How to cook chorizo with chef Joe Howley

How to cook chorizo - expert tips on griddling, roasting, cooking in red wine an much more

Joe Howley demonstrates how to cook chorizo in this chef video
(Image credit: Getty)

From prep to griddling, from telling when chorizo is done to storing raw chorizo, we've got it covered. Cooking chorizo is easy with our expert guide including tips from chef Joe Howley.

Chorizo is a type of cured sausage made with coarsely chopped pork, pork fat, and spiced pimento – a smoky Spanish red spice made from paprika that gives chorizo its unique taste. Chorizo is often flavoured with garlic and herbs such as oregano or thyme, too.

Chorizo is popular in Spanish cuisine as well as Mexican dishes , and in Portugal– where it's called 'chouriço' – but it's most associated with Spain, where there are hundreds of regional varieties. 'Ristra', for example, is a highly spiced soft chorizo, while 'sarta' is cured and known for its deep red colour. However, its versatility means you don't need to limit it to dishes from these countries. It goes just as well with pasta, for example, or in a burger.

Mexican chorizo is usually made with fresh pork (but can also be made from other meats such as beef and chicken) and usually needs cooking before eating. While similar to Spanish chorizo, it contains spices native to Latin America.

Choose between soft 'cooking' chorizo – this is only slightly cured and needs to be cooked before you eat it – and dry-cured chorizo, which has been cured for longer so it's firmer, less fatty, and ready to eat. Cooking chorizo comes in pieces or sausages, while cured chorizo comes in whole sausages that you slice or pre-packaged slices.

Our guide includes expert tips and advice from Joe Howley - former head chef at Salt Yard, which specialises in Spanish tapas and small plates. 

Preparation: Before cooking chorizo you may prefer to remove the thin casing (the 'skin'). To remove the skin, use a sharp knife to make a small incision on the outer edge of each slice, and pull. The skin should come away easily.

For softer chorizo, this is not essential as it will cook down. If you're eating cured chorizo, which is the firmer version and the type you would find on a charcuterie board, it can be a lot tougher. While some people find it unpleasant, it is edible and won't hurt you to eat it.

How to cook chorizo on a griddle

Watch our video below and follow our step-by-step guide on how to griddle chorizo. We've also got the method for your reference below to make it even easier.

This recipe uses large slices of chorizo for griddling; if you're using smaller slices or chunks, adjust your cooking time so you don't overdo or burn the chorizo.

Here, chef Joe Howley shows us how he serves this delicious tapas ingredient. There are many different ways to cook chorizo – it's usually pan-fried but can also be baked and braised – but we love this simple presentation which allows the spiced pork sausage to be the star of the show.

Joe has chosen to serve chorizo with fresh, sweet peas, citrus yogurt, and grilled baby gem lettuce for a light and summery dish that everyone will love.

The best thing about this method for how to cook chorizo is that it’s super quick, taking just fifteen minutes to pull together. This makes it perfect for a quick starter or lunch.

Once you’ve learned how to cook chorizo in this way you can have fun playing with different presentation options – we also love chorizo with spiced chickpeas or even served by itself or with some Manchego cheese and olives as a tasty snack. The quantities below serve six people, so just make sure to scale up or down depending on your party size.

Watch Joe Howley step-by-step guide on cooking chorizo


  • 1kg cooking chorizo
  • 500g fresh peas
  • 2 packets baby gem lettuce
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 500ml full-fat yogurt
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lime
  • 15g pea shoots
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to cook chorizo

Step 1

How to cook chorizo

Remove the outer skins from the chorizo, and split lengthways, keep chilled until needed. Then remove the peas from their shells and blanch in boiling water, refresh in iced water.

Step 2

How to cook chorizo

Zest the lemon, lime, and orange into the yogurt. Add a squeeze of lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 3

Cut the lettuce into six wedges and wash. Dress with olive oil and season.

Step 4

Grill the chorizo for two minutes on each side. Grill the baby gem for one minute on each side.

Step 5

Heat the peas in a pan with a little oil and salt and pepper. Add the chorizo, lettuce, and yogurt to the plate and top with the peas.

FAQs on cooking chorizo

How do you cook chorizo in the oven?

Like most sausages, you can bake chorizo in the oven. How long you bake it depends on whether they're whole sausages, chunks, or smaller pieces, so refer to the recipe though,  as a general rule, expect a cooking time of around 10-20 minutes on a medium-hot heat (around 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7). Because of its high-fat content, you don't have to add oil when cooking chorizo in the oven.

If you're using your oven's grill to cook chorizo sausages, use medium-high heat, too. You can also braise chorizo (cook in liquid).

Cured chorizo is ready to eat so doesn't need cooking, though you can heat it up if you wish by pan-frying slices on medium heat, and on each side, until browned and crunchy. Cooked cured chorizo is delicious if you mix it into salads or sprinkle it on pasta. It's a speedy way to incorporate extra flavour and texture.

How do you cook chorizo in red wine?

Braising cooking chorizo in red wine is a really tasty way to cook it. It infuses the meat with a red wine richness and mellows the intense flavours of chorizo. Recipes usually call for chunks or slices of cooking chorizo, though you can use small sausages, too.

Chorizo is quick-cooking meat so if you're braising it in red wine expect it to take around 15-20 minutes on medium heat. You can braise it in the oven or on the hob.

Two rings of chorizo

How to cook a chorizo ring

A chorizo ring – a sausage tied at the top with string – is actually more of a horseshoe shape. Chorizo rings tend to be on the large side and because of their strong flavour it's unlikely you will want to use a whole ring at once.

More often than not a chorizo ring is dried and ready to eat, while cooking chorizo comes in pieces, sausages, or a string of sausages. You can cook a string of cooking chorizo sausages at once.

How do you know when chorizo is done cooking?

Cooking chorizo releases wonderful-smelling red oil while cooking. It starts soft but when it browns and becomes more solid to the touch (yet also easier to crumble because it's drier), it's ready to eat.

It will also change colour from a brighter red to a duller brownish-red. If it still feels squidgy and a little sticky to the touch it needs a bit more cooking time.

How to store chorizo

Chorizo is an ideal addition to your fridge. Unopened whole sausages last up to two weeks, or up to a week if opened (always check the packaging though, as some products may last for a shorter or longer time). Chorizo is raw, so wrap it well in clingfilm or seal it in its original packaging or a container so it doesn't contaminate other food in the fridge.

While it's less common in Spain to freeze chorizo, you can freeze cooking chorizo for up to 12 months. This is a good way to keep it soft, as it won't start to dry out like it would in the fridge.

You don't have to keep cured chorizo in the fridge – a cool, dry place will suffice. Wrapped in its original packaging, it can last up to 3 months out of the fridge and up to 6 months in the fridge. Although it's possible cured meats don't always freeze well. If you choose to freeze it, wrap it loosely in paper towels to absorb any moisture and seal it in a plastic bag.

You can eat cooked chorizo cold; for example, in a salad the next day. You can also reheat cooked chorizo, but like any meat, it should be piping hot before serving.

Our best chorizo recipes

White fish and chorizo stew

1. White fish and chorizo stew

Easy and quick yet bursting with flavour, this Spanish-style stew is filling yet light.

Get the recipe: White fish and chorizo stew

Chicken and chorizo filo pie

2. Chicken and chorizo filo pie

Infused with spicy chorizo and tasty chicken and topped with crispy filo pastry, this pie is a winner.

Get the recipe: Chicken and chorizo filo pie

Hairy Bikers' Spanish Chicken Bake

3. Hairy Bikers' Spanish Chicken Bake

As seen on the BBC television series Hairy Dieters, this is a healthy dish that's high in protein and low in carbs.

Get the recipe: Hairy Bikers Spanish chicken bake

Tomato and Chorizo Pasta Bake

4. Tomato and chorizo pasta bake

Cheap, simple, and tasty, this dish is enriched with the flavours of the Mediterranean.

Get the recipe: Tomato and chorizo pasta bake

Chicken and chorizo burger

5. Chicken and chorizo burger

Chicken and chorizo complement each other beautifully. The chorizo in this recipe adds a little spice and depth to a chicken burger.

Get the recipe: Chicken and chorizo burger

Chorizo and Asparagus Tarts

6. Chorizo and asparagus tarts

Make these tarts to take on a picnic, eat at a barbecue or enjoy with a side salad for a filling dinner.

Get the recipe: Chorizo and asparagus tarts

Chorizo, potato and thyme quesadillas

7. Chorizo, Potato and Thyme Quesadillas

This very special quesadilla recipe, courtesy of Mexican food expert Thomasina Miers – the celeb chef behind restaurant chain Wahaca – combines some lovely flavours.

Get the recipe: Chorizo, potato and thyme quesadillas

Passionate about Spanish and Italian foods
Chef Joe Rowley
Passionate about Spanish and Italian foods
Joe Howley

Joe Howley is a passionate chef, who’s always looking for ideas to improve a dish. Currently head chef at Italian eatery Passo Restaurant at Shoreditch, East London, he began his career at The Three Crowns gastro pub, serving high-quality British food. During his time at Angelus Restaurant, he worked his way up to head chef and was awarded 2 Rosette restaurant awards. He’s since taken the lead as head chef at Canary Wharf’s Rum & Sugar and the Salt Yard group, which specialises in Spanish and Italian small plates and tapas.  

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Debra Waters
Freelance Lifestyle Writer

Debra Waters is an experienced online editor and parenting writer. She also has a strong background on health, wellbeing, beauty, and food. She currently writes for Goodto and Woman&Home, and print publications Woman, Woman’s Own, and Woman’s Weekly. Debra has written for What to Expect, Everyday Health, and Time Out. In addition, she has had articles published in The Telegraph and The Big Issue.