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12 Caviar Types to Try

Learn about caviar with these popular kinds to eat.

If you’ve never tried caviar, it’s high time that you put it on your “must eat” list. Caviar is one of the most delicious foods on the planet, and there are plenty of different types out there to sample.

Sandwiches With Delicious Caviar

Besides its good taste, it’s also good for you. So whether you go for sumptuous Beluga caviar or tiny bites of Capelin caviar, this salty, briny, and delicious delicacy can surprise and delight your palate.

Although you can enjoy caviar plain or on a chilled spoon, it’s equally as good with a little dab of creme fraiche and some dill or sprinkled across a freshly buttered piece of toast. 

Caviar predominately comes from sturgeon, although you can find some varieties from salmon and smelt. Smelt caviar, also known as capelin caviar, tends to be relatively tiny and briny and is an excellent addition to sushi.

Types of Caviar

Understanding the different types of caviar and how to eat them will undoubtedly enhance your experience.

Beluga Caviar

Beluga caviar is one of the most popular caviar varieties, and it’s very easy to understand why.

I love this particular flavor because each piece is relatively large and makes a satisfying pop when you bite into it. You get all of that tasty caviar brininess and flavor in every bite.  

It is derived from the beluga sturgeon, a fish that lives in the Caspian Sea, and the high quality of this particular roe means that it’s relatively expensive.

Personally, I think you get a great bang for your buck, though, and it’s a wonderful special-occasion treat.  


Osetra Caviar

Osetra caviar is another comparatively expensive caviar but one that’s worth every single penny.

Hailing from the osetra sturgeon, another Caspian Sea native, this caviar has a luxe brown or gold hue and is flavorful while slightly milder at the same time.

One of the things that I absolutely adore about Osetra caviar is how versatile it is. You can eat it with poultry dishes, fish, or even pasta and risottos.

There are very few foods capable of maintaining their flavor profile and structure while still working with other dishes, but osetra caviar is one of them.


Keluga Caviar

Keluga caviar comes from a particularly aggressive but endangered predator, the Keluga sturgeon.

It is from the Amur River between China and Russia. Although we’ll never know if that’s what makes the caviar taste so irresistible, it’s certainly possible.

This caviar is relatively pricey, although it doesn’t match osetra or beluga caviar. However, I love the size, shape, and flavor and how good it tastes on buttered bread or crackers.

It’s a less costly indulgence compared to others, and many fans would consider it the best value for your money. 


Sevruga Caviar

As with beluga and osetra, sevruga caviar will not come cheap, and like those caviars, it comes straight from the Caspian Sea.

People generally harvest sevruga caviar from Siberian, sterlet, and sevruga sturgeon. When you first open up your sevruga caviar, you’ll see very small, pearl-shaped bites. 

This caviar is smaller than beluga, but you’ll get all of that brininess in every taste.

Since this caviar tends to be pretty salty, I enjoy it with a creamier element, like creme fraiche and chopped herbs.

Preparing it this way cuts back on the saltiness and yields a delicious umami taste.


Sterlet Caviar

Sterlet caviar is another treat straight from the Caspian sea, although you can also find sterlet sturgeon in the Baltic, Barents, and Black Seas.

Wild sterlet caviar is preferable, at least to me, but you can also get farm-raised caviar for a fraction of the price.

You’ll miss a little of that signature depth of flavor, but you’ll have a reasonably good product.

It stands out for its decadent buttery flavor and a slight hint of sweetness. Make the most of it by putting it on eggs or pairing it with freshly roasted potatoes (an accompaniment I adore with sterlet). 


American Caviar

There are several types of American caviar, and you can find delicious versions of it in the seas surrounding the country and its interior lakes.

I will delve into the various types of American caviar later on in this article, but it really does rival anything that you’d find from the Caspian Sea.

What’s more, you can always be confident that your caviar is sustainably farmed and totally fresh. 

Top types of American caviar include paddlefish, hackleback, black sturgeon, white sturgeon, and variations on each of those.  


Hackleback Caviar

Hackleback caviar is a type of American caviar from hackleback sturgeons, also known as “sand sturgeons.”

These fish live in the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and offer a delicious, small, salty caviar perfect for people who find larger caviar to be a bit too much or fishy.

I love eating Hackleback caviar with all sorts of dishes, from pasta to fresh fish filets. It’s also beautiful to look at, with dark black eggs and the tiniest hints of green and gold.

Since it’s a domestic product, you’ll know precisely where your hackleback is coming from, and generally, rest assured that it’s fresh.


Salmon Caviar

Everyone knows that salmon is one of the best fish on the planet, so it should come as no surprise that its roe is pretty tasty too.

Salmon caviar also has that opulent, salty richness of beluga without the heavy price tag. Like beluga caviar varieties, salmon caviar is large and tastes pleasantly fishy.

It has a beautiful color, and its red spheres look great at any cocktail party or to spice up a dinner table.

I enjoy serving salmon caviar when I entertain, usually on small serving spoons with a dollop of cream and a tiny sprig of dill. It also tastes truly spectacular on toast


Bowfin Caviar

Another American caviar, bowfin caviar, comes from Louisiana’s waters and is sometimes referred to as “Cajun.”

Although chefs use bowfin caviar for everything under the sun, it’s most ideal in traditional Cajun dishes or simply served with a dip and some crackers.

I love this caviar because it has a slightly different and distinct taste as opposed to other types. It’s not as briny, and it’s robust enough to hold up in cooked dishes.

In fact, bowfin caviar takes on a gorgeous ruby hue when you cook it. It’s an unconventional caviar to have on hand, but once you know what to do with it, you’re set.


Paddlefish Caviar

One of the most popular caviars hailing from the United States, paddlefish caviar comes from the South and sometimes goes by the name “Spoonbill.”

You can find it in waters near Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee, and it tastes a lot like caviar from the Caspian Sea. Indeed, if you didn’t know it was paddlefish, you might mistake it for keluga.

Paddlefish caviar tends to be a little smaller and silver-colored, and it works well as a garnish for crisp toasts or as an exquisite accompaniment to vegetable platters.

It doesn’t quite have the texture of alternatives, so if you’re looking for that salty bite, choose something else. Still, it does hit all the right flavors.


Capelin Caviar

I find capelin caviar delightful, but some people think it’s too small to notice.

Unlike larger caviar varieties, capelin is teeny-tiny and nearly neon-pink. It’s ideal for sushi as a topping, and it also works beautifully on buttered bread.

If you’re ordering it from a Japanese restaurant, look for the term “masago.”

Unlike many of the other caviars on our list, capelin doesn’t come from sturgeon. Instead, it’s smelt roe, which accounts for its smaller size.

As a result, serving it is an excellent way to introduce your family and friends to caviar without overwhelming them with bigger varieties. Plus, it’s pretty inexpensive.


Trout Caviar

Thanks to its vibrant tangerine color, trout caviar has got to be one of the most beautiful varieties on our list.

It’s also got a very interesting flavor profile heavy on the smokiness, and they have that standard pop that most people associate with wonderful caviar.

I am a fan of trout caviar for two reasons; the presentation and the utter deliciousness in every bite.  

Although you can pair it with virtually anything, I tend to be a bit of a purist with it. This caviar tastes exceedingly delicious all on its own in a chilled spoon. 


Types of Caviar

  1. Beluga Caviar
  2. Osetra Caviar
  3. Keluga Caviar
  4. Sevruga Caviar
  5. Sterlet Caviar
  6. American Caviar
  7. Hackleback Caviar
  8. Salmon Caviar
  9. Bowfin Caviar
  10. Paddlefish Caviar
  11. Capelin Caviar
  12. Trout Caviar

Final Thoughts

Caviar is one of the finest foods on the planet. There is nothing that I love more than an ice-cold layer of caviar on some bread or tiny caviar beads crowning my California roll or other sushi rolls.

Although it’s a luxury food, it’s entirely accessible for most people, and even less expensive forms of caviar taste delicious. 

If you’ve been reluctant to sample caviar because it seems too exotic or out of the box, pick something out from these 12 types of caviar and give it a try.

You will add a salty, delicious element to your food, and you might even discover a tasty new treat. In the end, there’s nothing better for entertaining than caviar. 

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.