In the realm of food subscriptions that don’t exist but should, a chorizo of the month club would definitely be one worth signing up for. And not just because it would mean a regular supply of meat shipped straight to your door. It would also be a fantastic way to taste one food in all of its worldly iterations: the colonial influence of Spain and Portugal brought the sausage far and wide. In Brazil, chouriço lends a smoky, fatty flavor to the stew feijoada, while in the Philippines, longganisa (a related variety) are served with rice and eggs for breakfast. And back on the Iberian peninsula, you could easily make a hobby out of cataloging differences of size, texture, seasoning, and shape in the links from each and every town.
Chorizo isn’t exactly one type of sausage, but a genre of sausages that share diasporic origins. If you had to think of broadly defining characteristics, chorizos are heavily seasoned—paprika is the major flavor in Spain, although other chiles might be used elsewhere. And pork is their default meat, although it’s not the only one. Argentina, for example, is known for its mixed beef and pork sausages.
But even with a world of chorizos out there to explore, there are just two that have made significant headway stateside. The first, what is usually referred to as Spanish-style chorizo, is a hard, cured sausage that can be sliced and eaten as is. It comes in both hot and sweet varieties (based on the heat level of the paprika that’s used). The other, Mexican-style chorizo, refers to a soft, fresh ground meat sausage, the type that you can slice open, crumble, and cook. Hot chiles and other spices give them a flavor that’s distinct from their Iberian counterparts.
Although you wouldn’t want to swap out one for the other in recipes, Spanish and Mexican chorizos ultimately have the same goal in mind: tons of porky, delightfully greasy flavor blasted with spice. Whether you’re in the mood for a tapas-style bite, something to eat with tortillas, or a dish that completely criss-crosses the map, these recipes prove that chorizo is not simply a sausage, but a state of mind.
1. Chorizo and Potato Breakfast Tacos
Tacos in the morning? Don’t mind if I do. These tortillas are stuffed with a combination of scrambled eggs, potato, cheese, and chorizo that’s worth getting out of bed for. Get our Chorizo and Potato Breakfast Tacos recipe.
2. Chorizo Breakfast Burritos
Or maybe you prefer your breakfast scramble fully loaded and wrapped. This recipe packs all of its elements into one handful of a burrito. Get our Chorizo Breakfast Burritos recipe.
3. Mollete con Chorizo y Salsa Tricolor
It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that this is the holy grail of breakfast sandwiches: with beans, cheese, eggs, chorizo and a whole other heap of glorious toppings piled onto a torta, it could literally overpower most other first meals of the day. Get our Mollete con Chorizo y Salsa Tricolor recipe.
4. Chipotle-Chorizo Jalapeño Poppers
Up for a triple threat? How about fiery hot jalapeños, chorizo, and chipotles in a bite-sized package. Make sure to keep a beer or glass of milk by your side. Get our Chipotle-Chorizo Jalapeño Poppers recipe.
5. Mushroom and Chorizo Quesadillas
Meat, cheese, mushrooms, and tortillas: quesadillas like these aren’t here to get fancy; they’re here to satisfy your innermost junk food desires. Get our Mushroom and Chorizo Quesadillas recipe.
6. Mushroom and Chorizo Pizza
Next to this pie, even an Italian sausage pizza with an extra shake of pepper flakes looks meek and mild. This combo of mushrooms, chorizo, and cheese is all things flavorful and spicy. Get our Mushroom and Chorizo Pizza recipe.
7. Linguine with Clams and Chorizo
Surf and turf can be so much more than just lobster and steak. Clams and chorizo show that the duo can branch out (and be a bit more budget friendly) too. Get our Linguine with Clams and Chorizo recipe.
7. Orecchiette with Chorizo and Swiss Chard
Pasta is an excellent template for a one plate meal. You can layer on the veggies, meat, and cheese, as this recipe does, to create contrasts of texture and flavor. Get our Orecchiette with Chorizo and Swiss Chard recipe.
8. Chorizo Scotch Eggs
This is the sort of pub food you’d want to see at the Scottish-themed cerveceria of your dreams: a hard boiled egg covered in chorizo and dredged in tortilla chip crumbs (never mind that Scotch eggs aren’t actually a Scottish invention). Pair it with a side of chipotle-spiced haggis and a margarita made with an extra-peaty whisky. Get our Chorizo Scotch Eggs recipe.
9. Pork and Chorizo Chile Burger
Think you can handle all all this chorizo? Here it gets packed into one hefty and juicy patty, served alongside Anaheim peppers for a bit of subtle sweetness and the creamy smack of grilled avocado. Get our Pork and Chorizo Chile Burger recipe.
10. Tex-Mex Macaroni and Cheese
If nachos were reborn as a cheesy pasta casserole, this is what it would look like. Fully loaded with chorizo and dripping with cheddar and jack cheeses, you almost feel compelled to eat it with your hands, too. Get our Tex-Mex Macaroni and Cheese recipe.
11. Chorizo and Olive Flatbread
Loaded with paprika, Spanish-style chorizo can be especially headstrong. It needs equally robust ingredients to go along with it. In this appetizer, funky oil-cured olives and harissa paste prove to be a match. Get our Chorizo and Olive Flatbread recipe.
12. Grilled Paella
In this quintessentially Spanish dish, chorizo adds a smoky hint, which is intensified even further through cooking on the grill. Get our Grilled Paella recipe.
13. Chicken-Chorizo Empanadas
Green olives and Spanish chorizo are intense and intriguing as the filling in these flaky empanadas, which also feature a homemade crust. Get our Chicken-Chorizo Empanadas recipe.
14. The Turducken of Cheese Balls
Of course chorizo would have a hand in this over-the-top ball of cheese. Tucked in between a layer of cream cheese and a layer of manchego, it’s living out every sausage’s dream: to be completely smothered by dairy on all sides. Get our The Turducken of Cheese Balls recipe.
Header image: Chorizo Quesadillas from Chowhound
Miki Kawasaki is a New York City–based food writer and graduate of Boston University's program in Gastronomy. Few things excite her more than a well-crafted sandwich or expertly spiced curry. If you ever run into her at a dinner party, make sure to hit her up for a few pieces of oddball culinary trivia.