What are the most expensive mushrooms in the world?
The most expensive mushrooms are found growing in various places around the world, renowned for their difficulty in harvesting, their unique healing properties, and their luxurious taste.
This article covers the most expensive mushrooms you can buy, from the meaty Shiitake mushrooms of Japan to the delicious black and white truffles used in the most extravagant dishes served in world-class restaurants.
The Most Expensive Mushrooms in the World
We’ve explored the growing conditions and locations, as well as the dishes and healing properties associated with these highly prized and valued fungi, to bring you this definitive article.
Here’s our list of the 10 most expensive mushrooms in the world:
10. Shiitake Mushrooms – $12 – $24 Per Pound
Shiitake mushrooms are edible fungi found growing in East Asia and are a popular ingredient in a wide variety of delicious dishes in Asian cooking and around the world.
These delicate mushrooms are deep brown or tan, and have a rich and meaty flavor when eaten, making them ideal as a meat alternative for vegetarians.
Costing between $12 and $24 per pound, they’re comparable in price to some of the most expensive fruits in the world, such as the Sekai Ichi apple.
You can pick up a pack of shiitake mushrooms in most supermarkets or grocery stores, and they’re also available in bulk in their dried form.
Cultivation of shiitake mushrooms is simple, and they’re either grown outdoors on logs or indoors under controlled conditions, making them less expensive mushrooms compared to some of their rivals.
Available in different varieties, the shiitake mushroom is also believed to have medicinal properties, with antimicrobial, anticarcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties which makes them more sought after.
9. Lion’s Mane – $8 – $36 Per Pound
The Lion’s Mane mushroom is one of the more interesting-looking mushrooms you can buy, featuring long, white spines which dangle around its body looking like a mop or bunch of hair.
Originally harvested from the wild, the Lion’s Mane mushroom is now also cultivated in controlled environments, selling for up to $36 per pound.
Its flavor resembles seafood, particularly lobster and crab meat, and is served in a wide range of dishes including sandwiches and crab cakes.
This unusual fungus grows in a broad range of geographical locations, from North America to Europe and Asia, and can be found growing on dead logs.
Younger Lion’s Mane mushrooms take on a white appearance, but as it ages the color takes on a tan or yellow hue.
Lion’s Mane mushrooms are also known to help improve brain function, with studies showing they’re beneficial for enhancing memory and improving cognitive function when eaten.
This interesting edible mushroom is also said to be an effective antioxidant, with studies being conducted to assess its possible use for the regeneration of nerve tissue.
8. Porcini Mushrooms – $55 – $70 Per Pound
With their easily identifiable brown caps and smooth, white bodies, Porcini mushrooms resemble the mushrooms you see in some of Disney’s earlier movies.
They are found growing through late spring to summer from May to July and prefer deciduous trees such as oak trees and sweet chestnuts, where they grow in the shade.
There are also autumn varieties of Porcini mushrooms which are harvested later in the year and prefer the shade of pine trees and spruce trees.
Costing as much as $70 per pound, Porcini mushrooms are in the same price range as some of the most expensive cheeses you can buy, such as the Caciocavallo Podolico.
Also known as the Boletus Edulis, or “King Bolete”, which translates from Italian to “piglet” and indicates their primary country of origin.
Admired for their nutty flavor which has a versatile application in a wide range of dishes, Porcini mushrooms are known to be difficult to cultivate, harvested from the wild in season then dried out to be sold at markets and stores around the world.
7. Enoki Mushrooms – $108.00 Per Pound
Enoki mushrooms – sometimes referred to as “velvet shank” – are unusual in their appearance, resembling glossy bean sprouts with long thin stems and small white caps at the top.
Usually found in large bouquets, and growing up to 5 inches (12 centimeters) in length, Enoki mushrooms are also known as Enokitake, Golden Needle, and Velvet Foot.
Noted for their delicious velvet texture and mild flavor, they are commonly used in stir-fry dishes but are versatile enough to be included in a variety of other dishes.
They’re also a medicinal mushroom, and as well as having a high nutritional content, they also contain high percentages of thiamin, potassium, pantothenic acid, and phosphorus.
With a high content of niacin and folate, Enoki mushrooms are also thought to be a useful contributor to improving heart conditions.
As the name suggests, Enoki mushrooms are typically found in Southeast Asia, most commonly in Japan, Korea, and China, where they are prized for bringing an umami flavor to dishes and soups.
6. Chanterelles – $225 Per Pound
Chanterelles mushrooms are among the most beautiful-looking mushrooms you can buy, sporting a bright, golden-yellow color from stem to cap.
At $225 per pound, Chanterelles are among the more rare and expensive mushrooms on the market, in the same price range as some of the most expensive essential oils you can buy.
Their bright and vibrant coloring makes them easy to spot in the wild, where they grow in clusters and emerge on hot and humid days following a heavy downpour.
Most commonly found in Ukraine and other parts of Central Europe, Chanterelle mushrooms have a spicy flavor, as well as a fruity scent that resembles apricots, and lends their taste a degree of lightness.
Unlike some of the other most expensive mushrooms you can buy, Chanterelles need to be properly cooked before consumption, as when they are eaten raw it can lead to discomfort and even illness.
While the golden-yellow variety of the Chanterelles mushroom is the most sought after, they also come in yellow and white coloration, which are sold at lower prices.
5. Morels – $254 Per Pound
Among the most expensive mushrooms found in the USA, Morel mushrooms are a highly sought-after variety prized by mushroom hunters and known to be incredibly difficult to cultivate.
Morel mushrooms continue to grow in the same place year after year, so mushroom hunters tend to guard their location with absolute secrecy to prevent others from harvesting.
There’s a short window of opportunity to gather Morels, since they only emerge from the ground between March and May, and are most abundant in the Midwest areas of the United States.
Their distinct appearance, with a stiff stem and ruffles covering their cone-shaped head, makes them stand out on any plate, and are often served as a garnish.
They have a unique nutty flavor that resembles shiitake mushrooms, although their flavor is more intense and striking.
In their dried form, Morels are even more expensive, with the price tag further inflated on account of their limited seasonal growth on the forest floor.
4. Black Truffles – $800 – $900 Per Pound
Black truffles are widely considered to be among the richest delicacies you can buy, and are prized ingredients in high-class restaurants as well as a crucial ingredient in some of the most expensive ice creams in the world.
Part of their high cost comes from the difficulty foraging for black truffles, and specially trained truffle dogs are required to track these tasty morsels down.
They can be found in various regions around the world, from Marche, Molise, and Piedmont in Italy, to parts of Spain, America, and the Périgord region of France.
Priced between $800 and $900 per pound, black truffles are popular among the world’s leading chefs, with a black market for fake black truffle oil that is made from synthetic chemicals.
The Tuber Melanosporum variant of black truffles – also known as the French Black Perigord – is highly popular among gourmet chefs, with prices escalating due to shipping delays and intense demand.
Black truffle wild mushrooms typically grow around the base of mature oak trees, and while some truffle hunters have attempted to grow them in controlled conditions, they have had only limited success.
Other varieties of black truffles include the Burgundy truffles, which grow under hardwood trees, and Chinese truffles, which have a milder taste and a stretchy texture not found in other varieties.
3. Matsutake Mushrooms – $1,000 – $2,000 Per Pound
Returning to expensive mushrooms from Japan for the Matsutake mushrooms, appreciated for their spicy flavor and fruity aroma.
Found growing under red pine trees in the Tamba region of Japan, these pricey mushrooms are sold for anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000, making them the kind of mushroom you’ll find in the most expensive hotels in the world.
Matsutake mushrooms are small and pale, featuring a short stem and nicely formed cap, and are typically associated with autumn, when they flourish and are ready for collection.
The Matsutake mushroom is currently suffering from a shrinking habitat and is considered to be an endangered species, which further elevates its price.
The driving force behind their scarcity is the invasion of invasive worms into the manmade pine forests where they are harvested, rather than on account of overconsumption by humans.
These invasive nematodes or roundworms, called Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, are well known for killing pine trees, and as the trees continue to die off, the price of the Matsutake mushrooms looks set to continue to rise.
2. European White Truffle – $3,600 Per Pound
One of the most expensive mushrooms in the world is European white truffles, which can be found in the undergrowth of oak trees around Europe.
Difficult to spot in the wild, and even harder to cultivate in captivity, European white truffles are hunted by using truffle hunting dogs and truffle sniffing female pigs.
Truffle hunters are known to carry out their searches for European white truffles during the night, so as not to give away their location to competitors.
The best quality white truffles are found in places including Italy and France, although cheaper variants are imported from places such as China, and their scarcity has driven some production onto the black market.
Criminals are also known to steal European white truffles from restaurants, and truffle hunters even purchase truffle hunting dogs from illicit dealers looking to make huge profits.
With financial reports indicating the truffle market is set to continue to grow over the coming years, we can expect the European white truffle price to follow suit as time passes,
1. Yartsa Gunbu – $63,000 Per Pound
The Yartsa Gunbu mushroom is a particularly interesting edible mushroom since it is a combination of mushroom and caterpillar fungus.
Believed to be a natural aphrodisiac, the Yartsu Gunbu is infected with ghost moth caterpillars, which eat them from within before becoming mummified.
The arrival of spring sees the fungus blossoming from the corpse of the caterpillar, making them ripe for harvesting and serving in the kind of exquisite dishes found only in the most expensive restaurants in the world.
Their scarcity is enhanced on account of the fact they only grow in high altitudes, primarily around the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayas, making them tricky to harvest.
The world’s most valuable parasite and the most expensive mushrooms in the world, a district in Nepal claimed in 2016 to have harvested $4.7 million worth of Yartsa Gunbu.
As well as being a prized delicacy for exclusive restaurants, the Yartsa Gunbu’s aphrodisiac properties have historical provenance, with ancient texts dating back centuries noting their powerful effects on arousing those who eat them.
This wraps up our guide to the most expensive mushrooms in the world, exploring the growing conditions and scarcity that pushes their high prices.
Be sure to check back on this article, as we’ll update it to include accurate prices which reflect the changing prices of these prized fungi.
Here’s a quick recap of the 10 most expensive mushrooms in the world:
- Yartsa Gunbu – $63,000 Per Pound
- European White Truffle – $3,600 Per Pound
- Matsutake Mushrooms – $1,000 – $2,000 Per Pound
- Black Truffles – $800 – $900 Per Pound
- Morels – $254 Per Pound
- Chanterelles – $225 Per Pound
- Enoki Mushrooms – $108.00 Per Pound
- Porcini Mushrooms – $55 – $70 Per Pound
- Lion’s Mane – $8 – $36 Per Pound
- Shiitake Mushrooms – $12 – $24 Per Pound