Cheater’s Chorizo

Cheater’s chorizo is homemade chorizo made with pork, paprika, garlic, cayenne pepper, and wine. As irresistible as it is easy.

Cheater's Chorizo

An easy riff on real chorizo, this homemade chorizo (aka cheater’s chorizo) is simply a loose sausage with a mild heat and a smoky smack that can be quickly mixed up and stashed in the fridge for you to use as the situation or your craving demands. Although let’s be clear about one thing. This 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 (although if we had our way, it would happen each week). The recipe that follows 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. Originally published May 15, 2011.Renee Schettler Rossi

How To Incorporate This Easy Homemade Chorizo Into Your Cooking

Wondering how to use this easy homemade chorizo? Let your imagination be your only limitation. We suggest you turn to the good folks at River Cottage for their advice, which includes “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.” Let us know your favorite destination for this cheater’s chorizo recipe by leaving a comment below!

Homemade Chorizo

  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 10 M
  • Makes 1 1/2 pounds
5/5 - 3 reviews
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  • 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 teensy amount of the sausage mixture into a tiny flattened ball and fry it until cooked through. Taste to check the seasoning, remembering that the flavors will continue to develop 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 stash 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 it into small balls and fry over medium to medium-high heat until cooked through.

Recipe Testers Reviews

You’ll not be disappointed with this homemade chorizo recipe. It’s very good, easy to mix up, and perfect for when you have that little bit of red wine leftover. I did a chile grind over the pork, and it worked great. The garlic cloves I used measured out to 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the combination of red spices and the fat from the pork made it look just like store-bought chorizo. Next time, I’ll make it into link sausage. It makes a very nice breakfast burrito when mixed with eggs and potatoes.

This is an absolutely simple way to have homemade fresh chorizo right at home—and it tastes much better than the ready-made stuff I find in the local supermarket. After making it, I decided to stuff squid with it, and it came out spectacular. I’ll be making this more often to freeze for later use. I’d actually like to make meatballs out of them, too. Also for our taste, I’ll add a tad more cayenne pepper next time.

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