The World's Most Expensive Mushroom Varieties

The World's Most Expensive Mushroom Varieties

Brandon Rich
Brandon Rich
March 19, 2024
8 min

When you think of pricey foods, what are the first items that come to mind? Along with caviar, lobster, and Iberian ham, we’re betting there are a few fungi on that list. Dollar for dollar, many of the world’s most expensive mushrooms can be found right alongside the world’s most exquisite delicacies.

What makes a mushroom expensive? In general, how rare it is. The more challenging a mushroom is to find or cultivate, the pricier it becomes. After that, it comes down to what a mushroom hunter is looking for. 

Some varieties, like truffles, are regarded as elegant ingredients. Some may be deemed valuable because of believed medicinal properties. Still, others can be desired for both of these traits and more. You may be surprised how much these shrooms are valued. 


Price: $24 (fresh) to $225 per pound (dried)


Chanterelle mushrooms are beloved for their flavor. When cooked, they taste peppery, earthy-sweet, and surprisingly fruity for a mushroom. Yet they are not easy to come by. These mushrooms are found in mild regions of North America, Central America, Europe, and Asia, where they appear after hot and humid conditions following rainy spells. 

Chanterelles are so expensive because the fungi’s mycelial network requires specific conditions from the substrates it grows from. The requirements of this relationship are hard to mimic.  

Chanterelles grow in clusters, and their gold-yellow appearance is a favorite for mushroom hunters. The wide, trumpet-like cap and stem have few imposters. These expensive shrooms should always be cooked. Eating them raw can lead to discomfort and illness.

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Japanese Matsutake mushrooms

Price: $1,000 to $2,000 per pound


Japanese matsutake mushrooms, also known as “pine mushrooms,” are revered for their wonderful aroma and distinct flavor. These highly sought-after mushrooms are found in red pine tree forests of Japan near Kyoto and the Tamba province. 

Due to their scarcity and high demand, matsutake mushrooms are considered a luxurious and prestigious ingredient, cherished by both chefs and food enthusiasts alike.

Matsutake mushrooms have a firm texture and an earthy, spicy taste that pairs well with various dishes. The stems are pale and short, and the caps are somewhat shaggy. If peeled, the autumn-colored tops can be eaten raw. 

The fungi are difficult to cultivate through most methods of mushroom farming, which adds to their high price. However, this isn’t the only reason they are so costly. The mushrooms are under threat of extinction from a nematode worm that eats the pinewoods where they grow.

Morel mushrooms

Price: $30 to $90 per pound (fresh), up to $300 per pound


Whether sautéed, roasted, or worked into sauces and soups, morel mushrooms lend an irresistible umami flavor that complements both vegetarian and meat-based recipes

The edible mushrooms have a honeycomb cap that has a meaty texture. Cooking with them adds depth and complexity. Morels are prized for their rich, earthy taste and aroma, which intensify when prepared. 

The fleeting nature and distinctive flavor of these rare mushrooms make them a highly sought-after ingredient among chefs and food enthusiasts alike. But they’re not easy to come by.

The mushrooms have a short growing season in North America, between March and May. They reappear in the same places year after year, most commonly in previous wildfire areas.

Foraging the natural habitats where morels are found, like woodlands and near decaying vegetation, is an exciting and time-honored tradition. Along with their relatively short growing season, the difficulty of cultivation makes this culinary delight an expensive one.

Also under the Morchella are gucchi mushrooms, or Himalayan black morels, found in India. Morels are also found in Brazil and Bulgaria.

Shiitake mushrooms

Price: $15 to $25 per pound (dried or fresh)


Compared to some other of the world’s most expensive mushrooms, the cost of shiitakes is not that high. The mushrooms are much easier to cultivate in commercial settings than most. The best grow in Qingyuan, China, where the growing tradition dates back 800 years.

Shiitakes can be inoculated on oak tree logs both indoors and outdoors. This makes them more affordable than other varieties. Shiitakes are still on the pricier side because they take a lot of time to grow. The demand also impacts things.

Shiitake mushrooms are a staple ingredient in Asian, particularly Chinese, cuisine and have gained popularity worldwide. The dark brown caps and wide, umbrella-like shape have a unique appearance and meaty flavor. Their taste is often described as rich, savory, and slightly smoky, making them a versatile addition to a wide range of dishes, from stir-fries to soups.

Beyond their culinary appeal, shiitake mushrooms are also valued for their potential health benefits, being a source of essential nutrients and antioxidant compounds.

Black truffle

Price: $800 to $1,500 per pound (dried, fresh, or preserved)

0black truffle

Black truffle mushrooms are highly prized and often considered one of the most expensive ingredients in the culinary world. 

Some types of black truffles can be found in North America, around Washington and Oregon. Others are found in various European countries like Italy and Croatia, with special regional varieties like those in Périgord, France.

Several factors contribute to their steep price tag. Firstly, black truffles are rare and difficult to cultivate. They require specific environmental conditions and symbiotic relationships with tree roots to grow. 

This natural scarcity drives up demand and value. Additionally, the labor-intensive process of harvesting truffles involves specially trained truffle dogs or pigs sniffing them out underground. It makes for a time-consuming and costly endeavor. 

The unique aroma and intense flavor of black truffles, with their soil and garlicky notes, also add to their exclusivity. The distinctiveness and limited availability make black truffles a luxury ingredient sought after by chefs and food enthusiasts, leading to a high market price.

European white truffle

Price: Up to $4,000 per pound (dried, fresh, or preserved)

0white truffle

European white truffle mushrooms are very regularly called the “diamonds of the culinary world.” These pricey mushrooms are renowned for their exceptional aroma and superb taste. The high price of European white truffles can be attributed to several factors. 

First, these truffles are extremely rare and tough to find. The wild mushrooms grow in very few regions (mostly in Italy and parts of France) and require specific soil and climate conditions. Difficult growing conditions, plus unpredictable growth patterns, equals fewer white truffles and a higher price. 

In addition, the harvesting process is labor-intensive. It relies on skilled truffle hunters and their trained dogs to locate these buried treasures. In fact, these pricey mushrooms are so desirable that a black market has developed around them.

The pungent aroma and delicate, nuanced flavor of European white truffles, often described as loamy and musky, further enhance their desirability. 

The unique sensory profile, along with a limited supply, demand from gourmet restaurants, and a prestigious reputation, all contribute to the hefty price tag associated with European white truffles.

Oyster mushrooms

Price: $10 to $15 per pound (fresh)


Move over button mushrooms. One of the most expensive types of mushrooms is more affordable than you thought – and it can regularly be found in your local grocery store.

Oyster mushrooms are a type of edible mushroom that is named after its shape, which resembles an oyster shell. These fungi have a mild flavor with a slightly nutty accent and meaty texture, making them a popular choice for many dishes. 

Oysters can come in different colors, such as white, yellow, gray, pink, or even slightly blue. They also have a wide range of uses and can be found in vegetarian tacos as often as in stir-fries or noodles. 

This shroom is also well-known for its health benefits. Oyster mushrooms are low in calories and fat but rich in important nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

One of the reasons oysters are so affordable by comparison is that they are easy to grow and can even be cultivated at home using special kits or substrates. Oyster mushrooms are a tasty and nutritious addition to any meal and a great way to explore the wonderful world of mushrooms.

Porcini mushrooms

Price: $45 to $70 per pound (dried or fresh)


Porcini mushrooms have several names. They may be called “Penny Bun,” also go by the title of “king bolete,” a play off the scientific name Boletus edulis. These Italian shrooms (porcini means “piglet”) are a popular and highly valued edible fungi. 

Bolete mushrooms have a robust, meaty, nutty flavor and a rich, umami-packed aroma. They are often found in forests, growing under certain trees, and can be challenging to locate, contributing to their higher price.

Porcini mushrooms are available in different forms, including fresh, dried, and powdered. Fresh porcini mushrooms are prized for their intense flavor but have a short shelf life. Dried porcini mushrooms, on the other hand, have a more concentrated flavor and can be stored for a longer time, making them a convenient option for cooking. The powdered form of porcini mushrooms can be used as a seasoning or flavor enhancer in sauces, soups, and other recipes. 

Due to the limited availability of porcini and the effort involved in harvesting and preparing them, they are considered a gourmet ingredient. The scarcity of this fungi factors into the higher cost.

Lion’s mane mushrooms

Price: $8 to $36 per pound (dried or fresh)


Lion’s Mane mushrooms are a unique and fascinating type of fungi known for their shaggy appearance. These mushrooms have long, flowing, white tendrils that resemble the mane of a lion, hence their name. 

In terms of taste and texture, lion’s mane mushrooms have a mild, briny flavor and are delicate. In cooking, they are often used as a vegan substitute for shellfish like crabs or lobster.

This variety is considered a medicinal mushroom because it is high in nutrients that are believed to have potential health benefits. Some research suggests lion’s mane promotes brain health and even boosts the immune system. 

Lion’s Mane mushrooms can be found fresh or dried, with the latter often coming in supplement form. Fresh lion’s Mane mushrooms are highly sought after but can be expensive due to their limited availability. Dried lion’s Mane mushrooms are a convenient option, as they have a longer shelf life and can be rehydrated before use.

Yartsa gunbu

Price: $63,000 per pound (dried)

0yartsa gunbu

In some circles, yartsa gunbu is known as the caterpillar fungus. In others, it’s called “Himalayan Viagra.” That’s quite a range for this tiny and rare shroom!

Yartsa gunbu is a fascinating and expensive edible fungus found at high altitudes in East Asia, specifically in the mountains of the Himalayas. What’s unique about this mushroom is that it is a parasitic cordyceps that grows from the body of a dead Tibetan caterpillar.

Have you seen “The Last of Us?” Yeah, it’s sort of like that. 

As previously mentioned, yartsa gunbu is highly valued for its perceived medicinal properties, which are believed to enhance vitality and improve sexual health as an aphrodisiac. 

The especially high price of yartsa gunbu can be attributed to its rarity and the complicated and time-consuming harvesting process. Yartsa gunbu is typically sold in dried form, as this helps preserve its potency and extends its shelf life. The dried caterpillar mushrooms can be used in traditional medicine preparations or brewed into tea. Due to its reputation and scarcity, yartsa gunbu is considered the highest of luxury items.

Chaga mushrooms

Price: $25 to $70 per pound (dried or fresh)


A chaga trend has been heating up over the last decade, despite the mushroom’s native habitat and preferred rate of growth being cold and slow, respectively. 

The fungi grow on birch trees in cold regions of North America and Europe. Much of the high cost of chaga mushrooms can be attributed to their scarcity and the difficulty in harvesting them. These mushrooms grow slowly and require specific external environmental conditions to thrive.

They have a dark, rough appearance, resembling burnt charcoal. It does little to suggest the mushroom’s potent medicinal properties, which are highly valued for uses in traditional medicine. Chaga mushrooms are believed to contain powerful antioxidants which have immune-boosting properties that may also help lower cholesterol and oxidative stress.

Chaga mushrooms are typically sold in various forms, including chunks, powder, and extracts. The chunks can be brewed into tea, while the powder and extracts can be added to smoothies, soups, or taken as supplements.

Honorable mention: Enoki mushrooms

Price: $6.99 for 3.5 ounces

types mushrooms enoki

Enoki mushrooms are an interesting case of supply and demand. While they are usually some of the most economical fungi to buy, with pre-2020 prices ranging from 89 cents to $2.00 per pound.

However, as Nina Li Coomes reported for The Takeout in 2021, enoki mushroom prices have remained high due to a series of rolling recalls in American markets from 2020 to 2021. In fact, for 3.5 ounces at H Mart, a package of organic enokis were $6.49. This is one of the most delicate varieties of mushrooms that we find commercially available, and here’s to hoping it returns to its pre-pandemic prices soon.

Don’t expensive mushrooms stop you from experimenting! The world’s most expensive mushrooms are that way for many reasons. However, luxury isn’t everything. Sure, some varieties of shrooms are known to punch up in terms of flavor and supposed health benefits, but even the less expensive types can bring a lot of flavor and excitement to your kitchen.


Brandon Rich

Brandon Rich

Content Writer

Table Of Contents

Japanese Matsutake mushrooms
Morel mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms
Black truffle
European white truffle
Oyster mushrooms
Porcini mushrooms
Lion’s mane mushrooms
Yartsa gunbu
Chaga mushrooms
Honorable mention: Enoki mushrooms

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