What Does Caviar Taste Like?

Caviar has a very unique taste, and it can vary based on the source. Read on to learn what caviar tastes like and how different factors play a role.

What Is Caviar?

Caviar is a type of roe, which refers to fish eggs. More specifically, caviar is eggs from sturgeon, which is a name for 27 different species of fish.

If you ever order caviar at a restaurant, you can expect them to serve it to you over some crushed ice to keep the eggs cold. Some restaurants will also provide a mother-of-pearl spoon instead of a metal spoon. Metal can negatively affect how the caviar tastes.

Many people think of caviar as a luxurious delicacy, and it is. However, you can try it in small amounts even if you’re on a budget. Before you give it a try, you may wonder if you’ll like it and if the money you spend will be worth it.

What Caviar Tastes Like?

People who’ve had caviar explain that it tastes salty and briny when you first eat it. It can also taste a bit fishy, which is to be expected with a fish product. Finally, you may experience a “short idling” taste.

Some have compared the flavor of caviar to that of oysters. Of course, the two have very different textures, with oysters being slimy and caviar bursting in your mouth.

Because of the burst, you may want to use your tongue more than your teeth. Biting into the caviar may keep you from getting as much juice and flavor out of the caviar. Instead, roll the eggs over your tongue and let them burst open as you eat them.


Why Not All Caviar Taste the Same?

For better or worse, not all caviar will taste identical. Whether you go to different restaurants or to the same restaurant multiple times, you may notice slight differences.

First, caviar can taste different based on the age of the sturgeon that laid the eggs. You can usually expect caviar to taste better from older sturgeon.

What the fish eats before laying the caviar can also affect how it tastes. Other factors to keep in mind include the water quality and the location of the fish.

If you come across some caviar you really like, ask for those details. Then, you’ll know what to search for when buying caviar or ordering it at a restaurant in the future.

How the Color Can Affect the Taste of Caviar?

Another thing that can have an impact on the taste of caviar is the color. While the only true caviar will be black, you can have other types of roe that some restaurants will call caviar.


For example, red caviar tends to taste more salty and fishy. Salmon eggs are typically the source of this type of caviar.

You can also find white caviar, which comes from snail eggs, not any type of fish. This type of caviar tastes more like moss or mushrooms since it’s from a land animal.

If you want to enjoy actual caviar, you should look for black caviar. It comes from sturgeon, and it offers some nutty, buttery, and sweet flavors along with some saltiness.

Different Types of Caviar

While there are dozens of species of sturgeon, five are the most common source of caviar. Consider the different sources and how they can affect the taste and other factors.

Beluga Caviar

The most expensive variety, you can’t find Beluga caviar in the US. Beluga sturgeon primarily live in the Caspian Sea, but they’re endangered. Because of that, the US doesn’t allow imports of this animal or its byproducts.

If you can get your hands on some, Beluga caviar can be any color from a light gray to black, and it looks soft and glossy. This type of caviar tastes creamy and nutty, rather than salty and fishy. That can make it a nice option for people who don’t like seafood.


Kaluga Caviar

If you can’t find true Beluga caviar, Kaluga caviar is an excellent alternative. Some people call this variety “river Beluga.” This caviar has an amber color, and it tastes buttery but not overly so or overly salty.

The eggs are also larger than some other types of caviar. Fortunately, this type is also relatively inexpensive, so it’s a good choice if you want to try roe.

Ossetra Caviar

Another type of caviar to try is Ossetra. This type is a dark brown or golden color, depending on the environment and age of the sturgeon. The eggs are large, so they can offer a nice burst when you put them in your mouth.

You can expect a briny flavor similar to the sea. Because of that, this type of caviar isn’t for the faint of heart.

Sevruga Caviar

Sevruga caviar is yet another suitable alternative to Beluga caviar. It tastes buttery and salty, and the texture is firmer than other types of caviar. That can result in a more fulfilling pop when you eat each piece.

Some people like how this caviar doesn’t taste as fishy as some other types. It’s also relatively affordable and a good option for many people.

Sterlet Caviar

If you prefer smaller types of caviar, you may want to try Sterlet. This type is very similar to sevruga, so the taste is almost identical.

However, it won’t offer as big of a popping sensation when you bite into it. Sterlet caviar is easier to find, which can make it more affordable.