If there was one flavor that stood out in the 2010s as trendy, it was truffle. Black truffle mushrooms became the go-to choice for seasoning almost everything. Part of the allure is the fact that black truffle mushrooms are ridiculously expensive. They’re nicknamed the “black gold of mushrooms” for that reason.
The other reason people love truffles? The flavor, of course! The flavor of a good, rich truffle is incredibly mushroomy, earthy, savory, and just a little smoky. Unsurprisingly, this meant that truffles ended up in everything—oil, pasta, salads, sushi, and yes, even hot sauce.
Today, we’re going to review one of the most popular hot sauce brands born out of the truffle explosion: TRUFF.
What is TRUFF Hot Sauce?
TRUFF is the original hot sauce brand to feature black truffles as part of the recipe. TRUFF Hot Sauce is their flagship product, which was followed up by TRUFF Extra Hot Sauce, White TRUFF Hot Sauce, a series of pasta sauces, infused oils, salts, as well as a new line of mayonnaises. For the sake of this review, we’re focusing on the OG hot sauce for this article.
How Hot is TRUFF Hot Sauce?
TRUFF Original Black Truffle Hot Sauce delivers a respectable 2500 Scoville Heat Units while it’s cousin TRUFF Hotter Hot Sauce brings a fiery flavor of between 5000-7000 SHU.
In 2019, Food and Wine Magazine published a list of the top 10 most popular hot sauces in America according to Instacart. Since one of the biggest complaints about TRUFF among critics is that it lacks heat we wanted to see how TRUFF Hot Sauce compared to the Top 4 American favorites.
TRUFF’s OG Black Truffle Hot Sauce stacks up with the others in terms of Scoville Heat Units (SHU) while the hotter versions of TRUFF’s black and white truffle sauces come in several levels above.
Why is TRUFF Hot Sauce So Famous?
TRUFF Hot Sauce has a massive following because it struck while the proverbial iron was hot. Truffles were in, hot sauce is always cool, and the two made a match made in heaven. It’s trendy, tasty, and luxurious. That’s a winning recipe.
The founders of TRUFF also made a point of making this hot sauce go viral. It still remains the most followed hot sauce on social media. Overall, it’s the product of a robust marketing campaign and a sauce that sells itself.
TRUFF even achieved celebrity status in 2018 when it’s original Black Truffle Infused Hot Sauce was selected as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things. A TRUFF product has been on Oprah’s list in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2022.
“I dare you to find a better hot sauce. Truff’s black truffle hot sauce is one of the most-used condiments in my house—it’s been on my list many times! This set includes my go-to, along with black truffle oil and truffle salt. Yum!” – Oprah Winfrey
Although the brand has its critics, the momentum has yet to slow.
In late summer of 2022, TRUFF partnered with Hidden Valley Ranch to create the ultimate sauce blend appropriately named TRUFF X. The ultra-limited release featured Hidden Valley Ranch infused with the OG black truffle hot sauce that put TRUFF on the map. According to Truff, “they combined the spice of red chiles and the umami depth of black truffles found in their Black Truffle Hot Sauce with the creaminess of Hidden Valley Ranch to create the most elevated Spicy Truffle Ranch”. Dip your veggies in that!
If you weren’t on the waitlist from the get-go you likely didn’t get the chance to purchase it. Six months after the drop, the 18oz magnum sized bottles of TRUFF X are still selling for between $35 and $55 on Ebay.
Higher Edukitchen Tip:
If you missed out on TRUFF X but love the idea of it, TRUFF hints at a way that you can make your own version. TRUFF X Recipe: All you need is 2 tablespoons of TRUFF Original Hot Sauce and 1/4 cup Hidden Valley Original Ranch. Place both in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
In October 2022, Taco Bell upped the heat on it’s infamous Nacho Fries with a mashup that included an exclusive hot sauce from TRUFF with a recipe based off of TRUFF’s Hotter Hot Sauce. For $1, they even let you add the sauce to any menu item. A bit steep if you ask me, considering it’s half the cost of a taco, but for those that crave it, IYKYK.
Taco Bell and TRUFF even went as far as creating the TRUFF tracker within the taco bell app. This tracked in real-time the supply status of TRUFF at the participating locations. A truly innovative idea that made sure heatseeking fans of the sauce didn’t arrive to be left disappointed. The fiery collab was only available for two weeks but there is no doubt this left fans wanting more.
Is TRUFF Hot Sauce Made With Real Black Truffle?
Fun fact about a lot of truffle sauces: there’s no truffle in them. A lot of the “truffle flavor” that you’re tasting on the market never came from a mushroom at all. Rather, it came from a laboratory that’s using synthetic esters to mimic the taste of black truffle.
TRUFF Hot Sauce is expensive for a reason: it actually contains real black truffle. It’s listed as a main ingredient and also includes black truffle essence as a way to magnify the flavor. The combination produces an intense smoky truffle flavor bomb that has some hot sauce enthusiasts on the fence still.
Look closely and you can see the black specs of truffle and peppers.
Is TRUFF Hot Sauce Good?
Here’s our honest take on TRUFF Hot Sauce…
TRUFF hot sauce is not your typical hot sauce—neither in consistency, nor aroma, nor flavor. And honestly, it’s a trait that tends to grow on you the more you eat it.
TRUFF has a creamier consistency than your typical watery hot sauce. You definitely get more texture than normal, with just the slightest amount of pulpiness to it. In other words, you definitely will feel the hot sauce.
This may be one of the only hot sauces that has a distinctive smell to it. When you open up the bottle, you get an immediate whiff of classic tabasco-like hot sauce, followed up by a savory undercurrent of black truffles. You absolutely can smell the chilies and garlic, making it a very aromatic ingredient by anyone’s standard.
So, full disclosure, I didn’t really like TRUFF the first time I ate it because it’s a very “testy” type of hot sauce. If you pair it with the wrong dish, it will be a bit too mushroomy and can overpower your food. That’s what happened when I tried it with a more delicate dish.
In terms of flavor, TRUFF Hot Sauce is a bit unusual. With most items (chips included), you get hit with a tomato-chili burst of flavor first. Then, you taste the truffle goodness afterwards. The mushroom flavor quickly becomes the focal point of the sauce, heading right to the forefront of your flavor profile.
Though there is definitely a Latin twist to the sauce, there are times where it almost tastes a little bit like a spicy mushroom arrabbiata sauce. Or, maybe, perhaps that’s just my taste buds. I could see this becoming a popular addition to pasta dishes.
Unlike other truffle-based sauces, there’s no question about whether or not you’ll taste the mushroom. It’s a primary flavor point and can overwhelm your palate if you are not a fan of mushrooms. However, fans of truffles will find this to be the sauce.
I was lucky enough to have spotted Truff Hot Sauce at my local Costco where I scored two bottles of it for $14.99. Normal pricing for Truff is around $17 a bottle and you can find it these days at most big box stores in addition to specialty supermarkets such as Kings and Whole Foods.
It comes in a fairly decent size bottle with a fancy faceted top (that looks like it should be sold at Neiman Marcus, OH WAIT, IT IS). Still, some hot sauce lovers aren’t buying into the hype and feel that it’s overpriced, even for a premium hot sauce.
The bottom line about TRUFF is that this is a hot sauce that is heavy on the mushroom flavor. If you love mushrooms and love a thicker, richer hot sauce, you’ll love it. It’s incredibly savory and adds a layer of flavor to dishes that you’d never expect.
What Kind of Foods Pair Well With TRUFF Hot Sauce?
TRUFF is a great sauce, but you definitely need to pair it with the right food if you want to enjoy it. Because there is such a heavy mushroom flavor to the sauce, you can run the risk of overpowering more delicate recipes.
With that said, I took about three days to try it with a bunch of different dishes. Here are my verdicts for the top contenders:
Skip the truffle aioli and bring the heat. A burger is the perfect blank slate to layer on truffle hot sauce. Bring your mushroom swiss burger to the next level.
Tacos and Nachos:
There is a caveat here. If you want a more traditional taco, the mushroom flavor can and will overpower the cilantro. Many would describe this as a “hit or miss,” so try it on a small chip with taco filling instead.
You know how some sushi shops use sriracha without mayo for the spicy sauce? Try sushi with the TRUFF instead. You’ll thank me later.
Oh my g-d. This is like having a party in your mouth with all your favorite musical artists as headliners. If you are a fan of mushroom or garlic pizza, this is an absolute no-brainer. It puts regular truffle pizza to shame.
It’s a lot like ketchup, except better. This might be one of the only ways I’ve seen a regular Ballpark Frank turn into a luxury treat.
Hot Wings and Chicken Fingers:
If you are a fan of wings or “boneless wings,” then you’ll enjoy rolling around those wings in TRUFF. Or, you can add TRUFF to your regular wing sauce for some truffle flavor with an extra kick. TRUFF even coined the term Truffalo for it’s wing sauce. It consists of a blend of butter, white vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and TRUFF signature black truffle hot sauce.
If you are a fan of a classic arrabiatta sauce, mix a dollop of TRUFF into your marinara sauce. You won’t regret it.
For more ideas and inspiration you can check out TRUFF Kitchen.
The Bottom Line?
There are a lot of “viral” foods that have come and gone, primarily because they weren’t that good. TRUFF Hot Sauce might be one of the only ones to offer true staying power. Why? Because it’s not just elegant and bougie. It’s genuinely good, and genuinely packed with truffle flavor. If you’re looking for a gift for the person who has everything. This is it.