Caviar is one of those foods that immediately brings to mind a life of luxury and excess, which only makes sense considering caviar’s historical reputation as one of the world’s most expensive snacks. Nowadays, you can enjoy the best caviar for far less than you could a few decades ago, but it’s still something new for many people across the globe.
Instead of needing to research every aspect of caviar for yourself, this guide will share the 10 best varieties on the market. We’ll go over what makes these products so unique and then share some information about caviar itself, so you know what you’re about to eat. Trying caviar and being sure it’s high-quality isn’t as difficult as you might think; we’ll fill in all the blanks on the process below.
We recommend Ossetra Sturgeon Caviar for many reasons, not least of which is that it’s freshly packed every week for the best flavor. It’s also unpasteurized and comes with no additives like artificial colors or preservatives, so you know you’re getting the best.
Caviart Award-Wining Vegan Caviar is another excellent option, especially if you or your guests are vegetarian or vegan. This vegan caviar substitute has a black seaweed flavor and a great taste at a very reasonable price point.
Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Caviar on the Market
Our very first caviar recommendation is the Black Pearl Ossetra Sturgeon Caviar. This caviar is harvested in an environmentally friendly manner and comes from the wild Thousand Island Lake sturgeon, where there are miles of clear water and untouched forests.
This caviar has a great taste and aroma and can easily stand up against other sturgeon caviars on the market. It contains strong grains that reach over 3.0 mm in size and typically come in a dark gray or pearl gray colors. As far as the flavor goes, you can expect a buttery but robust taste and texture with a pleasant, long-lasting aftertaste.
This caviar is cured through the Russian Molosol design without using additives to keep the caviar unblemished. It also comes packaged in a vacuum-sealed tin made in France, so you can be sure the caviar is secure right up until it reaches your door.
As you might guess from the name, this product isn’t your traditional caviar that comes from fish eggs. This is a vegan alternative created to offer a new option for those who want an eco-friendlier food that is similar to caviar. It’s made mostly of seaweed alginates but also includes salt, spices, and other ingredients.
This is an extremely healthy vegan caviar with a suggested serving size of one tablespoon. It has very few calories, no fat or carbohydrates, and only 220 mg of sodium. It also has a very long shelf life compared to typical caviar at about three months.
While this caviar is still gaining steam in the United States, it’s well-known in Europe and produced in Denmark. If you’re having a gathering with vegetarian or vegan guests, having a jar of Caviart Award-Winning Vegan Caviar could be an excellent idea, especially if you’re serving your meat-eating guests typical sturgeon caviar.
3. Red Pearl Tsar's Salmon (Red) Caviar
One of the first things to know about Tsar’s Salmon Caviar Jar is that it’s made right here in the United States. For those who trust only domestic products, you can be sure this caviar is of the highest quality for meals and parties. On top of that, this is kosher certified by the Orthodox Union.
This caviar comes in a 200g (seven-ounce) jar that will feed plenty of people, whether you’re serving small bites or full appetizers. Even the packaging looks beautiful, so you can show this stuff off, whether you’re eating it or not. It’s also healthy for you and your guests, containing 450 mg of Omega-3 in every serving.
All in all, this makes an excellent buy for someone who wants to try a new kind of caviar. It has a bright color, superior flavor, and even comes at a reasonable price point.
4. Marky’s Hackleback Black American Sturgeon Caviar
When you chose Marky’s Hackleback Black American Sturgeon Caviar, you know you’re getting the authentic thing as far as sturgeon roe goes. The caviar features a glossy look with glistening black eggs that are fresh and cured with plenty of salt.
This also makes a great corporate or holiday gift for someone who has everything but would enjoy an elegant gift. The caviar is shipped on ice packs to ensure it makes it your door fresh and full of flavor. It’s also a very cost-effective option, since hacklebacks create eggs more easily than ossetra and sevruga.
Once you receive the tin, it will stay fresh in the refrigerator for around six weeks. However, keep in mind that some people find this caviar can be a bit mushy and won’t offer a popping sensation that you may want. Otherwise, this is an excellent option that bridges the gap between quality and price.
5. OLMA Beluga Sturgeon Hybrid Caviar
Beluga sturgeon caviar varieties, such as this OLMA Beluga Sturgeon Hybrid, are one of the most expensive and highly rated caviars around the globe. Since belugas are threatened, hybrids are created to offer the same taste at a lower price and the possibility to import. This caviar has large pearls and a rich, creamy and buttery texture.
The color of this caviar can range from the darkest black to a light gray, but all of the fish eggs taste the same way. With the creaminess of the texture and the scent of the fresh sea, this is a great food to enjoy with a chilled glass of champagne or vodka. It also comes in various sizes, so you can make sure you have plenty for a gathering.
This caviar has won awards and is based on traditional techniques to ensure the highest quality. Every order is also packed and shipped fresh to you so you can enjoy the best flavor possible. When you want excellent caviar and don’t mind paying a bit extra for it, this could be your new favorite.
6. Marky’s American Salmon Roe Pink Caviar
Marky’s American Wild Caught Salmon Roe is an excellent choice for someone who prefers salmon to sturgeon, and at an exceptionally low price, too. This is the same roe that is used in many high-end restaurants, offering a rich taste and huge, succulent roe grains. It contains a large amount of healthy Omega-3 polyunsaturated fat.
In addition to that, this is a gluten-free product that contains no trans-fat, making it a viable option for a variety of diets. However, as with many types of caviar, this one uses plenty of salt, so it’s not ideal for those on a low-sodium diet. It’s also unpasteurized, so it should be eaten within 14 days of receiving it.
This product is shipped via overnight delivery to ensure freshness and is packed with ice packs to keep it cool on the journey. This is another excellent selection for someone who loves salmon roe or wants to try something different than black roe.
7. Tsaritsa Caspian Tradition Russian Style Fresh Salmon Malossol Caviar
This Tsaritsa Caspian Tradition Russian Style Fresh Salmon Malossol Caviar Tin is another red roe with many fans shouting its praises. Every batch is freshly made and full of great flavors and all the nutrients you need. Every jar or tin of the caviar is also fully traceable for that extra peace of mind in your purchase.
Each of these tins holds eight-ounce of caviar, which can feed anywhere from six to eighteen people, depending on how you use it. Also, most days of the week, when you order, you can expect delivery on the very next day. Keep in mind that some people find this caviar to be tougher than expected, which may be related to the fresh harvesting. It also should be refrigerated as soon as it hits your door to ensure it stays fresh and tasty for whenever you want to eat it.
8. Caviar & Caviar Premium Sturgeon Osetra Caviar
If you’re looking for a small amount of authentic sturgeon caviar, Caviar & Caviar Premium Sturgeon Osetra Caviar could be the one for you. Small but mighty, it’s ideal for one to two people and has a distinct flavor that many love. The fish that make the roe are farm-raised in spring waters and processed using Caspian methods.
This kind of caviar is shipped out cold with expedited methods so that it will get to you quickly. It is a popular option for those who prefer a milder flavor and don’t mind a little bit of mushiness with their caviar. It comes to you by air with ice packs to ensure it’s the best quality it can be when it reaches you.
Unlike other caviars that add fillers and preservatives, this tin comes with only fish roe and salt, so you can lean into the flavor of the eggs. It can be enjoyed with vodka, champagne, or imported blini for the ideal experience.
9. Bemka Russian Ossetra Crown Farmed Caviar
Those who go for Bemka Russian Ossetra Crown Farmed Caviar can enjoy the fact that it can be consumed straight out of the jar without the need for something to cut out unwanted flavors. The high-quality of this sturgeon caviar ensures it tastes great when it reaches your home. This is only helped by the fact that each package is sent immediately by air to your home.
This caviar is freshly packed every time it’s bought to ensure the quality you deserve. It also comes in an aesthetically pleasing package so you can use it as a gift for a birthday, wedding, or other celebration. It can also last at least a month in your refrigerator after it makes it to your door as long as you don’t open it up.
This caviar has dark gray or black colored juicy balls that will pop in your mouth. The small size of the jar also makes this an excellent choice for someone who wants to try caviar without knowing if they are going to like it.
10. Black Diamond Hackleback Caviar
Black Diamond Hackleback Caviar is a United States-based product that comes from American sturgeon in the state of Mississippi. Those who prefer domestic products will appreciate that this brand goes the distance to keep the item within the country borders. This also means you can enjoy fresher fish eggs from somewhere a little closer to home.
This black caviar is relatively firm with a delicious taste, and it’s shipped quickly to your home so you can enjoy it as soon as possible. Those who are fans of mild caviar will likely appreciate this brand, although it can be lacking a little in the expected mouth pop. Otherwise, it’s a great choice at a reasonable cost.
The Most Important Factors That Go into Choosing the Best Caviar
It can be pretty confusing trying to choose the right caviar, especially if it’s not something you typically eat. While there are many things to consider when making a decision, quality and freshness are both at the top of the list. Due to advances in aquaculture, it’s easier than ever to get your hands on a tin of caviar, whether it’s the traditional sturgeon variety or something a little bit different.
Below, we’ll look at the different kinds of caviar and how you can be sure you’re buying the best quality version on the market.
Types of Caviar and Roe
The first thing to be aware of is that there are several varieties of caviar and roe (also known as fish eggs). Some have different tastes and textures than others, so knowing which you want to buy is a must.
- Sturgeon Roe – While marketing terms like Sevruga and Oscietra are sometimes used, knowing the species name is also a good idea. When it comes to roe from sturgeon, the price doesn’t always determine the quality. Some people prefer a more expensive variety, while others might prefer something more inexpensive.
- Beluga – Importing beluga into the United States has been illegal since 2006. While you may see this term on some kinds of caviar, it should make it explicit that it’s a hybrid variety. If you’re dying to try beluga caviar, the only way to do so is by going abroad.
- White Sturgeon – This is also known as Pacific sturgeon and is native to North America. It’s considered one of the best caviars in the world and has a buttery texture and flavor that are often compared to Oscietra.
- Oscietra – One of the smoothest caviars, this option has a nutty flavor that many enjoy.
- Sevruga – This caviar has a firmer texture than most and offers a briny, intense flavor.
- Siberian – More affordable than many caviars with many fans of its sweet and earthy flavor.
- Paddlefish – This is often considered an excellent product for the price. It has a complex but fresh flavor that makes it a great alternative to Sevruga.
- Hackleback – Hackleback is part of the sturgeon family but isn’t as well known as the typical caviar sturgeons. It has a more potent and nuttier flavor than paddlefish.
- Salmon – Salmon makes for a unique roe since it has large beads that offer an authentic flavor of salmon.
- Trout – This is relatively similar to salmon, but it has a milder flavor and smaller sized beads.
- Whitefish – Whitefish can also be called American Golden and has a crunchy texture with a clean taste. It’s a lot like bleak, or vendace, roe, which is a popular Swedish caviar.
- Lumpfish, Masago, & Tobiko – These are small eggs you might see at a sushi bar. Tobiko is a large and finer roe than Masago, which is a smelt roe that has a powdery texture. Lumpfish is a domestic roe which is typically dyed heavily, salted, and used only for garnishes.
Choosing the Ideal Caviar Grade for Your Needs
Caviar is typically graded by the texture and size of the beads, where firmer and larger beads that pop in the mouth are the rarest and tend to be more expensive. Also, mild-flavored caviar is considered to be scarcer. However, the type of fish, the way it was raised, and how the caviar matured can have a significant effect on the flavor.
Two grades of caviar exist. Grade one refers to large, firm, intact eggs with a delicious flavor and great color. Grade two is also a high-quality option but is not as delicate or perfectly formed as grade one caviar is. As you might expect, grade two caviar is often less expensive than grade one.
Color is something else that comes into play in terms of the grade. For instance, beluga caviar that is light gray or silver is considered 000, while medium gray caviar is 00, and gray caviar is 0. The lighter the color is, the rarer the caviar is going to be. Color doesn’t have any impact on flavor, though, and while damaged roe isn’t graded, it can still be consumed.
The most expensive and rarest type of caviar is known as golden or royal caviar. It’s believed to come from eggs that would produce albino osetra. It’s an off-white, place color that is only found about once in 1,000 sturgeon.
Price Considerations Around Caviar
Budget is an important consideration when it comes to many products, including caviar. You should know how much you’re willing to spend while understanding that many people find the most expensive caviar also has the best possible taste. Higher-priced caviar tends to offer shiny beads that you can pop between your teeth.
On the other side of things, the least expensive caviar can have a fishy taste with a mushy texture and a flavor that some people will not enjoy. However, all of the caviar we’ve looked at today is considered tasty, high quality and is available at various price points for your convenience.
Even though a higher price typically means better taste and texture when it comes to caviar, there are exceptions to the rule. Some of the mid-priced caviars have a reasonable price due to being easy to source but still have a great flavor. The truth is that it can take trial and error to find the ideal caviar, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
The Best Locations for Amazing Caviar
It was only a few decades ago when most caviar was harvested from the fish that roamed the Black and Caspian seas. The fish would be captured, their egg would be removed, and they would be placed back in the water to die. However, this led to endangerment of sturgeons, so the United States banned harvesting or selling wild caviar in the country.
Nowadays, most caviar in the world is farmed and can be found everywhere from Madagascar to China and the Middle East. Location matters less than how the caviar is produced, as reputable farms are the best places to support when buying caviar.
How Early to Order Caviar in Advance
If you are planning to have caviar at a party or get together, it makes sense that you want to be sure it makes it to your door in time. This isn’t usually an issue, as caviar is preserved in several ways, so ordering it early won’t create a problem. We recommend that you order your caviar about two days to two weeks before a party, so you know it will make it to you in the freshest state possible.
The Best Option for Storing Fresh Caviar
Caviar is an extremely perishable food, but if you leave it unopened in the jar or tin, it can stay fresh for about four weeks. Once you open it, it’s best to eat most types of caviar within around three days. The best temperature for storing caviar is at around 28 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit, which is colder than most home refrigerators will be.
Because of this, placing your caviar in the coldest area of the appliance is important. This is often the bottom drawer. You should never store caviar in a freezer, as it will ruin the texture of the food. Once you do open a tin of caviar, it’s best to wrap it in plastic before you store it back in the refrigerator.
The Proper Method for Serving Caviar
You may be surprised to find out that serving caviar is a lot simpler than you think. If you want to choose a low-key presentation, all you really need are the caviar and a spoon. Those who want to make a larger production of it might serve the delicious food on bread, blini, or toast points.
You can also add other ingredients as toppings or additions to the caviar. Some of the most popular options include chopped up eggs, melted butter, green onions, lemon wedges, and sour cream. However, many people find that caviar is best on its own, so there’s no need to go to extra trouble.
One tip to keep in mind is that the spoons you use matter. Stainless steel and silver should be avoided, as each can ruin the taste of the fish eggs. Instead go with a gold plated, bone, mother of pearl, or a plastic spoon.
Frequently Asked Questions about Caviar
Now that you know the top caviar to try and have an idea of what to consider when buying it on your own, it’s time to discuss some frequently asked questions. Rather than leaving you to answer these things on your own, we compiled a list that should help you in your search for the top caviar.
What Makes Caviar Different from Fish Roe?
To make it simple: all caviar is roe, but not all roe is known as caviar. Roe refers to any kind of unfertilized eggs that come from aquatic animals. However, to be caviar, the roe must be processed in a specific way and also must come from sturgeons. Caviar is a combination of unfertilized sturgeon eggs mixed with salt.
Why is Some Caviar Red and Other Caviar Black?
Any fish roe that comes from a sturgeon is black caviar, because the eggs are naturally a darker color than others. Yellow, red, and orange fish roe can come from tour and salmon and are called red caviar, even though it doesn’t meet the traditional definition.
What Can I Expect Caviar to Taste Like?
It’s difficult to describe what caviar tastes like, especially since it varies based on many factors. Some people would say that black caviar tastes a lot like sea air, a bit of salt, and fresh fish. It’s full of sweet brine and can sometimes have a nutty and smooth flavor and texture. Just like raw oysters, caviar fills your nose and pops in your mouth.
What Kind of Texture is Common When Eating Fish Roe?
Black caviar typically has a firm but delicate texture that turns creamy and smooth. Red caviar is slightly different because it’s typically more substantial than black and is often firmer too. These eggs pop in your mouth with a burst to release the flavorful juice inside.
Does Caviar Have Any Benefits to Human Health?
Caviar can improve your health in several different ways. This food offers a great deal of calcium, protein, iron, magnesium, and more in every single serving. It is also packed with a variety of vitamins and contains essential amino acids like lysine, isoleucine, arginine, histidine, and methionine.
Now that you’ve made it this far, you should have a pretty good idea of what caviar is considered the best, what the different types of caviar are, and how you should decide which caviar to bring home with you. The best caviar is something that is indescribable until you try it, but it may turn out to be your new favorite food. Take the plunge and give it a shot – at least you can say you’ve tried it once you’re done!