Cheater’s Chorizo

Making and maturing your own “real” chorizo is fun but undeniably a commitment, so here’s the easy version. It’s a highly seasoned mix of coarsely ground pork, which you keep in a tub or plastic container in the fridge and use in a variety of ways. I find the mild heat and smoky flavor of chorizo goes with so many things. You can shape some into mini meatballs or little patties and fry until browned, then chuck into tomato sauces, bean casseroles, vegetables soups, and the like. Or you can fry a couple of handfuls of the mixture, breaking it up with the edge of a wooden spatula as you go until you have a pan of coarse, crisp chorizo crums to scatter over salads, soups, and egg dishes—especially scrambled eggs—or toss with pasta or vegetables, such as broccoli.–Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

LC Let's Be Clear About One Thing Note

This homemade chorizo is not Portuguese chouriço, a smoked sausage traditionally fashioned from pork butt, paprika, garlic, crushed dried red pepper, and a splash of homemade wine in a three-day celebration that takes place twice a year (if we had our way, it would happen each week). This is cheater’s chorizo, a fresh sausage that comes together in less than 10 minutes from pork butt, paprika, garlic, cayenne, and the rest of the wine that’s languishing on your countertop. Its keen ability to keep in the fridge for up to a week means you can use it at will, sprinkling it like pixie dust hither and yon, thinking of it more in terms of an Italian sausage than a proper aged chorizo. Whatever you call it, however you use it, we think you’ll be grateful to have a tub of it in the fridge so you can sizzle it up at a moment’s notice in tandem with sautéed broccoli rabe and potatoes or whatever else you fancy.

Homemade Chorizo Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 10 M
  • Makes 1 1/2 pounds


  • 1 1/2 pounds pork shoulder or butt, coarsely ground
  • 1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 to 11/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • A little canola or olive oil, for frying


  • 1. Place all of the ingredients except the oil in a bowl and squish the mixture between your fingers to distribute the seasonings evenly.
  • 2. Heat a little oil in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Shape a small amount of the sausage into a tiny patty. Fry it a few minutes on each side, until cooked through. Taste to check the seasoning, remembering that the flavors will develop further as the mixture matures. If you’re a heat fiend, you will probably want to add more cayenne and black pepper.
  • 3. That’s it. Just cover the chorizo mixture and store it in the fridge for at least 2 hours before using to allow the flavors time to develop. (The chorizo will keep, refrigerated, for about 1 week.)
  • 4. When ready to use, follow your recipe or shape into small balls and fry over medium to medium-high heat until cooked through.
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