Eight Best Cremini Mushroom Substitutes

Making a recipe that calls for cremini mushrooms, and you do not have any? Don’t stop cooking. Read on and use one of these eight best cremini mushroom substitutes.

Box filled with different varieties of mushrooms.

It can be confusing to know what variety of mushrooms to use. The same variety can go by a different name or as an ingredient, “morel.” Some mushrooms can taste “earthy,” while others have a mild taste, making it hard to know which is the best variety to substitute.

Have no fear; this list is designed to make your life easier. I go over what a cremini mushroom is, how to clean it (you might be doing it all wrong), and what the best substitutes are.

What are Cremini Mushrooms?

Creminis are more commonly known as baby bellas. White button mushrooms, creminis (baby bellas), and portabellas are all the same fungus.

The difference between the three is maturity. White buttons are picked early and have a lighter flavor. Creminis have more time to age and have a richer flavor. Finally, portabellas have had even longer to age.

How to Clean Mushrooms

Not long ago, I learned I had been cleaning mushrooms wrong my entire life. Like all vegetables, I rinsed them with water, did a quick pat dry, and cooked them. It turns out the water absorbs into the shroom, changing the texture. Here is how you clean them

  • Store-Bought Varieties– Most store-bought are cultivated and can be wiped clean with a paper towel.
  • Wild Varieties- All wild mushrooms need to be washed and dried out. This process should take about an hour.

Best Substitutes

A great substitute imitates the flavor and texture. I have included eggplant as the eighth substitute, which allows for personal preference and allergies.

1. White Button

Otherwise known as a button, table, or cultivated mushroom, this variety is the perfect substitute. White buttons are accessible all year round in most supermarkets, making it a great alternative if cremini isn’t available in your region. White buttons have a milder taste because they are younger and at different stages of development. For this reason, the two share many of the same qualities and flavor profiles.

When balanced with the right ingredients, spices, and seasonings, white button mushrooms can taste just as rich as creminis. Without seasonings, they tend to have a more delicate flavor.

These are ideal substitutes when it comes to lighter flavors. I recommend a 1:1 replacement in a recipe. 

2. Portobello

Portobello mushrooms are also called giant creminis. Like white buttons are at an early growth stage, portabellas are at a later growth stage. As a result, you will get a stronger taste and a darker color. Portobello is also high in riboflavin and protein, making them more nutritious and earthy umami flavors.

To use a portobello as a cremini substitute, cut it into smaller bite-sized pieces. While they have a meaty flavor and texture, you must cook them properly before adding them to your dish. When placed in a sauce or container too early, the shroom will absorb the moisture, and you will get a mushy meal. 

3. Oyster

Oyster mushrooms are distinctive with a mildly sweet flavor and an excellent substitute for savory dishes like soups and curries. First cultivated in Germany, this variety is accessible in pink, tan, brown, yellow, and white colors.

Generally, the brown varieties taste identical to creminis. Use oysters as a 1:1 substitute. Note: they take a little longer to cook, so add them in earlier.

A cluster of oyster mushrooms.
Oyster Mushrooms

4. Shitake

Shiitake mushrooms are Chinese black morels, brown oak, black forest, or oriental black. In terms of shape and size, shitakes are similar to creminis. However, they have a soft, woody, and spongy texture.

Shitakes are packed with fibers, are nutritious, and have higher minerals and vitamins than creminis. Shitakes can make curries, stir-fries, pasta, marinara sauce, and risotto.

They are available in almost all grocery stores, but you might have to look harder. If you cannot find them at your local store, head to the nearest Asian market. Another option is dried shitakes on Amazon.

Shitake mushrooms.

5. Chanterelle mushrooms

Chanterelle mushrooms have a similar meaty texture as crimini mushrooms. I like the peppery and fruity flavor chanterelle mushrooms can add to a recipe.

6. Porcini Mushrooms

Porcini mushrooms have a stronger, meatier flavor and a dense texture than crimini mushrooms. If you are substituting crimini mushrooms with porcini mushrooms, I recommend considering their stronger flavor and texture. For example, if you’re using Porcini mushrooms in a pasta sauce that calls for Crimini mushrooms, you may want to use less or combine them with a milder mushroom, like button mushrooms, to balance the flavor.

7. Morel Mushrooms

Morel mushrooms can be a good substitute for Crimini mushrooms when adding flavor depth. If you have never seen or tasted a morel mushroom, they have a distinctive honeycomb texture and an earthy, nutty flavor

Morel mushrooms can be substituted for crimini mushrooms and work especially well in creamy French sauces. You’ll need to consider their stronger flavor and texture when substituting a morel mushroom for crimini mushrooms. For example, if you’re using morel mushrooms in a soup that calls for Crimini mushrooms, you may want to use fewer morels or combine them with a milder mushroom, like button mushrooms, to balance out the flavor.

8. Eggplant 

If you prefer a vegetable option, eggplant comes close to matching the texture and taste. Eggplant might look different; however, depending on your recipe, it might be the perfect substitution!

Substitution Comparison Chart

Crimini Mushroom SubstituteDescriptionBest Uses
Button mushroomsSimilar in appearance and taste to Crimini mushrooms, but slightly less flavorfulSauteing, roasting, and in soups
Portobello mushroomsLarger and meatier than Crimini mushrooms, with a slightly earthy and nutty flavor.Grilling, roasting, and as a vegetarian burger patty
Shitake mushroomsMeaty and slightly chewy texture with a rich, umami flavorStir-fries, soups, and Asian cuisine
Oyster mushroomsDelicate and tender texture with a mild, slightly sweet flavorStir fries, soups, and as a meat substitute in vegetarian dishes
Chanterelle mushroomsFragile texture, with a fruity and slightly peppery flavorSauteing in creamy pasta sauces and in risottos
Porcini mushroomsRich, meaty flavor with a dense, chewy textureIn Italian cuisine, soups and stews
Morel mushroomsDistinctive honeycomb texture and earthy, nutty flavorIn creamy sauces, in French cuisine, and as a substitute for Crimini mushrooms in most dishes
EggplantSimilar in texture and taste. Very easy to find.Stews, sauces, and curries

It’s important to note that while these substitutes can provide a similar texture and flavor profile to Crimini mushrooms, they may not be an exact replacement in all recipes. It’s always a good idea to experiment with different varieties to find the best substitute for your dish.

Before you go, check out my other substitution guides

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