Chorizo is a type of spicy sausage that originated in Spain and Portugal. It’s made by coarsely grinding pork and seasoning it heavily with paprika, garlic, salt, and other spices. There are many varieties of chorizo, but two main types are Spanish-style chorizo and Mexican-style chorizo.
Spanish chorizo is a cured, smoked sausage that is firm and sliceable. Mexican chorizo is a fresh sausage that must be cooked before eating.
In this article, we’ll focus on the cured, Spanish-style chorizo sausage and answer the question: can you freeze cured chorizo sausage?
Can Cured Chorizo Be Frozen?
The short answer is yes; cured chorizo can be frozen. Since cured chorizo is already fully cooked and cured during the production process, it freezes well for longer-term storage.
Freezing is a great way to extend the shelf life of chorizo. Properly stored in the freezer, cured chorizo will keep for 2–3 months before its quality starts to decline.
How To Freeze Cured Chorizo
Follow these simple steps to freeze cured chorizo sausage:
1. Portion the chorizo.
Cut the chorizo links or sausage into smaller portions if desired. Chorizo can be frozen whole or in slices. Smaller portions are easier to thaw and use as needed.
2. Wrap Tightly
Wrap chorizo tightly in plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or freezer bags. Make sure there is no air trapped inside. Vacuum sealing is ideal for an airtight seal.
3. Label and Date
Put a label on the packaging, noting the type and date of freezing. This makes it easier to identify items and track how long they’ve been frozen.
4. Freeze rapidly.
Place the wrapped chorizo flat in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze initially for 1-2 hours until completely hard. Transfer to freezer bags or airtight containers.
5. Freeze at 0°F or colder.
Store chorizo in the coldest part of the freezer, at 0° F (-18° C) or below. Consistent freezing temperatures preserve quality.
Thawing Frozen Chorizo
To thaw frozen cured chorizo, there are several methods:
- Refrigerator Thawing: Place frozen chorizo in the refrigerator 1-2 days before needed. This is the slowest but safest way to thaw.
- Cold Water Thawing: Seal chorizo in a bag, then submerge in cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes until thawed. Use within a few hours.
- Microwave Thawing: Microwave frozen chorizo on the defrost setting based on package directions. Use immediately after thawing.
- Cook Frozen: Chorizo can also be cooked directly from frozen. Add a few extra minutes to the cooking time.
Once thawed, use chorizo within 3-5 days for best quality. Do not re-freeze thawed chorizo sausage.
Tips for Freezing Cured Chorizo
Follow these tips to freeze cured chorizo like a pro:
- Freeze chorizo sooner rather than later for the best flavor and texture.
- Cut the chorizo into smaller portions so you can thaw only what you need.
- Make sure to wrap the chorizo very tightly and exclude excess air to prevent freezer burn.
- Consider vacuum sealing for the very best seal and prevention of freezer burn.
- Use freezer bags and containers designed for freezing to protect the quality.
- Avoid repeated freeze-thaw cycles. Thaw only what you plan to use within 3-5 days.
- Add extra oil or marinade to the chorizo prior to freezing for added moisture and flavor.
- Use thawed chorizo within 5 days and do not refreeze for food safety.
Storing Thawed Chorizo
Once thawed, cured chorizo should be stored properly in the refrigerator.
- Place the thawed chorizo in a bowl or on a plate to catch any drips or leaks.
- Wrap loosely with plastic wrap or foil to allow air flow.
- Use within 3-5 days for best quality and safety.
- Do not refreeze thawed chorizo sausage. Discard if not used within 5 days.
- Keep thawed chorizo towards the back of the fridge, away from fresh produce, to prevent cross-contamination.
Proper storage helps maintain the texture and flavor of thawed, cured chorizo sausage.
Uses for Frozen Chorizo
Cured chorizo is very versatile. Here are some of the best ways to use thawed frozen chorizo:
- Add to omelets, burritos, tacos, and other egg dishes.
- Slice and add to pizza, nachos, or flatbreads.
- Sauté and add to pasta, risotto, stews, or bean dishes.
- Add to sandwiches, rolls, or tapas spreads.
- Fry it up with potatoes or other vegetables.
- Grill or pan-fry as patties or meatballs.
- Mash and mix into ground meat for burgers or meatloaf.
- Add cubes or crumbles to soups, chili, or stew for flavor.
The bold, spicy flavor of chorizo makes it a perfect addition to many dishes. Use your thawed frozen chorizo creatively in your favorite recipes.
FAQ About Freezing Chorizo
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about freezing cured chorizo sausage:
How long does cured chorizo last in the freezer?
Properly stored at 0°F or below, cured chorizo will maintain its best quality for 2–3 months in the freezer. It remains safe longer, but the texture may dry out over extended freezing.
Can you refreeze thawed chorizo?
It is not recommended to refreeze thawed, cured chorizo. Refreezing leads to further moisture loss and risks food safety issues. Only refreeze if the chorizo is still partially frozen or has been thawed in the refrigerator under 40°F.
Does chorizo need to be cooked before freezing?
No, cured, ready-to-eat chorizo does not need to be cooked before freezing. It can be frozen raw since it is already fully cured and cooked.
Should chorizo be frozen whole or sliced?
Either is fine. Slicing makes for easier thawing and portion control. But whole links freeze well too. Vacuum seal for best results with whole links.
Is it better to vacuum seal chorizo for freezing?
Yes, vacuum sealing provides the very best seal against air exposure, minimizing freezer burn. But tightly wrapping in plastic wrap or foil can work well too.
Can you freeze fresh Mexican chorizo?
Only cured chorizo keeps well when frozen. Fresh Mexican chorizo is a raw sausage and does not freeze as successfully. Cook fresh chorizo fully before freezing for best results.
What is the best way to thaw frozen chorizo?
Thawing slowly in the refrigerator is the best way to prevent food safety risks. But chorizo can also be thawed in cold water or cooked frozen. Do not thaw at room temperature.
How do you know if frozen chorizo is bad?
Signs of spoiled frozen chorizo include a foul odor, an unusual color, a dry or mushy texture, and visible mold. Discard chorizo that is over 2–3 months old or if the quality seems compromised.
The Conclusion on Freezing Chorizo
Cured chorizo can be frozen for 2–3 months to extend its shelf life. Wrap tightly in airtight packaging before freezing fully at 0°F or below. Thaw in the refrigerator, cold water, or microwave before using within 3-5 days.
With proper freezing and thawing, you can safely enjoy delicious chorizo year-round directly from your freezer. Use creative ways to add the bold Spanish flavors of chorizo to meals.
Hi, I’m Julie, the passionate foodie and founder of Juliesfamilykitchen.com. I created this blog out of a drive to prove someone wrong, and then I realized how much I truly enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. In my free time, when I’m not running around after my kids or spending quality time with my partner, you can usually find me in the kitchen experimenting with new dishes.