Cremini mushrooms, also called “baby bella” mushrooms, are basically immature white mushrooms (champignons), they are small, have a round brown top and a great savory flavor, more concentrated than white mushrooms.
If you can’t find them, the best substitutes for cremini mushroms are, obviously, white and portobello mushrooms, but also shiitake, tofu, tempeh, some vegetables and herbs.
When white mushrooms are immature and white, we can call them common, white mushrooms or champignons. When they become mature, they are called portobello mushroom. Cremini mushrooms are slightly more mature than button mushrooms, but still immature. When mushrooms age they become drier and browner.
Stage of maturity of the common mushroom (Agaricus bispora): White mushrooms – – ->> Cremini mushrooms —>> Portobello mushrooms.
Cremini Mushrooms uses
Cremini mushrooms can be served raw, or cooked: by sautéing, or by roasting, baking, simmering.
They are great ingredient for pastas, soups, casseroles, risottos, omelets, quesadillas, tacos, tarts and gratins, bruschettas and salads, as well as for making sauces (especially for pasta and meat) and gravies. As sides for meat or hummus, with broccoli, as ingredient for pizza, etc.
They are better choice for cooking caramelized mushrooms then white mushrooms.
I love Cremini mushrooms just roasted with garlic and olive oil, and served with a steak!
Cremini Mushrooms health benefits
Cremini mushrooms are source for better gut health, as they will increase the amount of good bacterias: they contain prebiotics. They also may potentially lower several risk factors for type 2 diabetes, but we need more studies. Cremini mushrooms are great for vegan, gluten-free diets too.
Cremini mushrooms are a good dietary source of ergothioneine and also may prevent free radical damage, potentially weight gain or various types of cancer.
A 100-gram serving of cremini mushrooms contains about 92 grams of water, provides 94 calories and around 4 grams of carbs, along with 3 grams of protein. Fat and fiber are less than one gram each. Cremini mushrooms are very low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
They also contain a good amount of riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, potassium, copper, zinc, manganese, and selenium, vitamins D, amino acids, and probably Vitamin B12 too.
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25 Cremini Mushrooms substitutes
Cremini mushroms have earthy, quite concentrated taste, similar to meat. They are great vegetarian substitutes for meat too. If you don’t have them, you can try one of the substitutes I recommend, or just skip them in a recipe, if it is possible, but you will lose this special taste.
Here is the list of all cremini mushrooms substitutes:
- white mushrooms
- shiitake mushrooms
- portobello mushroom
- oyster mushrooms
- canned or dried mushrooms
- marinated tofu
- brown miso
- umami seasoning
- russet potatoes
- sun-dried tomatos
- heart of palm
- artichoke heart
- yellow squash
- beef broth
- brown rice
Other mushrooms as cremini substitutes
2 substitutes are the most closest substitutes, as they are actually same mushroom of different age: white (button) mushroom and portobello mushroom.
1 – White mushrooms
Also called: button mushroom, table mushroom, cultivated mushroom, supermarket mushroom, common mushroom, or champignon mushroom.
White mushrooms are a little bit more immature and watery than cremini mushrooms, they are white and have same shape and size as cremini. They are the most common and easy substitute, but the taste will be milder.
They can be used same as cremini mushrooms, in the same variety of recipes (salads, dips, barbecues, stir-fries, or pasta dishes) or served raw (mainly in salads).
2 – Portobello mushrooms
Also called: giant cremini, field mushroom, open cap mushroom, Portabella, Portabellini, or Portobello.
Portobello mushrooms are the most aged white mushrooms, contain less water and have more concentrated savory taste, which make them perfect substitute for cremini mushrooms. They are also larger than cremini.
Great for same recipes (barbecues, roasting, baking, sauces, and pasta), but may not be perfect for stuffed mushrooms recipes, as they are larger. They are better for sauces and dips, as they have more pronounced mushroom taste.
3 – Shiitake Mushrooms
Also called: Shiang Ku, Donko, oak, golden oak, brown oak, black forest, forest mushroom, black mushroom, black winter, Chinese black, or oriental black.
Shiitake mushrooms are earthy, savory, meaty mushrooms, perfect to replace not only other mushrooms, but also meat. They may be too chewy, and better in fresh state, they are also very good for nutrients. One of the best cremini substitute, based on their texture, flavor and appearance.
Great for stews, stir-fries, pasta, and risotto, barbecues or sauces.
4 – Oyster or King Oyster mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms are very healthy, and have great nutty, mild-strong flavor just as crimini mushrooms. It is another mushroom substitute for cremini. King Oyster Mushrooms are large and meaty, great as a meat substitute too.
Some people are allergic to their spores and may experience a stomachache, so be careful. In general, they have a lot of health benefits: they are rich in copper, vitamins (vitamin D3, B2, B3, B5), maintain blood sugar, skin and brain health.
They go well in soups, stews, and sauces, as well as sauteed or in stir-fry.
5 – Canned or dried mushrooms
It is the best and cheaper option if you just don’t have fresh mushrooms. Dried or canned mushroom can taste almost same as original cremini mushrooms.
Dried mushrooms have more concentrated taste, as they are not as watery as fresh ones. This means, when you want to substitute fresh mushrooms with dried ones, use less. If you need a really strong and distinctive mushroom taste, you can substitute 1:1, but it can be too much.
Good canned or dried mushrooms brand:
In general, any of your favorite mushrooms can become a substitute for cremini mushrooms in a recipe. Opt for more concentrated and meaty flavors to better mimic the original taste.
Non-mushroom cremini substitutes
Some people experience mushroom allergies, but some people simply don’t like them! And it is not the reason to skip such a huge number of recipes. To avoid mushrooms, you can substitute them by some vegetables: eggplant, zucchini, some squashes, palm heart and others, or by sauces and herbs.
6 – Umami seasoning
The simple way to imitate umami similar to one mushrooms or meat have, is to use umami seasoning. While it is a great substitute for cremini mushrooms, it will have stronger flavor, more similar to shiitake.
But what is exactly umami seasoning? Umami seasoning (I give ingredients of Trafer Joe’s one as example) contains: mix of porcini and white button mushroom powder, as well as kosher salt, dried onion powder, ground mustard seed, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and dried thyme.
Nutrients: 1 serving of umami seasoning contains 0 cal. and 140 mg of sodium.
Trader Joe’s has Umami Seasoning with kosher salt, without MSG, and gluten-free.
7 – Beef broth or stock
Beef broth or stock have meaty flavor, savory and rich taste. This is obviously not a vegan option to replace cremini mushrooms, but beef broth or stock will be great for soups, stews and dips.
It is easy to cook, but requires some time and patience, or you can always buy a canned one, by Campbell’s, e.g.
8 – Eggplant
Also called: Garden egg, guinea squash, melongene.
Eggplant is probably one of the best vegetable substitute for cremini mushrooms, as it is not as watery as squash, has meaty consistency and distinctive but still delicate taste.
It is a vegan option, but I need to mention that nightshade vegetable (eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, except sweet ones) can have negative health outcomes like inflammation.
The only thing with eggplants is cooking, to cook them well soak them in salty water to make sure they will be soft while done.
9 – Cauliflower
I love roasted cauliflower and I think it is one of the greatest alternative to shrooms when it comes to steaks! Cauliflower has mild taste, nice bulk texture, goes perfectly with spices and marinades.
Please note that cauliflower just as mushrooms and eggplant are NOT allergy-free, but comparing to eggplant it doesn’t cause inflammation, and it is actually quite healthy to eat: it reduces risks of cancer, brain and heart diseases, contains vitamin C, folate, vitamin K, B complex vitamins and vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, sodium and iron.
10 – Ground Chickpeas
Also called: Garbanzo beans
Ground chikpeas with spices are vegan-friendly, tasty, meaty substitute for cremini mushrooms. They can also cause allergies, but they are gluten-free. Chickpeas are rich in protein.
With chickpeas make sure you do not use any discolored beans and you wash them thoroughly, and then boil. You can always buy canned chickpeas, but I’d prefer to cook them.
11 – Lentils
Lentils are very close to chickpeas – they have great, rich flavor, meaty and thick consistency while cooked, and mild taste. Lentils can be a cremini substitutes when it comes to soups, and stews. I actually like them with onions and rice too when I do elimination diet.
Lentils are not allergy-free, but they are rich in protein, and fiber. Comparing to mushrooms, they don’t offer earthy flavor.
12 – Zucchini
Zucchini is a meaty, savory, delicate and healthy substitution for cremini mushrooms. Zucchinis are low in calories, gluten-free, beneficial for skin, hair and weight loss.
Zucchini has mild flavor, so it is easy to mimic different tastes by adding seasoning and spices, or herbs. To substitute mushrooms choose smallest zucchinis.
Great for soups, pies, sides and for roasting.
13 – Onions
Onions are treasure in terms of health benefits, but they are also rich in flavor and can make any dish better. White onions are sweeter, they are great for soups, meat, toppings. Caramelized onions could be a perfect substitute for cremini mushrooms with steaks, in pies, with hummus, etc. Red onions are less universal, but still can add some spicy flavor.
But even if they are extremely healthy, they still can cause allergies, so be careful. Always choose fresh onions as they will have stronger taste.
14 – Russet Potatoes
Also called: Idaho potatoes
The most easy to find substitute for cremini mushrooms along with onions is potatoes. They have a large variety of types, the most recommended one to replace mushrooms is russet potatoes.
Russet potatoes are long, big, red-brownish, they are soft and mealy and are perfect for french fries, baking, mashed potatoes, and frying in general. They are not recommended for salads, soups or boiling, as they are too mealy for that.
Eating russet potatoes can help prevent heart disease, they contain protein, and fiber, some vitamins and minerals. They are nightshades, which means can cause some gut inflammation, and are not allergy-free.
As substitute work well for baking, frying, as sides – in general. all “dry” recipes with mushrooms. Goes well with spices.
15 – Sun-Dried Tomatoes
If you are looking for a good substitute for cremini mushrooms that will add extra flavor it is definitely sun-dried tomatoes. Easy to buy, sweet, meaty, sun-dried tomatoes are good for toppings, sauteed dishes, pizza, pastas and other dishes.
They will work well with herbs, olive oil, salads,and spices in general. Sun-dried tomatoes are rich in protein, fiber, potassium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin, which make them beneficial for our health.
But you need to realize that tomatoes have completely different taste than mushrooms. They are sweet and do not offer any umami flavor.
You can make homemade Sun-Dried Tomatoes (can take up to 2 weeks) or buy them in any grocery store.
16 – Yellow Summer Squash
Also called: Summer Squash and Straightneck Squash. Do not confuse with Golden zucchini.
In general, squashes are too watery to substitute mushrooms, but yellow summer squash is meaty enough to replace cremini mushrooms in soups, risotto, baked and sauteed dishes and as a side dish. It has mildly sweet flavor and tnder skin.
Yellow summer squash is low in calories, it contains sugar, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, protein.
It doesn’t have mushroom taste, but you can mimic it with seasoning.
17 – Artichoke hearts
Artichoke as substitute is a fancy option, may be hard to find and more expensive than mushrooms. They have firm, meaty texture, and earthy, very unique taste. They are different from mushrooms but may be a great substitute for sides or served as they are.
They may not be a good option for frying, baking or soups. But, you still can steam them and make some sauces (artichoke dipping sauce). Artichoke hearts are yummy when marinated.
Artichokes are very beneficial for our health: help to lose weight, have positive impacts on cholesterol, liver and digestive function, blood pressure and blood sugar.
You can also try canned artichoke hearts if you don’t find fresh ones.
18 – Heart of palm
Heart of palm is probably the most unusual substitute for cremini mushrooms, but it will mimic perfectly the meaty consistency and texture.
The heart of palm is low in calories, rich in potassium, vitamin C, and B6, riboflavin, calcium, phosphorus, and copper.
Cooking heart of palm needs some skills, but you can also try to buy canned heart of palm and use it in beff stroganoff, salads, as mushroom and seafood substitute.
19 – Marinated Tofu
Marinated tofu is a vegan friendly, soy-based replacement for cremini mushrooms. Marinated todu mimic well the taste of mushrooms, offering meaty and soft texture. Basically, tofu is coagulated and pressed soy milk.
You can buy marinated tofu, or make a homemade one (just marinate tofu cubes with a vegetable broth).
Tofu works great with sauces, as substitutes for all dishes that includes meat or mushrooms. Note, that it is still cause allergic reaction, but it is a rich source of protein, amino acids, iron, calcium and other micronutrients.
20 – Miso
Miso or miso paste are a great cremini mushrooms alternative as miso has the umami flavor. Miso is basically fermented soybeans, and in fact Japanese cuisine has a variety of misos. One we need to replace mushrooms will have brown or dark red color and complex, salty and savory taste.
Miso can not be a 100% replacement for all mushrooms recipe, but will work for salads, dips, sauces and gravy.
Please note, that miso are high is salt and can cause allergy.
21 – Tempeh
Tempeh is a popular Indonesian food and ingredient. It is basically fermented soybeans in form of cake. IT is a vegan replacement for mushrooms, but it can be served as it is too. It has a very nice nutty taste, solid texture, meaty as mushrooms. It reminds tofu, but tempeh is more like nougat.
They can cause allregy not only because of soybeans, but also because they are usually produced with mold. Tempeh is high in protein, fiber and prebiotics.
To substitute cremini mushrooms you need to cut very thin slices of tempeh. It is extremely good for vegan burgers, for breakfast (I like it simply fried with eggs), stir fries. In general, it is a direct substitute for meat, which means for mushrooms too, as we often use mushrooms to replace meat.
22 – Brown rice
Brown rice, especially with soy sauce or miso is a savory, eathy and solid alternative for shredded cremini mushrooms.
Brown rice works well for soups, and stews.
Brown rice can occasionally cause allergic reactions, but it is a proven beneficial product to prevent obesity, diabetes, digestion, and heart issues. It is rich in protein and fiber, manganese, iron, zinc, phosphorus, calcium, selenium, magnesium, and potassium, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6, folate – vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), and vitamin K.
23 – Nuts
Walnuts and cashews are extremely healthy and can work as cremini mushroom substitute, as they have unique nutty, rich and creamy flavor, nice texture. You can roast them, grind them, use nuts paste in a variety of recipes.
Nuts are very rich in good fat and acids, but they are widely known for allergic reactions.
24 – Cilantro
Also called: coriander.
I think one of the most tasty, aromatic herbs that can add special flavor to any dish. It works great with meat, fish, salads, soups and other dishes and it can easily replace cremini mushrooms.
Cilantro allergy is very rare, as for its health benefits, cilantro prevents heart disease, cancer, has strong antioxidant properties, reduces anxiety, lowers blood sugar, helps digestion and many other issues.
Some people can confuse cilantro with parsley, but they actually have completely different taste.
25 – Fennel
Fennel, in fact, is a herb from carrot family. It has mild refreshing taste, similar to anise, or licorice, some people compare it to ginger.
You can eat the buld (even raw), the roots, the stems, seeds. Fennel works great in salads, soups, for baking (slamon pie), pastas and many other dishes.
Fennel is also very healthy plant: it helps with anemia, indigestion, flatulence, constipation, colic, diarrhea, respiratory disorders, and menstrual disorders. It is rich in Vitamin C, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, folate and other minerals and vitamins.
How to make cremini mushrooms substitute taste better?
THose substitues that don’t have umami or distinctive taste, can be seasoned or you can also add some ingredients like:
- soy sauce
- umami seasoning
- anchovies, etc.