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What is chorizo and its types

What is chorizo and its types

Many recipes include chorizo, but what is chorizo? 

Chorizo is a type of pork sausage. This versatile meat is highly seasoned and bursts with flavor. It’s popularly used in Mexican, Latin, and Spanish dishes, but it’s becoming more common in the United States.

If you’ve never tried chorizo before or have never come across this sausage, you are seriously missing out. 

This short yet detailed guide should let you know everything about chorizo- from its many kinds, its distinctive flavor, and how it’s cooked and stored.

To iterate,  chorizo is a type of pork sausage made with animal, typically pork, intestines, and is seasoned with herbs and peppers, making it highly flavorful. And because of the peppers, the color of the meat is usually red. 

Chorizo is sold as fully cooked and dry or fully cooked and soft. The former can be sliced for salami or pepperoni, and the latter is semi-cured, which can be used for stews.

Chorizo types

There are two types of Chorizo—Mexican or Spanish, which are unique from each other in terms of flavor and texture. 

The Mexican chorizo is typically sold fresh and uncooked. Though it’s popularly sold in the form of pork, it can also be marketed as beef. This is spicier than the Spanish chorizo as it includes vinegar and chili peppers.
On the other hand, the Spanish chorizo is dried and cured. The meat is also chopped rather than grounded. It’s bright red in color because of paprika and has a deep smoky flavor.

What does chorizo taste like?

Chorizo is a highly flavorful sausage, and since it’s made with paprika or chili peppers, it’s very spicy, much spicier than the typical sausages that are sold. Typically, the chorizo flavor can also be described as being salty, slightly sweet, and smoky. 

The flavor also varies depending on the chorizo types; for example, the Spanish chorizo has a smoky flavor, which can be slightly sweet, depending on the type of paprika it is seasoned with. The Mexican chorizo is spicier than Spanish chorizo and is not as sweet either.

Substitutes for chorizo

If you don’t have chorizo, you can substitute it with the following:

Other sausages

Chorizo can be substituted with other sausages in most cases. If the sausage is too soft, you can poach it in water for fifteen minutes. Add some paprika or ground peppers, so it has a similar taste to chorizo.

Chickpeas and smoked paprika

If you’re looking for a vegetarian alternative to chorizo, you can use canned chickpeas and mixed smoked paprika before cooking. Or, if you plan to fry the chickpeas, add some paprika in oil.


If you want dried chorizo, then salami is your best bet. You’ll have to add paprika and smoke it to give it the chorizo flavor.

Make your own chorizo

The best substitute is homemade chorizo. You can make it on your own if you have ground or chopped pork. Smoke the meat and add a blend of herbs to it to make chorizo. 

The herb mix can be made by blending roasted chilies, garlic, paprika, salt, and black pepper with apple cider vinegar. Combine it with the meat and let it sit for a day, after which your chorizo will be ready.

How to cook with chorizo

If you have Mexican chorizo, you have to remove the casing before cooking. Doing this will crumble the meat, giving it a consistency similar to ground beef. 

Cooking with chorizo is easy. You can cook chorizo however you like it; you can bake it in the oven for a few minutes or cook it in a skillet over a flame. The best and most popular dish you can make with this ingredient is chorizo and eggs. 

Here is an easy recipe for chorizo and eggs you can try out.

How to store chorizo

When it comes to storing chorizo, you can store it either in cooked or uncooked form. You don’t need to keep the raw form in the fridge unless you have opened the packaging. You can place it in a cool and dry place, such as in your pantry or cabinet. 

However, if you have opened the packaging of chorizo or cooked it, you’ll need to store it in the fridge.

The bottom line

By now, you might very well be tempted to try chorizo yourself. This delicious, flavorful, and spicy meat is best cooked in various recipes, but you can also use it to make tacos, lasagna, or sloppy joe. 

Any way you make it, your chorizo is likely to taste absolutely delicious!