How Long Does it Take to Cook Chorizo?

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Chorizo is a heavily spiced sausage link that you can cook in many different ways. Because of the strong flavor of the sausage, it goes best with cooked vegetables, eggs and bread. Due to the several ways you can cook chorizo, the length of time for each method will vary.

How Long Does it Take to Cook Chorizo?

Chorizo is commonly scrambled with eggs and vegetables on non-stick cookware. When cooked this way, you should squeeze the meat out of the casing if using Mexican chorizo and finely chop it if using Spanish chorizo. This technique allows it to cook quickly. Ground meat from the chorizo typically takes around 5 minutes over medium heat to cook.

Chorizo are among other small bites of food that are offered in tapas restaurants

You can also grill chorizo and bake it in the oven. Baking and grilling chorizo sausage links will take about 20 to 30 minutes. This time length is focused on the whole sausage in its casing. Learn more about cooking times for all cooking methods below:


  • Whole chorizo sausage link – 10 minutes
  • Sliced chorizo – 5 minutes
  • Ground or chopped chorizo – 5 minutes

Baked in Oven

  • Whole chorizo sausage link baked at 350 degrees Fahrenheit – 35 minutes per pound
  • Sliced chorizo baked at 350 degrees Fahrenheit – 30 minutes per pound 
  • Ground or chopped chorizo baked at 425 degrees Fahrenheit – 20 minutes per pound 

When grilling chorizo, 30 minutes per sausage link is a standard time on a charcoal or gas grill. This includes glazing the casing. 

Using a charcoal grill can take a bit more time to reach the desired temperature compared to other grills. Charcoal grills requires patience to ensure the perfect cooking temperature. You will probably have to add about 20 minutes to your grill time. 

Once the chorizo links have been cooked, wrap them up in aluminum foil to preserve their warmth and allow the savory seasonings to infuse into the meat.

Tip: Keep the grill hot by putting its lid over the evenly spaced chorizo links

Types of Mexican/Latin American Chorizo

Fresh chorizo is a staple food in Mexican cuisine. Dry cured chorizo is the preferred variety in the rest of Latin America. Fresh chorizo, made with ground pork has a lot of chili powder, garlic, and other seasonings. 

Cured chorizo is a mix of ground pork and ground beef, smoked or air-dried to bring out the flavor. This chorizo is a tasty and versatile addition to many different dishes. It is usually spicier than the fresh variety and is often eaten as-is or cooked in various dishes.

Can I Cook Chorizo in the Microwave?

Cooking chorizo in the microwave is an uncomplicated task and a popular way to prepare it. Cooking time is very short and there is no prep needed. 

You can leave your chorizo to thaw out in the sink or place it in the microwave under the thaw setting. To fully cook chorizo in the microwave, place it on high for 4 to 6 minutes for every 4 ounce sausage.

How Long Does it Take for Chorizo to Defrost?

Mexican Chorizo takes about 30 minutes for every pound to defrost which can be much longer than common cooking times. To expedite the defrosting process, put your chorizo in a resealable plastic bag. This will help it to thaw quickly and evenly.

Then place it in a bowl filled with cold water (letting it defrost in hot water can start the cooking process, which won’t allow whatever you’re cooking it with to soak up the smoky flavor). Change the water often, about every 30 minutes and cook the chorizo link as soon as it has completely thawed out. 

Chorizo on a wooden board

You can always save time by letting it thaw in your microwave. Use the thaw option on your microwave and set the time to 6 to 8 minutes for every 1 pound of chorizo.

For a quick breakfast in the morning, it would be wise to let the chorizo thaw in the refrigerator overnight. This way, you’ll save yourself precious time and can enjoy a delicious, fully cooked meal in no time.

Thawing your chorizo in the fridge will take about 24 hours so put them there during the day if you’d like them to defrost overnight.

If you plan on not using them for breakfast, don’t worry, you can always put them back in the freezer. Just make sure not to open the packaging. 

How to Know Once Chorizo is Cooked Thoroughly

The most reliable and precise method to verify if your meat is cooked properly is to utilize a cooking thermometer. When fully done chorizo should have an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. 

If you don’t own a meat thermometer, make sure to follow cooking instructions and times. For whichever method you’re using, always set a timer to ensure your chorizo is cooked thoroughly. 

Eating uncooked meat is harmful and can make you very sick. Don’t attempt to eat undercooked chorizo; either purchase a meat thermometer or precisely follow cooking times. 

Does All Chorizo Need to be Cooked?

No, not all chorizo has to be cooked. There are a lot of prepackaged Spanish chorizos that are smoked and ready to eat. Just make sure you read packaging labels to be sure about how safe they are. Usually, if it’s packaged along with cheese, it’s precooked and you can eat it just like that.

Although the chorizo is already cooked, you can still give it a good sear in a pan over medium heat. The cooking time for this technique is roughly two minutes. This will give the sausage a nice crisp to it. You don’t have to be exact with the length of time because it is already cooked.

How to Handle Chorizo the Right Ways

When cooking with fresh chorizo, it is important to follow some safety guidelines. Chorizo is high in fat, making it prone to burning when cooked at high temperatures.

Some chorizo varieties contain paprika, Chile peppers, and other spices that can irritate if not handled well

Spanish Chorizo

This type of chorizo is ready to enjoy without any extra steps. Slice the cured Spanish chorizo into thin slices, then sauté in a pan over medium high heat until golden and crispy.

Fully Cured Chorizo

Fully cured chorizo is also cooked and cured. Eat it without any further preparation. Slice it into thin coins and serve chorizo with crusty bread, salsa, or eggs.

Semi-Cured Chorizo

As its name implies, semi-cured chorizo requires cooking before consumption. When pan-frying it, slice the chorizo links into thin coins and grill them with a small amount of oil. Pan frying is ideal for a crunchy exterior and a tender yet toothsome interior.

Mexican Chorizo

Uncooked Mexican chorizo needs heating before consumption. To prepare it, crumble the Mexican chorizo into a pan with a small amount of oil. Cook the chorizo links until it’s cooked through and the fat has rendered. Once the Mexican chorizo is cooked, serve it with breakfast potato hash or eggs.

Tips for Cooking Chorizo

Chorizo is a tasty addition to any meal, whether breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This spicy pork sausage is a global favorite, utilized in many different types of cuisine. Here are some tips for preparing either Spanish or Mexican chorizo:

Chorizo hanging on a market stall

Use a Cast-Iron Skillet to Cook Mexican Chorizo

Compared to stainless steel, cast-iron skillets are great for making chorizo because they conduct heat evenly. They also help to bring out the extra smoky flavor of the Mexican chorizo.

Mexican chorizo requires more time to prepare than other types of sausage. It’s important to ensure it is cooked before serving your delicious meal.

Discard Any Extra Cooking Fat

When cooking Mexican chorizo, there will likely be a lot of extra fat released. Be sure to discard this fat before serving the chorizo dish.

Use Chorizo as a Marinade

Mexican chorizo can be used to infuse meats and vegetables with a delicious flavor. It’s a great marinade that adds smoky flavor to your dishes. 

Where Can I Buy Chorizo?

You can find Chorizo at different places, including grocery stores, butcher shops, and Mexican markets. In grocery stores, you can find chorizo in the raw meat section or near the other fresh sausage varieties. If the store does not stock chorizo, you can buy it online from various retailers. 

What Pan Do I Cook Mexican Chorizo In?

When cooking chorizo, use a large, heavy-bottom pan for the best results. The pan’s heaviness helps maintain an even temperature and keeps the chorizo from burning. 

If the size of the ground beef or pork is too big, break the chorizo into smaller pieces to ensure the chorizo cooks evenly. Breaking it up will help you get a more consistent result.

Related Questions

How Long Can You Safely Store Chorizo?

Chorizo can last in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. It can last this long provided it remains in its original packaging and is eaten within that timeframe.

What Are the Health Benefits of Eating Chorizo?

Chorizo has proteins, vitamins, and minerals. With low-fat content and high sodium levels, this flavourful sausage will surely add a delicious kick to your plate. 

Is Boiling Chorizo Necessary Before Cooking It?

Boiling chorizo is not necessary before cooking. Most people cook chorizo in its casing or without its casing, depending on the recipe.

Is It Possible to Store Already Cooked Chorizo in the Refrigerator?

Cooked chorizo lasts for up to four days in the refrigerator. This tasty sausage can be stored safely for a few days. Storing gives you the chance to enjoy it multiple times.

Should You Take Off Chorizo Casing Before Cooking?

When it comes to cooking, it’s up to you if you want to keep the casing or not. It all depends on the recipe.

Are Cooking Chorizo and Regular Chorizo Similar?

Cooking chorizo is usually a softer sausage than regular chorizo. People season cooking chorizo with garlic, Chile peppers, smoked paprika and other spices.

What Beverage Pairs Well With Chorizo?

Red wine is a perfect pairing for chorizo. A Spanish Rioja or a light and fruity Beaujolais are some of the best choices.

How Can One Identify if Chorizo Has Gone Bad?

Chorizo that has gone bad will have a slimy mushy texture and a sour smell. You should be discarded it if it has stayed for too long or is exposed to high temperatures.

What Will Happen if You Eat Chorizo That Is Not Cooked Well?

Eating chorizo that is not cooked well can cause food poisoning. You can develop symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. You should avoid eating undercooked or raw chorizo.

How Can One Tell When Soy Chorizo Has Finished Cooking?

You can tell if soy chorizo has finished cooking when it is brown and slightly crispy.

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When you prepare chorizo, be mindful of how quickly it cooks. Be sure not to cook chorizo longer than stated on a recipe because this could dry out the juices and meaty flavor. Cooking times are not always accurate depending on how you’re cooking so invest in a cooking thermometer to ensure you don’t under or overcook your chorizo.

Nathaniel Lee is an avid cook, drawing on his decades of home cooking and fine dining experience. He is a contributing chef at Mashed, and his recipes and contributions have been featured in Tasting Table, Edible Arrangements, Insanely Good Recipes, and The Daily Meal.

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