Even if you’re relatively new to Spanish cuisine, you’ve probably come across longaniza and chorizo at some point. You might even have tried one of them and wondered: longaniza or chorizo – what’s the difference?
Both types of dark, red sausages but are they really the same thing? If you’ve got a recipe that calls for some longaniza, but you’ve only got chorizo in the fridge, can you substitute it?
While longaniza and chorizo are often mistaken to be exactly the same thing, technically speaking, they are different and people familiar with these types of sausage are aware of these differences and use them for different purposes accordingly.
These two types of sausage are very similar and often even look alike in the way they are packaged. It’s easy to see why many people think of them as the same type of meat. Adding to the confusion is the way these types of meat are prepared in different parts of the world.
Longaniza from Spain will be different to longaniza from Argentina, where it is typically flavored with ground anise seeds, rather than the usual black pepper. Meanwhile, in the Philippines, the terms longaniza and chorizo are interchangeable, referring to sausages flavored with indigenous spices.
So, What Is The Difference Between Longaniza And Chorizo?
The main difference is in what the sausages are made of. Longaniza is typically made with minced meat while chorizo is made using ground pork. The different types are also seasoned differently, longaniza is spiced with black pepper while chorizo usually contains paprika. Chorizo also has a thicker texture due to the grinding and packing process.
As you can see, the differences are subtle, and, in some cultures, the two terms can be used interchangeably but, if you’re preparing a particular dish, you might want to get the type of meat specified in the recipe to get the best result.
A Closer Look at Longaniza and Chorizo
As we’ve discovered, these two products look very similar when you see them at the grocery store. But we also know that, while similar, there are some distinct differences between the two. Let’s take a closer look at each product to get a better understanding of each one.
What is Longanzia?
Longaniza is a type of Spanish sausage that is prevalent in many Spanish cultures and cuisines. This type of meat is very popular in areas like Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Spain, Puerto Rico, and other regional areas as well.
Longaniza is processed in a few different ways that vary depending on the different countries or regions it is produced in. Depending on the region from which it has come, Longaniza can be mild or spicy. So, if you are going to use it in a recipe, consider what flavors you are looking for and then choose an appropriate sausage to match.
While traditionally, in Spain, Longanzia is seasoned with black pepper, in Mexico they like it hot and so season their longaniza to be even spicier than chorizo. Meanwhile, Argentina uses ground anise seeds to flavor their longaniza, which gives it a milder and sweeter taste.
Longaniza can be dried and cured which gives it the look of pepperoni or salami but with a bolder flavor. Even milder flavored longaniza has strong savory flavors that stand out from the crowd of any other cured meats.
Some people describe longaniza as closely related to chorizo, and as we’ve discovered, the terms are used interchangeably in some parts of the world. Certainly, in appearance, longaniza and chorizo look very similar, both are dark red, sausage shaped meats.
A significant difference between chorizo and longaniza, however, is that longaniza is made with minced meat. Longaniza is not always cured but rather often used as raw meat, and then cooked into the dish you are preparing.
How To Cook With Longaniza
Longaniza is often sold in its raw form and usually comes shaped as long sausages, typically longer than those of chorizo. While longaniza can be used in ground meat form (removed from its sausage casing) it is usually kept in its original sausage form for cooking and then eating.
However, as always when home cooking, just because longaniza is commonly used that way does not mean that you have to do it that way, you’re limited only by your imagination in the things you could cook with it. Just remember, if it’s been dried and cured (like a salami) then you can eat it as is, but if it’s in raw sausage form, it must be cooked prior to eating.
Whether you remove it from it’s sausage casing or not is totally up to you and what you are cooking. You could add some to fried rice, make breakfast wraps or add some to your scrambled eggs, there are so many ways to enjoy some longaniza in your meals.
What Is Chorizo?
Chorizo is probably more commonly recognized than longaniza. In fact, many people will just see a spicy, Spanish sausage and call it chorizo, as we’ve already discovered, some people use the terms interchangeably.
Chorizo is made from ground pork that has been seasoned and is then inserted into casings. Usually, a chorizo sausage will be shorter than a longaniza sausage.
Different seasonings can be used to produce chorizo and this is often seasonal and/or dependent on the region in which it has been produced. Common seasonings for chorizo include paprika (which gives it its distinctive red color), red peppers, garlic, salt, and other seasonings.
Just like longaniza, spices, and ingredients used to make chorizo varies depending on which part of the world it is being produced in. Chorizo is popular in a number of regions including Portugal, Spain, Mexico, parts of South America, the Caribbean, and eastern areas of Asia like Timor and Goa, and each local chorizo will be slightly different.
Chorizo is also very popular in Cajun areas of the US, such as Louisiana, where it is a common ingredient in dishes such as Jambalaya.
While the spices in chorizo can vary, there is a generally accepted rule that long, thin chorizos are seasoned to be sweet and mild while short, thick chorizo will typically be spicy and savory. So, depending on what you are cooking, if you’re looking to add some spice to your dish, buy a shorter, thicker chorizo.
How To Cook With Chorizo
Just like longaniza, chorizo is a versatile meat which can be used for many of the same recipe ideas as longaniza. While longaniza is usually preferred as sausage links, chorizo can be used as a sausage or as a spicy ground meat – just remove it from its sausage casing.
There are so many things that you can cook with chorizo! Make a tasty pot of jambalaya, add it to soups, meatballs, meatloaf, or even stuff it in a chicken. The sky’s the limit! If you’ve got some chorizo that you want to use up, just google “recipes with chorizo” and you’ll find heaps of inspiration.
Are Longaniza And Chorizo Made with the Same Meat?
While longaniza and chorizo are both typically made from pork, the composition of the meats used may vary depending on the region in which it is made. Both will definitely use pork meat as a base, however, longaniza particularly, may contain any combination of meat, fat, or cartilage.
Chorizo, on the other hand, is typically always made with pork, but various types of pork meat may be used in the process.
Do You Have to Cook Longaniza or Chorizo Prior to Eating?
This depends on how you’ve purchased your meat. If your chorizo or longaniza has been dried and cured like salami, then it can be eaten as it is, or can also be cooked – just like cooking your pre-cured pepperoni on a pizza.
If, however, you have bought your meat in raw sausage form, then you will definitely need to cook it first, just like any other raw meat.
So we’ve learnt that, while chorizo and longaniza are quite similar, and are even used interchangeably in some parts of the world, they do, technically, have some subtle differences.
Here are some points to help remember the similarities and differences between the two – but keep in mind, the meats can be quite different depending on which part of the world they were produced.
Typically speaking though:
- Longaniza is spicier than chorizo.
- Longaniza is spiced with black pepper.
- Chorizo is spiced with paprika.
- Longaniza uses finely minced meat while chorizo uses chopped and ground meat.
- Longaniza links are longer than chorizo.
- Chorizo can vary in length and size depending on spice level.
- Longaniza is rarely cured and usually sold raw.
- Longaniza is usually cooked as sausage links while chorizo is often cooked as a ground meat, removed from sausage casings.
Whichever type of meat you choose, we hope your home cooking is taken to a whole new level with the addition of some red, spicy, Spanish sausage!