Cooking Chinese Sausage: A Comprehensive Guide

by Ella

Chinese sausage, also known as lap cheong, is a beloved ingredient in Asian cuisine that adds a unique flavor and texture to various dishes. With its distinct sweet and savory taste, Chinese sausage has become a staple in many traditional recipes. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the different types of Chinese sausage, provide step-by-step instructions for preparing and cooking it, share delicious recipes highlighting its versatility, and offer tips and tricks for achieving the perfect balance of flavors and textures. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or new to Chinese cuisine, mastering the art of cooking Chinese sausage will open up a world of culinary possibilities.

Introduction to Chinese Sausage:

Chinese sausage holds a special place in Asian cuisine, particularly in Chinese, Taiwanese, and Southeast Asian dishes. Made from a combination of pork, fat, and various spices, it is known for its unique flavor profile, featuring a balance of sweetness and umami. Chinese sausage is often used to enhance stir-fries, rice dishes, soups, and even steamed buns. Its distinctive texture and aroma add depth and complexity to these dishes, making it a highly valued ingredient in traditional and modern Asian cooking.


Different Types of Chinese Sausage

Chinese sausage comes in different variations, each with its own characteristics and uses. Understanding the types of Chinese sausage available will help you choose the most suitable one for your cooking needs:


1. Sweet Chinese Sausage (Lap Cheong): This is the most common type of Chinese sausage, characterized by its sweet and savory flavor. It is often made with pork, sugar, soy sauce, and rice wine, giving it a slightly sticky texture.


2. Spicy Chinese Sausage (Lap Yuk): Spicy Chinese sausage offers a delightful kick with the addition of chili or other spices. It adds a fiery note to dishes and is favored by those who enjoy a touch of heat in their meals.


3. Liver Chinese Sausage (Lap Cheong): Liver Chinese sausage incorporates pig’s liver into the mixture, resulting in a richer, earthier flavor. It is less sweet compared to the traditional sweet Chinese sausage and has a slightly firmer texture.

Preparing Chinese Sausage for Cooking

Proper preparation of Chinese sausage is essential to maximize its flavors and ensure even cooking. Follow these steps to prepare Chinese sausage before incorporating it into your dishes:

1. Unwrapping and soaking: Remove the Chinese sausage from its packaging and rinse it under cold water to remove any excess oils or preservatives. Soak the sausage in warm water for 15 to 20 minutes to soften the casing and allow the flavors to bloom.

2. Drying and slicing: After soaking, pat the Chinese sausage dry with a paper towel. If desired, you can remove the casing, although it is often left intact for added flavor during cooking. Slice the sausage diagonally into thin or thick pieces, depending on the recipe and personal preference.

Cooking Methods for Chinese Sausage

Chinese sausage can be cooked using various methods, each yielding distinct flavors and textures. Here are some popular cooking methods to consider:

1. Stir-frying: Heat a wok or skillet over medium-high heat and add a small amount of oil. Stir-fry the sliced Chinese sausage until it is lightly browned and fragrant. This method enhances the flavors and provides a slightly crisp texture.

2. Steaming: Place whole or sliced Chinese sausage in a heatproof dish and steam it over high heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness. Steaming retains the moisture and results in tender, juicy sausage.

3. Boiling: Add sliced Chinese sausage to a pot of boiling water and cook for a few minutes until heated through. Boiling is a simple and quick method, ideal for incorporating Chinese sausage into soups or noodle dishes.

4. Grilling or barbecuing: Grill or barbecue whole Chinese sausages over medium heat, turning occasionally until they are cooked through and have a slightly charred exterior. This method imparts a smoky flavor to the sausage.

5. Baking or roasting: Place sliced Chinese sausage on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at a moderate temperature until they become slightly crispy and caramelized. Baking or roasting concentrates the flavors and adds a delightful texture.

Delicious Recipes Featuring Chinese Sausage

Chinese sausage can elevate a wide range of dishes, infusing them with its distinct flavor. Here are some delightful recipes that showcase the versatility of Chinese sausage:

1. Fried Rice with Chinese Sausage: Stir-fry cooked rice with diced Chinese sausage, vegetables, and soy sauce for a flavorful and satisfying one-pot meal.

2. Chinese Sausage Buns: Incorporate finely chopped Chinese sausage into the filling for steamed or baked buns, adding an extra layer of flavor and richness.

3. Clay Pot Rice with Chinese Sausage: Combine Chinese sausage, rice, and other toppings in a clay pot, allowing the flavors to meld together as they cook. This dish offers a comforting and aromatic experience.

4. Chinese Sausage and Broccoli Stir-Fry: Sauté Chinese sausage slices with broccoli, garlic, and soy sauce for a quick and nutritious side dish.

5. Chinese Sausage Fried Noodles: Stir-fry noodles with Chinese sausage, vegetables, and a savory sauce for a satisfying and flavorful noodle dish.

Read more: Chinese Sausage: Storage Techniques & Recipes

Tips and Tricks for Cooking Chinese Sausage to Perfection

Achieving the best results when cooking Chinese sausage requires attention to detail and some handy tips. Consider the following suggestions:

1. Adjust sweetness: If you prefer a milder sweetness, soak the Chinese sausage in hot water for a longer duration to remove some of the excess sugar.

2. Balancing flavors: Chinese sausage can be quite sweet, so balancing it with salty or umami ingredients such as soy sauce, fish sauce, or fermented bean paste can create a harmonious flavor profile.

3. Customizing spice levels: To control the spiciness, choose the type of Chinese sausage that aligns with your desired heat level or add chili flakes or hot sauce to your recipes.

4. Enhancing aroma: Before using Chinese sausage in a stir-fry or soup, lightly pan-fry it to release its aroma and intensify the flavors.

5. Storage and shelf life: Chinese sausage can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks or in the freezer for a longer duration. Ensure proper packaging to maintain freshness and prevent freezer burn.


1. What differentiates Chinese sausage from other types of sausage, and how does this impact cooking methods?

Chinese sausage, or “Lap Cheong”, is a type of dried, hard sausage usually made from pork and a high content of fat. It is often seasoned with soy sauce, sugar, and Chinese rice wine, and can be smoked or unsmoked. The flavour can be sweet or savoury, and the sausage is denser than many other types of sausage. Because it is typically sold dried, it needs to be cooked before consuming. It can be steamed, boiled, or stir-fried and its strong flavor can stand up to a variety of ingredients.

2. What traditional dishes use Chinese sausage, and how is it typically prepared in these dishes?

Chinese sausage is used in many dishes in Chinese cuisine. It is often diced or sliced thinly and used in stir-fry dishes, with vegetables, or in rice dishes. One classic Cantonese dish is “Lap Cheong rice”, where the sausage is cooked with rice in a clay pot or rice cooker, allowing the rice to absorb the flavors of the sausage.

3. Are there any specific safety considerations or handling procedures needed when preparing Chinese sausage?

As with any raw meat product, be sure to store Chinese sausage properly (in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator) until you’re ready to cook it. While it is often sold dried, it should still be cooked thoroughly before consumption. After handling raw sausage, wash hands and any surfaces or utensils it touched to avoid cross-contamination.


Chinese sausage, with its sweet and savory flavor, offers a unique taste experience and adds depth to a variety of dishes. By understanding the different types of Chinese sausage, preparing it properly, and employing various cooking methods, you can unlock its full potential in your culinary repertoire. From stir-fries and steamed buns to fried rice and clay pot dishes, Chinese sausage infuses every recipe with its distinct aroma and taste. Embrace the flavors of Chinese sausage, experiment with different recipes, and embark on a delicious journey through the world of Asian cuisine.



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