Authentic Homemade Mexican Chorizo

Think chorizo is the same thing in Mexico as in Spain? Think again. Nancy Lopez McHugh sets the record straight, and shows us how to make the Mexican version.
By Nancy Lopez-McHugh

Spices for Mexican Chorizo

Today I will be sharing one of my favorite Mexican recipes with you, Chorizo. When Europeans hear this word they think of a fermented cured red sausage (Spanish chorizo). But when North Americans hear chorizo they think of a spicy, crumbly meat, red sausage (Mexican chorizo). Spanish chorizo and Mexican chorizo are very different from each other in looks, texture and taste. Since the Spanish chorizo is cured it can just be sliced and eaten. Mexican chorizo must first be removed from its casings then cooked before eating. No matter what you may find on the Internet the two are not interchangeable. I love both types of chorizo but for very different reasons and to eat or cook with in different ways. This recipe is my own trusted recipe, one I’ve been using for a long time, one I love so much that I included it in my cookbook.

The key ingredient that gives Mexican chorizo its red color and spiciness is the Ancho chile powder. But depending on where you live Ancho chile may or may not be available. Below I have listed a way of substituting the Ancho chile with other chile powders. Using the substitute will yield a slightly different tasting chorizo but it will still be very close in taste and can be used just the same. Another great thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t use sausage casings, you only need to cook it before enjoying it.

Ground Pork for Mexican Sausage
Ground Pork for Mexican Chorizo Sausage

Spice Mixture for Mexican Chorizo
Spice Mixture for Mexican Chorizo

Making Mexican Chorizo
Making Mexican Chorizo

Homemade Mexican Chorizo
Homemade Mexican Chorizo

Chorizo Potato Tacos
Chorizo Potato Tacos



5.0 from 7 reviews
Authentic Homemade Mexican Chorizo
 
Prep Time
Total Time
 
How to make authentic Mexican chorizo at home.
Author:
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Ingredients
  • 1.10 lb. or 500 grams of ground pork
  • 1 tbsp. cumin seed
  • 1 tsp. coriander seed
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. oregano
  • ½ tsp. thyme
  • 1 tbsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 5 whole peppercorns (or ½ tsp. ground black pepper)
  • 2 tbsp. Ancho chile powder OR substitute with a combination of
  • 2 tbsp. paprika mixed with ½ tsp. cayenne powder OR
  • 2 tbsp. paprika mixed with 1 tsp. red chili powder
  • 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar (can substitute with
  • red wine vinegar)
Instructions
  1. Handling chili powders can cause burning to your hands. I
  2. highly advice to use plastic gloves for handling the chili and
  3. chorizo.
  4. In a mortar and pestle grind the cumin seed, coriander seed and cloves. Break up the bay leaves with your hands as much as possible and add them to the spices in mortar and pestle, grind until you have a fine powder. Next add the remaining spices to the mortar and pestle and grind/mix until everything is well combined.
  5. In a large glass bowl using your hands break up the the ground pork. Next you may want to put on some plastic gloves to prevent burning and staining to your hands. Pour in the vinegar and half the spices, spread them evenly on the pork, and start working it into the ground pork. Adding more of the spice mixture until it has all been used up. Keep working the meat until it turns red (from the chile) and all the spices have been well combined into the meat.
  6. It is best to let the chorizo sit overnight before cooking with it. This will allow all of the flavors to come together and make for a better tasting chorizo.
  7. Alternatively you can freeze the chorizo until you are ready to use it. Since this chorizo does not have casings you can form or shape sausages or patties and keep their form by wrapping them in plastic kitchen wrap. Another way to store the chorizo in the freezer is by portioning out amounts and storing it inside plastic bags. This way you defrost what you need or want without having to use the whole large batch.
  8. Now you are ready to use the chorizo in all of your favorite Mexican recipes like tacos, sopes, frijoles charros, chiles rellenos or any of your other favorite fusion recipes.


Nancy Lopez-McHugh

Nancy Lopez-McHugh

Nancy Lopez-McHugh is a food blogger, photographer and published author. Most recently she has published "Yummy Pics: A Food Blogger's Guide To Better Photos".

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106 Comments
  1. I love the spices in the Chorizo but I am not big on pork sausage. I think I might try it with turkey and chicken and maybe add a little chicken drippings to make up for the lost fat (or not). I know it won’t be exactly the same but still be chorizo, right? How about some green chorizo?

    1. Hi Laura, Why not I’m sure both the turkey and chicken would taste great. I grew up with regular pork but I’d be willing to try your variations :) As for the green chorizo, I have to admit that I’ve never even hear of it. Did a quick Google search and I see that it is from a different region in Mexico that I’m from. But reading the ingredients, wow that sounds really good. Will have to experiment with chorizo verde now.

      1. Thank you for the recipe. I cannot wait to try it with pork or turkey. I think both would be fine. I grew up with the pork kind, but I have never made it. I think if everything works out I will make it instead of buying it. Thanks again.

    2. I make a dish that’s essentially all of the chorizo spices, bloomed in a little bit of oil with a bit of diced onion, then scrambled into eggs adding the vinegar at the same time. I’m not a vegetarian, but in a pinch, this really scratches my chorizo cravings when there isn’t any handy.

  2. Great post — and it doesn’t look all that difficult to make at home. I’m more familiar with the Spanish version (in fact, I ate it today), but I’d like to try the Mexican chorizo.

  3. This really sounds fantastic! I would not change the thing in your Chorizo recipe.
    As soon as I get all the spices will try this! Thanks again for a wonderful recipe Nancy!

  4. What a great recipe, I adore spicy food. Unfortunately, not that large amount of spices like these are available in Croatian market. Maybe that will change soon, but all the spices you listed in this recipe are available here. I’ll definitely keep this recipe, it’s great

    1. We have something in common then Tamara :) It was the same in Czech Republic and now it’s changing. But if you have any ethnic markets that is a great place to find out of the ordinary ingredients.

  5. Wow. I’m a foodie but had no clue how easy it is to make chorizo. I live in Tennessee and Mexican chorizo costs almost $5/lb while ground pork is only $2/lb. Can’t wait to try it my Chorizo & Potato Empanadas. I will never buy store bought chorizo again! Thank you!!!!

    One question, can I use “ground” cumin & coriander instead of seeds? If so, would the measurements be different?

    1. Hi Steph,
      Yes you can substitute ground for whole spices. Substitute the 1 tbsp cumin seed with 3/4 tbsp, and the coriander you can substitute with 1/4 tsp. ground. I’m not such a big fan of the taste of coriander seed so I would start with a conservative amount. You can try this then adjust to your taste if you like.

      1. Hi Nancy! I was looking for a authentic mexican chorizo recipe. I’m so glad for your website. I tried and it’s great, i grew up in Parral, Chih. Mex. eating chorizo all the time and we used to eat it raw, and it was so good, I wouldn’t do that now. It it hard to find a good chorizo from the store, and I’m so excited that I can make it myself, thank you so much!!!

  6. Nancy, my brother, mother and I spent a week in Puerto Morelos and made chorizo breakfast tacos every morning which we consumed on the patio in a warm ocean breeze. It was an incredibly, wonderful hilight of our vacation. Having lived in Texas many years, I was quite alarmed when I returned to the North East to find that no one sells authentic Mexican chorizo up here. SO … I’m setting out to use my meet grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer for the first time. Might this be a recipe from that area of Mexico? It’s a wonderful, peaceful, non-commercial fishing village about 25 minutes south of Cancun.

    1. Hi John,

      Wow, your description has me desperately craving summer on a Mexican beach. To answer your question, there are a couple of different chorizos I know of, the other is a green chile version. But as far as I know the red chorizo is pretty much the same around the country, like my recipe here. Of course different regions will add or exclude some ingredients depending on regional tastes. I would suggest to you that you first try my recipe as is. Cook it and taste it, then adjust from there.

      As for the fat content, I use store bought semi-lean pork. But after I cook the chorizo I do drain off all the extra fat. Too lean of meat will affect the texture but I don’t think the taste too dramatically. You could always add a little oil when you cook it.

      Good luck and I hope it satisfies the craving.

  7. Also, does there need to be a certain amount of fat in the pork or can I make it lean without affecting the flavor?

  8. Hi Nancy! I was wondering, how spicy is this recipe? The chorizo I know comes from the Sonoran Desert area and isn’t very spicy. Do you know how I could make your recipe less spicy but still flavorful if it is spicy?
    Thanks, Nora

  9. this looks incredible. all i have is chipotle powder at the moment, so i will use that. i have been wanting to use a mmix of half ground sirloin with half chorizo to make burgers lately. maybe ill do that soon.

  10. Hi Nancy. I found your recipe last night. We moved to Ecuador last year and the chorizo here is much much different than Mexican chorizo. After living in New Mexico for 12 years, I miss Mexican chorizo. I have Ancho powder (I had to bring my own chile powders, Ecuadorians use one type of chile and that does not include the various chiles we are used to) and everything necessary to follow your recipe. I am also having to grow my own green chiles, anchos, and various other chiles. I decided if I can’t buy the necessary ingredients I will buy or make them! I start first thing in the morning with the chorizo. I suppose it will take a couple of times to get it right for my taste buds…Thanks again Phil

  11. Good Recipe! I made like 4 pounds. I used beef and a little bit of pork just for flavor. Next time I will use less cinnamon because I could taste it too much. I really liked it. Thanks for sharing!

  12. I have tried other recipes, and will try this one next. I have made others with ground chicken and it worked out just fine as long as it a mix of light and dark meats.

  13. Hi Nancy, your recipe sounds great, my husband works on a ranch in Texas where he processes deer & makes pan sausage, smoked link sausage,and steaks. I was wondering if your recipe (mailnly the coriander and cinnamon)could work with ground deer meat. Because the deer meat is so lean we will be adding some ground pork fat- any sugestions would be greatly appreciated.

    1. As for adding pork to i’ve been mixing pork with deer meat for over twenty years. My dad has been making Chorizo for over 50 yrs, Just mix it up well and freeze it. My dad had a smoke house and he would sometimes smoke the chorizo. This recipe is almost like my dad’s.

  14. Finally REAL Mexican chorizo! I live in Florida. I can get Columbian, Puerto Rican, South American chorizo, etc. everywhere. Even Whole Foods told me if I could get a receipe for Mexican they would make it but they didn’t know how otherwise. Now I can make it myself!!!! Thank you Soooooo much!

  15. Hi Nancy, I make chorizo, but have not used ancho peppers back when my grandparent made chorizo so many ingredients were not available in Chicago. So they used other ingredients.I am going to try chorizo with the ancho and I see some people have used turkey, I am going to try that too. Thanks for new insight on my old recipe.
    Virginia

  16. Thank you so much for the recipie! My husband loves chorizo, but it’s hard to find where we live (in Michigan). I just made some with venison and pork fat (as venison has no fat). Absolutely wonderful! Can’t wait to make it with all pork as well!

  17. Simply love chorizo but hardly buy it anymore unless I’m @ a Mexican market. I am going to try your recipe this week-end

  18. I am a great fan of Mexican cooking but find it difficult to find the right ingredients because I now live in Costa. I am used to the Sonoran taste. I grew up in Tucson AZ. married 2 x to Latinas . Every time I visit my home in Tucson I always stock up on Spices and bring them back to Costa Rica so I can relive my childhood…I get my spices from a spice factory south of Tucson.. Not sure if you are familiar with them but the flavors are to die for..
    http://www.santacruzchili.com/aboutus.htm
    I think that you have one of the best facebook pages Thanks for all the great information…

  19. I too have a problem sourcing ingredients locally as i live in Crete Greece, however i now get all my ingredients from the mexican grocery on line. It is fantastic and the service is super and they deliver straight to the door so if like me you cant get ingredients locally try these guys out ..
    http://www.mexgrocer.co.uk/

  20. And thank you so much for the recipe, Ive never tried making it myself and Im eager to try. Thank you for sharing, your a star!

  21. Sadly moved to NY but happy to teach my daughters the fine art of Mexican cooking. Your chorizo and my empanadas made for a wonderful cooking lesson.

  22. I am so fortunate to live in … and love on … Mexico! Here in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, MX., we have several grocery stores that make “casero,”(home made) chorizo, custom made in each store. Usually the butcher has fashioned the chorizo into a clever figure of a pig. I am amazed at the difference between the flavors! Each store seems to have its own idea about what chorizo is …and all of them are great! I look forward to trying your recipe! I grew up in Southern AZ, and our local butcher made exquisite chorizo. My dear gringo mom made big, fat, wide tacos that were the talk of the town! Thanks again for your recipe!

  23. As is often advised, I began with tiny amounts of Chia Seeds and tried to perform my way up, but I eventually had to stop because of intestinal distress.
    I stopped and let my digestive system recover, but decided a few weeks later to offer Chia
    Seeds one particular last try. The next day, I woke up running a 100
    degree fever. I didn’t at first connect the two, but a friend told me that her mother had a similar experience: the chia seeds had gotten stuck in little recesses in her colon and caused an infection. I right away went for the doctor and was place on an antibiotic, but it took a good four days to recover. I am surprised that this is not discussed much more often; I had been seriously ill. The rest of my seeds are going to art projects!!!!

    Here is my webpage – Philip

  24. Thank you for posting this. My local store stopped selling the good chorizo and now only sells the Johnsonville brat-style stuff. I might use smoked paprika with regular red chili powder, though.

  25. Nancy, what a great recipe.
    I used ground cumin ’cause I didn’t have the seeds,
    turned out super, thanks again.

  26. Oh snap! I been getting ground pork in my csa lately and have been trying so many different things with it. From asian meatballs to spinach meatloaf. However, this spice mix/chorizo was the BEST by far!!! Great flavors, easy to mix, quick to cook and awesome for breakfast leftover at work!

    I sauteed some boiled yukon golds in butter, added the chorizo, cooked for a bit then added eggs & cheese. Then served for dinner. My husband was stoked. Will make again soon.

    Thanks for the spice mix, totally tasty.

  27. Thank you so much for posting this Nancy!! Can’t wait to try it out!
    I’m married to a Mexican-American, but we live in England, and we can’t get it here!! My husband always craves chorizo, we keep thinking we’ve found it in stores but it always turns out to be the Spanish chorizo! SO EXCITED to try this out and surprise him with it!!

  28. For a quick batch of excellent chorizo you can use pickling spice (any grocery store has this in the spice section). Grind pickling spice in a blender with sharp blades. Add chile powder (Kroger-branded chile powder is mild and surprisingly good) and vinegar. Add cayenne if you want to. Mix with ground meat. Done.

    Ken Hooper
    Tamale Trolley Food Truck
    Memphis TN

  29. Back to school has me preparing food in bulk. This is a great, authentic recipe that freezes well for busy days ahead.

    Thank you for differentiating between the Spanish and Mexican variations.

  30. haven’t tried it yet. i loved mexican food that’s why i used my magic google to find a recipe that’s authentic.

  31. I must say ladies the chicken idea is great. When I lived in Stockton, California I would have brunch on Sunday mornings at El Torito. Although there are a number of El Torito restaurants throughout California the Stockton location is the only one that I that I am aware of that served chicken chorizo.

    It’s a wonderful sausage with eggs and fixings. One tip, add some pork fat to the mixture.

  32. OMG that is by far the best spice mix EVER!! We made it with chicken and then stuffed the chicken and cheese into home grown poblano peppers…amazing!

  33. 30 years ago I first moved to Germany and we really missed our San Antonio chorizo. Dad and I figured out our own recipe based on memory and experimentation. I still make my own and am making another batch today. Some of my favorite chorizo can be found in parts of south San Antonio and has a small amount of cinammon. I have always added it to mine. Looking at your recipe has inspired me to try the cloves today…but I’m not giving up my cinammon.

  34. Looks fascinating. I will ty it with mashed tofu. It will be more of a scramble than a sausage. Do we use chili or chile powder?

  35. Hi! I’ve been enjoying this Mexican delicacy almost since the day I was born! Made some today and it’s absolutely yummy. For a slight variation I omit the cinnamon (sweetness) and a bit more vinegar as I prefer the tangy tartness in the overall flavors. Wishing everyone buen provecho!

  36. I’ve been using this recipe for a cornbread/chorizo stuffing for the last 2 Thanksgiving. It’sis really delicious and easy to make. I’ll make it again this year. This is a keeper.

  37. I live in a small fishing village…We do not have red meat available as often as we wish… but then we have lots of seafood. I tried abalone to make chorizo… and… BINGO! big success!!!
    Thanks for the recipe!.

  38. Awesome recipe! Great spice and taste, I ended up using duck with a little pork fat in this recipe, best thing ever! This will be my go to recipe for every duck season, thanks for sharing.

  39. Thanks a million Nancy. My mother passed on without leaving me her recipe. She said that store bought often has a decent flavor “pero usted tiene que quitar los pedazos de orejas y narizes.” That always grossed me out but it’s true that you can’t buy commercial that doesn’t have scrap meat in it. I’m currently in Mexico and it’s the same story here. Thanks again; I’m leaving for the Mercado Mega in Merida with my shopping list.

  40. I do not understand when l see Mexican recipes they always use cumin. I
    lived in Mexico for 20 years and l am married to a true Mexican, and husband does not get why cumin is used in a lot of Mexican cooking.
    My mother-law, sister-law not my sisters-law husband that there family come from Merida, which has the best of Mexico use cumin in there cooking. I bend in lots of places in Mexico and never had a dish with
    cumin. I am looking at your recipe for chorizo and it has cumin, the whole time l was in Mexico never ever had chorizo with cumin.I think that is more of a Tex-Mex then real Mexican.

  41. @Cristine Aes

    Uh…huh.

    “YOU” are “married” to a Mexican man who is from Merida.

    *I AM* a Mexican woman from Jalisco who now lives in Quintana Roo.

    But YOU are going to authoritatively lecture ME about what is or is not “authentic” Mexican cuisine.

    If the outrageous arrogance of that isn’t apparent to you (which it clearly isn’t), I can only say thanks for the amusing comment!

  42. i am sixteen and am pretty much just getting started with cooking on my own i just finished mixing the ingredients together and am letting it sit over night i had to get all the stuff pre-ground because we dont have a grinder thing :) i cant wait to try it and i hope it turns out good

  43. I am going to try this recipe, so my question, if using already ground spices does it change the measurement like for the seed cumin and coriander? Thanks!

  44. I live in holland and can’t buy any fresh chorizo anymore when my supermarket changed into a new one. As I use it for mexican recipes I now used your recipe to make my own. Will eat it tomoorrow but it already smells great. I used 2 different kind of pork meat and grounded it myself.

  45. Absolutely the best chorizo recipe I have found. I am moving to Northern Ireland and can’t buy Mexican Chorizo over there so had to keep trying this until I ended up with my own favorite flavor.

    Everything as listed above except:

    1 pound ground chicken ( I have also used pork which is delicious, but some in my family don’t eat pork)
    1/4 tsp powdered cloves instead of 5 whole (the clove flavor was overpowering for me)
    1/2 tsp sea salt (I eat a lower sodium diet)
    3 Tbl Key Lime Juice instead of 3 Tbl cider vinegar (the vinegar was too sour tasting, vs the lime was subtle and still added the needed acid)

    Thank you for your recipe. I would have never ended up with a satisfying chorizo without it.

  46. Oh… I forgot to add that I used just the Ancho Chili powder. None of the alternate suggestions of paprika etc.

  47. Going to give this a try. The DR. has me on a low carb high protein diet, I have not had chorizo in a long time(I love chorizo) with this recipe I can control the carbs, fats, etc.

    Thanks
    M Salinas

  48. I’m so looking forward to using this recipe. The pork chorizo found in stores has so much fat, so like some of the others, I’m going to try it with Turkey. Can’t wait to put it in my chili recipe!

  49. Nancy, my brother in law is from a region that makes the chorizo verde. It is absolutely awesome!! It has great flavor and it seems less grease than the red. You definitely have to try it.

  50. I love your chorizo recipe. I made it today using lean ground pork and like it a lot better than any of the fatty chorizo found in the stores that burns so easily. I’ll be eating chorizo more often thanks to your recipe.

  51. I have made it with ground turkey and with ground chicken and it turns out really good. You just have to be sure to oil your pan before browning since there is so little fat in the meat. As a matter of fact I will be making 5lbs of turkey chorizo these evening and using it as a filling along with potatoes and roasted poblanos for my empanada filling.

  52. Great recipe…I am making some now with Vension and Pork Butt….60/40 mix… Can wait till morning to cook with Huevos.

  53. I had a similar recipe from my grandparents in Mexico! I lost the recipe but remember making with 1lb pork and 1lb beef all similar spices used here and 1/4-1/2 cup of tequila. I loved the taste it was so good! Will be making this recipe soon thx.

  54. Ok, I lived in Houston for many years and Corpus, so I know mex. chorizo. Where I live now in MO. they dont even know what it is, small farming community. So I want to thank you for this post and recipe, this is as close as I have come to the chorizo, I am use to. Did make a couple of changes, but my whole family (tex-mex) loved it. I did not have corriander, so used fennel seeds and fresh chopped cilantro,which i always have on hand. I used the alternative ingred. of 2T paprika, and 1 t.cayenne and 1 t. red pep. flakes, as we dont have ancho chili pwder here. I used 5 whole cloves of garlic diced fine, and smushed. otherwise all is the same, I mashed all the spiced together with the meat, and placed in a plastic freezer bag, and kneaded it every hour for the first 4 hrs, then let it set in fridge over night. To let spices come together. Mine came out amazing, my son even took some back to college with him. Awesome recipe, thank you so much.

  55. Outstanding recipe! I made up a batch but used lemon juice instead of vinegar and it worked great! Cooked it up in bacon fat and added it to my charro beans for a Mexican pot luck. “Amazing goodliciousness!” as my granddaughter said.

  56. Hello
    looks like agreat recipe! Going to try it really soon. 2 questions; what part of the pork did you use to grind (shoulder, loin, etc…) and will you “simmer” the chorizo before cooking it say in the grill?
    Thanks

  57. I just made a batch of Chirizo using this recipe as the basis. For mine, I combined one pound of venison burger with a pound of hot, smoked Tennessee pork sausage and about 10 ounces of Prisciutto ham left over from another dish.
    I have a very nice blend of Italian spices that I substituted for most of the herbs & spices on the list. I used fresh garlic from my garden, along with just-dug onions; and a smoked, dried, crushed Poblano pepper I grew and prepared. I sauteed these in lard just till lightly sweated.
    All the ingredients plus two ounces of home made champagne vinegar went into the stand mixer for about seven minutes at low speed.
    Most of the batch is in the fridge maturing but I made one small patty to have with brunch. It was wonderful!! The extras added something but the base recipe provided the core taste. I’m glad I found this recipe — I’ll use it again.

  58. I really just started eating chorizo mexicano about 6 almost 7 years ago..i love it! I will dedinitely try the recipe but with beef as i dont intentionally eat pork.Can I purchase my in powder form or should i do it myself? Also should i freeze the chorizo or store it like i do the one i buy.

  59. Oh no… I finished making it and it is now all wrapped up in the freezer but I just realized I did not mix the salt, pepper and vinegar into the mixture… Is this gonna break the yumminess? I planned to use the chorizo for soup….

  60. Nancy,

    I made Sweet potato Chorizo tacos for my family that was on visit from Japan. I made instant fans. So now I’m looking for a way to get them the chorizo experience in Japan. Thank you so much for your recipe, I think that the substitutions could work for them:

    2 tbsp. Ancho chile powder OR substitute with a combination of
    2 tbsp. paprika mixed with ½ tsp. cayenne powder OR
    2 tbsp. paprika mixed with 1 tsp. red chili powder

    I’m SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW!

  61. I made this last night, I let it sit in the fridge over night, I cooked it today.
    This my friend, is outstanding. I highly recommend it.
    On the optional spice ingredients, I used Hatch chili powder.
    This is an absolutely wonderful recipe. I’m definately keeping this one.
    P.s. Make a double batch and freeze it.

  62. Hi Nancy…..I’m almost ready to make up the seasoning….just waiting for the Ancho chili powder to arrive. Is it possible to use an electric spice grinder for mixing the seasoning? Or will the consistancy be too fine? Thank you for your advice.

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