Fried Beef Liver with Onions

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How to Cook Liver and Onions

Beef, pork, and chicken liver are nutritious, containing many protein, iron, and other nutrients, while being relatively low in calories. Beef liver is tenderer than pork liver, especially the lighter red beef liver from young animals. Pork liver also has a slightly stronger taste while chicken livers are tender and mild tasting. Liver smothered in onions is a classic way to prepare liver.



  • 4 cups yellow cooking onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp. butter or margarine
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 lb. thinly sliced beef or pork liver, veins and outer membranes removed or 1 lb. whole chicken livers.
  • 3/4 cup beef stock or broth (for beef liver) or 3/4 cup chicken broth (for pork or chicken liver)


  1. Put 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine in a large frying pan with the onions.
  2. Cook the onions on medium heat until they are golden and soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the onions from the pan with a slotted spatula and transfer them into a bowl.
  4. Set the onions aside and turn off the heat under the pan.
  5. Mix the flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl or shallow pan.
  6. Lay each slice of liver in the flour mixture and turn it over to lightly but evenly coat each piece.
  7. Place the floured liver slices on a plate.
  8. Add the remaining butter or margarine to the frying pan and melt it over medium heat.
  9. Carefully add the liver slices to the pan and fry them until they become golden brown on each side.Be careful not to overcrowd the pan with liver; you want each piece of liver to have full contact with the hot base of your pan.
  10. Add the stock or broth to the pan and then place the cooked onions on top of the liver slices.
  11. Cover the pan and turn the heat down to medium-low so the liquid is just simmering.
  12. Cook the dish for 30 minutes or until the liver is done.The liver is done when it is no longer pink or red in the center.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    Should blood be running out of liver when cooked?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, a little bit will run out. If you see a lot of blood, that means you didn't drain it properly.
  • Question
    I find margarine burns so easily in the fry pan. Would it be okay to use Becel Oil to fry the liver?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    That should be fine. Whatever you use, make sure the heat isn't too high.
  • Question
    What gravy do I mix with the liver and onions?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Add a bit of water or broth.
  • Question
    Do you soak the liver in milk first? I heard it tastes better if you do this.
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Absolutely! It is also a good idea to lightly rinse the liver before patting dry and placing in whole milk (to cover), soak in fridge for about an hour before coating with flour and frying. After doing this, you'll find that the taste is unbelievable!
  • Question
    Will this work with lamb's liver?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes. All liver can be cooked the same way. Cooking times will vary slightly depending on which type of liver is used, usually within 1 - 2 minutes each way from the stated 5 minutes.
  • Question
    What makes liver tender?
    Edrees Ahmad Merkhail
    Community Answer
    You can soak the liver in lemon juice and water for several hours, or you can soak it in milk.
  • Question
    Why does liver taste very strong?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    The liver is responsible for filtering waste products, like alcohol and other toxins, from the blood hence the strong taste. It is the central organ of the hepatic system.
  • Question
    Should I also soak the onions?
    Karen Richardt
    Community Answer
    No, the onions do not need to be soaked, only sliced and sauteed in butter. You soak the liver in milk or water/lemon because it is said to help in the removal of a bitter taste that liver tends to have, as well as helping to tenderize the meat.
  • Question
    Is it wheat flour or maize flour?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Traditionally, wheat flour; however, those with wheat allergies can use corn flour instead.
  • Question
    Can I freeze liver?
    Rb Smith
    Community Answer
    Yes, when you purchase beef liver from the grocery store, transfer it to your home freezer. When thawing, soak it in milk for several hours to remove some of the gamey taste.
Unanswered Questions
  • What else can I use if I don't have pepper?
  • Can I use sweet and chili sauce to make the liver tasty?
  • How many days after refrying chicken liver can I eat it?
  • How should you slice the liver?
  • How long in the oven for liver
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  • Most beef or pork liver sold in groceries will already have the membrane and veins removed and will be sliced. If the liver is whole, you will need to slice off the outer membrane (thickened surface), and cut out the veins. Kitchen shears work well for snipping out veins. Slice the liver in 1/4” thick slices. Chicken livers may be cut in pieces or fried whole.
  • Water can be used for stock or broth.
  • Cooking oil or shortening can be used for butter or margarine for frying.
  • Add additional broth or some water if all the liquid boils off before the liver is cooked thoroughly.
  • Add chili powder for extra flavored gravy.
  • Slice the liver into quarter inch pieces so you can easily remove the membrane.


  • Do not use the plate you used to hold the raw, floured liver for serving the cooked liver unless it has been washed with hot water and soap.
  • To avoid being splattered with hot butter or margarine, lift each floured liver slice off the plate with a spatula and lower it gently into the hot pan.

Things You’ll Need

  • Large frying pan with cover
  • Slotted spatula
  • Large bowl or shallow pan
  • Plate
  • Measuring cup and spoons
  • Knife and kitchen shears if liver is not pre-sliced.

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

  • Women’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery Vol. 7 - pg 1072
  • Family Circle Favorite Recipes pg 66

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95% of people told us that this article helped them.

Brenda Lott

Nov 21, 2019

"It helped me a lot. I have not made liver in a while, so the tips helped me to get back on track with making liver,onion and gravy adobo. Seasoning with black pepper really makes the liver excellent."

Cyndi Smith

Apr 5, 2019

"I hate liver! I'm in home healthcare and a client wanted me to make it, your step-by-step instructions made it easyto do the job! I will let you know how it turned out after she eats it! Thanks!"

Erika Concessio

Jul 12, 2019

"Fantastic presentation and step-by-step explanation, especially for a beginner. I loved the fish and loved theshort step-by-step videos."

Bill M.

Mar 21, 2019

"I was raised with a liver and onion meal, and your recipe best exemplifies the way my dear mother made the meal.Thanks so much."
Rated this article:

Nanette Aucoin

Jul 29, 2019

"I didn't know how to cook beef liver at all but now I do. The step-by-step instructions were helpful."

Asogan Pillay

Mar 10

"Love liver and haven't made it in years. Fantastic easy recipe, and the tips made a difference."

Eliot Jones

Jul 10, 2019

"It was a great help. I just add something a little different like garlic and beef gravy."

Jenny Pihl

Oct 18, 2019

"My mother-in-law has been living with us. She wants liver and onions! Will try tonight."
Rated this article:

Agnes Tugume

Aug 28, 2019

"It has taught me a different way of preparing pork. Thank you."

Tracey Raftrey

Nov 8, 2019

"We did not know you had to wash the liver before use."

Elizabeth Grooms

Jul 26, 2019

"Video of the instructions answered all my questions."

Alice Alappat

Apr 26, 2019

"First time cooking liver.

Video: Delicious Smothered Liver And Onions Recipe: How to Make Liver Onions & Gravy

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Date: 06.12.2018, 09:16 / Views: 52382