If you’ve ever been to Spain, or you’ve tried some tapas when out and about, you will have likely gotten a taste of either longaniza, chorizo, or both!
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Unless you’re familiarized with them, you might not realize that longaniza and chorizo are two different foods.
They’re easy to confuse as the same because they look and taste very similar, and sometimes it seems as though they can be used interchangeably. However, they are very much different foods, despite their similarities.
So what’s the difference between longaniza and chorizo? The main difference is actually in what they’re made out of. While longaniza is made out of minced meat, chorizo is made out of ground pork. Mexican chorizo is different than Spanish Chorizo.
It’s also worth noting, as another main difference, that longaniza is spiced with black pepper, and chorizo, on the other hand, is spiced with paprika.
You might also notice that longaniza is a bit thinner in texture, compared to the thickness of chorizo, and this is due to the differences in the way they are both made.
Now that you know the slight differences in what they are made out of, you might notice that they do, in fact, taste differently, and you therefore might be able to distinguish between them.
Although it’s true that they can basically be used interchangeably in most cases, you’ll find that one or the other works best for certain types of recipes or food combinations.
The Spanish know this very well, which is why their tapas are always on point!
We will take a deeper look at what exactly longaniza and chorizo are, and give you some examples as to what types of recipes one and the other are best used for!
What is Longaniza?
Longaniza is essentially a type of Spanish sausage, made out of minced meat. It is highly popular in Spain, as well as in other Spanish-speaking countries.
Longaniza’s ingredients and spices can vary from region to region, as each place will have its own version of longaniza.
However, if we take Spain as our main reference, longaniza is seasoned with black pepper. In other places, such as Mexico, they will season longaniza to be a lot spicier, so it’s good to check beforehand!
Longaniza is usually used as raw meat for cooking, shaped in long sausages (longer than chorizo, which can be a way to tell them apart sometimes).
It can also be cured, and the curing time for longaniza is actually shorter than that for chorizo.
As for appearance, longaniza looks like a dark red sausage, due to the number of spices and seasonings it has.
It can be hard to accurately describe longaniza, as there are so many variants of it and it is constantly evolving to experiment with more flavorings and texture.
If you’ve never had the opportunity to try it, we highly recommend you seek a chance to taste it! Longaniza can be cooked and eaten in many ways, smoked, fried, cured, frozen...multiple possibilities to suit all tastes and preferences! It is not as popular as chorizo, but longaniza can be used for many meals and is definitely worth looking into.
What is Chorizo?
Chorizo is far better known than longaniza, as it is also widely used outside of Spain or Spanish-speaking countries. It is incredibly popular and can instantly add a ting of Spanish flavoring to any meal you’re cooking!
Essentially, chorizo is a type of pork sausage, originated in Spain, that is finely ground and heavily seasoned, to then be packaged into casings in short lengths of meat.
Most commonly, it is mainly seasoned with paprika. However, it can also feature different seasonings, creating many different varieties and types of chorizos.
Chorizo can also vary from region to region, as happens with longaniza, so there really is no end to the variations and differences in flavor that chorizo sausage can offer!
If you ever want to be able to guess at the flavoring of chorizo, there’s a trick. As a general rule, thin chorizos are sweeter and milder in flavoring, while thicker chorizos are a lot spicier and a lot more savory.
Chorizo can be bought as a soft sausage that needs to be cooked, or it can be bought as a cured sausage that is dry and can simply be sliced for consumption.
You can also cook the cured chorizo, to warm it up and blend its flavoring with whatever else it is you’re making!
You should know that before you cook chorizo, you should peel and remove the outer sausage casing it comes in. It is also recommended that you remove the casing from the cured chorizo too because although you can eat it whole without a problem, the casing is far too easy to choke on!
Just like longaniza, (or perhaps it’s longaniza that is just like chorizo), it can be cooked and integrated into a meal in many different ways. As well as being highly popular in tapas and as a plate spread.
However, we’ve got to give it to chorizo, because it’s even more versatile than longaniza, which is perhaps what makes it so much more popular and so much more used outside of Spanish-speaking countries.
Recipes for longaniza
As we’ve mentioned, longaniza can be eaten in a variety of different ways, as it can be cooked, smoked, fried, cured...basically, it’s very versatile.
The most common way you will find longaniza is as a raw sausage that can be cooked and then eaten as part of different meals and recipes.
Although just like chorizo, longaniza comes in casings, you do not have to remove the casing before cooking, as it is usually just cooked as sausage links instead of as ground meat.
Here are some simple and popular longaniza recipes:
Lentil Soup with Longaniza
This is a very popular recipe in Spain, and it’s a great way to add some flavoring (and unhealthiness, oops), to an otherwise healthy meal.
Here are the steps:
Lentil Soup with Longaniza
- Olive oil
- Heat olive oil in a pan (if you ever want to cook like a Mediterranean person, just add olive oil to everything, pro tip!).
- Add garlic and saute till golden brown. Then add onions and cook until they are tender.
- Add pieces of longaniza and stir-fry for two minutes so that they start cooking.
- Add celery, carrots, tomatoes, or any other vegetables you want to include in your lentil soup. Keep cooking in the pan for another few minutes.
- Cook your lentils by the side, until they are tender and ready. Then mix it all together, and let it simmer.
- Add seasoning and spices. However, take into account that the longaniza will already add quite a bit of flavoring!
- Serve warm and enjoy! You’ll find that the longaniza adds a lot more flavor to the lentils, turning it into a highly enjoyable meal!
- Other easy longaniza recipes:
- Cooked for breakfast with toast, egg, or other ingredients!
- Cooked for wraps and burritos, with other ingredients!
- Cooked and added into an omelet!
- Cooked and mixed with fried rice (this is a very popular choice!) with added egg on top and/or other ingredients.
- Added to many soups or stews, in the same way as it is added to the lentil soup!
Recipes for chorizo
Chorizo is a lot more versatile than longaniza when it comes to cooking and different recipes.
It is used with a lot more meals and is, therefore, a lot more popular and well-known. I use fresh chorizo or homemade chorizo in recipes in place of Italian sausage or blood sausage. It tastes great in chorizo soup, scrambled eggs or in any Mexican dish like taco. I put it in queso or cheese sauce that goes well on any burrito.
In fact, there’s no need to go to Spain or a Spanish-speaking country in order to find a good chorizo meal!
While longaniza is usually cooked as sausage links, chorizo is far more commonly used as ground meat to add spice and flavor to whatever it is you are cooking.
It is quite typical for people around the world to simply add some chorizo to their omelet or stew, in order to get that kick of spice, with the bonus of little chunks of delicious chorizo, as it goes well with most ingredients.
Here are some simple and popular chorizo recipes:
Spicy tomato and chorizo pasta bake
It’s very hard to find an especially popular or common chorizo recipe because chorizo can be used in almost anything!
A pasta bake is just one of the simpler examples in which chorizo can be integrated, so here are the steps:
Spicy tomato and chorizo pasta bake
- Preheat your oven to 392 degrees Fahrenheit and bring a pan of water to boil at the same time.
- In another pan, fry your pieces of chorizo for a few minutes. Then take the chorizo out of the pan and leave it on a pate for later (but leave the chorizo oil that has been left behind in the pan where it is!)
- In the chorizo oil that is left in the pan, cook some onions, tomatoes, garlic, and any other ingredients you want to add. It is very typical to use leftover chorizo oil for cooking other ingredients in the meal, as it adds the chorizo flavoring to everything else!
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta. When finished, drain the pasta and add it to the pan of ingredients.
- Add the chorizo pieces and any other extra seasoning, spices, or herbs you wish.
- Mix everything together so that the pasts absorbs the sauce and flavoring. Then serve warm and enjoy!
- Other easy chorizo recipes:
- Added to your omelet or your breakfast, whether it be with eggs or toast or mushrooms, or all at once!
- Added into soups, just like how the longaniza is. In fact, quite often, both longaniza, and chorizo are added into soup recipes together!
- With chicken recipes, such as stuffed chicken. Chorizo works extremely well with chicken, and many use chorizo to add flavor to their chicken meal, or to even cover their chicken in chorizo oil as it cooks in the oven!
- Wraps, tapas, burritos...the possibilities are endless when it comes to chorizo! You can also add it into salads of all sorts!
- Chorizo as a snack:
Unlike longaniza, chorizo can be very commonly found dry and cured. It is very often served with plate spreads, along with pieces of cheese and other meaty foods, such as ham. It can be sliced or cut into pieces as a snack, without having to cook it.
However, remember to peel off the casing from the chorizo pieces, as it can be very easy to choke on and is, therefore, best to avoid.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between chorizo and cooking chorizo?
Chorizo is an incredibly popular Spanish ingredient that comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes and textures. As a general rule, chorizo contains pork, paprika, salt and garlic, and can be bought as a whole sausage of either soft chorizo or a fimer, drier cured sausage. Soft cooking chorizo must be cooked before eating, while the cured version can be sliced and consumed without cooking. It is also commonly sold thinly sliced to be enjoyed raw as a tapas option.
Longaniza is another Spanish sausage similar to chorizo and closely linked to the Portuguese linguica. While longaniza and chorizo taste similar to one another, longaniza is made from minced meat and typically spiced with black pepper. Chorizo is mostly used to add flavoring and a kick to a meal, while longaniza is more commonly used as link sausages to be cooked.
What is the difference between chorizo and linguica?
As touched upon above, linguica shares many similarities to longaniza. Originally from Portugal, linguica is a coiled sausage spiced with paprika and garlic. It needs to be cooked before serving, and is usually roasted over charcoal, although it can also be either pan fried or added to stews.
If you’ve confused chorizo and linguica in the past, don’t worry you’re not alone. Linguica is similar to chorizo, but tends to have a milder flavor. It can often include spices like oregano and cumin, as well as going through a vinegar brining stage either before or after it goes into casings. Both ultimately use the same meat and very similar spice blends, but it is understood that chorizo has more of a ‘kick’ than its Portuguese counterpart.
What is the Filipino version of the sausage?
The Filipino version, longganisa, is a local sausage commonly served for breakfast with a fried egg and fried rice. The sausage is a derivative of the Spanish sausage longaniza, and has many different kinds which are known after the town or province in which they came from. The two main categories are sweet longganisa (hamonado) and garlicky & salty longganisa (derecado).
The best method of cooking longganisa is to firstly boil them in a little bit of water over medium heat. They don’t need to be submerged, just add enough water to reach about a quarter high of the sausage. Once you’ve covered the pan and the water is almost gone, remove the lid and decide whether or not you want to add more cooking oil. Then allow the longganisa to cook, ensuring you turn them from time to time until both sides are browned and the sugar from inside the sausage has caramelized.
The main difference between longaniza and chorizo is what they are made out of. Longaniza is made from minced meat and is typically spiced with black pepper, chorizo is made from ground pork and is typically spiced with paprika.
Chorizo is also thicker than longaniza and is far more popular, as it is a lot more versatile in use and is a lot more spread around the world.
They can both be found as raw sausages that need to be cooked, and as cured dried meat. However, longaniza is more commonly used as link sausages to be cooked, and chorizo is more commonly used as ground meat to add flavoring and a kick of Spanish to the meal.
Both longaniza and chorizo can be used in very similar meals and foods, and they both look like dark red sausages, making them very similar and easily confused.
But now that you know their differences, you can choose one or the other to match the meal and food you have planned even better!