Cremini Mushrooms are a delicacy for many people around the world. These mushrooms are packed with flavor and hold a special place for many vegetarians.
Known for their fleshy texture, chewiness, and earthy flavor, cremini mushrooms are also used by some people to replace meat, owing to their textural similarities.
Naturally, you would usually find them in salads, as sides, or in combination with other savory dishes.
However, the question that some foodies may ask is, can cremini mushrooms be replaced or substituted? Yes! While cremini mushrooms make for a great addition to any dish, they can also be substituted with a range of different types of mushrooms.
There are a few considerations that you may want to keep in mind before substituting them though, as replacing them in any dish may change the overall look and flavor of your recipe.
But there are a few tricks that you can use to make the substitution even more worthwhile. Read on to find out the 9 best substitutes for cremini mushrooms!
There are many reasons why one would want to substitute cremini mushrooms. Some might not be able to find it in their region, or some may not like how they taste, or maybe you find them to be more expensive than what you have on hand.
Whatever the reason, the good news is that recipes that call for cremini mushrooms may be more forgiving if you do end up substituting them.
Cremini mushrooms have an earthy and nutty flavor. As previously described, they have a woodsy aroma, a fleshy texture, and are noticeably chewy.
The best way to describe their chewiness would be if you compare them to a well-cooked medium-well steak.
On their own, cremini mushrooms have a savory taste with sweet undertones. They taste similar to white mushrooms but pack more flavor.
Cremini mushrooms can also be paired with a range of spices to alter their flavor profile, which makes them highly versatile as well.
How To Substitute Cremini Mushrooms
Substituting recipes can be a bit tricky. Sometimes you can get away with it, other times it can be a lot more noticeable.
Your goal should be to meet both these conditions in the middle, where you end up successfully substituting an ingredient without making it too noticeable.
With cremini mushrooms, you have a range of options. The first thing you should do is to envision what you are trying to make and consider if replacing these mushrooms is a huge deal for you.
For example, if you are sautéing cremini mushrooms as a side dish for steak, then you might get away with using any other type of mushroom.
However, if you are replacing a dish that specifically calls for cremini mushrooms then you might want to alter the recipe by using other ingredients to mask the absence and the replacement for these mushrooms.
Remember, the best way to conceal and substitute any ingredient is to make sure that they aren’t an integral part of the recipe to begin with.
You can use spices, herbs, and other condiments to make up for the lack of cremini mushrooms.
The Best Substitutes for Cremini Mushrooms
Below we have listed some of our favorite substitutes for cremini mushrooms, both in the form of other varieties of mushrooms as well as some non-mushroom alternatives!
1. Portobello Mushrooms
If there is one thing that comes very close to cremini mushrooms, it’s portobello mushrooms.
These mushrooms share almost the same flavor profile with the exception of their texture and size. Portobello mushrooms are larger and may not be able to put up a fight when chewed on, this is especially true if you sauté them.
However, because they have a similar flavor, you would easily be able to get away with substituting Portobello mushrooms.
This is our favorite choice simply because portobello mushrooms can be a bit less pricey and may even be available more readily when compared to cremini mushrooms.
They make the best substitutes as sides or in salads. We also recommend keeping their texture intact by not sauteing them for too long.
2. White Mushrooms
These mushrooms are from an extremely common and readily available family of mushrooms which means that you can find them anywhere, and at a lower cost, at any superstore.
White mushrooms share somewhat a similar taste profile when compared to cremini mushrooms but lack their relatively intense flavor.
White mushrooms have a fleshy exterior and are a bit less chewy; however, they can come pretty close to cremini mushrooms if you pair them with the right ingredients.
For example, white mushrooms that are sauteed with basil, thyme, and other herbs can match the flavor profile of cremini mushrooms.
If you slip in these instead of cremini mushrooms, there is a small chance that anyone would be able to tell them apart.
3. Shiitake Mushrooms
These mushrooms are a classic in Asian cuisine and can easily be found around the world.
Shiitake mushrooms come eerily close to cremini in the way they look but they have a slightly subtler flavor profile. Of course, you can easily counter this by sauteing them in butter and throwing in some spices.
Having the same meaty texture and earthy taste, shiitake mushrooms make for an excellent replacement for cremini mushrooms.
However, you may want to keep in mind their spongy exterior. They can be a bit harder to chew and may not agree with some people.
If the recipe only uses cremini mushrooms as a secondary ingredient, then you may easily substitute them without anyone knowing about it.
4. Oyster Mushrooms
If you are in the mood for experimentation then there is no better way to try oyster mushrooms instead of cremini mushrooms.
Oyster mushrooms have a bit sweeter flavor with strong umami undertones. They pair extremely well with a range of savory dishes and are packed with a lot of flavors, regardless of how you have them.
However, these mushrooms have a few downsides. For one, they are a bit larger in size which can make them easily noticeable in any dish.
They also have a soft exterior which may be a dead giveaway for some people. When compared to cremini mushrooms, these are noticeably softer and have a very light “fishy” flavor.
We recommend that you use a bit of caution when substituting with oyster mushrooms but if you can pull it off with the right recipe, it will be totally worth it.
5. Porcini Mushrooms
Known for their strong aroma and delicate flavor, Porcini mushrooms make for an excellent substitute. They are just the right size and share many of the characteristics of cremini mushrooms.
These mushrooms can be sauteed, roasted stewed, and more. We highly recommend that you roast them for maximum flavor. If you don’t have access to cremini mushrooms then porcini mushrooms will fit any recipe very easily.
An important consideration here is that porcini mushrooms are porous, meaning that they absorb water relatively easily compared to cremini mushrooms.
We recommend that you only give them a quick rinse then dry them off with a paper towel because these mushrooms will release a lot of water while cooking.
6. Morel Mushrooms
Morel mushrooms have a place on this list because of their similar meaty flavor. These mushrooms are packed with umami flavors and are perhaps one of the most beneficial mushrooms out there.
Morel mushrooms share a similar velvety and fleshy texture and pair well with almost any protein.
They are versatile and have a distinct nutty flavor. We highly recommend that you add in some herbs to make them taste more similar to cremini mushrooms.
Morels have a higher nutritional profile than cremini mushrooms but are susceptible to spices and high heat.
This means that they are likely to lose their aroma and lessen their flavor while cooking so we recommend cooking them separately to preserve their texture and flavor profile.
The Best Non-Mushroom Substitutes
Before anyone cries foul, let us explain why non-mushrooms substitutes can also replace cremini mushrooms.
Many of the flavors found in cremini mushrooms can easily be matched with a range of different vegetables.
Yes, you can even replace them with similar-tasting vegetables! Of course, you may need to make some adjustments to complete your dish.
Cremini mushrooms have an earthy, nutty, and subtle woodsy flavor that can be found in a range of other food too. Their texture is a bit harder to replace, however, with the right ingredients, you can easily substitute them.
Here are a few non-mushroom substitutes that you can try:
Eggplants are extremely versatile. While they understandably look nothing like mushrooms, they share a similar flavor profile.
How? Well, it turns out that when you sauté, deep-fry, or roast eggplants, they go through a chemical reaction called Maillard reaction that enhances and changes their flavor profile and makes them taste similar to cremini mushrooms.
Of course, they won’t look like mushrooms but if you are looking for something that would substitute it and provide a wholistic flavor to your dish then eggplants are the way to go.
Whether you roast them or fry them, they are undoubtedly an excellent addition to any recipe and make for excellent sides as well.
8. Dried Tomatoes
If you are looking for the perfect non-mushroom substitution for cremini mushrooms then look no further than the humble tomato.
That’s right, tomatoes are already packed with umami flavors and pair well with all types of protein. Tomatoes can be fried, roasted, boiled, and more.
They are a key ingredient in many recipes but if you really want to take advantage of them then we recommend that you try a few hacks.
To make tomatoes replace cremini mushrooms you will have to use a combination of spices and herbs. Garlic, ginger, rosemary, and basil make for excellent additions and are a great way to take tomatoes to the next level.
Not only this, but you can also create a range of things using tomatoes. From sides to sauces to chutneys and more. If you use them right, they will be able to easily elevate any recipe.
Cauliflowers make for great substitutes when compared to cremini mushrooms because they offer more or less the same bite. They are packed with flavor, are versatile, and pair well with all types of meat.
Cremini mushrooms have a chewy and velvety texture, but if you boil cauliflower and then sauté them just for a bit, you can have both, a bit of crunch and light chewiness.
Cauliflowers have a similar earthy, slightly bitter, and sweet flavor that will mix well with any type of recipe that calls for cremini mushrooms.
Of course, the main consideration here is that cauliflowers should ideally be used where cremini mushrooms are called for as a secondary ingredient or as a side dish.
Will they add a distinct mushroom taste? No, but will they be able to elevate your dish and add a different layer of flavor and crunchiness.
You may also throw in some basil, thyme or experiment with other herbs and spices to mask and alter their flavor even more.
Now that we’ve gone over the best substitutes for cremini mushrooms, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!
Are cremini mushrooms available everywhere?
Cremini mushrooms are native to the grasslands in Europe and North America. However, not everyone might have access to them.
If you can’t find them in a store near you, then you may be able to substitute them with a range of other similar tasting ingredients.
Can cremini mushrooms be eaten raw?
No, cremini mushrooms have a tough exterior that needs to be softened through heat.
Raw mushrooms can be hard to digest and may cause different health problems. Always clean, process, and cook your mushrooms properly before consumption.
Are cremini mushrooms healthy?
Cremini mushrooms have a good nutritional profile.
They are a good source of potassium, magnesium, vitamin B-6, and protein. They are low on carbs and fat which makes them a great food for many diet-conscious people.
Can any mushroom substitute cremini mushrooms?
Depending on the recipe, there are many suitable replacements for cremini mushrooms. A range of similar tasting mushrooms can substitute them.
However, every mushroom is different in how it looks, tastes, and feels in the mouth.
So, you will have to choose the best replacement as per your recipe.