Black Truffles vs. White Truffles–What’s the Difference?


Truffles are synonymous with decadence and fine cuisine, but in the modern age, they’re much more accessible and available to the home cook or foodie. This mushroom-like fungus can be added to virtually any dish or snack as a way to elevate the flavor and presentation.

There are two main kinds of truffles that are widely used in the culinary industry: black and white truffles. While they’re very similar, there are several distinctive factors that separate the two.

So what is the difference between white and black truffles? There are actually a few. Keep reading for a breakdown of the differences between white and black truffles and how to choose between them in the kitchen.

What Are Black Truffles?

Black truffles are a type of edible fungus that grow in Mediterranean climates. There are several varieties of black truffles and the appearance can range from knobby or spikey to smooth. They have a musky, earthy flavor and can be cooked, infused, or eaten raw.

What Are White Truffles?

White truffles, like black truffles, are a type of fungi, but they’re a different species than black truffles. They’re smaller in size than black truffles with a knobby appearance and a more pronounced aroma. They’re typically eaten raw and shaved finely.

Key Differences Between Black and White Truffles 


One key difference between white and black truffles is the price point. Black truffles are typically more affordable than white truffles because they’re a little easier to source. Black truffles fetch an average price of around $3,000 per pound in the United States, while a pound of white truffles can cost upwards of $4,000.


White and black truffles also vary by season. Black truffles have a longer harvest season, available throughout the year in different forms (summer and winter black truffles). White truffles are generally only in season from September to December.


White truffles have a more complex, lighter, and more subtle flavor than black truffles. They have a more pungent flavor to them, often likened to raw garlic. Black truffles are more earthy and nutty, similar to a mushroom.

When to Use White or Black Truffles

Typically, the rule of thumb is to use white truffles in lighter dishes and incorporate black truffles in heavier, richer, heartier dishes.

White truffles are usually consumed raw, sliced thinly or shaved over salads, vegetable dishes, fish, and some pastas. It pairs well with Parmesan cheese, butter, and other creamy sauces, so it’s perfect for pastas with a white sauce or brothy dishes.

Black truffles are favored for dishes with red meat, heavier pasta dishes, hearty seafood dishes, or even chocolate-based desserts!

Ultimately, it might come down to a matter of preference–you can decide which truffle you’d rather use based on the situation and your personal taste. There are several dishes where black and white truffles can be used interchangeably depending on which type you like best (many pastas and seafood dishes will be complimented by either type), so use your judgement.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Black Truffles


Black truffles were once reserved for only the most exclusive dining establishments, but thanks to modern advancements, they’re a trendy ingredient available for even the most novice home cooks.

Despite their increased availability, the average person may still have lingering questions about this unique ingredient. This guide will act as a basic introduction to black truffles for the curious, adventurous eater, so keep reading to learn about black truffles, where they come from, and what they taste like!

What Are Black Truffles?

Black truffles are a type of edible fungus that comes from an underground tuber. They’re widely beloved in the culinary world for their ability to elevate the look, feel, and taste of any dish, from pasta to steak to hummus to french fries–practically anything can be enhanced by the complex, savory flavor of black truffles.

They can be gently cooked or eaten raw, as is traditional for truffles of almost any variety.

Where Do Black Truffles Come From?

Like other fungi, truffles grow under the soil mainly in southern Europe and other Mediterranean areas, though some types of black truffles have been successfully grown in similar climates around the world.

Black truffles can be harvested in late winter through the summer, depending on the variety. They range in size and shape, but the fruiting bodies are generally larger than white truffles.

What Does Black Truffle Taste Like?

Many people liken the taste of black truffle to that of a very high-quality mushroom. Black truffles are earthy, musky, mushroom-like, and have a savory richness. They can have a nutty quality and a more complicated flavor profile than a mushroom. 

This is why they’re often used to add a level of complexity to a savory dish or to bring balance to salty or tangy ingredients. Black truffles are often called for in pasta dishes and are a favorite for red meats like steaks or roasts. Because they’re often chopped finely or shaved over a dish, they’re more of an enhancement than a main ingredient in most dishes.

What Does Black Truffle Butter Taste Like?

Another favorite application for black truffles is black truffle butter or compound butter. The fat from the butter enhances and intensifies the black truffle taste, adding a silky, creamy component that coats the palate and disperses the flavor of the truffles across your taste buds.

This is similar to black truffle oil: the flavors of the black truffle infuses in the fat of the oil and acts as a carrier for the flavor, making it a great way to add flavor to any dish without needing to add whole black truffles. It’s also a great way to preserve black truffle flavor to use over time, as the butter or oil can be refrigerated or frozen.

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