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Chorizo vs. Pepperoni — Ingredients, Nutrition, Health, & More

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Article author photo Elen Khachatrian by Elen Khachatrian | Last updated on July 13, 2023
Medically reviewed by Arpi Gasparyan Article author photo Arpi Gasparyan
Chorizo
vs
Pepperoni

Summary

Pepperoni has 8g more total fats, more saturated fats, and cholesterol, whereas chorizo has 5g more proteins. Both are very low in carbs and fit into low-carb diets.

Chorizo is relatively richer in B complex vitamins, predominantly B12 and B1. Chorizo is also richer in iron, potassium, and zinc and lower in sodium. On the other hand, pepperoni contains more vitamins E and K, manganese, selenium, copper, and calcium. 

Introduction

In this article, we will compare and discuss the main differences in the nutrition, preparation, uses, and taste of chorizo and pepperoni.

Pepperoni is a type of salami of American-Italian origin, similar to Italian sausage and soppressata. Chorizo is a fermented, cured, and smoked sausage with the country of origin being the Iberian Peninsula or Iberia.

Varieties

The two major types of chorizo sausage are Spanish chorizo and Mexican chorizo, which have subtypes. Other chorizo types are Argentinian, Colombian, British, and Portuguese, all with different ingredients, thus varying taste and flavor.

Different types of pepperoni include flat-laid, cubed, stick, chup char, plant-based, gluten-free, beef, turkey, pork, venison, halal, kosher, and low sodium.

Ingredients

Pepperoni is made from pork or a meat mixture of pork and beef, seasoned with red pepper, usually paprika or cayenne pepper. During the production, salt and sodium nitrate are added as curing agents to prevent the growth of unwanted microorganisms.

In comparison, chorizo is a type of smoked and cured pork sausage. Spanish chorizo is commonly seasoned with Spanish paprika and garlic, whereas Mexican chorizo contains chili peppers instead of smoked paprika, as well as cumin, oregano, and other spices.

Uses

Both can be used in various dishes. Pepperoni and chorizo can be sliced and used in sandwiches, salads, soups, and pizza toppings.

Chorizo can be partially used as a replacement for ground beef or pork. Pepperoni can also be used to fill the pepperoni roll. Cured meats like pepperoni make a great starting point for homemade pasta sauces.

Pizza

Pepperoni is a loved American food staple. In the US, it is most commonly used to make pepperoni pizza from pepperoni slices, tomato sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Pepperoni pizza is usually larger in diameter than chorizo pizza

Chorizo is more complex than pepperoni as it has different versions. However, Spanish chorizo is the most similar to pepperoni. You can sometimes use them interchangeably as they use pork and similar spices and chilies. The pepperoni pizza and chorizo pizza have similar recipes; moreover, they can be used together in pepperoni-chorizo pizza.

Nutrition

This section compares 100g of chorizo made from pork and pepperoni from pork and beef. This article considers the nutritional values provided by FDA, keeping in mind that differently prepared sausages vary in nutrition.

To visually understand the differences in the nutrition of pepperoni and chorizo, we created a nutrition infographic, have a look below.

Macronutrients

Nealy 70% of pepperoni and chorizo are nutrients, whereas the rest is water. 

When comparing the macronutrients, pepperoni has more total fats and cholesterol, whereas chorizo has more proteins and slightly more carbohydrates.

Meat is generally absent in carbs; however, due to the sausage seasonings, both have small amounts of carbs: less than 2g per 100g serving.

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Protein +25.2%
Contains more Carbs +57.6%
Contains more Water +11.6%
Contains more Fats +20.9%
Contains more Other +20.9%
24% 38% 2% 32% 4%
Protein: 24.1 g
Fats: 38.27 g
Carbs: 1.86 g
Water: 31.85 g
Other: 3.92 g
19% 46% 29% 5%
Protein: 19.25 g
Fats: 46.28 g
Carbs: 1.18 g
Water: 28.55 g
Other: 4.74 g
Contains more Protein +25.2%
Contains more Carbs +57.6%
Contains more Water +11.6%
Contains more Fats +20.9%
Contains more Other +20.9%

Calories

Pepperoni is higher in calories compared to chorizo. A 100g of pepperoni provides 504 calories, whereas chorizo provides 455.

Proteins

Chorizo is almost 5g higher in proteins: chorizo contains 24g of proteins, whereas pepperoni contains 18.25g.

Fats

The sausages are high in fats, with pepperoni containing 8g more total fats, more saturated fats, and cholesterol per 100g serving. 

Pepperoni contains 17.7g of saturated fats, 20.8g of monounsaturated fats, and 4.5g of polyunsaturated fats. Meanwhile, chorizo contains 14.4g of saturated fats, 18.4g of monounsaturated fats, and 3.5g of polyunsaturated fats.

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains less Saturated Fat -18.8%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +12.9%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +28.8%
40% 51% 10%
Saturated Fat: 14.38 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 18.4 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 3.46 g
41% 48% 10%
Saturated Fat: 17.708 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 20.77 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 4.458 g
Contains less Saturated Fat -18.8%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +12.9%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +28.8%

A 100g of chorizo and pepperoni contain 88mg and 97mg of cholesterol, respectively. According to the Food and Drug Administration, daily cholesterol intake should not exceed 300g (1).

Minerals

Chorizo is higher in iron, potassium, and zinc and lower in sodium. In comparison, pepperoni is higher in manganese, selenium, copper, and calcium. 

They are equal in magnesium and phosphorus contents. Generally, both are low in magnesium and calcium; chorizo is also low in manganese, unlike pepperoni.

A 100g of chorizo and pepperoni contains 1235mg and 1582mg of sodium, respectively. The daily sodium intake should not exceed 2300mg, as regular high sodium intake is a major risk factor for developing high blood pressure (2).

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Contains more Iron +19.5%
Contains more Potassium +45.3%
Contains less Sodium -21.9%
Contains more Zinc +39.8%
Contains more Calcium +137.5%
Contains more Copper +13.8%
Contains more Manganese +2585%
Contains more Selenium +37.4%
Equal in Magnesium - 18
Equal in Phosphorus - 158
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 3% 60% 13% 65% 36% 162% 93% 27% 6% 116%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 6% 50% 13% 68% 25% 207% 67% 31% 141% 159%
Contains more Iron +19.5%
Contains more Potassium +45.3%
Contains less Sodium -21.9%
Contains more Zinc +39.8%
Contains more Calcium +137.5%
Contains more Copper +13.8%
Contains more Manganese +2585%
Contains more Selenium +37.4%
Equal in Magnesium - 18
Equal in Phosphorus - 158

Vitamins

Chorizo contains significantly higher concentrations of vitamins B1 and B12 than pepperoni, making it an excellent source for those with vitamin deficiencies. It is also higher in vitamins B2, B5, B6, and vitamin D. 

On the other hand, pepperoni is higher in vitamins E and K, which are nearly absent in chorizo.

Both chorizo and pepperoni are very low in folate and contain no vitamins A and C.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
:
Contains more Vitamin D +15.4%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +132.5%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +16.7%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +20.4%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +46.4%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +53.8%
Contains more Vitamin E +368.2%
Contains more Folate +150%
Contains more Vitamin K +262.5%
Equal in Vitamin B3 - 4.987
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 0% 5% 45% 0% 158% 70% 97% 68% 123% 2% 251% 4%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 0% 21% 39% 0% 68% 60% 94% 56% 84% 4% 163% 15%
Contains more Vitamin D +15.4%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +132.5%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +16.7%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +20.4%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +46.4%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +53.8%
Contains more Vitamin E +368.2%
Contains more Folate +150%
Contains more Vitamin K +262.5%
Equal in Vitamin B3 - 4.987

Glycemic Index

Overall, the glycemic index of a food is a value based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause increases in blood glucose levels. Due to their low carb and high contents, the glycemic index of chorizo and pepperoni is low, and both are considered low glycemic index foods.

Acidity

The acidity of foods is portrayed by the potential renal acid load (PRAL), which shows the acid production of the food inside the organism. The acidity level of pepperoni is about 8.8, while chorizo's is 8.4. Both are acidic.

Diets & Health Impact

Ketogenic (Keto) Diet

The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb and high-fat diet. It is good to have meat, including fatty meat such as pork belly, lamb, and poultry, if you are on this diet. Pepperoni contains fewer carbs than chorizo and has a higher fat level. If you're on this diet, eating pepperoni and chorizo is not an issue, but in any case, try to combine it with healthy fats.

Dukan diet

The Dukan diet is a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. This diet allows eating meat, including pork, beef, lamb, and any other red meat. Pork is allowed in the Attack Phase when you can eat only protein. In this case, pepperoni and chorizo are allowed in this diet.

Beneficial Vitamins

Pepperoni and chorizo are rich in B vitamins. According to studies, your body needs B vitamins to provide energy for the proper functioning of your brain, nerves, muscles, skin, and every cell in your body. It also helps decrease the risk of cardiovascular, liver, immune, nervous, and digestive diseases (3, 4, 5).

Pepperoni and chorizo are also good sources of Vitamin B3 (niacin), which may help lower LDL or "bad" cholesterol and triglyceride levels (6).

Side Effects

Pepperoni and chorizo are highly processed and contain high amounts of sodium and saturated fats, increasing the risk of metabolic syndrome, colorectal and breast cancer, IBS, inflammatory bowel disease, depression, and all-cause mortality (7, 8, 9, 10).

Heartburn

People with acid reflux and gastritis must avoid sausage consumption until treated, as sausages have a high-fat content, slowing stomach emptying and triggering heartburn.

Allergy

Overall, two reasons cause allergies to pepperoni and chorizo. One is an allergy to red meat, and the other is an allergy to one of their ingredients.

Red Meat Allergy

Red meat allergy is common in some parts of the world, including any age group and race. Most of these cases relate to specific IgE to galactose-α-1,3-galactose (α-Gal), an oligosaccharide of non-primate mammals. People can have this allergy if they are sensitive to cat serum albumin that cross-reacts with albumin in pork. Symptoms are most common, including urticaria, vomiting, and stomach cramps, in rare cases, anaphylaxis (11).

Paprika Allergy

Paprikas are a spice made of a combination of dried peppers, including both sweet and hot peppers. Common symptoms include wheezing, hives, dizziness, and swelling of the throat (12). Paprika allergy symptoms are rare, but severe paprika allergies can result in anaphylaxis, so it is essential to get tested if you typically have food allergies.

Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Education: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU
Last updated: July 13, 2023
Medically reviewed by Arpi Gasparyan

Infographic

Chorizo vs Pepperoni infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the rightmost column. It displays the amounts side by side, giving a clearer understanding of the difference.
Chorizo Pepperoni
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Cholesterol ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Sugar Equal
Lower in Glycemic Index Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Chorizo Pepperoni Opinion
Net carbs 1.86g 1.18g Chorizo
Protein 24.1g 19.25g Chorizo
Fats 38.27g 46.28g Pepperoni
Carbs 1.86g 1.18g Chorizo
Calories 455kcal 504kcal Pepperoni
Calcium 8mg 19mg Pepperoni
Iron 1.59mg 1.33mg Chorizo
Magnesium 18mg 18mg
Phosphorus 150mg 158mg Pepperoni
Potassium 398mg 274mg Chorizo
Sodium 1235mg 1582mg Chorizo
Zinc 3.41mg 2.44mg Chorizo
Copper 0.08mg 0.091mg Pepperoni
Manganese 0.04mg 1.074mg Pepperoni
Selenium 21.1µg 29µg Pepperoni
Vitamin E 0.22mg 1.03mg Pepperoni
Vitamin D 61IU 52IU Chorizo
Vitamin D 1.5µg 1.3µg Chorizo
Vitamin B1 0.63mg 0.271mg Chorizo
Vitamin B2 0.3mg 0.257mg Chorizo
Vitamin B3 5.131mg 4.987mg Chorizo
Vitamin B5 1.12mg 0.93mg Chorizo
Vitamin B6 0.53mg 0.362mg Chorizo
Folate 2µg 5µg Pepperoni
Vitamin B12 2µg 1.3µg Chorizo
Vitamin K 1.6µg 5.8µg Pepperoni
Tryptophan 0.278mg 0.23mg Chorizo
Threonine 1.473mg 0.869mg Chorizo
Isoleucine 2.206mg 0.901mg Chorizo
Leucine 1.708mg 1.575mg Chorizo
Lysine 2.414mg 1.652mg Chorizo
Methionine 0.47mg 0.511mg Pepperoni
Phenylalanine 1.149mg 0.778mg Chorizo
Valine 0.914mg 0.987mg Pepperoni
Histidine 0.721mg 0.688mg Chorizo
Cholesterol 88mg 97mg Chorizo
Trans Fat 1.527g Chorizo
Saturated Fat 14.38g 17.708g Chorizo
Omega-3 - DHA 0g 0.004g Pepperoni
Omega-3 - EPA 0g 0.004g Pepperoni
Omega-3 - DPA 0g 0.02g Pepperoni
Monounsaturated Fat 18.4g 20.77g Pepperoni
Polyunsaturated fat 3.46g 4.458g Pepperoni
Omega-6 - Eicosadienoic acid 0.136g Pepperoni
Omega-6 - Linoleic acid 3.605g Pepperoni
Omega-6 - Gamma-linoleic acid 0.002g Pepperoni
Omega-3 - ALA 0.164g Pepperoni
Omega-3 - Eicosatrienoic acid 0.018g Pepperoni
Omega-6 - Dihomo-gamma-linoleic acid 0.04g Pepperoni

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Chorizo Pepperoni
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet Equal

People also compare

Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score

The summary scores indicate the extent to which this food can fulfill your daily vitamin and mineral requirements if you consume 3 servings, consisting of 100 grams of each (an approximation of 3 serving sizes).
Vitamins Daily Need Coverage Score
68%
Chorizo
50%
Pepperoni
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
58%
Chorizo
76%
Pepperoni

Comparison summary

Which food is richer in minerals?
Pepperoni
Pepperoni is relatively richer in minerals
Which food contains less Sodium?
Chorizo
Chorizo contains less Sodium (difference - 347mg)
Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Chorizo
Chorizo is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 9mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Chorizo
Chorizo is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 3.328g)
Which food is cheaper?
Chorizo
Chorizo is cheaper (difference - $3)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Chorizo
Chorizo is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food contains less Sugar?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Sugar (0 g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
?
The foods have equal glycemic indexes (28)

References

All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Chorizo - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173859/nutrients
  2. Pepperoni - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174575/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.