What varieties of chorizo exist?

“Chorizo” is a sausage from Spain, but it is currently one of the most global cold meats in the world. The Hispanic influence in the past brought “chorizo” beyond our borders many years ago and it became a typical product in many geographical areas.

In addition, Spain’s diverse geography has allowed chorizo to evolve and to be different depending on the area of Spain where it is produced, which has led us to have many varieties of product within the national territory.

The base of a chorizo is the minced lean meat, some bacon, paprika, salt and garlic. The most common meat is pork, but it can also be made with the meat of another animal.

So then, what varieties of chorizo can we find? As we have mentioned before, those are almost infinite, but let’s talk about some of the most important ones according to:

Varieties of chorizo according to the type of animal:
  • Pork “chorizo”: It is the most popular one and therefore the one we are most used to see and to eat. Depending on the variety of pork used and its feeding we will talk about:
  • Traditional “chorizo”: this is the one made from white-coated pigs. The taste is less intense and the fat and lean do not have the same harmony as in the other varieties.
  • Iberian “chorizo”: this one is produced with Iberian pigs, that is why its flavour is more intense and the fat is more unctuous and pleasant.
  • Acorn-fed Iberian “chorizo”: produced from acorn-fed Iberian pigs. It is the one with the highest quality, and it is also the healthiest “chorizo”: an irresistible bite.

  • Wild pig “chorizo”: It is a hunting cold meat. The meat is similar to that of pork, but it has a more intense colour and flavour.
  • Turkey “chorizo”: It is made of turkey meat and spices. Its flavor is milder and its meat is low in fat and high in protein, which makes it ideal for low-calorie diets.
  • Deer “chorizo”: It is also a hunting cold meat. Its taste is more refined and milder than that of pork and wild pig. It has a high concentration of iron and protein, making it a very healthy meat.
  • Other animals: you can make chorizo with the meat of almost any animal. Other typical animals are cows or horses.
Varieties of chorizo according to the propduction place:
  • “Chorizo” from León: It is a chorizo that usually comes in the form of horseshoe. It has a strong smoky taste and smell. Its characteristic deep reddish colour is caused by the low temperatures used during its curing process. It is typically a bit spicy. It can be eaten raw or cooked.
  • “Chorizo” from La Rioja: It is a chorizo that is presented in the form of a horseshoe. Its flavor is intense and a bit spicy, and it has a great taste of paprika. It is usually a little narrower than that from León. It can be eaten raw or cooked.

Varieties of chorizos

  • “Chorizo” from Navarra or “pamplonica”: It is one of the oldest and most traditional ones in Spain. It is wider and it has more uniform points of fat.  Its flavour and aroma, as almost all “chorizos”, are intense.

Varieties of chorizos

  • “Chorizo” from Galicia: It is a chorizo that is usually presented in wide and short strips. It is usually used for cooking (it can be fried, roasted, cooked, grilled…), but if its curation is adequate, it can also be eaten raw.  It has smoky and spicy notes and its flavour is intense.
  • “Chorizo” from Cantabria or pot “chorizo”: It is usually presented in wide and short strips. It is dried in a natural environment using wood to smoke it. It is widely used in stews, but also raw or by using any cooking method.
  • “Chorizo” from Canarias: It is one of the most famous cold meats of the islands. The most common “chorizo” is the one from Teror, and its special characteristic is that it is one of the few “chorizos” that is usually eaten spread. It can also be eaten cooked.
  • “Chorizo” from Segovia or “chorizo cantimpalo”: It is usually presented in strips and its peculiarity lies in its lack of bacon, its paprika must be “de la vera”  and it must not contain additives.
  • “Chorizo” from Salamanca, Extremadura and Huelva: this is where Iberian “chorizo” and acorn-fed Iberian “chorizo” are usually produced. This is due to its tradition in the production of products that come from Iberian pigs.


Presentation of the products:

Each varieties of chorizo usually has is presented in a specific way. The most typical ones are:

  • “Chorizo vela”: It is elongated and narrow. Its diameter is around 30 – 40 mm and its length is close to 40 cm. It is widely used in Iberian “chorizos”.
  • “Chorizo cular”: The meat is stuffed into the pig’s own intestine. This must have a diameter of more than 28 mm. The shape is elongated and irregularly cylindrical. It is the most used form for Iberian “chorizos” and acorn-fed Iberian “chorizos”.
  • “Chorizo en herradura” (horseshoe “chorizo”): It receives this name because of the way in which it is presented. A generally synthetic casing of approximately 36 mm diameter is used and the two ends of the chorizo are joined with a rope so that it can be hung. Hence its horseshoe shape.
  • “Chorizo en ristra”: This format consists of generally wide and short “chorizos” separated from each other by a string and placed one after the other so that they can be hung. It is very typical in those “chorizos” that are suitable to be cooked.
Varieties of chorizo according to their ingredients or processes:
  • Smoked “chorizos”: These are the ones that are exposed to smoke cures during their drying process. This gives them their characteristic smoky flavor.
  • Spicy “chorizos”: In this case, hot paprika, pepper or garlic are used in high quantities in the mix.

  • Sweet “chorizos”: These are the ones that have sweet paprika and no spicy ingredients or very small quantities.
  • “Chorizos” with vegetables: The use of pumpkin or onion in the elaboration, as well as garlic, is typical of some “chorizos”.
  • Spicy “chorizos”: In this type of “chorizos”, apart from the typical spices used in the preparation, other spices such as thyme, oregano, pepper…, are added.

One thing is clear to us: no matter how the meat is produced, in which geographical area it is produced, how it is presented and which ingredients contains, “chorizo” is always a delicious snack in all its varieties.

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What varieties of chorizo exist?
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