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What Are Cremini Mushrooms? How to Pick, Prep, and Cook Them

Cremini mushrooms are one of the most popular types of mushrooms. They have a delicate flavor and can be eaten raw or cooked. They’re perfect for vegetarians and vegans, and they add a ton of flavor to any dish. Keep scrolling to find everything you need to know about choosing, preparing, and cooking cremini mushrooms.
What Are Cremini Mushrooms? How to Pick, Prep, and Cook Them
What Are Cremini Mushrooms? How to Pick, Prep, and Cook Them
Anna at SideChef
Hi, I'm Anna! I love bringing amazing tasty recipes for you from the SideChef HQ in Shanghai.
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Anna at SideChef
Hi, I'm Anna! I love bringing amazing tasty recipes for you from the SideChef HQ in Shanghai.

Creminis (sometimes also spelled crimini mushrooms are very popular. They're delicious, versatile, and relatively easy to find. They are an excellent choice for anyone who loves mushrooms. These little guys have a delicate flavor and can be eaten raw or cooked.

But what exactly are cremini mushrooms? How are they different from the more popular white mushrooms and portabellos? How do you choose them in a grocery store? What is the best way to clean and prep them, and what are the best recipes for creminis?

You will find out all of this from our article.

What Are Cremini Mushrooms and What Do They Taste Like?

Cremini mushrooms are a part of the Agaricus Bisporus
family, which also includes white button mushrooms and portabella. They are medium-sized mushrooms with a brownish-gray cap and a white stalk. Creminis have a more robust flavor than the white mushrooms, but they are not as intense as portabellos.

These mushrooms can be eaten raw or cooked. When raw, they have a slightly nutty taste. When cooked, their flavor becomes more intense and earthy.

Are Cremini Mushrooms Same as Portobello?

Cremini mushrooms are similar to white button mushrooms and portabellos, but they look and taste slightly different. The main difference is in their maturity.

Button mushrooms are harvested the youngest - they are small to medium size, have a white cap, and a white stalk. Creminis are harvested next - they look like button mushrooms but have a darker brown cap. Portabellos are fully mature - they are large with a dark brown cap and a thick white stalk.

How to Choose Cremini Mushrooms in a Store?

You can easily find cremini mushrooms in most grocery stores, but they might go under a different name. As they are a younger version of the big portabello mushrooms, they are often sold as “baby bella” or “baby portabella.”

When choosing creminis, look for mushrooms that have a smooth surface, uniform shape, and have a fresh earthy smell. Avoid mushrooms that are bruised, have wrinkles on the surface or are drying out.

How to Clean and Prep Cremini Mushrooms?

Cleaning mushrooms can be tricky as they are very absorbent. You don't want to use too much water, but you still need to be thorough and remove all the dirt off their surface.
The best way to clean mushrooms is to brush them with a soft mushroom brush or a damp paper towel. If they are very dirty, you can also rinse them quickly under cold water and dry them with a paper towel.
Once they are clean, trim off the bottom of the stem as it is usually tough and fibrous. Then place the mushroom cap up or cap down and slice them into wedges as thin or thick as you want.

If you work with larger creminis, you can cut across the mushroom cap and then chop those into smaller pieces.
Remember that any type of mushroom will shrink a lot while cooking. So don't cut them too thin unless the recipe calls for it.

How to Cook Cremini Mushrooms?

Cremini mushrooms are very versatile and can be used in various dishes. They can be eaten raw, sautéed, grilled, baked, roasted, or used in soups and sauces, as they hold up well in liquid.

Cremini mushrooms are very popular in vegan and vegetarian dishes. They can be used as a meat substitute as they have a hearty and chewy texture and richly savory flavor.

They are also a great ingredient for cooking low-calorie yet satisfying meals. They contain good carbs, a decent amount of protein, and zero fat. Creminis also contain iron, calcium, and some Vitamins we could all use in our diets.

What Is a Good Substitute For Cremini Mushrooms?

Creminis are incredibly delicious. They are flavorful, nutty, and rich in umami. In case you ran out or couldn't find baby ballas in your local grocery store, you can easily substitute creminis with any of these alternative ingredients:

  • Portobello Mushrooms

  • Shiitake Mushrooms

  • King Oyster Mushrooms

  • Morel Mushrooms

  • White Button Mushrooms

All of the above mushroom varieties are good substitutes, and while the recipe flavor might change slightly, it will be delicious nonetheless.

You can even go further and try substituting creminis with a non-mushroom ingredient. Try these:

  • Eggplant

  • Zucchini

  • Chickpeas (especially in fried or sauteed dishes)

  • Tofu or Tempeh

Cremini Mushroom Recipe Ideas

There is no shortage of recipes to make with cremini mushrooms. Here are some of our favorites:

Easy Risotto With Cremini Mushrooms


Low-Maintenance Risotto with Crimini Mushrooms


Who says making risotto is a lot of work? With our Low-Maintenance Risotto with Crimini Mushrooms recipe, you can have a delicious and impressive dish on the table with minimal effort. Made with arborio rice, crimini mushrooms, and Parmesan cheese, this risotto will please everyone at the table. And the best part? It's easier to make than you might think!

Mushroom Gouda Puffs


Mushroom Gouda Puffs

Jeanie and Lulu's Kitchen

These delicious little bites are perfect for any gathering - large or small. They're savory and flavorful, with just the right amount of cheesy goodness. We start with tasty cremini mushrooms and add in some smoked gouda cheese. Then we add a touch of tarragon and basil for an extra zing. The dough is light and fluffy, and each puff is crispy and golden brown.

Vegan Stuffed Mushroom Caps


Vegan Stuffed Mushroom Caps

The Pure Life

These incredible vegan stuffed mushroom caps are the perfect way to get your daily dose of flavor and goodness. They are packed with nutrients and flavors, and they are absolutely oozing with goodness.

Plus, they make a great appetizer or even a side dish. So whether you're looking for something healthy and delicious to snack on, or you want to impress your guests with a unique and flavorful dish, these vegan stuffed mushroom caps are a perfect choice.

Creamy Mushroom Chicken Pasta


Creamy Mushroom Chicken Pasta

Jeanie and Lulu's Kitchen

Were you looking for the perfect comfort food? Look no further than this creamy mushroom chicken pasta recipe. Made with an easy béchamel sauce, this dish is packed with flavor thanks to the mushrooms, chicken, and parmesan cheese. It's the perfect meal to enjoy on a chilly evening - or any night when you're in the mood for something cozy and satisfying. So go ahead and indulge - your taste buds will thank you!

Mushroom Soup


Mushroom Soup


This recipe uses nothing but mushrooms to create a rich, creamy soup that will please even the most hardcore mushroom lovers. Serve it with a crusty baguette for dipping, and you've got a meal that's fit for a king or queen.

Brandy Mushroom Sauce


Brandy Mushroom Sauce

Sam Marvin

There's nothing like a good mushroom sauce to take your meal to the next level. And this Brandy Mushroom Sauce Recipe is one of the best we've ever tried. Flavored with a bit of brandy, it's perfect for beef, chicken, or pork. Plus, it's incredibly easy to make. So go ahead and give it a try.

Sage and Lamb Stuffed Mushrooms


Sage and Lamb Stuffed Mushrooms


Mushrooms are often thought of as a plain, boring vegetables. But with the right recipe, they can be transformed into a flavorful and exciting dish! Our Sage and Lamb Stuffed Mushrooms recipe is the perfect example.

The combination of sage and lamb is a power coupling that packs a punch of flavor. And they're so easy to make, you'll want to keep them all for yourself!

Simply stuff the mushrooms with the sage and lamb mixture, bake, and enjoy! Your guests will be amazed at how good they are - and you'll be proud of yourself for making such an impressive dish.

Mushroom Lasagna


Mushroom Lasagna

Compelled to Cook

Satisfy your cravings with this Mushroom Lasagna Recipe! This dish is cheesy and delicious, with a meaty bite from the mushrooms and a luscious sauce sprinkled with fresh sage—a great vegetarian option for your meatless meals. With layers of pasta, mushrooms, and cheese, this dish is sure to please everyone at the table.

Find even more amazing ways to cook Mushrooms!

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