I wouldn’t have believed it if someone had told me one day that I would be an ardent eater of fungi. True that! Not a month goes by without eating my favorite mushrooms. Got the clue? Yup, I am talking about my all-time favorite; cremini mushroom.
Cremini mushroom is an adorable variety among the mushroom family. It is a versatile ingredient, added to quite a number of mouth-watering dishes. Not to mention the amazing health benefits it has to offer.
But what happens when you can’t find any cremini mushrooms? How can you cover up that glitch? You need a bunch of substitutes to replace them. Wondering which are those?
Some of the best cremini mushroom substitutes are portobello, white button, shiitake, oyster, porcini, and morel mushrooms.
This article is to ease you out of your distress with a decent explanation of the best substitutes for cremini mushrooms, inclusive of non-mushroom substitutes. Before that, shall we know more about cremini mushrooms?
Quick Peek: Cremini Mushrooms
The following scribbles tell you what cremini mushroom is, its flavor, texture, culinary uses, and health benefits.
What Are Cremini Mushrooms?
Are you aware that most of the mushrooms we consume are of the same variety? It is just a matter of age that differentiates them. Confused? I will clear it out for you. The white mushroom, which we easily come across, is the youngest variety, and portobello is the old man among the lot.
Cremini or crimini, the teenager, comes in between the two, so it is sometimes known as baby Bella or baby portobello mushrooms.
Describing Cremini Mushrooms: Flavor and Texture
Talking about the appearance, the cremini mushroom is a small, edible mushroom with a brown top. You can consider it to be the brown version of the white mushrooms.
Coming to flavor and texture, it has an earthy, savory flavor with a strong, meaty texture. It can be a wholesome ingredient in dishes, soups, and stews.
Uses of Cremini Mushrooms
Cremini mushroom is a lesser-known variety of mushrooms, but this delicious and healthy bunch of roundheads has a lot to offer. It consists of helpful antioxidants and is a source of potassium, vitamins, fiber, amino acids, riboflavin, zinc folate, and manganese.
You can add it to a lot of dishes that comprise eggs, meats, or other veggies. They also can be used to prepare soups, stir-fries, and gravies.
Some of the famous recipes using cremini mushrooms include garlicky cremini pasta, Hungarian goulash, chicken marsala, mushroom tortilla, and coulibiac.
Cremini Mushrooms On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
Cremini mushrooms offer tiny amounts of vitamins and minerals. But, the enzymes and bacteria present in cremini mushrooms provide significant health benefits. Consumption of these mushrooms can enhance our immune system and our digestive health.
The presence of aromatase inhibitors can mitigate the risk of lung cancer and breast cancer. Eating cremini mushrooms can prevent blood pressure from spiking up in pregnant women.
The intense flavor of cremini mushroom reduces salt usage, thus limiting the consumption of salt, which is indeed healthy.
Why Should We Substitute Cremini Mushrooms?
As good as it sounds, cremini mushrooms sometimes may not be available easily. In that case, it wouldn’t hurt to know about the substitute mushroom counterparts, right?
Even other ingredients that give the same flavor as cremini? Believe me, when appropriately adjusted, few ingredients can give you the same cherished flavor of cremini. Keep reading to find out about them.
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18 Best Cremini Mushroom Substitutes
So, I have compiled a list of the 18 best substitutes for cremini mushrooms, inclusive mushroom-based, and non-mushroom-based substitutes.
Mushroom Substitutes For Cremini Mushrooms
Let’s start with the mushroom substitutes for cremini mushrooms. Here we go!
1. Portobello Mushroom
Portobello is affectionately called a giant cremini mushroom. It has a meaty and savory flavor that can perk up your dishes’ real taste, sometimes even better than cremini mushroom. It is suitable for barbecues, roasting, or sauces.
This mushroom contributes few calories, making them suitable for any type of diet. The presence of selenium prompts our bodies to produce antioxidants that prevent cell damage.
Bearing testimony to its nickname, the Portobello mushroom is the closest alternative to the cremini mushroom, owing to its flavor profile and earthy aroma.
2. White Button Mushroom
White button mushrooms go by the names table mushrooms or common mushrooms. As discussed above, the white button mushroom is the younger version of the cremini mushroom.
It is precisely why it has a mild taste when it comes to replacing cremini mushrooms. These mushrooms are a source of B vitamins, potassium, selenium, and other vital minerals.
Nevertheless, the white button mushroom resembles a cremini mushroom in shape, size, and texture and is a good alternative in salads and dip-fries.
3. Shiitake Mushroom
Shiitake mushroom is a staple ingredient in Asian cuisine. It is brown with a spongy, meaty texture, making it relatively hard to chew. When it comes to flavor, shiitake mushroom ensures a subtle flavor, and you can enhance it by sautéing using butter. They render a unique aroma when used in stir-fries, stews, and pasta.
Shiitake mushroom shares a close similarity in shape and size to cremini, making it a good alternative for cremini mushroom.
4. Oyster Mushroom
Oyster mushroom is one of the edible mushrooms and is said to have been first cultivated in Germany. It is available in white, yellow, brown, tan, and even pink colors. It has a soft, sweet texture with hints of umami flavor.
It has a distinctive licorice-like flavor as well. For this reason, the oyster mushroom is a good addition to savory and flavorsome dishes and gravies.
Oyster mushroom is a good substitute for cremini mushroom if you don’t mind its fishy flavor. It is a great option if you aspire for a texture close to cremini.
5. Porcini Mushroom
Porcini mushroom is a popular mushroom variety used prominently in Italian cuisine. Available in dark brown or tan color, porcini mushroom is known for its incredibly strong aroma and nutty flavor. It has to be used fresh and rinsed only once due to its porous texture.
Porcini mushroom is a considerable substitute for cremini mushroom due to its intense flavor and thick texture. You can use porcini in dishes where you wish for strong flavors or go for small quantities.
6. Morel Mushroom
Morel mushroom is a seasonal mushroom with a distinctive appearance – it is cone-shaped with a network of ridges (similar to honeycomb). The honeycomb-like caps come in various colors. It has a spongy texture with an earthy, nutty flavor. It can even be dried and saved for eating later!
You have got to be careful with fake versions of morel mushrooms. False morels are poisonous with disfigured reddish-brown to yellow colored caps. These are also not hollow on the inside, unlike morels.
Morel mushroom is a considerable substitute for cremini due to its intense flavor and texture. However, it might not be ideal in stir-fries due to its delicate texture. Also, soak it well in water before cooking.
The only downside is that morel mushrooms are pretty hard to find for use in cooking.
7. Maitake Mushroom
Let us talk about the names first. Maitake means dancing mushrooms in Japanese. The Japanese have danced in joy upon spotting these mushrooms, which have incredible health benefits. It is also known as ‘hen of the woods.’
Maitake mushroom is an edible mushroom with large clusters cultivated in China and Japan for its benefits to the immune system. It has a rich earthy pepper flavor and a soft, feathery texture. For cooking, the clusters have to be separated first.
Maitake mushrooms can be a considerable cremini mushroom substitute not because they have similar flavors. Maitake mushrooms can add a different, enriching flavor to your dishes. For best results, sautee the torn clusters in butter before replacing them.
8. Enoki Mushroom
Enoki mushroom is also known as velvet shank, golden needle mushroom, lily mushroom, or enokitake. It is popularly used in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean cuisines. It has lean and lengthy stems with small caps (almost string-like, similar to noodles!)
Enoki mushroom has a mild, nutty, fruity flavor and a crunchy, chewy texture. It is easy to cook soups and stews, stir-frys, hot pots, noodle dishes such as ramen and soba, as well as omelets, rice dishes, sushi, spring rolls, and current is not similar to cremini mushroom texturally anyway.
But, enoki mushroom’s flavor can help you get a unique flavor from your dishes replacing cremini.
9. Chestnut Mushroom
Chestnut mushroom is also known as brown cap. It is similar to a white button mushroom, except that it is dark brown in color. It is sometimes grown in large sizes to turn it into portobello mushrooms. Portobello mushroom is often called flat chestnut mushroom for this reason.
Chestnut mushroom has a tan-colored cap and has a unique nutty flavor. It has a silky, crunchy texture when cooked. Chestnut mushroom is a great substitute for cremini mushroom considering the similarities in flavor and texture. (They basically differ from each other only in terms of color).
10. Shimeji Mushroom
Shimeji mushroom is also known as beech mushroom. It is commonly found in Japan and is adored by the Japanese, but now, it has been cultivated in America, Australia, and European regions.
It has a mildly nutty flavor and a crunchy texture. It is a rich source of dietary fiber, protein, and minerals and is very low in calories.
Brown shimeji and white shimeji are two of the commonly found varieties of shimeji mushrooms. Brown shimeji has subtle notes of bitterness which are absent in white shimeji.
Shimeji mushroom is a considerable substitute for cremini mushroom as it has a nutty flavor and a crunchy texture that complements other ingredients in the recipe.
Non-Mushroom Substitutes For Cremini Mushrooms
Weren’t you curious to find out what can possibly replace cremini mushroom apart from its mushroom counterparts? Take a look below!
Eggplant is a vegetable that belongs to the family of tomatoes, okra, and zucchini. It has a mild, sweet, vegetal flavor and a tender texture when cooked. It easily absorbs flavors in whatever recipe you use it in.
This purple darling may not look like a cremini mushroom. But when sauteed or deep-fried, a chemical reaction causes eggplant to undergo changes that make its taste similar to cremini! Amazing, right? I never knew eggplant had such a value, huh?
Cauliflower comes from the family of Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and kale. It has a rich, dense, meaty texture and a flesh, bittersweet, crunchy flavor. It comes in yellow, orange, green, and even purple colors! It is a versatile ingredient used in dishes, stir-fries, and gravies.
When used with suitable spices and herbs, cauliflower can very well match the flavor profile of cremini mushrooms.
Zucchini is also known as courgette and baby marrow. It comes in shades of green and yellow, but mostly in green, and has an elongated shape. It has a mild flavor but with a sweet and bitter taste.
The go-to ingredient for quashing the summer heat, zucchini is a good alternative for cremini mushrooms. This extremely delicate vegetable is packed with immense health benefits and fewer calories, similar to cremini mushroom.
Tofu, also known as bean curd, is a product obtained from soy by pressing curdled soy milk into thick, solid slabs. It doesn’t have a unique flavor to boast of its own. This remarkable quality makes it a versatile ingredient that can easily absorb flavors.
Tofu, especially when marinated in vegetable broth, works perfectly well in giving you that dense, nutty, earthy flavor of cremini mushroom. You might have extra spices to ensure you bring the best out of tofu in your recipes.
Chickpeas are also known as garbanzo beans. They are one of the best legumes out there regarding health benefits and flavor. They are usually available in beige color, but black, green, and red varieties are also found.
Chickpeas have a nutty, earthy flavor. When cooked after soaking them in water, they have a metallic flavor with a delicate texture.
Soaked chickpeas that are toasted and then seasoned with spices can give you a close flavor to cremini mushrooms.
Lentils are also called pulses. Lentils, as we know, belong to the legume family and are edible with incredible health benefits. They are often compared to beans and chickpeas. When cooked, they have an earthy, nutty flavor and a firm, tender, mushy texture.
Lentils can help you get a close flavor of cremini mushroom but not a texture in braised or boiled mushroom recipes.
Potatoes are edible tubers that have a delicious flavor when cooked. They are considered starchy vegetables due to their starch content. They have a moist, savory flavor and a creamy, dense texture.
Russet potatoes have a high starch content and can be used to substitute for cremini mushrooms. Potatoes can’t render the flavor of cremini mushroom, but when paired with the right ingredients, say beef broth, they work as fine replacements for the same.
8. Sun Dried-Tomatoes
Sun-dried tomatoes are those tomatoes that have been dried under the sun not so easily as you deem them to be. The tomatoes are marinated in salt or sulfur dioxide, after which they are dried under the sun. This gives these tomatoes a wrinkled texture. They have a sweet, savory flavor and a crispy texture.
Sun-dried tomatoes can mimic the texture of cremini mushroom and definitely not the flavor because they have a tart flavor. Their chewy, meaty texture can replace cremini mushrooms in pasta or sauces.
Considerable Cremini Mushroom Substitutes in Various Dishes
I am not going to bore you further with details on substitutes. But do consider the following substitutes when you think of replacing cremini mushrooms in salads, dips, sauces, stews, soups, or pasta. A little extra knowledge is never harmful, right?
- In Salads – Brown miso, cilantro, fennel, and heart of palm.
- In Dips – Brown miso, beef broth.
- In Salads – Brown miso, cilantro, and fennel.
- In Soups – Cilantro, fennel, artichoke heart, and yellow squash.
- In Baking – Russet potatoes, artichoke heart, fennel, yellow squash
- In Soups and Stews – Cilantro, beef broth, yellow squash.
- In Frying – Russet potatoes, artichoke heart.
- In Risotto and Pasta – Fennel and yellow squash.
That indeed was a long ride in your reading journey, I presume. In case you are dizzy, let me help you with some points which can help you remember the details on cremini mushroom substitutes in a jiffy.
Best Mushroom Substitutes: Portobello, white button, shiitake, oyster, porcini, morel, maitake, enoki, and chestnut mushrooms.
Best Non-Mushroom Substitutes: Eggplant, cauliflower, zucchini, Tofu, chickpea, lentils, potatoes, and sun-dried tomatoes.
Flavor: The best substitutes in terms of flavor would be Portobello, white button, shiitake, and porcini mushrooms.
Texture: The best substitutes in terms of texture would be Portobello, white button, chestnut, morel, and shiitake
Hard To Find: Morel and enoki mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes are some of the substitutes for cremini, which are not easily available.
Well, finding the best alternatives for cremini mushrooms wasn’t such a huge task after all, right? (Reading about them was a task, though!) Now, you shouldn’t be waiting to try them out.
Use a substitute that fits your preferences, and thank me generously later. Tell me in the comments which one did you find best. See you soon with another article.
How To Substitute The Above Mentioned Ingredients For Cremini Mushrooms
Cremini Mushrooms Substitutes
- Portobello Mushroom
- White Button Mushroom
- Shiitake Mushrooms
- Oyster Mushroom
- Porcini Mushroom
- Morel Mushroom
- Maitake Mushroom
- Enoki Mushroom
- Chestnut Mushroom
- Shimeji Mushroom
- Sun Dried Tomatoes
- Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe
- Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
- Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do cremini mushrooms have another name?
Cremini mushrooms are also known as baby bella.
Are baby bella and cremini mushrooms the same?
Cremini mushrooms are the same as baby bella. Cremini mushroom is a tender, young portobello mushroom and hence known as baby bella.
Can I use portobello mushrooms instead of cremini?
Portobello mushrooms are one of the best replacements for cremini mushrooms.
Are cremini mushrooms the same as button mushrooms?
Cremini and button mushrooms belong to the same species of mushroom. They differ with respect to age. Cremini is the younger version while button mushroom is the matured version.
Are cremini and chestnut mushrooms the same?
Chestnut mushrooms and cremini mushrooms are very much similar. Chestnut mushroom is a variety of white button mushroom with brown strain. Cremini is just the tender version of white button mushroom.