Longaniza vs Chorizo or The Difference Between Mexican Chorizo and Spanish Chorizo!

Chris Starks
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What is Longaniza?

Longaniza is known to be the second cousin of Chorizo. It is thin spiced pork sausage. Longaniza differs from traditional sausage in that the pork is chopped and minced, not ground before being placed into its intestinal casing. While this seems like a small deviation from ordinary pork sausage, it offers a whole new array of flavors and textures.

Longaniza is a sausage originating from Andalusia, Spain. It is made from pork as well as fat and a mixture of herbs. There are many different types of longaniza, but most contain garlic and cayenne pepper along with paprika. Longaniza can be used as a type of chorizo, but due to many herbs, it is considered a delicacy in Spain.

Over the years, longaniza has taken on so many different traits; spicy, garlicky, sweet, and citrusy. You can smoke it, cooked, fried, kept fresh, frozen, or cured. A true longaniza is typically made with lean pork fat and meat, but different regions have adapted and used chicken, beef, and even tuna in their recipes. What makes it a longaniza differs from region to region, as different types of meats, spices, and casings are used in each country.

What is Chorizo?

Chorizo is an unsmoked cured Spanish sausage that originated in the region of Caceres in central Spain. It is made of various spices, pork, and pork fat in pieces. This mixture is then grounded and stuffed into a large casing. There are several varieties of chorizo, but the most common is the fresh, smoked, and cured types. It is important to note that if you are not a fan of spicy foods, then chorizo is not the sausage for you because of its spicy and salty flavor.

How Do I Know Whether to Use Longaniza or Chorizo in My Recipe?

Longaniza and chorizo are both Spanish smoked sausages that are red, moist, and piquant due to the addition of paprika, black pepper, garlic, salt, and vinegar. These sausages have almost identical ingredients, but they are from different regions of Spain.

There are no complicated differences, one can potentially use them interchangeably, but there are some distinct differences you should be aware of.

One of the best ways to know if you should use chorizo or longaniza in your recipe is if the recipe calls for you to take the meat out of the casing and cook it, you're using longaniza. However, if the recipe calls for you to slice or chop the meat, you're going to be using chorizo.

How Will I Know If the Chorizo Needs Cooking First?

The main difference between Mexican chorizo and Spanish chorizo is that Mexican chorizo, which is cassava-based, is not cured like Spanish chorizo but cooked like a fresh sausage. If you want to substitute the Mexican chorizo for Spanish chorizo, you must cook it first. This will give it a firmer texture and deeper flavor.

Fresh chorizo is often greasy, so there's no need to add oil when cooking it. It's pretty much ground pork, so once it starts to brown, you know it's cooking!

Imported Spanish chorizo is dry-cured primarily and ready to eat. Mexican chorizo is more often a fresh sausage that you need to cook. You can also check the label, and if it has cooking instructions, likely, it shouldn’t be eaten raw. If it’s in the meat section in a superstore, it’s probably meant to be cooked first.

Looking at the chorizo can tell if it's ready to eat or not. If it seems hard and dry, it is most probably ready to eat.

Longaniza vs Chorizo Summary

Longaniza is a cured, spiced sausage famous in the Spanish-speaking world. Chorizo, however, is spiced sausage in Spanish and Portuguese cuisines. Although they look similar, chorizo and longaniza are different in several ways.
Below is a summary of longaniza vs. chorizo. Note that these are only my personal opinions based on my experiences.

  • Both are cured and spiced; however, they share subtle uses of different spices.
  • Longaniza is a soft, air-dried, lower-temperature cooked sausage. It is often white can be soft or hard. It is a higher-temperature cooked sausage.
  • Longaniza has a defined texture or a certain "Feel" while Chorizo doesn't.