If you’d want your dishes to have hints of flavors like woody, earthy, fruity, and garlicky, truffle oil will not disappoint. While it might not be your first or second choice as far as cooking oils are concerned, there’s no going back once you start using it.
However, you can make do without truffle oil by opting for its substitutes like extra virgin olive oil, truffles, grapeseed oil, etc. These substitutes will help you replicate the taste and aroma of truffle oil without shelling out too much money.
Along with those, we shall be discussing the 12 best truffle oil substitutes in the following article.
Best Truffle Oil Substitutes
Truffle oil can be challenging to substitute since it is necessary to ace the aroma, taste, as well as consistency. But the following alternatives are the closest you can get to replicating the exact taste.
1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Be it, home cooks or professional chefs- they believe that extra virgin olive oil is the best substitute for truffle oil. It produces the same consistency, flavor, and aroma as truffle oil, making it suitable for all kinds of dishes and recipes.
Extra virgin olive oil has a fruity and peppery taste, due to which you can add it to mashed potatoes or salads, or sauces. You can also use it to garnish your bread.
There are similarities in terms of color as well. Extra virgin olive oil has a grassy green to yellow gold color. This might match the cloudy green color of truffle oil.
If you do not have extra virgin olive oil, you can take your regular virgin olive oil and make it with some shallots and rosemary. This will give you a truffle oil-like taste.
You can either use it for deep frying, sautéing, or oven baking. If not, you can simply drizzle some over your cooked vegetables, sauces, or marinated meat.
One more added advantage is that this oil is readily available at a significantly low cost. In this way, you wouldn’t have to spend more money to enjoy the delicacies.
If you want to elevate your dish to gourmet status, we highly recommend trying truffles.
Yes, we understand that truffles are difficult to find, just like truffle oil, not to forget their skyrocketing prices. Nonetheless, you can add a pungent aroma along with a slight hint of garlicky taste. This allows you to add truffles to several savory dishes.
However, truffles will not get you any oily consistency.
Originally, truffle oil was made with olive oil infused with white or black truffles. But the same does not stand true in the present times. Today, truffle oil does not even contain real truffles. Instead, it is made with synthetic ingredients like 2,4-dithiapentane that adds a truffle-like aroma to the oil. Moreover, it is diluted to control the taste.
So, you must be extra wary of the quantity while using truffles in place of truffle oil. A little pinch of it would be more than enough to add to your sauces and soups.
3. Grapeseed Oil
Out of all the cooking oils, grapeseed oil is the latest addition. It started being used in Europe in the 1930s itself, slowing and gradually spreading across the globe.
Grapeseed oil is obtained from leftover seeds of grapes, making them byproducts of the winemaking process.
Grapeseed oil is similar to truffle oil in terms of taste and aroma. It has a fruity and nutty taste with a yellowish-green color. Even the aroma has undertones of sweetness, making it a reliable substitute for truffle oil.
You can use them in preparing baked goods. In addition to that, its high smoke point allows you to use this oil for grilling, searing and sautéing food items like steak.
4. Mushroom Oil
Mushroom oil is easily available online or at any supermarket. It is nothing but mushrooms mixed with herbs and spices.
Since we are substituting truffle oil, it is best to use Porcini mushroom oil. It will help you get a similar texture and flavor. Being from the same fungi kingdom will help you replicate the taste.
If you aren’t able to find mushroom oil, you can make it at home. The procedure is quite simple.
You need to peel some garlic and pass it through a press. Take some herbs like rosemary, sage, sprig, and lemon thyme and rinse them, along with the chilies.
Add the chilies, herbs, garlic, and mushroom to a bottle and add olive oil. Seal it properly and let it infuse for a week.
You can use this oil as a salad dressing. Avoid using it for frying or searing since it has a low burning point.
5. Truffle Salt
If you are able to get truffle salt, you wouldn’t actually need truffle oil.
Truffle salt contains tiny pieces of truffles without any artificial ingredients.
You’ll experience a saltier taste, given the fact that it is salt, after all. In addition to that, truffle salts have strong garlic and earthy flavor, something that will elevate your dish in no time.
You can mix it with olive oil and add it to your bread as a dressing. Or, you can add it to your veggies, risotto, fries, popcorn, or even pesto sauce.
The versatility of truffle salt will certainly be reflected in your dish. Since it has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties, you can improve your health while devouring your dishes.
6. Worcestershire Sauce
In case you do not want the overbearing taste of truffle oil, you can try Worcestershire sauce.
This sauce is made with vinegar, onion, garlic, molasses, anchovies, and other herbs and seasonings. This fermented condiment has a sweet taste along with some tanginess derived from vinegar.
You’ll find different types of Worcestershire sauce. For example, its gluten-free version is widely available in the United States. It is made with distilled white vinegar. The vegetarian or vegan one is free from anchovies. Lastly, you are lucky if you are able to get your hands on a low-sodium sauce.
Due to its umami flavor, you can add it to your cooking as well as work around it as a condiment. You can replace truffle oil with it while cooking meat or fish. Moreover, it also comes off as useful in stir-frying vegetables and preparing seasonings or sauces for salads and sandwiches.
7. Fish Sauce
If you are comfortable with replacing oils with sauces, we also recommend trying fish sauce.
But wait, what is fish sauce? Is it exactly how it sounds?
Well, yes. Fish sauce is a condiment that is made by covering fish or krills with salt. This is left to be fermented for two years.
While this sauce is a staple in Asian cuisine, especially in the Philippines, Myanmar, China, Thailand, and Taiwan, Western countries have also adopted it.
The process of fermentation is responsible for the flavor. It has a salty, sweet, and briny flavor along with a pungent smell.
A little bit of the fice sauce will go a long way in enhancing your salad dressings, marinades, fries, pasta, etc.
8. Avocado Oil
As evident from the name, avocado oil is obtained from the avocado fruit. In terms of nutritional value and utility, avocado oil shares several similarities with olive oil.
This oil is unrefined, therefore retaining the original color and flavor of the fruit.
In comparison with truffle oil, avocado oil has a milder taste. It falls in the range of grassy and nutty. This might remind you of the aroma of truffle oil, but maybe not the exact taste.
You can use avocado oil as a salad dressing or stir-frying your veggies. You can also add it to smoothies, something that truffle oil might not allow you to.
9. Hemp Oil
Hemp oil is one of the most nutritious oil available on the market. It is filled with nutrients like vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber. In other words, not only does this oil help improve the taste, but it also increases the nutritional quotient of the dish.
Hemp oil is obtained from raw hemp seeds. Since it is cold-pressed and unrefined, you need not worry about adulteration.
As it has a low burning point, it is best to use hemp oil as a salad dressing or add it to a pasta sauce or mayonnaise. Along with that, you can also add it to smoothies or top off your vegetables with it.
It has a walnuty taste. However, due to its strong aroma, it is best to limit this oil to savory dishes and not add it to anything sweet.
10. Canola Oil
If you do not want to mess with your dish by replacing truffle oil with any other strong ingredient, we suggest going with canola oil.
Canola oil is extracted from the canola plant seeds. Since it has a neutral taste, you can add it as a replacement to the truffle oil without worrying about altering the taste. But if you require the same taste as truffle oil, pop in some extra garlic.
It works well with heat, making it reliable for deep-frying or even sautéing.
11. Hazelnut Oil
Hazelnut oil is extracted from hazelnut through the pressing technique. Similar to canola oil. Hazelnut oil has a mild taste and aroma, which will not alter your dish if you dribble a bit too much.
It has the flavor of hazelnut along with nutty and tangy undertones. As it has a high smoke point, you can use this oil for frying, roasting, grilling, sautéing, etc.
12. Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is another staple condiment found in Asian cuisine. It is made with soybeans, salt, wheat, and a fermenting agent.
Had it not been for the umami taste, soy sauce wouldn’t substitute for truffle oil due to its dark color. However, it has a sweet, salty, and savory taste, due to which you can add it as a truffle oil replacement.
It works well in gravies, pasta sauces, and dips. Moreover, you can use it as a salt substitute to make your meal healthier and more nutritious.
Which Herbs to Add Instead of Truffle Oil?
If the aforementioned options are not giving you the desired taste of truffle oil, you can try adding herbs and spices like rosemary, parsley, sage, garlic, shallots, cilantro, etc.
These herbs bring an aromatic flavor to the table, something that will instantly improve the standards of your dish. It will remind you of the nutty and umami flavor of truffle oil without any changes in the aroma or taste.
Moreover, this is also a safe way to add flavor to your recipe without messing it beyond your control.
What Are Truffles? What are the different types of Truffle Oil?
Truffles are edible spores that are a part of the Tuberaceae family. Since they are extremely hard to find and source, they are costly.
Before you go ahead and choose your favorite truffle oil substitute, it is necessary to understand the two main types of truffle oil.
1. White Truffle Oil
As the name suggests, white truffle oil is obtained from white truffles. Its fragrance is obtained from biomethane. Its flavor ranges from spicy to a little bit garlicky. This type of oil has an onion and garlic scent.
It is best to use this type of oil for salad dressings or add it to pasta, dips, sauce, and bread.
2. Black Truffle Oil
Black truffle oil is infused with dimethyl sulfide, bringing a strong earthy, buttery, and umami taste and aroma. This type of truffle oil is used for cooking.
You can use them to prepare pasta, soup, sauces, etc. In addition to that, you can also use it as a topping on pizza, meat dishes, etc.
Overall, the main difference between white and black truffle oil is the aroma and scent.
White truffle oil has a delicate fragrance, with hints of onion. On the other hand, the fragrance of black truffle oil is much stronger and overpowering.
Consider the differences and make wise decisions while choosing the substitutes.
Homemade Truffle Oil Recipe
Suppose you are making a recipe with truffle oil as an integral ingredient. You look into your pantry, but you are out of it but have some truffles lying around.
You have two choices. First, you can add the truffles for the taste. Or, you can prepare truffle oil at home, especially if your recipe requires a certain amount of consistency.
- Start by placing a pot over low heat.
- Add olive oil and cook it till it reaches 130°F.
- Once it does, remove the pot and add some shaved truffles.
- Mix it and cover the pot with a lid.
- After it is cool, strain the oil in an airtight jar.
Author’s Note: Truffle oil obtained through this process will last for up to 3 months in an airtight container.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a truffle a mushroom?
Even though truffles and mushrooms belong to the same fungi kingdom, truffles cannot be classified as mushrooms.
Mushrooms grow above the ground, while truffles remain underground. Moreover, mushrooms are grown around the year, while truffles are only cultivated in limited seasons.
Why is truffle oil so expensive?
Truffles are only cultivated in a limited time frame. Moreover, they take years to grow, followed by concise shelf life. Hence, truffle oil automatically becomes expensive due to such scarcity.
Why do chefs not like truffle oil?
Chefs do not dislike truffle oil, but they avoid using it as they know the amount of duplicate truffle oil available in the market. Unless they find an authentic truffle oil made with truffles, they use other types of oils.
Whether you want to spice up your salad or some spunk to your meat dishes, truffle oil or its substitutes will not disappoint.
If you want the exact flavor, we suggest using extra virgin olive oil, and if at all possible, you can add some shredded truffles to make it taste exactly the same.
Gina P. Shudnow is the brain behind all our scientific research. She is a Registered Dietitian who has been in the field for over ten years. Her nutrition tips have helped several people overcome health issues in the past. She strives to make everybody healthier without compromising on their food diet.