What is chorizo?

A coarsely textured, spiced pork sausage widely used in Spanish and Mexican cooking. It is made from chopped pork and red pepper and seasoned with chilli and paprika. Mexican chorizo is made with fresh pork, while Spanish chorizo uses smoked pork.

Chorizo can be bought as a whole sausage of either soft cooking chorizo – which must be cooked before eating – or a firmer, drier cured sausage that can be sliced and eaten without cooking. It is also sold thinly sliced, like salami, to be enjoyed raw as tapas.

Spanish chorizo gets its trademark smoky flavour and rich red colour from pimenton – smoked Spanish paprika – and is usually very spicy. Uncooked chorizo is softer to the touch and, when cooked, releases a delicious, spicy red oil. Often recipes using chorizo do not call for additional oil to be added to the pan as it provides its own.

How to cook chorizo

Depending on the type of chorizo you are using and how you intend to use it in a recipe, the skin may need to be peeled off before cooking as it can be quite tough and chewy.

Watch our video on how to make Spanish chicken traybake with chorizo & peppers:

Chorizo recipes

Try a Cajun-inspired rice one-pot with our chicken & chorizo jambalaya or a warming midweek meal of penne with chorizo & broccoli. Chorizo can be cooked down with maple syrup and coffee until sticky and jammy to be made into our chorizo jam.

See more chorizo recipes.

How to store chorizo

Keep chorizo in the refrigerator away from uncooked foods. Sliced chorizo should be used within a week of opening, while whole sausages can be kept for up to two weeks.

Availability of chorizo

Available fresh, dried or semi-dried from Spanish shops, delicatessens and some supermarkets.

Alternatives to chorizo

Try salami or sausage.