What is Beef Chorizo? A Guide to This Smoky, Spicy Sausage

Chorizo is a beloved Spanish and Mexican sausage bursting with bold flavor. While traditional chorizo is made from pork, beef chorizo offers a hearty, meaty twist on this classic. Keep reading to learn all about beef chorizo including how it’s made, how to cook with it, and delicious recipe ideas.

What is Beef Chorizo?

  • Beef chorizo is a spicy Mexican-style sausage made from ground beef instead of the more common pork.
  • It has a deep red color and smoky, spicy flavor from ancho chiles and paprika.
  • The beef contributes hearty, beefy umami notes.
  • It can be bought pre-made or easily homemade. Homemade allows you to control the spice level and ingredients.

Key Differences Between Pork and Beef Chorizo

While both are highly seasoned sausages, there are some key differences between the two:

  • Meat – Pork chorizo uses pork while beef chorizo uses ground beef.
  • Fat content – Pork chorizo tends to be fattier while beef chorizo uses leaner ground beef.
  • Flavor – The beef contributes a deeper, beefier umami flavor.
  • Texture – Beef chorizo is denser and more crumbly when cooked.
  • Use – Both can be used in Mexican dishes but beef works well in American dishes too.

Ingredients in Beef Chorizo

Authentic beef chorizo contains:

  • Ground beef – Usually 80/20 works best. The fat provides juiciness and flavor.
  • Smoked paprika – Provides the vivid red color and smoky taste.
  • Chile powder – Ancho chile is most common but chipotle, guajillo or pasilla work too.
  • Garlic powder – For aroma.
  • Cumin – Warm, earthy flavor.
  • Oregano – Dried Mexican oregano adds herbaceous notes.

How to Cook with Beef Chorizo

Beef chorizo is super versatile. Here are some of the most delicious ways to cook with it:

  • Breakfast tacos – Saute with eggs and serve in tortillas for an easy breakfast.
  • Burgers – Mix into ground beef for juicy, spiced burgers.
  • Pasta sauce – Saute with tomatoes for a quick pasta sauce.
  • Nachos – Sprinkle over corn chips with cheese for easy nachos.
  • Chili – Add to bean or meat chilis for extra flavor.
  • Quesadillas – Mix with cheese and fold into tortillas.
  • Scrambled eggs – Add crumbled chorizo to scrambled eggs.
  • Baked potatoes – Top baked russet potatoes with chorizo and cheese.

How to Make Homemade Beef Chorizo

Making homemade beef chorizo allows you to customize the flavor and spice level to your taste.


  • 3 lbs ground beef (80/20)
  • Smoked paprika
  • Chile powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Olive oil


  1. Combine seasonings in a bowl.
  2. Brown ground beef in a skillet with olive oil.
  3. Add seasoning mix and cook 10-15 mins more.
  4. Use in recipes or form into patties and freeze.

Popular Brands of Pre-Made Beef Chorizo

Looking to save time? Here are some recommended store-bought beef chorizo options:

  • Trader Joe’s – Fully cooked and ready to heat and eat. Sold in links.
  • Pederson’s Natural Farms – Pre-cooked links, turkey option available.
  • Palacios – Raw fresh Mexican-style beef chorizo in links or bulk.
  • El Monterey – Pre-cooked beef chorizo links that just need heating.
  • Johnsonville – Spicy ground breakfast beef chorizo.

When buying pre-made, check the ingredients list to ensure the chorizo only contains beef and seasoning. Avoid fillers, preservatives or artificial flavors.

Delicious Beef Chorizo Recipes

Here are some tasty recipe ideas that showcase beef chorizo:

  • Beef Chorizo Scrambled Eggs
  • Cheesy Beef Chorizo Quesadillas
  • Loaded Beef Chorizo Nachos
  • Beef Chorizo Empanadas
  • Beef Chorizo Pasta Sauce
  • Beef Chorizo Chili
  • Beef Chorizo Burgers

With its deep savory flavor and just enough spice, beef chorizo makes a wonderful alternative to plain ground beef. It can be used in a variety of Mexican and American dishes. Try homemade or grab pre-made links at the store. Beef chorizo will quickly become a new favorite! Let us know your favorite ways to cook with this tasty sausage.

How to make The Best Homemade Mexican Chorizo | Beef Chorizo


What is beef chorizo made from?

Ingredients. Beef, Salt, Spices, (Including Red Pepper, Paprika, Cumin, Ground Mustard), Dextrose, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Natural Spices Extractives ( Including: Paprika, Pepper), BMA (0.02%), BHT (0.02%), Citric Acid (0.02%).

Is beef chorizo good?

It’s usually made with pork, but this is Texas. And in Texas we eat beef! I’ve made this beef version for a while now and it’s absolutely my preferred way to make chorizo now. Everyone who tries it LOVES the intense umami flavor the beef lends the dish.

Is chorizo beef spicy?

Chorizo is a type of sausage, made with chopped or minced meat, which is then stuffed in animal intestine. But make no mistake – chorizos are no ordinary sausages. They are very spicy, with a rather unmistakable taste. So, let’s learn more about this cold meat with global fame!

Does beef chorizo taste the same as pork?

The signature pork product was classic in style with a somewhat loose texture and flavor profile that is well balanced between acid, chile, salty, sweet, and savory. The texture of the beef chorizo was more solid than that of the pork but with an emphasis on the vinegary notes.

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