Morcilla vs. Black Pudding: Similarities and Differences Explained

Blood sausage is a traditional food that has been consumed around the world since ancient times.

Older cultures, looking for ways of preserving and using every part of the animal, independently developed their own blood sausages.

As a result, there are traditional blood sausage preparations in nearly every cuisine, using local ingredients and flavor profiles.

Morcilla is a traditional blood sausage that originated in Spain and is consumed throughout Spain and Spanish-influenced Latin America. Black Pudding is a traditional blood sausage made in the British Isles, with local variations in England, Ireland, and Scotland.

Though they’re similar types of sausages, they have their differences too. Let’s take a look at the differences between morcilla vs. black pudding.

morcilla vs blood pudding

What Is Morcilla?

Morcilla is a traditional Spanish blood sausage. However, there are regional variations throughout the country, with different seasonings, fillers, and flavors.

For example, Morcilla from Burgos is made differently than morcilla from Leon, and morcilla made in the New World also has unique ingredients and flavors.

Generally, morcilla is made from pork blood combined with rice, onions, and seasonings.

The morcilla mixture is piped into sausage casings, boiled to form a solid sausage, and then cured.

After curing, morcilla may be fried and served in sandwiches, crumbled into soups and stewed, or enjoyed by itself as a tapa.

What Is Black Pudding?

Black pudding is a traditional British blood sausage.

It’s enjoyed in the British Isles, with Scottish varieties especially famous. It’s also eaten in many former British colonies, including New Zealand and parts of Canada.

Black pudding is usually made from pork and some beef blood, combined with pork or beef fat, oatmeal, and seasonings.

Traditionally, black pudding was seasoned with pennyroyal, but marjoram, thyme, and mint were frequently used.

The sausage mixture is stuffed into a casing and then boiled.

Black pudding is essential to the traditional full Irish or English breakfast, can be served for dinner along with bread or potatoes, and is often sold fried in chip shops.

What are the Similarities Between Morcilla and Black Pudding?

There are many similarities between morcilla and black pudding. Here are ways in which they are alike.

Made From Pork Blood

Morcilla is almost exclusively made from pork blood, while black pudding may combine pork blood with beef or sheep’s blood.

Boiled In a Casing

The sausage mixture is placed inside a casing and boiled to preserve the blood for consumption.  This congeals the blood, making it into a solid sausage.

Other types of sausage may be smoked, cured, salted, or preserved in different ways, but blood sausages are boiled.

Regional Variations

As with all blood sausages, there is a wide range of regional variations, family recipes, and favorite seasonings.

There’s no single type of blood pudding or morcilla; instead, there are endless varieties. 

What are the Differences Between Morcilla and Black Pudding?

Despite these similarities, there are many differences between morcilla and black pudding.

Here are the most significant ways they differ.

Different Filler Ingredients

Morcilla is usually filled with rice, although it may be filled with onions, potatoes, and other ingredients.

Blood pudding is usually filled with oatmeal, although barley and other grains are also used.

Different Filler Ratios

Blood pudding is much higher in grain-based fillers than morcilla and most other types of blood sausage.

Curing

Morcilla is almost always cured after boiling.

Curing reduces the water content, making a dry and firm sausage. Because it is not cured, blood pudding usually remains soft and moist.

Seasoning

Local herbs and spices determine the popular seasonings used in blood pudding.

For example, in Spain, morcilla is often seasoned with paprika, garlic, oregano, and other flavors.

Blood pudding is often mildly seasoned with pennyroyal, marjoram, thyme, or mint in Britain. 

Summary Table: Morcilla vs. Black Pudding

Here’s an overview of the key similarities and differences between morcilla and black pudding.

 MorcillaBlack Pudding
Primarily Made from Pork BloodYY
Boiled in a CasingYY
Wide Variety of RecipesYY
Grain FillingRiceOats or barley
High Amount of FillerNY
Cured After BoilingYN
Seasonings and FlavorsPaprika, garlic, oreganoPennyroyal, marjoram, thyme

Blood sausage is an ancient food becoming increasingly popular in the new world. Black pudding and morcilla are traditional foods that can be traced back centuries.

However, they both evolved independently, so each culture and each region has its own recipe and preparation method based on the local ingredients and flavor preferences of the time.

In many cases, each family has a traditional recipe for preparing their blood sausage, so there isn’t a single traditional way these foods are made or a single recipe.

Morcilla is a blood sausage from Spain enjoyed throughout the Spanish-speaking world.

It has fewer filler ingredients and more flavorful seasonings than you might expect from Spanish cuisine.

Black pudding is blood sausage from Britain, and it is higher in grain-based fillings and more mildly seasoned, as is typical of British foods.

Like morcilla, black pudding spread through many former British colonies and has become a traditional food in many parts of the world.

In Summary

Now you know the key differences and similarities between these two types of blood sausage,  what to expect when trying these unusual foods, and how to choose the one best for your recipe or meal.

Keep in mind that there is a wide range of preparations for each sausage, so the flavors and textures will vary from brand to brand and recipe to recipe. Enjoy getting to know these ancient foods!