Black trumpet mushrooms (Craterellus fallax), aka black chanterelles, are a choice edible mushroom with flavor notes comparable to truffles. In this article, you’ll discover how to find black trumpets and make a simple, delicious meal with them.
We love foraging and growing mushrooms. Similar to the flavor diversity in fruits and veggies, every mushroom species offers different, nuanced flavors. Like fruits and veggies, mushrooms are also seasonal, with different species of edible mushrooms growing in every season of the year.
While we don’t have a favorite mushroom, we can say that there isn’t a North American mushroom we know of that tastes better than black trumpets, aka black chanterelles.
(Read our chanterelle foraging guide to learn more about finding different species of chanterelle mushrooms.)
What do black trumpet mushrooms taste like? Black trumpets have a rich, earthy, fungal flavor that’s somewhat comparable to truffles.
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Black chanterelles (Craterellus cornucopioides). These may well be our favorite mushroom because the flavor is extraordinary. We not-so-jokingly call them Appalachian truffles. They can be devilishly hard to spot since they’re so well camouflaged. #foresttotable #foraging #fungi #appalachia
East coast US black trumpet mushrooms (Craterellus fallax)
In American, black trumpet mushrooms are found on both the west and east coasts. They’re also found in Europe and other areas of the world.
Common names for these fungi vary by region and country:
- black trumpets,
- horn of plenty,
- trumpet of the dead (not because they’re poisonous, but because they’re black, horn-shaped mushrooms, and emerge from the ground),
- black chanterelles.
Here in the east, our native black trumpet species is Craterellus fallax, which produces a yellowish-orange spore print. Black trumpet mushroom species found elsewhere in the world have a white or creamy spore print.
Visually, the various species of black trumpet mushrooms look nearly identical. Although somewhat common, their black-grey color and wrinkly texture provides excellent camouflage, making them very difficult to see.
For reference, here’s a quick video showing black trumpet mushrooms growing in association with beech tree roots in August in South Carolina (they’re a summer mushroom here):
*Note: Video may not play if you’re running ad blocking software.
They’re either emerging from leaf litter or moss under their host trees, usually on disturbed hillsides or trail edges.
In our area (the Upstate region of South Carolina), black trumpet mushrooms fruit from June – September.
Cooking recommendations for black trumpet mushrooms
There are countless recipes you can make with black trumpet mushrooms. Even though they offer a rich fungal flavor, they can be overpowered in strongly flavored sauces.
We recommend making them the star of the recipe so their sublime, subtle flavor really pops. For instance, you probably wouldn’t want to add them to a tomato sauce or pesto, which could overpower them.
Our favorite simple way to use them is in pastas or as a bread dip — and the recipe below can be used to make either one…
Black trumpet mushroom pasta
A simple, delicious pasta recipe starring black trumpet mushrooms (Craterellus fallax and other related species).
- 3 cups loose packed black trumpet mushrooms (about 4 ounces)
- 1/4 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh-grated parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp sea salt for pasta water
- 1/2 tsp pink sea salt for for mushrooms, or to taste
- 4 .4 ounces pasta noodles (2 serving sizes) - we used half a box of 4mm Grand Mere organic whole grain free-range egg pasta noodles (No. 4)
Place mushroom in saute pan with 1/2 tsp salt and add just enough water to pan to cover the mushrooms. Cook on medium high heat (6 on our stove) until water has almost cooked off, about 20-30 minutes. (This ensures the mushrooms are thoroughly cooked and chitin in cell walls is broken down.) Then add olive oil + fresh herbs. Turn heat down to medium low (3 on our stove) to let remaining water cook off and herbs + mushroom flavors infuse the oil, about 15 minutes. You don't want to burn the herbs or let their volatile flavor compounds be degraded. (*To make a black trumpet mushroom bread dip, stop here and add these ingredients to a blender.)
On separate burner, bring water to boil with salt added to help flavor noodles. Once pasta is cooked, strain then add to pan with mushrooms. Toss noodles and mushrooms together with stove on low heat.
Plate dish then top with fresh-grated parmesan cheese.
Mastered this recipe? Be sure to try our black trumpet mushroom & smoked gouda soufflé recipe next!
Other fungi articles you’ll want to explore:
- Cauliflower mushroom guide (with our cauliflower mushroom sweet corn quiche recipe)
- Reishi mushrooms: how to find, ID, and use
- Lactifluus corrugis and L. volemus: delicious wild mushrooms
- 6 gourmet and medicinal mushrooms you can easily grow in your garden
- Complete guide: how to forage and use chanterelle mushrooms
- DIY: How to grow shiitake mushrooms
- How to find, identify, grow, and cook chicken of the woods mushrooms
- Bicolor bolete: how to find, ID, and eat this wild gourmet mushroom
- Blue mushrooms? A delicious indigo milkcap mushroom recipe
- The hunt for the elusive morel mushroom
- How to find, ID, and eat umbrella polypore (Polyporus umbellatus)
- Lions mane mushrooms: a brain booster that tastes like crab meat (with “crab” cake recipe!)
- How to find and prepare maitake mushrooms
- How to grow and eat King stropharia mushrooms