Chorizo is the ultimate ingredient for anyone who loves to add smokiness and hotness to their food. There are various kinds of chorizos out there, with Spanish chorizo being the most popular pick thanks to its wonderful concentrated smoky flavor.
However, as this specific chorizo originated in Spain, finding it in other parts of the world can be difficult, especially if you don’t have a Spanish foods section at nearby grocery stores.
So to make sure you don’t miss out on delicious Spanish chorizo recipes, we are sharing the best Spanish chorizo substitutes.
Spanish Chorizo Substitutes
To find the right substitute, it’s important to understand this ingredient’s flavor profile. The Spanish chorizo is the dry-cured and spicy pork sausage that uses choricero chilies to get the tanginess and heat.
Spanish chorizo is an essential element of tapas, rolls, stews, soups, and pasta. It pairs nicely with meats like beef and chicken as well.
Spanish chorizo is available in a ready-to-eat form and is mostly eaten cold, though it can be added to many dishes like soups, beans, curries, etc. It’s a hard sausage with a firm texture. Generally, the sausage is used for flavoring paella.
Now that we have shared the basic information about the flavor and texture of the Spanish chorizo, let’s check out the substitutes!
For anyone trying to find the most suitable substitute for Spanish chorizo in cooking recipes, pepperoni is your best bet. This is mainly because pepperoni is seasoned with paprika and is quite chewy, making a perfect chorizo-like bite when cooked properly.
Plus, pepperoni is made by adding chili peppers, so it has a higher level of spiciness than plain sausages. Just like Spanish chorizo, pepperoni is available in dried form too. Both these options contain garlic too, which further brings their flavor profile closer together.
As for substitution, you can substitute pepperoni with Spanish chorizo in the same amount. However, you will need to consider the higher spiciness and hotness. Pepperoni also has ground black pepper or black pepper powder, which gives it slightly more heat.
While linguica tends to have a smokier flavor as compared to Spanish chorizo thanks to the long curing time, it’s still a solid substitute. Linguica belongs to Portugal, where it’s traditionally made by seasoning a pork butt sausage with garlic, onions, and paprika.
When your recipe demands Spanish chorizo, you should add a lesser quantity of linguica.
Fun fact: The pork butt is confusingly not taken from a pig’s hind limbs. Instead, it’s the meat found on the shoulders and upper arm.
You will need to cook linguica before adding it to the dish– stir-frying it in a pan with vegetable oil is a good option. As linguica is milder, you can add paprika or chili flakes to spice up the dish. If you find Spanish chorizo too hot, then go with linguica for a similar but milder taste.
Kielbasa is a Polish pork sausage that is available and sold in a fully cooked form. Kielbasa doesn’t have the smoky flavor profile of Spanish chorizo- however, some brands offer smoked versions, so you can opt for them to ensure it makes a proper replacement.
As far as the substitution quantity is concerned, you can use the same quantity as chorizo for a filling meal with the same flavor and taste.
If you haven’t been able to find any previously-mentioned substitutes, we suggest that you go for bacon. Bacon is easily available and substitutes well when added properly.
This is because bacon is made from pork, and it can be used for adding pork flavor to foods. Like other options we’ve mentioned, adding Spanish smoked paprika is essential.
5. Mexican Chorizo
What if you cannot have Spanish chorizo? You can always go for Mexican chorizo. It’s hard to slice, but it can perfectly replicate the flavor of Spanish chorizo. Just remember to brown it before adding it to any food.
In addition to this, you can opt for a Hawaiian-style sausage too, but it also needs to be cooked and can’t be eaten cold.
We all have enjoyed salami in sandwiches and burgers, but did you know that it can perfectly replace Spanish chorizo in baked dishes, tapas, soups, and pasta?
If you can’t seem to find good chorizo anywhere and need a substitute to use for dinner, then adding salami is an excellent option- as long as you’re adding paprika for the smoke essence.
It’s important to note that salami has a slightly different texture as well- it’s mild in flavor, firm, and dry. On the other hand, chorizo is harder and spicier.
7. Ground Pork
Ground pork or minced pork can replicate the flavor of Spanish chorizo in any dish for the most part. However, getting the same texture is not possible. If your recipe’s big on flavor and texture isn’t an essential component (like in a homemade casserole), then you can always use ground pork.
That being said, to replace Spanish chorizo with minced pork, you’ll need to add some smoked paprika and vegetable oil. Add a bit of salt too. This will give the perfect chorizo flavor and smokiness to your dish.
If you want to add more hotness to the recipe, you can add dried chili peppers, pepper flakes, or fresh chili peppers.
If you’re not sure of where to begin- we’ve got your back. Follow the recipe mentioned below.
- Brown minced/ground pork with some vegetable oil in a hot pan.
- When some color is imparted, add smoked paprika. For 1lbs meat (around 500g), you can use 3-4 teaspoons of smoked paprika.
- Leave the mince to dry after it’s cooked through.
Andouille is yet another sausage substitute that contains ground pork. It can be a good alternative for using beans or Cajun as the sausage slices are bigger in size.
Andouille has a distinctive taste- it’s sharp and very smoky. You can use it in most recipes than call for Spanish chorizo, but be sure to decrease the amount depending on how smoky you want your food to be.
You can mix it with other cooked meats like chicken, turkey, and beef in your dinner recipe.
9. Other Sausages
As there are several kinds of sausages available at local grocery stores, you can practically use most of the options. However, this is a trial and error process- you’ll have to keep the flavor of different sausages in mind, as well as how they’re made and what level of firmness they have.
You can use soft sausages as well, but they’re only good for recipes that don’t rely on texture. Dried sausages are better for dishes like pasta.
An easy trick to make any sausage smoky like Spanish chorizo is to simply add a teaspoon of dried smoked paprika. You can adjust the heat with fresh or ground chilis.
If you want to slice sausages like chorizo but they’re too soft, poach them first. Simmer in boiling water for about 10-15 minutes. Make sure the sausage is cooked through before slicing it and browning as per the recipe.
This is the best alternative for vegans and vegetarians. You don’t have to compromise on flavor when it comes to a dish that uses Spanish chorizo- simply add chickpea.
However, remember that both the cooking time for chickpea and chorizo, as well as their textures are quite different.
To prepare this substitute, grab your canned chickpeas and drain them properly. If you’re using chickpea cooked at home, make sure it’s soft but not mushy.
Add chickpea to oil, sautee for a while, then add smoked paprika. You can also add garlic powder, black pepper, red chili powder, and salt to give depth of flavor. Make sure the paprika you use is pre-smoked, or use a smoking oil to impart the unique chorizo flavor to your chickpeas.