What is Chorizo?
In short, Mexican Chorizo is made of pork sausage mixed with Mexican spices. That’s it!
It’s very well seasoned. That’s why it’s usually paired with something else like potatoes to bring down the robust, strong, traditional Mexican flavors of the spices.
What is Chorizo Made From?
Mexican Chorizo is usually reddish, like a fire orange. The chiles and spices is what gives the chorizo its vibrant color.
Expect to find reconstituted red ancho chile and guajillo chiles then blended with spices and mixed into either beef or pork sausage. So easy to make, right?!
Keep scrolling to see my homemade chorizo recipe.
What Meat is chorizo?
Usually, it is made of pork. However, you might also find beef chorizo.
• Pork Chorizo is very fatty, and you need to drain the excess fat. This excess fat is sometimes referred to as Chorizo Oil
• Beef Chorizo tends to be leaner. You still need to drain the excess fat, but usually it is not as much as pork.
Note: Beef chorizo is simply ground beef mixed with the same spices as pork chorizo. By using lean ground beef, the sausage will be less fatty.
Mexican vs. Spanish
The two are NOT interchangeable.
Meaning, if you are making a traditional Spanish recipe and can’t find Spanish chorizo. Don’t use the Mexican kind. The two are very different.
- Mexican Chorizo is raw. It is not cooked. Made with chiles.
- Spanish Chorizo is dried, cured and flavored with paprika.
What is a good substitute for Mexican Chorizo?
A good substitute is regular pork sausage and mix it with a bunch of Mexican spices.
What is Soy Chorizo?
This type of chorizo has big, bold flavors. The same flavors and spices you will find with traditional chorizo. Expect, it is made with soy.
• You can easily make homemade soy chorizo using tofu. Many people say it tastes just like the real thing.
It is usually interchangeable in most dishes and 100% vegan and vegetarian friendly.
How to Cook Chorizo
This is how I cook this Mexican pork sausage.
- Heat oil in a large skillet.
- Remove the chorizo from the casing and add to the skillet.
- With a spatula, carefully break down the chorizo as it cooked.
- Stir frequently so as not to burn.
- Once it is fully cooked, remove the chorizo.
- Drain excess fat.
- Return cooked chorizo to the skillet and continue with the recipe.
Where to Buy Chorizo
The versatility of this Mexican pork sausage is why it’s been gaining popularity in the US. You can buy it just about anywhere these days. Look for it in the refrigerated area next to the breakfast sausages.
• This is the brand of Chorizo that I normally buy. Cacique Chorizo is sold just like sausages in casings. You have to remove the sausage from the plastic lining in order to cook.
Some Mexican grocery stores will also make and sell their own. Check out the butcher counter at your local Mexican grocery store for homemade chorizo.
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How to Store Chorizo
Freezing chorizo is a process. Make sure you label it well.
- Place in a plastic bag.
- Remove as much of the air as possible.
- Freeze for up to 6 months, if stored well.
- Thaw completely before using.
Fresh Chorizo will last in the fridge for up a week, wrapped up plastic wrap and stored in an air-tight container.
Homemade Mexican Chorizo
- 4 ancho chile dried
- 4 guajillo chile dried
- 6 chile de arbol dried
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tbsp peppercorns
- 2 cloves whole
- 1 tspn anise seeds
- 1 2-inch piece whole cinnamon
- 4 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp ground annatto
- 1 tspn chipotle powder
- 2 tspn salt (add more if needed)
- 6 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 lbs ground pork
- Cut off the stems off and remove the seeds from the dried ancho chiles, guajillo chiles, and chile de arbol.
- Toast all the chiles. About 1 minute on each side.
- Remove from the pan and set aside.
- To the pan, add the coriander seeds, cumin, oregano, peppercorns, cloves, and anise.
- Stir frequently with the a spatula, making sure they don’t burn.
- Do this for about a 6-7 minutes.
- Remove everything from the pan.
- To a grinder, add the toasted chiles, the toasted spices, cinnamon, garlic powder, annatto, chipotle, and salt.
- Grind until it forms into a powder form. You might need to do this in stages.
- In a large bowl, combine the ground spices with the pork and vinegar. Mix well.
- You might need to cook some of the chorizo to taste for salt and other seasonings. Add salt if needed.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight before use.
Here are 5 Tasty Chorizo Sausage Recipes
Chorizo Cheese Dip is a cheese-lovers dream. Ooey gooey, melted cheese that’s mixed with Mexican chorizo. Add tortilla chips, and this party appetizer is sure to please any crowd.
Chorizo Con Papas is a true Mexican classic that’s full of bold flavors and very satisfying. As a taco, a filling for gorditas, or in a sandwich, this Mexican recipe is delicious!
Chorizo and Egg Tostada is a yummy and hearty Mexican breakfast that is packed with flavors. Makes starting out your day easy.
Chorizo Con Huevos (or Mexican Chorizo with Eggs) is pork sausage mixed with eggs.
This is an easy to make breakfast or Sunday brunch recipe, and it’s absolutely delicious!
A Pambazo is sandwich that has been dunked in a guajillo chile sauce and stuffed with chorizo and potatoes. Mexican street food at its best.