I’ve personally tried and tested a range of different substitutes for truffle oil to find the best one.
Whatever your reason for avoiding truffle oil is and whatever dish you’re cooking.
Here’s the quick answer.
The best substitutes for truffle oil in terms of flavor are fresh truffles, truffle salt, truffle paste, or porcini mushroom oil. For more affordable alternatives, try extra virgin olive oil or garlic oil. If you want something unique, go with truffle cheese. In a real pinch, you can use Worcestershire sauce.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
I made a simple vinaigrette to try out ten truffle oil substitutes.
Truffle oil is a versatile ingredient made from a neutral oil infused with truffles or synthetic ingredients that replicate the truffles’ flavor. It adds a touch of sophistication to any meal, and has and incredibly earthy flavor.
I was looking for a substitute that would replicate the flavor, while also looks for things that are easier to find and more budget friendly.
Here’s what I tested and the verdicts:
|Fresh truffles||Grate or shave fresh truffles over your dish before serving.||10/10|
|Truffle salt||Start with a smaller amount and adjust to taste to avoid over-salting your dish.||10/10|
|Truffle paste||Replace with a 1:1 ratio, taste and adjust if needed.||9/10|
|Truffle cheese||Add grated or sliced truffle cheese just as your dish finished cooking||9/10|
|Porcini oil||Replace with a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
|Extra virgin olive oil||Replace with a 1:1 ratio||8/10|
|Garlic oil||Replace with a 1:1 ratio||8/10|
|Hemp oil||Replace with a 1:1 ratio||7/10|
|Hazelnut oil||Replace with a 1:1 ratio||7/10|
|Worcestershire sauce||Start with a few drops and adjust to taste||6/10|
Common dishes that use truffle oil and the best substitutes
Here are some common use cases for truffle oil and the best substitutes for those situations:
- Over pasta dishes and risotto: fresh truffles, truffle salt, truffle cheese
- In sauces and soups: truffle paste, porcini oil
- In vinaigrettes: truffle paste, porcini oil, garlic oil
- Over bread: truffle paste, truffle cheese, EVOO
- Over fries and popcorn: truffle salt, truffle cheese, porcini oil, garlic oil
Nothing beats the real thing when it comes to truffle – fresh truffles will elevate your dish even more than truffle oil would.
Just like with truffle oil, cooking these mushrooms are a big no-no, so all you need to do is grate them over your dish just before serving.
But the major downside for this substitute is availability and price point. Fresh truffles are insanely expensive and difficult to find – I had to order and have them shipped for this test!
Pro-tip: black truffles are best when you want a strong flavor, while white truffles are more delicate so better for lighter dishes.
How to substitute: grate or shave fresh truffles over your dish before serving.
Truffle salt is a close second when it comes to replicating truffle flavor.
Most truffle salt brands use real truffles (albeit in small amounts), so you know you’re getting that genuine earthy, umami kick. And it’s a lot more economical than whole truffles (although still not cheap).
But you can’t use too much or you’ll ruin your food by over salting it!
Pssst… you have to try seasoning your fries with this salt. It’s SO good.
How to substitute: start with a smaller amount and adjust to taste to avoid over-salting your dish.
Truffle paste is usually made with a blend of truffles, olive oil, and truffle juice.
Because it’s made using fresh truffles, it has a meaty, spongy texture that makes it a great substitute for serving with bread or meat. And you get that genuine truffle flavor.
Like the other truffle-based substitutes on this list, the substitute is sensitive to heat so for best results stir it in just as you finish cooking.
Pro tip: cheaper brands sometimes mix porcini mushrooms into the mix, which dilutes the truffle flavor a bit but it can be worth it to save some money.
How to substitute: replace truffle oil in your recipe with truffle paste in a 1:1 ratio, adjusting the amount based on the desired intensity of truffle flavor.
Although not an oil, truffle cheese is a unique way to infuse your dish with truffle flavor.
Most kinds of truffle cheese either have fresh truffle shavings or are infused with truffle oil, giving them a subtle but prominent musky kick.
According to the Spruce Eats, some popular truffle cheeses include sottocenere, Moliterno black truffle pecorino, truffle Tremor, and truffle gouda.
It’s a great substitute for truffle oil in pasta dishes and risotto because it’ll make them creamier and more indulgent (although you can’t use too much, or you dinner will be too rich).
Pro tip: you might have to visit a cheese shop to get your hands on this, although I’ve seen it stocked in regular shops around the holiday season.
How to substitute: add grated or sliced truffle cheese just as your dish finishes cooking.
Looking for a non-truffle alternative? Porcini oil is one of my favorites!
It has an earthy, nutty taste and delivers tons of umami goodness, making it an excellent last-minute addition to dishes, just like truffle oil.
You can find this oil in specialty grocery stores or order a bottle of online, but making it from scratch is super easy.
Epicurious has a simple recipe that involves cooking dried porcini mushrooms low and slow in olive oil to create homemade porcini oil.
Psst… you can also add chopped porcini mushrooms straight into your dish for a bolder umami twist.
How to substitute: replace truffle oil in your recipe with porcini oil in a 1:1 ratio.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
While not an exact flavor substitute (far from it), extra virgin olive oil is a reliable stand-in for truffle oil and something you might already have in your kitchen!
It boasts a rich, peppery flavor that will elevate your dishes without breaking the bank.
And it’s loaded with lots of vitamins, antioxidants, and fats that are great for a healthy diet.
Extra virgin olive oil isn’t as heat sensitive as truffle oil, but The Kitchn still recommends using it as a finishing oil instead of a cooking oil.
How to substitute: replace truffle oil in your recipe with extra virgin olive oil in a 1:1 ratio.
Garlic oil tastes nothing like truffle oil, but it still packs a flavorful punch that’s guaranteed to make your dishes tastier.
You can buy it in most grocery stores, but I’ve always made mine from scratch (can you tell I like cooking?!)
It’s really easy and saves you a couple of bucks too. Win-win!
Pro tip: always keep your homemade garlic oil in the fridge to prevent botulism!
How to substitute: replace truffle oil in your recipe with garlic oil in a 1:1 ratio.
Hemp oil is an excellent substitute if you’re looking for a gourmet oil without the flavor of truffles.
It’s made from cold-pressed hemp seeds which don’t have the umami goodness of truffle oil. But they have a rich, nutty flavor that’s particularly delicious in salad dressings.
Psst… hemp oil has a deep green color which may or may not affect your decision to use it.
How to substitute: replace truffle oil in your recipe with hemp oil in a 1:1 ratio.
Hazelnut oil is a gourmet oil made from pressing roasted hazelnuts.
It lacks that earthy note truffle oil has, but it still boasts a strong nutty flavor and aroma.
You can use this oil for cooking if you want a subtle flavor boost, but with its hefty price tag, I prefer using it as a finishing oil so its natural flavor can shine through.
A cool thing about this substitute is that you can use can use it in desserts, so if you buy some you know you’ll get a lot of use out of it!
How to substitute: replace truffle oil in your recipe with hazelnut oil in a 1:1 ratio.
Worcestershire sauce was recommened by some sources online so I decided to try it.
It’s definitely not a great substitute for truffle oil in terms of flavor, but it can save the day if it’s the only condiment you have on hand and you feel like your dish needs something.
It’s chock full of umami flavors and will add depth to your dish.
I highly recommend adding a small amount Worcestershire sauce at first and tasting as you go. Add too much and you can easily overpower your dish.
Keep in mind it’s got a dark color too, which may not be desirable if you’re worried about the final appearance of your dish.
How to substitute: Use Worcestershire sauce sparingly to add umami to your dish. Start with a few drops and adjust to taste.
Substitutes for Truffle oil [Tried and Tested]
- 1 tbsp fresh truffles
- tbsp truffle salt, taste and adjust as needed
- tbsp truffle paste, taste and adjust as needed
- tbsp truffle cheese
- tbsp porcini oil
- tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- tbsp garlic oil
- tbsp hemp oil
- tbsp hazelnut oil
- tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- Cook your meal according to the recipe.
- Add your chosen bacon grease substitute and substitute in a 1:1 ratio (unless stated differently above).
- Mix until thoroughly combined and continue with the recipe.