Kielbasa VS Andouille: History, Meat, Spices & More

When it comes to looking for a smoked sausage, either to use in a recipe or just to snack on, there are many options to choose from. Of the many options out there, there are two really excellent options: kielbasa and andouille.

These two sausages are made in a very similar fashion, as they simply consist of meat  and spices in a casing, that is then smoked and packaged.  

But while these two sausages have many similarities, they also have some major differences that you should know about before choosing one.

Where They Come From

what is the difference between kielbasa and andouille

Kielbasa

Sometimes referred to by Americans as a “Polish sausage”, kielbasa is, unsurprisingly, from Polish descent.

The name actually refers to any type of meat sausage that is made in Poland and then pre-cooked, typically by smoking.

You’ll often find this type of sausage to be more popular in the northern portion of America, as that is where many people of Polish descent immigrated to.

Andouille

Originally made in France, andouille is a smoked sausage that tends to have more flavor and spice than its Polish cousin.

Andouille is also a staple in many Cajun cuisines as it was brought over with the French when they settled in Louisiana

What Is In Them

kielbasa or andouille

Kielbasa

This type of smoked sausage can be made up of several different types of  meat and spices.

The meats that you can find in kielbasa can be pork, beef, turkey, veal, lamb, and chicken; although you will see pork or a mixture of pork and beef most of the time.

These base meats are accompanied by several spices such as garlic, cloves, marjoram and cardamom. All of these ingredients are then put into a casing that is made of hog intestine.

Andouille

This sausage packs a little more punch than kielbasa. Andouille typically is made up of pork, garlic, onions, pepper, paprika, cayenne and thyme.

You might have noticed that I only mentioned pork. Unlike kielbasa, andouille is exclusive to pigs, and that includes the casing as well.

How Many Calories

kielbasa instead of andouille

Kielbasa

So, when you break down the servings of a kielbasa, it is usually done in 2oz portions. In each of these 2oz portions, there are 160 calories, and there are usually seven servings in just one length of kielbasa.

That means that an entire kielbasa has 1120 calories.

Andouille

Now let us do the same break down for andouille sausage. These sausages are the exact same when it comes to serving size and the amount of total servings that they contain.

However, andouille has 170 calories per 2oz serving instead of 160 calories. Pretty close right? So, if you were looking to see if one would be a healthier alternative, there really is no difference.

Kielbasa Or Andouille

one vs the other

Now that we know the fundamental difference between these two sausages let us discuss some recipes that call for each one.

Kielbasa

As we talked about before, kielbasa hails from Poland, so obviously there will be Polish recipes, but there are a few other instances where kielbasa is called for.

  • Kielbasa and cabbage: This is a staple dish in Poland. It requires bacon, cabbage and kielbasa to be cooked in a skillet and served hot. 
  • Kielbasa and potatoes with peppers: For this dish, the kielbasa, potatoes and peppers are cut to around the same size and baked together. The kielbasa and potatoes do a great job of soaking up the flavor of the peppers.
  • Kielbasa with breakfast: Here is a recipe that is not Polish, but something we do see here in the U.S. The kielbasa is usually fried in a skillet, like bacon, making the skin have a magnificent crisp.

Andouille

Given the differences between the two sausages, we know that andouille contains more spices and hails from France. This obviously means that the recipes are going to be a bit different.

  • Gumbo: Gumbo is a classic Cajun dish that consists mainly of andouille, chicken,  and rice. Andouille really lends itself to this dish with the spices, and also aids in  the reddish color of gumbo. 
  • Andouille skillet pasta: This is a bit different as it is not a staple of any cuisine in particular, but is really delicious and mainly because of andouille. I mean, who doesn’t love a bowl full of sausage, cheese, and pasta?
  • Charcuterie: Andouille is great on a charcuterie board. With the different spices and beautiful color, it is sure to spice up your presentation (both literally and figuratively). 

Can You Substitute Kielbasa For Andouille Sausage? 

Since we have a good idea about these two sausages, the differences between them,  and some recipes that they are used in, it raises the question, can you substitute one for  the other?  

Substituting Kielbasa For Andouille

In many cases, you can substitute kielbasa for andouille. The next question you might ask is: well they have different spices, so does that not make a difference? 

Okay yes, they entail different spices, but it is mainly that kielbasa just contains less spice than andouille. So think of it like using unsalted butter instead of salted butter in a recipe.

With all that said, the answer is yes; you can substitute kielbasa for andouille. Since they are both encased in the same casing type and then smoked, they will cook the same.

And if you want to make up for the lack of spices in kielbasa, you can add some extra spice to your recipe, like cayenne or paprika. This will also give any recipe that calls for andouille the nice red color that kielbasa doesn’t provide.

Substituting Andouille For Kielbasa

When it comes to using andouille in kielbasa recipes, the answer is a little different than the other way around.

While yes, in some cases, you can use andouille for kielbasa, but it is just for simple things, like using andouille in a breakfast sandwich.

However, when cooking traditional Polish recipes, you really cannot substitute andouille for kielbasa. 

On the other hand, the beauty of cooking is doing or creating what you want. So, if you want to have andouille and cabbage, by all means, go for it. And let me know how it went in the comments, perhaps I’ll try it out!

Conclusion

Well, there you have it—everything you need to know about the differences and similarities of kielbasa and andouille sausages.

Is one better than the other? Not in my opinion, but they do have certain things for which they fit better.

All in all, you are now armed with the knowledge of these two sausages, now it is time for you to use this knowledge and make something delicious. Bon Appetit!

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