While the idea of eating a salad or meal drizzled with aromatic oil infused with luxurious truffles may sound tempting, keep in mind that most of the commercially available truffle oil is not made of real truffles.
But if you are lucky enough and are willing to spend more, you can buy authentic truffle oil made of either black or white truffles.
Overall, both white and black truffle oils are excellent for making dressings and for adding the unique gourmet aroma of truffles to your meal or salad.
These special oils are meant to be used as drizzling oils rather than for cooking or sautéing. As a whole, the aroma of black truffles is more intense than the more delicate white one.
So, what is the difference between the two, and how do white and black truffle oil compare when it comes to taste, quality, and best pairings in the kitchen?
Read on through our detailed white vs. black truffle oil review.
What Is Truffle Oil?
Truffle oil is a premium quality, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil infused with the flavor of truffles, either white or black.
When real truffle oil is made, truffles or truffle pieces are soaked in the olive oil, letting their unmistakable flavor and aroma permeate it.
Today, truffle oil is more often made with artificial flavorings because real truffles are costly and hard to find.
What Are Truffles?
Real truffles, white or black, are the fruiting bodies of tuber mushrooms. They live near and on the roots of oak or other trees under rocky soils.
The edible truffles are very hard to cultivate, harvest, and find. Usually, dogs, pigs, or other animals are trained to find these expensive culinary “jewels.”
They also feature a unique aroma and an unmistakable taste highly prized by top chefs in French or other leading world cuisines.
Some of these “diamonds of the kitchen” are sold at incredible prices, close to and even surpassing those of real jewels.
Another reason for their high prices and rarity is that the shelf life of truffles is concise once they are harvested from the ground. Plus, they are widely considered aphrodisiacs around the world too.
Truffles come in a wide variety. The most popular types are black and white truffles.
They are mainly found in some regions of France and Italy.
Some of the other types include whitish, geopora, black summer truffle, and more.
Their unique taste and aroma can be preserved for longer when the real truffles are infused in high-quality oil such as extra virgin olive oil.
Unfortunately, most of the commercially available truffle oils in the stores near you are most likely made with artificial chemical fragrances instead of the real deal.
What Can Truffle Oil Be Used For?
The main idea behind truffle oil is to give your dish a finishing flavor and touch of truffles.
It is finishing, not cooking oil, which chefs use to drizzle over the risotto, seared fish, soups, and other dishes. It can also be used for the making of an aromatic dressing with a luxurious earthy finish.
Home cooks and chefs use truffle oil daily to add some of that fancy truffle aroma to regular dishes such as omelets, cooked foods, and even drizzle it on pasta, pizza, and mashed potatoes and fries.
Check its price and the label to tell whether you are using natural truffle oil or a synthetically flavored one.
Whichever type you use, keep in mind that you will lose much of its distinctive aroma and taste by cooking it.
What Is White Truffle Oil?
White truffle oil is either made of infused real white truffles or has flavoring, which adds the smell and taste of white truffle to the dish.
The main compound which gives out the smell and flavor of white truffles is bis (methylthio) methane.
Whether you are using natural or synthetic white truffle oil, it will give the good a spicier and sulfurous taste and fragrance.
It is mushroom-like and meaty but resembles that of onions or garlic.
What Can You Use White Truffle Oil For?
As with other truffle oil, you should use white truffle oil as finishing oil. This means using it for finishing the meal with a drizzle rather than cooking ingredients with it.
White truffle oil will provide the food with a subtler and more delicate smell and flavor than black truffle oil.
This type of oil is more suitable for risotto, pasta, or other dishes if you want a lighter, creamier, and fresher taste.
What Is Black Truffle Oil?
This oil is either infused with natural black truffles or is flavored with compounds that provide it with these truffles’ robust and earthy smell and taste.
Its main component, which gives the aroma and taste, is dimethyl sulfide. This provides the oil with a similar flavor as cauliflower or cabbage but with a chocolaty finish.
What Can You Use Black Truffle Oil For?
Real black truffle oil is much more expensive than white truffle oils. It has a much stronger taste and a longer-lasting flavor.
Once again, you should use this type of oil only as finishing oil.
Black truffles have a robust flavor that suits more hearty meals and ingredients such as roasts, other meat dishes, and pizzas.
White vs. Black Truffle Oil – Which One Is Better?
Which of the two types of truffle-based oil is better depends on what you plan to use them for and your personal taste and preferences.
While black truffles are more expensive than white ones, this does not necessarily mean that everyone considers the former better than the latter.
Can White and Black Truffle Oils Be Used Interchangeably?
Unless you are cooking for someone with an extremely advanced or sensitive palate or using authentic and strong truffle oil, the two types of oils can usually be used interchangeably.
While the black truffle type has a more robust and earthier aroma and flavor, you can easily use less to finish a meal that calls for white truffle oil.
For recipes that require white truffle oil, you can use slightly less black truffle oil instead.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions we have received regarding truffle oil.
How Long Will Truffle Oil Last?
Check the best-by date on the bottle of your truffle oil to get an idea of how long you can store it and use it.
If it remains unopened, most truffle oil can safely sit and stay fresh for up to 1 year.
Once you open it, though, the aroma and flavor will start to deteriorate pretty quickly.
Follow the instructions printed on the label of the oil for the best advice on storing it. But never store in the refrigerator, as it will become cloudy and change flavor from the cooler temperatures.
Keep it in a cool and dry pantry or cupboard, away from direct sunlight and heat, to preserve its qualities, flavor, and smell for as long as possible.
Is Truffle Oil Vegan?
Since truffle oil is made of plant-based ingredients, including truffles and olive oil, or in many cases with vegan-friendly chemical artificial flavorings, you can consider truffle oil as vegan-friendly.
Even though real truffles are usually hunted by animals such as trained female pigs and dogs, this process doesn’t harm them.
Still, for some highly conscientious vegans, the use of animals for work may be considered unethical.
Is Truffle Oil Healthy?
Olive oil is a crucial element in the Mediterranean diet and contains vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are known to benefit our health and fitness.
Truffles are high-end natural ingredients. Since natural truffle oil is made of top-quality, cold-pressed extra virgin oil, it can be considered very healthy.
Lower quality truffle oil, which is infused with artificial flavors, may not be as healthy.
As a whole, natural truffle oil is as healthy as premium extra virgin olive oil is, so use it in moderation.
Related: How Long Does Olive Oil Last?
What Is a Good Substitute for Truffle Oil?
If your recipe calls for the use of truffle oil, but you don’t have any, you can easily replace it with a good quality cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil.
But keep in mind that while it will add to the texture of the food, it will not add that flavor and aroma of truffles.
If you are looking for that truffle taste and smell, you can use fresh truffles or a sauce infused with real truffles instead.