from spores

My Dad ended up throwing some chunks of one of the Chicken of the Woods mushrooms that we harvested next to some trees in his back yard and then the next year it started growing there.

How about you? What’s your experience with Chicken of the Woods? Do you agree that it tastes just like chicken?

Also, would you rather eat a farmed one or a foraged one? Let me know on the comments!

On a side note, I am very happy to announce that our site just got recognized in the Top 15 Mushroom Blogs over at FeedSpot.  I just want to thank everyone for reading and liking our content.  Without you this site would not exist!

Also, if you like the Chicken of the Woods mushroom then you should check out the Turkey Tail mushroom because it is available almost all year round and is one of the most highly research mushroom for it medicinal benefits.

Now that you understand what Chicken of the Wood mushroom is, the nutritional facts, the medicinal health benefits, how to cook and store it.  Now you just need to go out and find some.

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Chicken of the Woods Mushroom



[1]  Kovács, D. & Vetter, János. (2015). Chemical composition of the mushroom Laetiporus sulphureus (Bull.) Murill.. Acta Alimentaria. 44. 104-110. 10.1556/AAlim.44.2015.1.10.

[2] 2017 analysis published in the journal Pharmacogn



Curative Mushrooms has to post the standard FDA Disclaimer…The statements made regarding medicinal mushrooms have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. Curative Mushrooms is not making claims intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from healthcare practitioners. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before consuming the medicinal mushrooms. The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act requires this notice.


This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Curative Mushrooms nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.



Always looking for ways to improve the health of myself and my family led me to the discovery of medicinal mushrooms and the numerous health benefits they have on the body. My mission is to spread this knowledge and help as many people as possible.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. You can find COTW in open fields, providing there are cut stumps, but it’s not common. I do see see basal rosette forms of Laetiporus cinncinatus in oak savvannah and restored prairie areas though. Fun to see their nutritional content–never seen that before. A

  2. Very nice article. Could you give some info about the source of the calories and macronutrient content of Chicken of the woods? Because the Internet is quite confusing in that case…

      1. I found these beautiful mushrooms growing on a decaying log in our woods. Sent a photo to a local naturalist for identification. I am excited to learn more about them and cook some up today. Thanks so much for all the info.

        chicken of the woods

  3. How is it possible for any food to have a protein to calorie ratio greater than 1:4? Typically every gram of protein has 4 calories. Therefore, even a PURE 100% protein can only have a 1:4 ratio maximum. According to this site there 21g of protein in 2 cups of Laetiporus – therefore at the bare minimum it must have at least 84 calories. How is that possible?

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