Chorizo vs. Andouille Sausage: Know the Differences

When you want to cook something with sausage in it, especially pork sausage, two of the most popular types are chorizo and andouille. Both have unique flavors and are versatile, so let’s take a closer look at the similarities and differences between them.

Chorizo sausages
Chorizo sausages

What Is Chorizo Sausage?

Chorizo sausage originated in Spain in the 16th century, but Mexican chorizo was created soon afterward. The sausage is highly seasoned and spicy, and it has a firm but melt-in-your-mouth texture that makes it perfect for dishes such as stews, stir-fries, sautés, and various cooked foods.

Chorizo has a red hue, and that is due to ingredients such as peppers, chili, cinnamon, and paprika.

While they are both delicious, the Mexican and Spanish versions differ slightly. While both Mexican and Spanish chorizo sausage are generally made out of pork, some Mexican cooks add other types of meat as well. Chorizo is extremely hot and has a smoked flavor as well. Both types of chorizo sausage tend to be dense and rather fatty, which adds to the unique flavor.

Keep in mind that chorizo isn’t the healthiest type of sausage on the market, but its spiciness and flavor are what usually keep people coming back for more.

Andouille sausages
Andouille sausages

What Is Andouille Sausage?

Andouille, a type of sausage also created in the 16th century, is considered the quintessential Cajun sausage. In the South and other parts of the country, Cajun chefs will throw it into their jambalaya along with some pork temple, or into a gumbo. The sausage was brought to south Louisiana by French immigrants.

Instead of a red color, the sausage has more of a brownish color with a slight red hue. When the sausage is cooked, the outer casing tends to get hard, and when you cut into it after cooking it, you might hear a “snap” or two as it’s being prepared.

Many recipes that call for andouille also call for tomatoes, but this isn’t always the case in south Louisiana. Andouille is cured and has a smoky flavor. It is sharp, spicy, and salty all at the same time. It is not nearly as hot and spicy as chorizo, however, and its firmness makes it easy to cut or bite into without having it fall apart.

More often than not, andouille is added to a dish to enhance it and is not used as a main dish. People of Cajun descent use andouille in red beans and rice and many other dishes.

Which Type of Sausage Is Best?

Both andouille and chorizo sausage have very distinct flavors. They usually can’t be used interchangeably. This is partly because chorizo sausage is so much hotter than andouille.

If you find a Creole or Cajun recipe that includes rice, soup, or stew, andouille is often one of the ingredients. You can cook andouille on the stove, in a frying pan, or even on a grill. Some people even add this sausage to their morning omelet.

Andouille sausage dish
Andouille sausage dish

Chorizo sausage typically has the casing removed before being cooked, which is why it looks a little like ground meat when it’s being prepared. Typical recipes that call for chorizo sausage include tacos, white bean soup, pizza, burritos, and even stuffing for green peppers or mushrooms. The Mexican type of chorizo is usually sold raw and fresh, while the Spanish version is usually sold as semi-cured or fully cooked.

In practical terms, there are more differences than similarities between these two types of sausage. They differ in spiciness, what recipes they go well in, their texture, and even how they’re made before they reach your dinner table.

If you want something extra spicy for a Mexican dish, you’ll want to use chorizo sausage. If you prefer a tasty but not-as-spicy flavor for a soup, stew, or rice dish, you’ll want to go with andouille.

Andouille is made with pepper, garlic, onions, and wine, while chorizo is made with chili pepper, paprika, wine, and garlic. Chorizo sausage is a lot hotter and spicier and is red in color. While andouille has a kick to it, it isn’t nearly as spicy as chorizo sausage and has a milder and more savory taste and texture.

Andouille also tends to have a stronger smell than chorizo sausage does, and while you can eat cured chorizo raw, andouille must be cooked. When you cook Cajun or Creole dishes, andouille is a perfect addition. For Mexican dishes, chorizo sausage should be your meat of choice. Both of these meats are delicious and versatile.