“A meal without mushrooms is like a day without rain.”_ John Cage
John Cage certainly knows the importance of mushrooms, and we do too.
Cremini mushrooms are a wide variety, but what happens when the “popular” becomes unavailable? Do we stop preparing the meal?
This article gives 12 substitutes for cremini mushrooms. We’ve also added a tasty, simple mushroom recipe that will tickle your taste buds. Let’s jump right to it!
Table Of Contents
- 30-second Summary
- What Are Cremini Mushrooms?
- What Can You Substitute for Cremini mushrooms
- Creamy Mushroom Sauce
Cremini mushrooms are meaty, earthy, and umami flavored mushrooms. They are very healthy fungi, and you can substitute them for meat in vegan dishes.
Cremini can be replaced with mushrooms like portobello, shiitake, white button, Morel, King Oyster. You can also use non-mushroom substitutes like eggplant, cauliflower, zucchini, dry tomatoes.
What Are Cremini Mushrooms?
Before talking about it, one thing you should know is that cremini mushrooms are the same as baby bellas.
Cremini mushrooms are a type of edible mushroom of Agaricus bisporus. They are meaty, earthy, and mildly flavored. When prepared alone, cremini has sweet and savory undertones.
Food fun fact: Mushrooms are not vegetables; they are fungi. They contain both plant and animal characteristics.
According to a Harvard study , mushrooms have an umami flavor. This quality makes them perfect substitutes for meat. If you are feeling a bit adventurous, you can spruce things up by pairing mushrooms with another spice of your choice.
Umami-What does it mean?
Umami flavor is a savory flavor caused because of glutamate in a dish. It’s usually found in meat, fish, fermented foods, tomatoes, cheese, soy sauce, mushrooms, etc.
The flavor umami is the fifth taste, asides bitter, sweet, sour, and salty.
According to the NCBI , mushrooms are great nutritional sources of riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D, and other nutrients.
Another name of cremini mushrooms
Mushrooms can be white or brown; their names are usually derived from age and color. Due to their mid-mature state, cremini mushrooms are brown. They are also called “baby Bella ” or “baby portobello.”
Cremini mushrooms might be unavailable; what suitable substitutes can we use for them?
What Can You Substitute for Cremini mushrooms
1. Portobello Mushrooms
Portobello mushrooms are mature, more giant baby Bellas. Hence they are enormous, more luscious, and dainty.
They have a similar velvety, mushroom earthy flavor and taste that cremini mushrooms have. Portobello has an umami taste to serve as a meat substitute like cremini.
You can grill and roast your portobello. Portobellos have high water content; they may lose shape when cooked. But you can be sure their flavor remains intact.
These mushrooms are inexpensive and readily available in local grocery stores.
Use them in sauces, pizza, pasta, even soups.
2. Shiitake Mushrooms
Grown in Eastern Asia, shiitake mushrooms are a type of mushroom that have caps with curled rims. The cap shape makes them stand out from the rest of the species.
They have a meaty, rich, creamy flavor and a rich “mushroomy” aroma. Take note that if your shiitake mushrooms smell pungent or taste bitter or sour, then they are spoiled. Please don’t use them!
Shiitake mushrooms are excellent substitutes for cremini mushrooms. You can use them in your soups, vegetable dishes, stew, potassium-rich yogurt, or just plain raw.
You can stir-fry shiitake mushrooms, boil them or use their extracts in candies, cakes, etc.
3. White Button Mushrooms
Many people will recommend white button mushrooms (white mushrooms) as a perfect cremini mushrooms substitute due to their close similarities.
White Button mushrooms possess the same earthy, umami, velvety flavor as cremini. Button mushrooms can be used in stews, pasta, pizzas, salads, burgers, and more.
You can prepare these mushrooms by grilling, frying, boiling, drying, marinating, or pickling. They contain proteins and vitamins, just like cremini.
4. King Oyster Mushrooms
King Oyster Mushrooms are also known as Oyster Mushrooms. They have a nutty flavor that’s both strong and mild. They also have cucumber and watermelon undertones.
They are meaty as well, so they can serve as great substitutes for meat. They contain copper, potassium, vitamin B, and fiber.
You might want to exercise caution when using them; some people are allergic to their spores.
They are perfect for stews, soups, stir-fries, or a fantastic vegan lasagna.
You may like: What is a Good Substitute for Oyster Mushrooms?
5. Porcini Mushrooms
If you want a mushroom with a delicate aroma yet strong flavor, then porcini mushrooms are your best bet.
These mushrooms are just the perfect size, so you don’t see them easily in your dish. They have similar nutrient content with cremini.
However, they have a porous texture which makes them more water-absorbent. For the best cooking results, rinse them and dry with paper towels; as they release water into your dish while cooking.
They can be sautéed, boiled, or stewed, but for maximum flavor, we recommend you roast your porcini mushrooms.
6. Morel Mushrooms
Morel mushrooms possess a unique buttery and umami flavor. They also have a nutty taste and “velvety” texture.
You can bake, fry, and stew Morel mushrooms. They are great for salads, risottos, potatoes, fish, pies, rice, and more.
Note: Morel mushrooms have a delicate aroma; be careful not to over-season them, so you don’t lose this enchanting aroma in your dish.
7. Maitake Mushrooms
Maitake mushrooms are grown in Japan, but they are not readily available. They are hard to find.
They are the less fatty mushroom options, hence the meatless choice. Maitake mushrooms have the same taste and texture as cremini mushrooms.
They possess the necessary vitamins and minerals required to give you energy.
8. Ground Chickpeas
This substitute might seem a bit weird, but we assure you it’s a great option.
Although chickpea is a legume and its texture is different from cremini, this disparity is erased once grounded.
Chickpea is a fantastic replacement for cremini mushrooms in deep-fried or sautéed dishes. They are also of immense benefit because they aid digestion.
This vegetable can seamlessly replace cremini mushrooms with the same meaty texture. They have exceptional taste, but it works just fine as an alternative .
Eggplants are versatile; they can be cut up and filled in sandwiches or eaten like that. You can also use eggplant as a topping for pizza.
You can sauté your eggplant in butter and use them in your dish.
An excellent vegetable substitute for cremini mushroom is zucchini. It’s a squash with a crunchy texture and loads of nutrients.
It contains proteins, making it a great meat substitute for vegan dishes. Other nutrients it contains are calcium, vitamin C, iron, and potassium.
Zucchini looks like mushrooms or onions, so you can confidently use it in salads. It has no flavor, so don’t worry about it changing the taste of your salad.
You can also add zucchini to your pies, side dishes, or soups.
Cauliflower is robust, with a mild bitter-sweet taste. They are great to pair with steaks or any other type of meat.
Cauliflowers contain vitamins E, C, K, and B-complex. They also are excellent sources of magnesium, calcium, iron, and phosphorus.
This vegetable can trigger an allergic reaction, but it doesn’t cause inflammation. Be cautious when you use cauliflower as a substitute.
You can add spice like basil and thyme to alter the flavor of cauliflower in your dish.
12. Sun-dried Tomatoes
Tomatoes are filled with umami flavors and pair perfectly with any protein.
To use sun-dried tomatoes to the fullest, you want to use them with a mixture of herbs and spices. Spices like basil, ginger, or rosemary will surely elevate the flavor of your dish.
If you use your sun-dried tomatoes properly in chutneys, sauces, and side dishes, you are sure to create an exquisite delight for your tastebuds.
Futher reading: What Can You Substitute for Sun-Dried Tomatoes?
Tofu differs from cremini mushrooms in taste and texture. But when combined with soy sauce, you get the earthy, nutty mushroom flavor.
To enhance its taste, you can marinate your tofu in chicken or vegetable stock. Tofu’s neutral flavor makes it a great replacement.
Fry, bake, smoke, marinate or boil your tofu and use them with rice, pasta, or pies.
14. Russet Potatoes
Russet potatoes are high starch-containing potatoes. They have a white fleshy, and dry feel when uncooked.
When using russet potatoes as a alternative to cremini mushrooms, don’t boil them, else you risk them becoming too soft.
Use russet potatoes as substitutes, mainly in baking recipes that require cremini mushrooms.
Lentils share a similar resemblance to chickpeas. They have a thick, rich, and meaty flavor. Unlike cremini mushrooms, lentils don’t have an earthy flavor.
Still, you can use lentils as cremini substitutes in soups, stews, and rice. Lentils are rich in proteins but can still trigger allergic reactions.
The great thing about these substitute recommendations is that they can be “jazzed up” with the addition of any spice of your choice.
Besides, some unique options can still be a good cremini mushroom substitute:
- 16. brown miso (for dips, salads, gravy, and sauce)
- 17. cilantro (for fish, meat, salads, soups)
- 18. russet potatoes (for baking, french fries, mashed potatoes)
- 19. fennel (for soups, salads, baking, pastas)
- 20. heart of palm (use it in salads, beff stroganoff)
- 21. artichoke heart (for baking, frying, or soups)
- 22. yellow squash (use it in risotto, soups, baked and sauteed dishes)
- 23. beef broth (for soups, stews and dips)
Let’s see how you can prepare and enjoy a simple cremini mushroom sauce.
- 300g of Swiss Brown Mushrooms (or other mushrooms)
- 400ml of full fat cream
- 1 shallot
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons worth of parsley
- 1 tablespoon worth of thyme
- 2 tablespoons of white wine
- Black pepper and salt
Step 1. Thinly slice your garlic, shallot, mushrooms, parsley, thyme, and place them in separate bowls.
Step 2. To start the sauce, place a large frying pot on high heat. Add two tablespoons of unsalted butter (add your olive oil to the butter to prevent it from burning).
Step 3. After your butter melts, add your chopped garlic and shallot. Mix properly and cook for about 30seconds.
Step 4. Add your chopped mushrooms and mix. Then cook for about 6-7minutes while stirring or tossing intermittently. (If your mushrooms look dry at this time, don't worry. They will release water while they get cooked).
Step 5. Once the mushrooms start cooking, add a small pinch of salt.
Step 6. After 6 minutes, add two tablespoons of white wine—Cook for another 1 minute to deglaze the pan and cook off the alcohol effect.
Step 7. Add your parsley, thyme, 400ml of full fat cream, and mix properly.
Step 8. Reduce the heat, bring the mixture to boil for 15minutes until the sauce is nice and thick. Stir frequently during this time.
Step 9. At the end of 15 minutes, the sauce should have boiled to about half its original volume. Check for seasoning. If necessary, add salt and black pepper to taste. Stir and remove from the heat.
Serve your sauce with steak, vegetable, chicken, pie, or any dish of your choice.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 2891Total Fat: 267gSaturated Fat: 163gTrans Fat: 8gUnsaturated Fat: 83gCholesterol: 796mgSodium: 1290mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 6gSugar: 16gProtein: 95g
Mushrooms are the oldest form of nature’s art. Enjoy them in any format you desire and give your taste buds a blast of delight!