If you have had the original paella, you have tasted the savory chorizo. This is such a tasty and spicy food that brings to your dish a deeper and richer flavor impression.
However, it is not a common meat product in many countries, so if you wonder, “What is chorizo?”, “what is cured chorizo?”, “what is the suitable substitute for chorizo?”
Don’t worry; your answers lie in my perfect chorizo substitute post.
What is Chorizo?
Chorizo is an incredibly popular type of sausage in many Spanish and Mexican recipes. This particular sausage is known for its distinctive flavor that charms any Spanish and Mexican spicy food lover.
There are different varieties of chorizo in different regions like Mexican chorizo, Chilean chorizo, Mexican chorizo, etc., with the fresh and dried version. So, what is dried chorizo? What is the difference between chorizo and sausage?
When comparing chorizo vs sausage, I find they are quite different.
Chorizo has a signature spicy taste of chile peppers or pimentón which is smoked paprika. When taking a bite, you will find a meaty, rich, and smoky flavor roaming inside your mouth. While our breakfast sausage also has a meaty taste, it is not as spicy as chorizo.
So, what is in chorizo that makes a difference?
The classic Spanish dried chorizo sausage contains smoked pork, while the Mexican one is fresh pork instead, similar to a comparison of Colombian chorizo vs Mexican chorizo.
The Chilean chorizo has a spicy and peppery taste because of the onion and wine vinegar inside, while the Argentinian chorizo is rich and soft because of the rice content.
Because of its meaty and smoky taste, chorizo can be used as a main dish or side dish for tacos, tortas, or breakfast omelet.
List of 10 Best Chorizo Substitute You Should Know
Chorizo is an amazing ingredient to spice up your dish. If you run out of it, here is a chorizo replacement list for your recipes:
1. Chorizo Bilbao
A great substitute for chorizo in paella is Chorizo de Bilbao. It is a common sausage in the Philippines and Spain cuisine. Although this sausage is not made of fresh pork, the flavor of Bilbao is quite similar to Mexican chorizo.
The Spanish sausage is made of pork fat and beef with plenty of paprika. So it is filled with the spicy and juicy taste of pepper and the tenderness of meat which is similar to fresh chorizo. You can find it as a pork longganisa substitute as well because of the same ingredients.
This sausage is a must-have ingredient in the Chorizo Fritos appetizer, and you can serve it with pasta, paella, cocido, puchero, and rice dishes.
2. Italian Sausage
Italian is another great chorizo alternative because of its similarity in flavor. It is also the second most popular pork sausage type that you can find in many Mexican markets.
Italian sausage has a mildly sweet, pungent, and meaty taste thanks to the help of garlic and fennel seed. An extra peppery and spicy Chile pepper is also known in this sausage.
If you crumble the sausage and smoke it with vegetables, you can turn on the intensity of the smoky and spicy flavor, which is similar to cooked chorizo. You can use Italian sausage chorizo with deli meats in stews, pasta, and risottos.
Pepperoni tends to be mistaken as an Italian type of meat. However, it does not originate in Italy. The pepperoni was created in the 1900s by a group of Italian Americans. Therefore, there is a mix of the Italian influence and familiar taste of American sausage.
Although it might not come from Europe, the taste of pepperoni still makes it a good substitute for chorizo after I make a comparison of chorizo vs pepperoni.
I can describe pepperoni flavor as smokey, spicy, and pungent as it is an air-dried, fine-grained version of salami. The air-drying process adds the iconic saltiness to our classic favorite pepperoni. As it is a mix of pork and beef, the meat texture is soft and sliceable, like Mexican chorizo.
Linguica is a tasty type of sausage coming from Portugal. You can always find it in the famous Portuguese sandwich, franceshina. It is known to have a flavorful taste that can be an amazing chorizo de bilbao substitute.
Linguica is a sausage made of pieces of pork butt. Once people have sliced them evenly, the meat is mixed with different spices like garlic, oregano, paprika, cinnamon, cumin, and pepper. Then it will be stored in white or apple cider vinegar and salt brine overnight to create the salty and savory taste of sausage.
You can use it after the brining, but I recommend smoking it to have a smoky taste similar to Spanish chorizo. It is such a versatile sausage that you can use linguica with many ingredients like cured ham, steak, cheese, and eggs.
Kielbasa is a type of sausage that is a common component of Polish cuisine. Many people know Poland through kielbasa, which is similar to bratwurst in Germany. However, it is not a specific sausage kind but, in fact, all Polish sausages.
Overall, kielbasa has a similar taste to Spanish chorizo with salty and flavorful taste and a firm casing package. The meat is tender and soft that mimics the texture of Mexican chorizo. This sausage is best when smoked as the flavor is enhanced greatly, giving you that rich and savory taste.
If you’re too busy grocery shopping, just use bacon as a chorizo sausage substitute in paella. Bacon is commonly pork meat or turkey that is filled with salt, sugar, and nitrates. Then some commercial bacon brands can smoke the meat for long preservation and spicing up the bacon meat.
This red, processed meat has a salty and meaty taste that can be used to flavor chorizo-based recipes. However, as bacon is thin slices, you should only use it in recipes asking for chorizo as an optional ingredient like pasta and nachos.
7. Mexican Chorizo
If you’re working on a tasty Spanish chorizo breakfast, you can use Mexican Chorizo as a Spanish chorizo substitute.
It is such a flavorful sausage with a similar Spanish chorizo flavor. The Mexican sausage commonly consists of ground pork or beef and pork mixture. It also adds garlic and peppers for that spicy taste of sausage.
However, the texture of this pork and beef chorizo is quite different because the pork is uncured, while the Spanish one is the opposite. Therefore, when using Mexican sausage to substitute for Spanish chorizo, you need to cook it first before eating.
Salami is a common Italian ingredient you can find in burgers and sandwiches. When you look at the flavor, salami is a promising dried chorizo substitute. It is a combination of lightly sweetness, savory, and spiciness.
However, salami is not as spicy as Spanish chorizo, so you should add some teaspoon of paprika for a similar flavor. You can use it in salads, pasta, enchiladas, lasagnas, and cassoulets.
9. Ground Pork
If you like an authentic, strong taste of meaty and less spiciness, you can use ground pork as a chorizo and linguica sausage substitute in many stews and roast recipes.
The minced pork has a light flavor, and tender meat with some smoky paprika and garlic will serve well for your enchilada recipes. It is also best for recipes that crumble the fresh sausages and not cook the whole chorizo.
9. Vegan Chorizo
Chorizo is a great ingredient that can be hard to refuse in your recipe. If you’re vegan and struggling with a vegan chorizo substitute, don’t worry, there is plant-based chorizo for you. Vegan chorizo is not a homemade product, but there is a commercial brand for this special plant-based chorizo.
In 1997, a “soyrizo” was introduced by a Mexican company that contains textured soy protein with salty spices. Besides soy, alternative plant-based chorizo choices like tempeh and tofu give you the protein content you are likely to have in normal chorizo.
The taste of plant-based chorizo is also spicy and pungent, with a beany note that you can use for any chorizo-based dishes.
10. Homemade Mexican Chorizo Recipe
You can always make them at home with my simple homemade Mexican Chorizo original recipe if you need perfect Mexican chorizo.
- 900 gram of ground pork
- Two tablespoons of salt
- Three tablespoons of paprika
- 8 oz of white vinegar
- Six minced garlic cloves
- Five whole cloves
- 8 ancho and guajillo peppers
- ½ tablespoons of black pepper
- ½ tablespoons of oregano
- ½ teaspoon of coriander seeds, dried thyme, dry marjoram, and allspice Corn husks and sausage casing
How to do it?
- Prepare the peppers by cleaning them and cutting out the stems. Then you can slice the peppers in the appropriate size and clear out all the seeds. Use a bowl of hot water and soak them for around 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, you can grind the spices to a smooth consistency. Once the peppers are done, take out a food processor, and put in the peppers, vinegar, garlic cloves. You should blend it until they are smooth.
- Now, take a large mixing bowl and add all the pork meat inside. Combine them with the ground spices and mix them evenly.
- Once you’re finished, use an airtight container to store the pork mixture in the fridge for a flavorful chorizo seasoning.
- After 24 hours, you can take it out and mix it slightly. From then, you can stuff the chorizo into the casing.
Chorizo is one of the classic ingredients in Spanish and Mexican cuisine. It is super tasty as a main dish but also a great flavor enhancer in a variety of dishes.
If you don’t have chorizo for your Spanish dish, you can always count on my list to find the perfect chorizo substitute to completely enjoy your favorite dishes.