A plethora of other mushrooms can substitute cremini mushrooms. You can also try other foods, sauces, or seasoning if you just want flavor.
Cremini (or ‘crimini’) mushrooms are an immature brown variant of the ‘Agaricus Bisporus’ mushroom.
Before we go into some of the substitutes you can use for cremini mushrooms, we cannot stress enough that this mushroom has a lot of different names!
Cremini mushrooms are the same as baby bella, chestnut, Italian, Roman, and Swiss brown mushrooms.
So, before you go hunting for substitutes, bear in mind that you may have come across cremini mushrooms under a different name
What Can You Use Instead of Cremini Mushrooms?
Thankfully, there are a hefty few alternatives to cremini mushrooms and we’ve prepared a top list for you.
The first few are other mushroom varieties, further down the list, we get to more complex substitutes.
1. The Common Mushroom
White mushrooms, button, champignon, table, cultivated—these are all names for the white variant of ‘Agaricus Bisporus’ and they are effectively the same as cremini.
If you collect common mushrooms in the wild, make sure you can distinguish them from the ‘Destroying angel,’ a poisonous similar-looking mushroom!
How to make it work: In most cases, you can swap common mushrooms for cremini one-for-one without issue.
2. Oyster Mushroom
As opposed to the common mushroom, oyster mushrooms (‘Pleurotus Ostreatus’) look quite different from cremini and grow on and around trees. Plus, are a fair bit larger.
In terms of vitamins and minerals, oyster and cremini mushrooms differ slightly, though it should be noted that oyster mushrooms have more fiber.
How to make it work: Oyster mushrooms can also work as a one-to-one substitute for cremini mushrooms. The difference in shape will be less noticeable when cooked.
Partially down to their unfortunate-sounding name in English, shiitake mushrooms are perhaps some of the most well-known mushrooms from East Asia and a great alternative.
Do note that shiitake mushrooms can grow as large as 6″, while cremini mushrooms may only grow up to 2″, so smaller may be better.
How to make it work: A one-for-one substitution is also possible but do note that shiitake mushrooms have a softer texture than cremini.
4. Portobello Mushrooms
Portobello mushrooms are the same as cremini but at a later stage in maturity. Called also be called ‘Portobella’ or ‘Portabella,’ but know that these are the same.
If you’re looking for the closest possible substitute to cremini mushrooms, portobello mushrooms are for you. They are also the easiest substitute to find in the grocery store.
How to make it work: Works if larger mushrooms are not an issue, but not an issue if you’re going to chop them up—no one will notice the difference.
5. Maitake (‘Hen-Of-The-Wood’)
Also known as ‘Grifola Frondosa,’ maitake mushrooms also have plenty of names, and like shiitake, originate from East Asia.
Like oyster mushrooms, maitake grows on trees and is quite different looking to cremini mushrooms, so you may want to slice them up into smaller parts.
How to make it work: Maitake can taste stronger than cremini mushrooms so, do a taste test first and put less if it’s too much. Best if broken down into bite-sized pieces.
Chanterelles are similar in appearance to cremini mushrooms—though with a yellowish tinge—but they can be pricey, so they’re not the most practical substitute.
While chanterelle mushrooms can be a great substitute, they can be considered ‘fruity,’ or even similar to peaches but without the sweetness, so bear that in mind.
How to make it work: While chanterelle mushrooms have a similar appearance to cremini mushrooms, they can grow up to 4″, so you may need to slice them up more.
7. Morchella Mushrooms
Again, Morchella mushrooms might not be the most practical choice to replace cremini as they are often described as ‘highly prized,’ but they will work a charm.
More often referred to as ‘True morels’ or just morels, they are a top source of vitamin D and have a distinct oblong-shaped head similar to an empty honeycomb.
How to make it work: It’s super important that you thoroughly cook Morchella mushrooms before serving to avoid stomach pains, so be careful!
8. Mushroom Sauce
If you don’t know much about mushrooms (and don’t particularly want to), mushroom sauce is the simplest way to get a mushroom-y taste into your food.
Arguably mushroom sauce is the easiest substitute and requires the least amount of thought but only if you value the sauce over the texture of the mushrooms.
How to make it work: Mushroom sauce is best used as a substitute if all you need is to add a sauce to a dish or to add a mushroom taste. You won’t get the texture of mushrooms.
So, now things are going to get a little otherworldly—we’re bringing in the more exotic substitutes for cremini mushrooms, like our good friend tofu!
Tofu is actually one of the best substitutes for mushrooms in general, not just cremini mushrooms. Though, do note that tofu is higher in calories but has more proteins.
How to make it work: Tofu can be cut up to mirror the texture of mushrooms, but you may want to add some seasoning to achieve a similar taste to cremini mushrooms.
Nice fleshy olives can have a similar texture to cremini mushrooms and most notably, they are the best substitute when it comes to pizza and pasta.
One issue with olives, though, is they like mushrooms come in wide varieties, some with very distinct tastes so be picky when choosing olives.
How to make it work: Olives can be much saltier than mushrooms, so refrain from adding more salt. You will also want to remove the pit, or perhaps buy without and slice up.
When properly prepared, eggplant can imitate the texture of cremini mushrooms, but you’ll likely need to season it properly to get that specific mushroom taste.
If you’re looking to make a mushroom sauce substitute, eggplant is likely not for you. Furthermore, if cremini mushrooms are a centerpiece of your meal, it might be a challenge.
How to make it work: A little more work is required to use eggplant. First, they need to be peeled and sliced. Then salted and cooked for about 15 minutes. Remove excess moisture.
Zucchini may look nothing like a mushroom, but when properly prepared in a meal it can be a great substitute for the texture of mushrooms.
In terms of carbohydrates, fat, and protein, surprisingly zucchini and cremini mushrooms are not too far off each other.
How to make it work: To get zucchini to mimic the texture of mushrooms, they must be properly cooked as raw zucchini is pretty tough.
13. Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is everywhere these days and can be a great substitute for a wide range of foods, sauces, and flavors, so it’s not surprising that it can be a stand-in for cremini mushrooms.
If you’re a regular user of soy sauce, you probably already know it’s quite high in sodium (way higher than cremini mushrooms), so bear that in mind when seasoning.
How to make it work: You can use soy sauce as an ingredient to create a faux mushroom sauce or to season any meat.
14. Worcestershire Sauce
Worcestershire sauce can replicate a similar taste and as you probably know, is great at amplifying tastes in meat, and can work to make a similar sauce to mushroom sauce.
But just like soy sauce before, there’s no texture so you may want to use it with something fleshy for the Worcestershire sauce to latch on to.
How to make it work: A dash or two in a creamy sauce could create a nice mushroom sauce or bring out the best flavors in a steak.
15. Black Pepper
Black pepper may sound like an overly simple substitute, but if you just want to bring out some flavor, it may be exactly what you need.
Most obviously, you will not get the texture of mushrooms, though, it may give you all the umami and bitterness you’re looking for.
How to make it work: Season to the desired taste. Black pepper can be used to enhance a sauce or added. Salt and other herbs and spices can also be helpful, but don’t overpower!
What’s the Difference Between Cremini and Regular Mushrooms?
Cremini mushrooms have so many names, writing this list almost becomes a practice of naming any mushrooms that are not a related variant of cremini.
What makes cremini mushrooms unique is their creamy texture, hence their name. This makes them great for cooking alongside other foods, particularly when making a sauce.
Maturity and color are also identifiable factors, and you’ll probably also want to consider the price. Some mushrooms are highly valued while others can be easily bought at the store.
Further to the point, if you’re not too big on mushrooms, you will probably be fine with cheaper alternatives to cremini mushrooms than more expensive options.
‘Regular mushrooms,’ on the other hand, or what you might call ‘common mushrooms,’ are younger than cremini mushrooms and are white in color.
What’s a Good Substitute for Cremini Mushrooms?
Cremini mushrooms can be easily substituted with a wide variety of other mushrooms, sauces, seasonings, or with different foods.
With such an abundance of alternatives, the real question is what’s the best substitute for cremini mushrooms for you? Do you want only the taste or taste and texture?
Let’s break it down.
If the texture is not an issue, use the following substitutes:
- Mushroom sauce—the lazy solution for those that are thinking ‘I don’t care about mushrooms; I just need a sauce!’
- Soy sauce—is a high-sodium choice if you just want to create a similar taste.
- Worcestershire sauce—similar to soy sauce, it can help create a similar taste, but you’ll need something else to copy the signature texture of cremini mushrooms.
- Black pepper—is a super simple alternative if you just want to bring out some flavors.
If your cremini substitute must be a mushroom, use one of these:
- The common mushroom—is a basic substitute that shouldn’t be hard to find.
- Oyster mushroom—are differently shaped so some slicing and dicing should be expected.
- Shiitake—can be softer and larger than cremini mushrooms.
- Portobello mushroom—a slightly more mature version of the cremini mushroom.
- Maitake—can be strong tasting so you may want to use less when substituting cremini mushrooms.
- Chanterelles—an expensive option, but one to consider, nonetheless.
- Morchella—great to use if you can get hold of it, though, please make sure you cook it thoroughly!
If you don’t mind substituting cremini mushrooms for another food, then consider:
- Tofu—is the most popular non-mushroom substitute.
- Olives—No. 1 option if you’re making pizza or pasta.
- Eggplant—a potential substitute for the texture of cremini mushrooms but will lack the unique flavor.
- Zucchini—like eggplant, zucchini can replicate the texture of a mushroom, but not taste.
And lastly, don’t forget cremini mushrooms have many brothers, sisters, and cousins around the world, all with different names depending on their color and maturity.
So, next time you can’t find cremini mushrooms at the store, do a quick online search for ‘cremini mushrooms’ and they might be in front of you with a different name.