What is Boudin Noir?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Boudin noir is a traditional French sausage made with pork, fried onions, fat, and blood. Belgian, Catalan, and Cajun cuisine also features this sausage, and variations on this dish are eaten in many cultures. Blood sausage or black pudding, for example, are eaten in Great Britain and Ireland, and the German variation of this dish is known as blutwurst. Culinary historians have found recipes for recognizable versions of this dish that date back well over 2,000 years.

Boudin noir.
Boudin noir.

By tradition, boudin noir is a fresh sausage. When families slaughtered pigs, making blood sausage was one way to ensure that every part of the pig was used and the sausage was often eaten on the same day of the slaughter by members of the family and the slaughtering crew. The dish is a staple of French charcuterie, the French culinary tradition that revolves around making cooked and cured meats, and is made fresh every day in some butcher shops.

Pigs are used in the creation of boudin noir.
Pigs are used in the creation of boudin noir.

More modern takes on the boudin noir have included sausages that are smoked or cooked and then canned so that they can be eaten at any time. Grocery stores sometimes carry these forms when they do not have fresh charcuterie, especially if they stock other staples of French cuisine. It is also possible to order fresh sausages through some meat suppliers.

The filling of the sausage is customized by the individual cook. Cooks simmer onions in cubes of fat, stir in ground pork, and add blood that has been continuously stirred to prevent clotting. The filling is poured, rather than forced, into sausage casings that may be left as long tubes or twisted to create links. Once the sausage has set, it can be steamed, fried, or otherwise prepared by the cook. It is common for boudin noir to be heavily spiced during its preparation and there are regional spicing preferences. As a result, sausages from different locations can taste quite different.

A common way to serve boudin noir is fried with potato and apple slices, although there are many variations. The flavor of the sausage is very complex, thanks to the blend of ingredients, and while some diners are put off by the thought of eating blood sausages, others have no such compunctions, making the sausage a delicacy in many regions of the world. People who are interested in trying boudin noir can try the offerings at a French restaurant or deli, or buy sausages at a butcher and bring them home to cook.

Chefs in the French tradition may serve dishes that feature boudin noir.
Chefs in the French tradition may serve dishes that feature boudin noir.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


@animegal-- We call this 'Lancashire pudding' in Britain. I'm sorry that you didn't like it much, I know it can take time to acquire a taste for it and some people never do. Some of my American friends love it and some hate it.

I haven't tried boudin noir, but really sounds exactly the same as Lancashire pudding. We also make it with pig meat and blood.

What about American black pudding? Is it similar as well? What kind of meat is used for it?


Boudin noir was one of the sausages my roommates and I purchased from the charcuterie in Paris our first week we were there.

I have to say that looking at uncooked boudin noir was not too appetizing. It is a pitch black sausage, although I have seen dark reddish ones since then. The though of eating blood made me a little uneasy too.

After we sliced and fried the sausages on a pan and prepared french fries with them though, I completely changed my mind. It's definitely a sausage one should try when in France. When it is fried, the outside becomes crunchy but it doesn't take anything away from the juicy filling. They smell really good too, especially boudin noir with spices smells great when it's cooking.


@animegal - You know, boudin noir is actually quite delicious once you get over the mental block that is preventing you from trying it. Varieties of blood sausage are a very traditional and much-loved dish in many countries with good reason.

It always makes me feel sad when I hear that people aren't that experimental with food. The average diet of burgers and fries these days just aren't doing people a whole lot of good. While I am not saying that boudin noir needs to become a staple, putting aside your preconceptions could open you up to whole new worlds of culinary delicacies.


I am glad I didn't order the boudin noir when I spotted it on a restaurant menu earlier this week. I was curious, but hesitant because the description was entirely in French. I must admit the picture of boudin noir looked enticing but any version of blood sausage just kind of churns my stomach.

When I was in England a few years back I got a piece of blood sausage with my meal and it was definitely not something I would try. There was just something about the texture of it that seemed off to me. I guess I am just not that experimental with food.

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