Simple Beef Liver Recipe with Onions

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It’s time to try liver again. This simple beef liver recipe will convert all liver haters, I promise. Allow me to show you how to cook beef liver properly so you can start enjoying this world-renowned dish, once again.

simple beef liver recipe

De-liver me from evil…

My stepdad forced me and my brother to eat liver and onions at least once a week. I couldn’t stand the metallic aftertaste, so I would drown the cooked liver in mounds of ketchup. 

Once mom saw how quickly we were going through ketchup, she forbade its use. So I graduated to the less fun, and more rude method, of plugging my nose while I ate. 

As an adult, I often wonder where my stepdad’s love of organ meat came from. Furthermore, how can millions worldwide adore meat that, as a child, I abhorred? 

I’ve come to understand, through trial and error, that it all comes down to how you prepare it. But before we get into that, let’s go over the key ingredients in this beef liver recipe. 

Key Ingredients in This Recipe:

1. Milk or Buttermilk

Soaking your organ meat for a couple of hours in milk or buttermilk is said to help remove the metallic flavor. It’s also rumored to help remove any lingering toxins that may be present in the meat. Oh yeah, and it helps tenderize it, too.

2. Beef Livers

Beef liver is extremely nutritious and is the obvious key ingredient in this recipe.

3. Onions

Yellow onions, white onions, and even shallots pair incredibly well with beef liver. They also contribute a layer of rich flavor to the gravy and act as a thickening and binding agent.

4. Bacon

Fried bacon is what Michelin star chefs pair with their liver and onion recipes, so we’re going to do what THEY do. The bacon grease also mixes well with the onions and livers, coating them both in an indulgent layer of flavor.

Also, using bacon is a great way to offset any remaining bitter taste from the livers.

5. Crispy Fried Sage

Again—this is what famous chefs include, so it’s what we’re doing. Fried sage leaves are incredibly easy to make. You simply fry them for 30 seconds in hot butter and boom, they’re done. Use them as a garnish but also EAT THEM. 


Why Eat Organ Meat?

Not eating organ meat, at least in the West, is a modern phenomenon. The industrial and agricultural revolutions have made muscle meat (steaks, chicken breast, etc) widely available. 

One hundred years ago, organ meat, also known as offal, was commonplace at the dinner table. Back then, people ate every part of the animal due to the difficulty of preserving meat.

That said, today, millions of people worldwide still enjoy internal organs as part of their diets. 

And scientists have studied these cultures and have found these people to be physically healthier than their western counterparts.

Which begs the question…is eating organ meat good for you? Let’s find out. 

Is Eating Beef Liver Good For You?

Are there any health benefits that come with eating liver? Well, first off, beef liver is nutrient-dense. It’s packed with vitamin B, vitamin C, potassium, phosphorus, folate, iron, riboflavin (what the hell is riboflavin?), copper, and niacin.

And liver is also very low in saturated fat, which is always a good thing.

Other organ meats, such as cow liver, heart, and tripe are all jam-packed with nutrients that are harder to come by in other foods. Often you can only find these nutrients in supplements.

Is Eating Beef Liver Bad For You?

The only drawback to beef liver is that its high in cholesterol. Three ounces of beef liver contains 375 milligrams of cholesterol.

It’s recommended that you only have one serving of liver per week. If you have cholesterol issues, as I do, limit your beef liver intake.

It all comes down to the old saying: everything in moderation.

Why Should I Soak My Liver in Milk Before Cooking?

There are two schools of thought on whether or not soaking liver in milk has any impact at all on the flavor. 

Opinion One: The predominant opinion is that soaking your liver in milk for at least a few hours before cooking helps to remove toxins, reduce the metallic flavor, and tenderize the meat.

Opinion Two: The second school of thought proclaims that soaking your liver in milk adds zero benefits. In fact, some chefs think this adversely affects the flavor of the meat while reducing our bodies’ ability to absorb the nutrients.

And then some chefs soak their organ meat, such as sweetbreads, in water instead.  

All-in-all, there is zero scientific proof that soaking liver in milk does anything. 

But what everyone can agree on is that what DOES make an impact on the flavor of the liver is how you prepare it. 

Where Can I Buy Fresh Beef Liver Near Me?

You can find beef and chicken livers at one of your local grocery stores in the meat section. They’ll most often be wrapped in styrofoam and plastic wrap just like other cuts of meat.

You can also find cow livers and other organ meats, such as chicken livers and calf livers, at your local butcher shop. 

My family lives in the country in Missouri, and we place an order for a “head of beef” twice a year. And in our order, we request beef livers. 

What Should I Serve With Liver and Onions?

My favorite sides for liver and onions are mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus. Though this is such a hearty meal, you really don’t need to pair it with anything other than fava beans and a good chianti.

What Are Other Popular Beef Liver Recipes?

Beef Liver Cubes Recipe:

Slice up your raw beef livers and mix them in a blender. Once fully blended, pour into an ice cube tray. You can use these cubes as flavor bombs in soups, chilies, taco meat, etc. Think of them as little bouillon cubes.

Fried Beef Liver Recipe:

Everything is better fried. Whisk together 3-4 eggs. Create a powdered dredging mix using whatever flour & spices you wish. Dip the livers in the eggs and then in the seasoning mixture. Fry in hot oil or in your air fryer until done.

How Do I Store My Cooked Beef Livers?

Beef liver is meat, and once meat is cooked, it’ll keep for about 3-4 days in a sealed container in your refrigerator.

You can also freeze your cooked beef livers in a freezer-safe bag, or better yet, in a FoodSaver bag. We use our FoodSaver relentlessly in our house. Using an air-tight bag or FoodSaver bag makes frozen food last much longer than using a Tupperware container.

What Other Organ Meats Should I Try?

So you’ve tried this liver recipe and you’re in heaven. You’re ready to take the plunge and try other types of organ meat. Here is where I’d start. First, try chicken livers. Next, move on to cow heart, pork liver, calves liver, and even veal liver.


Simple Beef Liver Recipe

The key to preparing tasty livers is to not overcook them. Follow these simple steps to make the best beef liver recipe on the internet.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of beef liver (sliced)
  • 4 slices of bacon (cooked)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 large yellow onions (sliced)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • kosher salt & black pepper (to taste)
  • 3 sage leaves (garnish)

Equipment:

Cast Iron Skillet

Step 1: Soak the Beef Livers in Milk

Slice your beef livers into 2-inch pieces and rinse under cold tap water. Grab a medium bowl and place the livers in it.

Fill the bowl with milk until your livers are fully submerged. Let them soak for at least an hour, in the refrigerator, in order to help remove the liver taste.

Step 2: Cook the Bacon and Sage

In a large skillet, fry your bacon until it’s crispy. Set the bacon to the side. Grab your sage leaves and place them in the hot bacon grease. Cook them for 30 seconds per side. Set these to the side as well.

Step 3: Cook the Onions

Add 2 tablespoons of butter (or olive oil) to the bacon grease in your skillet and bring to medium-high heat. Toss in your sliced onions.

Once they’re done, set the caramelized onions to the side.

Step 4: Fry the Livers

In a separate shallow dish, mix together the garlic powder, salt & pepper, and all-purpose flour. Drain your livers and then evenly coat each sliced liver in the flour mixture.

Place the coated liver pieces in the hot skillet over medium heat. Cook on one side until they’re brown and crispy, or about 2 minutes. Using tongs or a spoon, turn the livers over and cook the other side for 1 minute.

Add back your onions, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, over lower heat. You want your livers to be slightly pink in the middle.

Step 5: Garnish & Serve

Place the desired amount of liver and onions on your plate. Top with 2 slices of bacon and 1 crispy sage leaf. Serve with mashed potatoes and the veggie of your choice.

Recipe Card

liver and onions

Simple Beef Liver Recipe with Onions

This simple beef liver recipe will convert all liver haters, I promise. Allow me to show you how to cook beef liver properly so you can start enjoying this world-renowned dish, once again.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef liver, Liver and onions
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 140kcal
Author: Kelsey Todd
Cost: $10

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Step 1: Soak the Beef Livers in Milk
    Slice your beef livers into 2-inch pieces and rinse under cold tap water. Grab a medium bowl and place the livers in it.
    Fill the bowl with milk until your livers are fully submerged. Let them soak for at least an hour, in the refrigerator, in order to help remove the liver taste.
  • Step 2: Cook the Bacon and Sage
    In a large skillet, fry your bacon until it’s crispy. Set the bacon to the side. Grab your sage leaves and place them in the hot bacon grease. Cook them for 30 seconds per side. Set these to the side as well.
  • Step 3: Cook the Onions
    Add 2 tablespoons of butter (or olive oil) to the bacon grease in your skillet and bring to medium-high heat. Toss in your sliced onions.
    Once they’re done, set the caramelized onions to the side.
  • Step 4: Fry the Livers
    In a separate shallow dish, mix together the garlic powder, salt & pepper, and all-purpose flour. Drain your livers and then evenly coat each sliced liver in the flour mixture.
    Place the coated liver pieces in the hot skillet over medium heat. Cook on one side until they’re brown and crispy, or about 2 minutes. Using tongs or a spoon, turn the livers over and cook the other side for 1 minute.
    Add back your onions, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, over lower heat. You want your livers to be slightly pink in the middle.
  • Step 5: Plating
    Place the desired amount of liver and onions on your plate. Top with 2 slices of bacon and 1 crispy sage leaf. Serve with mashed potatoes and the veggie of your choice.

Nutrition

Serving: 3oz | Calories: 140kcal | Carbohydrates: 3.2g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 3.7g | Cholesterol: 302mg | Sodium: 42mg | Potassium: 128mg | Vitamin C: 33mg | Iron: 84mg

Thanks for stopping by! I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. What did you think about this beef liver and onion recipe? Are you going to add this to your list of great recipes or not-so-great recipes? Is liver still an acquired taste for you?

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