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How to Cook Beef Liver

This is how to cook beef liver on the stove perfectly to tender. Add caramelized onions and lightly breaded meat for a protein packed meal. If you loved our Instant Pot liver recipe this is another way to do it well.

How to Cook Beef Liver

How to cook liver in a pan on the stove is easy, comes out great. There is a little prepping you will want to do so it becomes as fork tender as possible, but no biggie. Seasoning is important and onions are a must if you ask most people. Get your your skillet and let’s get started. (affiliate links present)

How is Liver Supposed to be Cooked?

Just like how to cook beef heart this is delicate so it doesn’t need long. You definitely want something in the pan like butter (best option) or olive oil to keep it nice and moist.

Adding salt and a bit of sweetness like brown sugar with onions is usually the most popular method. Organ meat does have a strong flavor that isn’t always enjoyed.

If you saute it with a sweet and savory mixture of flavors you can kinda’ counterbalance the strong beefy flavor. Yellow onions are your best bet, even minced garlic would be fabulous. As far as seasonings on the meat itself, salt and pepper is really all you need. Coating it with flour will create a nice crust, the best way I say.

How is Liver Supposed to be Cooked

Should Beef Liver be Soaked Before Cooking?

Um, yes. This will help tone down the strong liver taste as well. Some prefer buttermilk, a long time, raw milk, etc…. I have to use Lactaid for a lactose free version for my husband and that works just as well for this. For this batch we used the following ingredients;

Ingredients Needed

  • 2 lbs liver that is fresh or thawed, do not use frozen beef for this
  • Salt
  • Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 cup of milk or a dairy free variety if you need it to soak it in milk

Making a batch of caramelized onions while your meat is resting is ideal when cooking organ meat. I mean they’re a must y’all. Don’t start counting calories like at this point. 😉

  • A yellow or white thinly sliced onions
  • Brown sugar
  • A few tablespoons of butter, salted is best

You definitely want to add lots of flavor or it will be rather strong with organ flavors. How much you add and how thick the coating is is up to you of course.

How do you make beef liver taste good?

Soak in milk or buttermilk before cooking and add seasonings or a bit of breading to the outside before you pan fry it. Dipping in a flour mixture with seasonings like coriander and paprika with a pinch of salt and pepper will make the outside delicious and crispy.

What is the best way to cook beef liver?

We will show you here how to pan fry liver which is the best way to control how long it is cooked so it stays moist and doesn’t get dry. In the oven on a sheet pan is possible too, you can cover with foil at the beginning to keep it tender as well. Either way I would pair with sliced onions to add flavor.

Should Beef Liver be Soaked Before Cooking

How Long to Pan Fry Liver

You only need about 6 minutes. Soak the liver slices in a bowl submerged in milk. Leave for 20 minutes (or an hour or two in the refrigerator). Pour flour into another bowl and add salt, spices, and mix. Then coat to add flavor and make crispy.

How to Prepare and Cook Liver

  • Soak and remove the liver slices from the milk, pat dry and cut into 2-inch pieces.
  • Coat liver pieces in flour on all sides so that it is covered.
  • Transfer the liver pieces to a pan over medium high heat with already heated olive oil.
  • Fry in a large skillet for 3 minutes on one side and 2 -3 minutes on the other side.
    • This way the liver will remain pink inside and very soft.
    • Total timing depends on thickness of course
  • The internal temperature for organ meat should be 160 F in the thickest part.
    • Remember that proteins will rise another 5 degrees as they sit but much higher will make it dry out and be too firm.
  • Transfer the fried liver to a napkin to absorb excess oil.
  • Melt the butter in a frying pan and fry the onion until soft and caramelized.

How Long is Beef Liver and Onions supposed to be cooked?

6 minutes total for just the meat itself if you wanted to then cook onions you would want to add sugar and fry for another 3-4 minutes until the sugar has melted completely. Transfer everything to a plate and place sliced right over the top of them to serve.

How Long to Pan Fry Liver

Which liver is best to eat?

If you have had this dish and thought it will still too strong of a metallic flavor you might try calf liver instead. That has a milder and sweeter taste than beef, which is more intense. Well beef is the most common of them all with the highest nutrition levels overall.

How do you pick a good liver?

I mean sounds silly I guess but just like chicken it should be the proper color, meaning the veining is all the same. The texture on the outside should be springy too when touched, and doesn’t depress and stay there. And then there is the scent. There will be a natural smell to it but it shouldn’t stink like it’s rancid.

When you eat liver you might want something other than just onions. Most will likely serve this next to or on top of a bed of taters or something like our mashed potato balls. A healthier lower carb choice might be a bowl of roasted vegetables, a side salad or cauliflower rice maybe.

How do you store leftover liver?

You know how I hate wasting food so this is the next thought when you’re done right? To keep it moist store it in a container smothered with the onions and sauce in that pan. If all you have is the meat then wrap tightly in foil. Keep in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Beef Liver and Onions

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the typical mom
How to Cook Beef Liver
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5 from 6 votes

How to Cook Beef Liver

This is how to cook beef liver on the stove perfectly to tender. Add caramelized onions and lightly breaded meat for a protein packed meal.
Course Entree, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword beef liver, how to cook, liver and onions
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 345kcal
Author The Typical Mom

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Put beef liver slices in a bowl and pour over milk. Leave for 20 minutes (or an hour or two in the refrigerator). Pour flour into another bowl and add salt, spices, and mix.
  • Remove the liver slices from the milk, pat dry and cut into 2-inch pieces. Roll each piece of liver in flour on all sides so that it is covered.
  • Transfer the liver pieces to a pan over medium high heat with already heated olive oil. Fry for 3 minutes on one side and 2 -3 minutes on the other side. This way the liver will remain pink inside and very soft. (timing depends on thickness)
  • The internal temperature for organ meat should be 160 F in the thickest part. Remember that proteins will rise another 5 degrees as they sit but much higher will make it dry out and be too firm.
  • Transfer the fried liver to a napkin to absorb excess oil. Melt the butter in a frying pan and fry the onion until soft and caramelized. Add sugar and fry the onion for another 3-4 minutes until the sugar has melted completely. Transfer the onion to a plate and place the liver pieces

Video

Nutrition Facts
How to Cook Beef Liver
Amount Per Serving (1 oz)
Calories 345 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Trans Fat 0.3g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 426mg142%
Sodium 330mg14%
Potassium 574mg16%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 33g66%
Vitamin A 25757IU515%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 65mg7%
Iron 8mg44%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
How to Cook Beef Liver
5 from 6 votes (2 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating




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Jack Reed

Monday 10th of June 2024

Growing up, we always had it with the onions, but I also found I enjoyed it with sautéed mushrooms along with it.

The Typical Mom

Monday 10th of June 2024

oh good

Bill Gibson, II

Saturday 16th of March 2024

I like the bacon fat idea, and the sauteed onions. I like a baked sweet potato with butter, sour cream, sweetener & some cinnamon as one side and steamed asparagus or cabbage as another. I've started using a polenta cake, that I put through my waffle maker, to soak up any gravy. *Skylark is one company. They sell a pound package of 4 individually wrapped calf or beef liver slices. These slices defrost in about an hour.

David

Friday 8th of December 2023

Good cooking beef liver is very nice the cooking time has got to be right if not the dog can have it but we'll done I would of liked to have tried a piece kind regards David the best liver recipes chef

Mark Wright

Monday 20th of November 2023

Loved it cut it crossways into 2" stips before soaking cook in bacon grease served over noodles and beef gravy best liver and onions i have ever eaten!! Lemon pie and coffee to finish the evening was great.

Lisa V

Thursday 26th of October 2023

My first time making Liver and it came out amazing. Unfortunately in my area I couldn't find fresh liver so I had to use frozen. My husband loved it. This is my go to recipe. Sweet onions tasty tender.

The Typical Mom

Friday 27th of October 2023

so glad it was a hit

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