What are cremini mushrooms? Cremini are small to medium-sized brown mushrooms that have a mild earthy taste. Cremini mushrooms contain 18 different vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, including B vitamins, folic acid, potassium, manganese, copper, selenium, phosphorus, and zinc. Cremini is slightly bigger than button mushrooms and has a more “mushroomy” taste and aroma. It is more expensive ($5-$7 per pound) and is available all year round in shops.
Cremini goes well with pasta, rice, salads, meat (pork, beef, veal, chicken), and potatoes, makes good sauces, and can be dried. If you ran out of cremini, there are plenty of other alternatives you can easily find in the fridge. We have prepared a list of the 12 best cremini mushroom substitutes (both mushroom and non-mushroom) you must try today.
What is the best cremini mushroom substitute? Button mushrooms are the best cremini mushroom substitute due to their rich, nutty umami flavor, pleasant earthy and woodsy aroma, and velvet texture. Button mushrooms are available all year round and go well with rice, pasta, salads, stews, sauces, and soups.
If you do not have button mushrooms in the fridge, take a look at 11 other alternatives to cremini mushrooms that will make your dishes taste amazing.
12 Best Cremini Mushroom Substitutes —Mushroom and Non-Mushroom Alternatives
If you ran out of cremini, here are the 12 best cremini mushroom substitutes that will make your meals taste like heaven:
- Button mushrooms (white mushrooms)
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Portobello mushrooms
- Porcini mushrooms
- Oyster mushrooms
- Morel mushrooms
- Ground chickpeas
- Sun-dried tomatoes
Button mushrooms are the closest cremini alternative due to their somewhat similar mild nutty and woodsy flavor, earthy aroma, and velvet texture. Button mushrooms are available all year round and are very affordable ($1.50-$2 per pound). Button mushrooms go well with vegetable stew, potatoes (baked, fried, and mashed), rice, pasta, meat, and poultry and are often added to warm salads, burgers, pizza, and sauces.
Button mushrooms have similar texture and preparation requirements as cremini. They can be fried, grilled, boiled, marinated, pickled, and dried. Button mushrooms are popular due to their availability and affordability, so if you were planning to use cremini to make a mushroom sauce, soup, or salad, or add them to rice, pasta, pizza, burgers, button mushrooms are the easiest and the closest alternative.
Button mushrooms contain a lot of protein, acids, vitamins and minerals, phosphorus, and vitamins B, E, D. These mushrooms are considered excellent dietary food. Despite the low-calorie content, they are quite nutritious due to the high concentration of proteins and vitamins.
Even though shiitake is more widespread in Asian countries, it is also popular in the USA and can be found in any shop all year round. Shiitake, like cremini, has a pronounced woodsy and earthy flavor, a brown color, and a delicate soft texture. To learn more about Shiitake flavor and smell, head over to What Do Shiitake Mushrooms Taste and Smell Like?
Shiitake is also similar to cremini in terms of size, shape, and color, which makes them an excellent cremini substitute in soups, salads, pasta, risotto, burgers, stews, pizza, salads, and sauces. Shiitake has a slightly milder flavor, but if you add your favorite herbs and spices (for example, oregano or basil), you will not even be able to tell the difference between the two.
Shiitake mushrooms contain vitamins (A, D, C, B), useful trace elements, amino acids, fatty acids and polysaccharides, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and biotin. The polysaccharide lentinan in shiitake mushrooms forms substances that fight cancer cells, as well as phytoncides that help to resist viral diseases, hepatitis, influenza, and even HIV. Fried shiitake mushrooms are served with fish, rice, chicken, vegetables, or pasta. Shiitake’s meaty flavor goes well with beef and pork.
Portobello mushrooms, thanks to their meaty texture, rich savory and mushroomy flavor, and strong earthy aroma, are the perfect cremini mushroom substitute for roasting, baking, grilling, pickling, and adding to salads, risotto, pasta, and pizza. Since portobello are fully grown cremini, they are bigger, juicier, and more flavorful. Portobello’s umami flavor is great for making sauces and soups. Portobello has the same fleshy and velvet texture as cremini, making it one of the best cremini alternatives.
It will not be difficult to find portobello in shops, as they are available all year round and inexpensive ($2-$3 per pound). Portobello can even substitute meat as it has a lot of protein. So if you are on a diet or want to reduce your meat consumption, portobello mushrooms are your best choice. Since these mushrooms contain a lot of water, they lose their shape but do not lose flavor and useful properties. Portobello is best used for roasting, baking, and making sauces, however, it is also great for soups, risotto, and pasta.
Since porcini has a very delicate, tender, yet fulfilling texture, it is a perfect cremini alternative for roasting, baking, sauteeing, and stewing. Porcini also makes a great mushroom sauce thanks to its strong earthy taste and pungent mushroomy aroma. Porcini is used to make soups and vegetable stews and is added to pizza, rice, and pasta. Porcini absorbs water very quickly, so it is not recommended to soak them. Most often, you just need a paper towel to clean porcini, but we recommend quickly rinsing them under cold water and wiping them with paper towels to get rid of excess water.
Porcini mushrooms are prized for their unique nutty and buttery flavor, earthy aroma, delicate texture, and useful properties. Porcini is added to many dishes, including pasta, risotto, pizza, salads, pies, soups, and sauces, to make the dish more flavorful and creamy.
Oyster mushrooms have a sweet and subtle seafood taste reminiscent of oysters (as its name suggests). If cooked properly, oyster mushrooms have a unique buttery flavor with hints of cucumber and watermelon and can become an excellent cremini substitute. Oyster mushrooms have a soft, delicate texture and a slightly earthy smell.
Oyster mushrooms can be fried, stewed, boiled, pickled, and dried. Thanks to their high nutritional value, mild umami taste, and strong buttery aroma, oyster mushrooms can be added to salads, soups, and meat or eaten as a standalone dish. They do not lose taste and shape during cooking. You can serve them as a side dish with fried or baked meat (pork, veal, beef, chicken), add to pasta, risotto, soups, and stews. Oyster mushrooms sauce is added to potatoes, pasta, and risotto. Fried oyster mushrooms can be eaten as a standalone dish.
Morel mushrooms have a unique creamy, nutty umami flavor, pungent woodsy aroma, soft, velvet texture, and useful properties, including anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory bioactivities, immunostimulatory and anti-tumor properties. Morels are a great meat and cremini substitute.
Morels can be fried, stewed, or baked in the oven. When preparing morel dishes, do not add too many spices as they can fade the delicate mushroom aroma. Morels are also added to pies, and they go well with rice, pasta, eggs, fried onions, dough, meat (pork, beef, veal, chicken), and fish. Morels can be used to make mushroom sauces to add to salads, potatoes, risotto, pasta, and fish.
Cauliflower is cheap, tasty, and available all year round. It has a dense texture and a creamy flavor, so it goes well with cream, meat, vegetables (zucchini, eggplants), fish, pasta, and rice. It can be a great cremini substitute thanks to its crunchy texture and buttery flavor, especially if cooked with spices, high-quality butter, or cream.
Since it is a non-mushroom alternative, it does not have an earthy, woodsy flavor, however, it will make almost any dish brighter and yummy. Cauliflower is healthy, too. It contains 1.5-2 times more proteins and 2-3 times more vitamin C than white cabbage. In addition, cauliflower contains vitamins B6, B1, A, PP, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and iron necessary for the body.
Сauliflower is prized for its excellent taste and dietary qualities. It can be stewed or fried with meat, vegetables, and potatoes, added to vegetable and meat salads, fried in butter with bread crumbs and eggs, pickled, and mixed with other vegetables. Young cauliflower is used to prepare dietary broths and soups, which, in terms of nutritional value and taste, will be better than chicken broths and soups. Cauliflower is also found in frozen vegetable mixes.
Eggplant is another great cremini non-mushroom alternative as it has a tender yet meaty texture and a slight bitterness that makes any dish more flavorful. They can be boiled, fried, baked, stewed, grilled, pickled, and eaten raw.
Eggplants are used in vegetable stews and go well with meat (especially with pork and tender beef), but they can also be baked, grilled, or pickled. Eggplants can be eaten raw, but they can be too bitter and have a firm, spongy texture. However, when cooked, eggplants become very similar to cremini and other mushrooms – soft, velvet, and delicate.
Thanks to their meaty texture, eggplants can also substitute meat and poultry. They are cheap and available all year round in any shop or market. Remember to sprinkle raw eggplants with salt or sugar for 30-40 minutes to get rid of excess water and bitterness.
Zucchini is a great non-mushrooms cremini substitute as it has a mild, sweet, and savory flavor, a soft texture (when cooked), and a lot of useful properties. Zucchini can be grilled, baked, fried, stuffed, roasted, stewed, and pickled. It has a velvet texture and a mild earthy aroma reminiscent of cremini mushrooms.
There are really not many things you cannot do with zucchini – they are used to make soups and sauces and are added to dips and pies. They are very similar to eggplants in terms of bitterness, so we recommend you sprinkle them with salt to get rid of excess water. If you are on a diet, zucchini is a perfect choice as it contains only 17 calories per 100 grams and can be added to any dish. If you add some spices like oregano, the dish will be even more flavorful and delicious.
While tofu has a slightly different taste and texture than cremini, when combined with soy sauce, it acquires a nutty and earthy flavor, which makes tofu a great cremini substitute. If you do not have soy sauce, you can marinate tofu in a vegetable or chicken stock to make its taste more pronounced. Due to its neutral taste, tofu is used in many dishes. Most of the tofu recipes are variations of Japanese, Chinese, or Thai cuisine.
Tofu can be boiled, fried, baked, smoked, marinated, and used as a filling for pies, added to pasta and rice. If you sprinkle tofu with lemon juice or soy sauce, it will be an excellent cremini substitute for many dishes.
Chickpeas have a nutty fulfilling flavor and a grainy texture that adds contrast to any dish. Chickpea is an indispensable symbol of oriental cuisine. It is used to make national Arab dishes such as hummus and falafel, but ground chickpeas can become a wonderful cremini substitute thanks to their nutty and creamy flavor.
It is widely used in cooking in Asia, the USA, and North Africa. Due to their high protein content, chickpeas can replace meat while reducing the fat content of the entire dish. Therefore, it is actively used in vegetarian cuisine and Vedic cooking.
Thanks to their sweet and savory taste, and chewy and soft texture, sun-dried tomatoes can be used as a cremini substitute in many dishes, including vegetable stews, pasta, risotto, soups, and sauces. They are available in any shop all year round and are inexpensive. Sun-dried tomatoes go well with herbs and spices and are often added to salads. If you want to add intense sweet-tart flavor to your dishes, sun-dried tomatoes are your go-to.
To give sun-dried tomatoes a special flavor, you can add to them rosemary + garlic, thyme + mint + bay leaf, hot chili parts + honey, ginger + garlic + shallots, lemongrass + kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce + dried shrimp. Sun-dried tomatoes go well with almost any vegetables, pasta, and cereal.
Cremini Mushroom Taste
Cremini mushrooms have a woodsy, earthy, nutty, and slightly savory flavor. Cremini has a strong buttery and mushroomy aroma and soft, meaty texture that is perfect for making soups, sauces, salads, risotto, and pasta. Cremini also goes well with mashed or baked potatoes, meat, and poultry.
Cremini mushrooms taste different from other types of mushrooms as they have a deep savory umami flavor, while others boast a milder and nuttier taste. Cremini has a rich nutty and woodsy flavor, a pungent earthy aroma, and a delicate yet meaty texture perfect for soups and sauces.
Cremini is used to make stews, salads, soups, sauces, risotto, and pasta. Cremini goes well with meat (beef, pork, veal), poultry, potatoes, rice, porridge (buckwheat), other vegetables (zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes), eggs, and pizza. Cremini’s preparation does not take long. If you want to fry these mushrooms, you will need 7-10 minutes.
Cremini does not lose taste or texture during cooking and can also be grilled, dried, or pickled. The chemical composition of cremini mushrooms is characterized by a high content of B vitamins, carbohydrates, fiber, and proteins, as well as minerals like selenium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and manganese.
Do cremini mushrooms taste good? Cremini mushrooms are widely used in cooking soups, salads, and sauces and added to pasta, rice, meat, and vegetable dishes due to their good, nutty, savory mushroomy taste. Cremini taste is rich, so it is very popular even among those who are indifferent to mushrooms.
Do Cremini Mushrooms Need To Be Cooked?
According to FoodData Central, cremini is safe to eat raw. However, to experience its rich nutty, and savory taste, we recommend cooking cremini. Fried and sauteed cremini mushrooms have a strong savory, buttery umami taste and go well with other vegetables, meat, potatoes, pasta, rice, and soups.
For safe use of raw mushrooms, rinse them in running water and dry them, and then cut them into thin slices. Do not store freshly chopped cremini mushrooms for too long, as they lose their beneficial properties and taste.
In addition to a low-calorie content, cremini mushrooms contain an impressive list of biologically active substances (cremini contains 18 different vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, in particular, B vitamins, folic acid, potassium, manganese, copper, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamin D).
Regular cremini consumption reduces the risk of heart disease by increasing blood fluidity, lowering cholesterol and sugar levels, and normalizing heart rate and blood pressure. In addition, cremini mushrooms stimulate the processes of hematopoiesis, reduce nervous excitability, have an immunostimulating, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effect, and prevent infectious and oncological diseases.