Today, I’m tackling a real old-school dish—Liver and Onions. Now, before you scrunch up your nose and say, “Liver? Really?”, hear me out. My version of this classic southern dish might just change the way you think about liver forever. Packed with nutrients and bursting with flavor, this liver and onions recipe showcases tender beef, paired perfectly with savory onions. And even if liver wasn’t your childhood favorite, give this updated recipe a try. I promise you’ll love it!
Did I mention that liver is also super budget-friendly? If you’ve never tried it before—or even if you have and weren’t a fan—this recipe’s gonna make you think twice. Serve it up with some rice or Grits and you’ve got yourself a hearty meal that’s as nourishing as it is delicious!
Why you’ll love this beef liver and onions
- Filled With Nutrients: Liver isn’t just tasty; it’s a powerhouse of nutrients. Rich in iron, vitamin A, and proteins, it’s a wholesome choice for anyone looking to add a nutritious punch to their meals.
- Quick and Easy: Short on time? No worries! This liver and onions recipe comes together quickly, making it perfect for busy weeknights or last-minute dinner plans.
- Budget-Friendly: Liver is one of those ingredients that packs a lot of bang for your buck. It’s usually less expensive than other cuts of meat, so you’re getting a nutrient-rich, satisfying meal without breaking the bank.
- Flavor-Packed: With hot sauce, Worcestershire, and caramelized onions, this isn’t just any liver dish. It’s a modern, tasty, and spicy take on a classic!
Ingredients to make this liver and onions recipe
- Liver: Choose either beef or chicken livers based on your preference.
- Baking Soda & White Vinegar: An unconventional but effective duo for tenderizing the liver. Trust me, you’ll want to give this trick a try.
- Egg, Hot Sauce, and Worcestershire Sauce: Mixed together, these make for a zesty and flavorful wet coating that elevates the liver to the next level.
- Flour & Spices: All-purpose flour, combined with kosher salt, garlic powder, and a dash of cayenne for a bit of heat. These dry ingredients form a tasty crust on the liver when frying.
- Vegetable or Canola Oil: For frying the liver to a crispy, golden perfection.
- Onions: Thinly sliced and perfect for caramelizing. I use large yellow onions, but white onions would work just fine, too.
- Chicken Broth or Stock: This adds richness and helps form a tasty gravy while simmering the beef liver and onions together.
How to make beef liver and onions
- Drain the liver. Cut the liver into bite-sized pieces, trimming any extra fat off, if needed, and add to a large bowl.
- Sprinkle the livers with the baking soda.
- Next mix vinegar with very hot water and pour over the liver.
- Stir together and then let sit.
Make the Dredge For Your Liver
- While the liver sits, add egg, hot sauce, and Worcestershire to a bowl.
- Whisk together.
- Add flour, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne to a bowl.
- Whisk together.
Coat The Beef Liver In The Flour Dredge
- Dip the liver pieces in egg mixture.
- Then dip and coat the liver with the flour, set aside on a wire rack.
Fry Your Liver And Onions
- Add oil to a pan and heat. Brown liver on both sides, then remove and drain oil.
- Next, add in onions and brown.
- Add the liver back to the pan with the onions and stir in chicken broth.
- Cover and simmer until the livers are tender and the gravy has thickened, then serve over rice or grits.
Tips for making the best liver and onions recipe
- If Using Beef Liver, Go for Calf: If you opt for beef liver, aim for the livers of young calves rather than mature animals. They’re more tender and have a milder flavor that works wonders in this liver and onions recipe.
- Don’t Overcook the Liver: Liver cooks fast, y’all. Keep a close eye on it while it’s in the pan; overcooking can turn it tough and chewy. Aim for a light sear that keeps the inside moist.
- Tenderize the Liver: This is where our baking soda and vinegar hack comes in. It may sound odd, but this step ensures your liver is as tender as can be, so don’t skip it!
- Give Onions Some Time: Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to caramelizing onions. Don’t rush this step; those onions should be golden and sweet.
- Simmer, Don’t Boil: When it’s time to bring everything together with the chicken broth, keep it at a simmer. A rolling boil can toughen the liver and break down those beautifully caramelized onions.
Popular substitutions & additions
- Bacon Grease Instead of Oil: If you’re looking to dial up that savory, smoky flavor, swap out the vegetable or canola oil for bacon grease. It’ll give an extra layer of yum to the best liver and onions recipe!
- Mushrooms: For an earthy kick, toss in some sliced mushrooms along with the onions. They’ll soak up the flavors and add a different texture to the mix.
- Paprika: Looking to add a little smokiness? Sprinkle some paprika into your flour and spice mix for a subtle, smoky undertone.
- Buttermilk: If you’re out of eggs for the wet mixture, you can soak the liver in buttermilk instead. It’ll act as a tenderizer and add a tangy flavor to the liver.
- Garlic: A minced garlic clove (or two) sautéed with the onions can offer a whole new layer of flavor to the liver and onions recipe. Garlic lovers, this one’s for you!
What to serve with beef liver and onions
- A bed of Fluffy White Rice soaks up all that wonderful gravy and creates a satisfying contrast to the rich flavors of liver and onions. Simple but effective!
- Looking for something a bit more adventurous? Dirty Rice has it all—spices, ground meat, and veggies mixed into the rice. It’s a hearty side that brings its own set of flavors to your liver and onions with gravy.
- Ah, Grits—when you want to go full-on Southern comfort, you can’t go wrong with this classic. The creamy, cornmeal goodness pairs beautifully with the savory liver and onions recipe.
- If you’re in the mood for something hearty, spoon your liver and onions over some Garlic Mashed Potatoes. The garlic adds a nice kick, and the creamy potatoes make the dish feel like a big, comforting hug.
How to store & reheat
Got leftovers? No problem! Just transfer any remaining liver and onions into an airtight container and pop it in the fridge. This step is crucial for keeping your dish fresh and flavorful.
When you’re ready for round two, the best way to reheat liver and onions is on the stovetop. Add a splash of chicken broth or water to keep it moist, and gently heat it over low to medium heat until it’s warmed through. Avoid using high heat, as it could make the liver tough.
How long will liver and onions recipe last in the fridge?
It should keep well in the fridge for up to 3–4 days. After that, the liver may start to lose its texture, and the flavors could diminish, so it’s best to enjoy it within that time frame.
Can I freeze liver and onions with gravy?
You sure can boos! To freeze, place your cooked recipe in an airtight container or a freezer-safe bag, pushing out as much air as possible. It should keep for up to 2–3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, it’s best to thaw it in the fridge overnight before reheating.
Frequently asked questions
How to Cook Liver?
Cooking liver is easier than you might think! The key steps involve tenderizing the meat, coating it with a mixture of egg and spices, and then frying it in a pan. This recipe below takes you through each step to ensure you end up with a tasty, tender dish!
What Does Beef Liver Taste Like?
Beef liver has a unique, rich, and somewhat earthy and metallic flavor that can be a bit of an acquired taste for some. Its texture is smooth and almost creamy when cooked correctly. The strong flavor is often balanced out by the sweetness of caramelized onions in liver and onion recipes, making it more tasty for those who are new to eating liver.
Why Do You Soak Liver in Milk or Vinegar?
Soaking liver in milk or a vinegar solution helps to remove some of its strong flavor and also tenderizes the meat. In this recipe, I use a baking soda and hot water technique followed by vinegar to tenderize and mellow out the liver.
Whether you’re a liver lover or a skeptic ready to be converted, this Liver and Onions recipe is a must-try! The liver’s tenderness and the onions’ natural sweetness make for a combo that’s hard to beat. Plus, if you serve it over some simple white rice or grits, you’ll have true Southern comfort in a bowl! So don’t be afraid to grab your trusty skillet and dive into this classic dish!
More Beef Recipes
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Liver and Onions
- 1 1/2 lbs beef or chicken livers
- 2 tbsp baking soda
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 large egg slightly beaten
- 2 tsp hot sauce
- 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 2 large onions sliced
- 1 ½ cup chicken broth or stock
- Drain the livers. Cut the liver into bite sized pieces, trimming any extra fat off, if needed, and add to a large bowl. Sprinkle the livers with the baking soda.
- Next mix vinegar into 2 cups of very hot water and pour over the liver. Stir together and then let sit for about 5 minutes.
- While the liver sits, whisk together egg, hot sauce and worcestershire to a medium sized bowl.
- Also add flour, salt, garlic powder and cayenne to a medium sized bowl and whisk together.
- Drain the water then rinse the liver well with cold water then dry with paper towels.
- Lightly season liver pieces with salt and pepper on both sides. Dip the liver pieces in egg mixture then into the flour then set aside on a wire rack.
- Add oil to a pan and heat to medium heat. Brown liver on both sides then remove and drain oil.
- Next add in onions and brown then remove. Add liver back to the pan with onions and stir in chicken broth. Cover and simmer for about 15-25 minutes or until the livers are totally tender (check with a fork) and gravy has thickened then serve over rice or grits.