Cooking chicken livers can be daunting for even the most experienced home chefs. However, you don’t have to be a master chef to make delicious, succulent dishes with chicken livers. With just a few simple steps and basic ingredients, it is possible to whip up mouth-watering treats from this humble cut of poultry. In this blog post, we’ll cover everything from choosing top quality ingredients, prepping the livers correctly, cooking times and temperatures, how to cook chicken livers, flavor combinations as well as storage tips for any leftovers you might have – giving you all the information needed to prepare stunning meals featuring chicken livers.
Why You Should Eat Chicken Livers?
Chicken livers have long been prized by many food cultures:
- In Jewish cuisine, chicken liver is used to make traditional schmaltz and chopped liver.
- Italian cuisine features chicken livers in meat ragu and pasta sauces.
- French cuisine uses them for indulgent pâtés, mousse, and foie gras.
Consuming organ meats like chicken livers is more sustainable than eating muscle meats. Using the whole animal helps reduce food waste. Chicken livers have a smaller environmental footprint compared to beef or pork. Chicken livers are packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Incorporating them into your diet provides variety and nourishment.
Understanding Chicken Liver Nutrition
Chicken livers are packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Here is how they compare to other protein choices:
|Food (3oz portion)
Chicken livers are higher in bioavailable heme iron compared to plant sources. They are also very high in preformed vitamin A (retinol). However, chicken livers are high in cholesterol, with 331mg per 3oz portion. They should be consumed in moderation by those with heart disease or high cholesterol. Overall, chicken livers can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet for most healthy individuals.
Preparing Raw Chicken Livers
Proper handling of raw chicken livers is very important for food safety. Follow these steps:
- Rinse livers under cold running water to remove blood or other debris.
- Carefully trim away any stringy connective tissues with kitchen shears or a paring knife.
- Pat the livers completely dry with paper towels. Moisture interferes with browning.
- For enhanced flavor and tenderness, marinate chicken livers for 30 mins – 1 hour before cooking.
- Use acidic ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar, yogurt or buttermilk.
- Season with herbs, garlic, shallots, spices, and oil or butter.
Once washed and trimmed, chicken livers are ready to be cooked as-is or incorporated into recipes. Handle them carefully to avoid cross-contamination.
How to Cook Chicken Livers?
Cooking chicken livers to perfection requires paying close attention to freshness, preparation, and adjusting heat and cook times. Follow these tips for best results:
- Chicken livers
- Butter or oil for cooking
- Onions, garlic, shallots (optional)
- Fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, sage (optional)
- Salt and black pepper
- Additional seasonings like lemon juice, capers, mustard
- Clean the chicken livers by rinsing under cold water and trimming away any discolored spots or connective tissues. Puncture the membranes with a paring knife if desired. Pat dry thoroughly with paper towels.
- Prepare aromatics like onions, garlic, shallots, or herbs if using. Mince, slice, or chop ingredients.
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add 1-2 Tbsp oil or butter. Make sure the fat is hot before adding livers.
- Season the chicken livers with salt and pepper. Add them carefully to the hot pan in a single layer without overcrowding.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes per side until lightly browned but still pink inside. Adjust heat as needed to prevent burning.
- Optional: Deglaze pan with wine, stock, vinegar to make a pan sauce. Finish with butter, herbs, or other flavorings.
- Serve chicken livers warm or at room temperature accompanied by compound butter, pan sauce, relish, or chutney.
- Cook chicken livers in batches if needed to avoid crowding the pan
- Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness (160°F internal temp)
- Finish cooking with indirect heat if livers brown too quickly
- Let livers rest for 5 minutes before serving
Exploring Cooking Methods for Chicken Livers
Chicken livers are extremely versatile. They can be cooked using almost any method and pair well with many flavors. Here are some popular recipes:
Chicken Liver and Onions
This classic combination is simple yet full of rich flavor. Slow cooking the onions brings out their natural sweetness.
- Chicken livers, trimmed and cleaned
- Onions, thinly sliced
- Butter or olive oil
- Thyme, garlic, salt and pepper
- Caramelize onions in butter or oil over low heat for 30-40 mins until golden brown. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme.
- Raise heat to medium-high and add chicken livers in a single layer. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side.
- Serve chicken livers and onions together, garnished with chopped parsley.
Chopped Chicken Liver
These chicken liver pâté spreads are ideal for appetizers, crackers, or sandwiches.
- Chicken livers, cooked and chopped
- Onions or shallots, minced
- Hard boiled eggs
- Butter or schmaltz (rendered chicken fat)
- Fresh herbs, salt, pepper
- Sauté onions and cook chicken livers. Allow both to cool.
- Chop livers and onions into small pieces.
- Blend together with butter/schmaltz, eggs, and any other seasonings until smooth.
- Chill pâté for at least 2 hours before serving to allow flavors to meld.
Fried Chicken Livers
Crispy breaded chicken livers are a tasty appetizer or snack.Serve with ranch dressing, honey mustard or hot sauce for dipping.
- Chicken livers, trimmed and cleaned
- Flour, breadcrumbs, cornmeal
- Eggs, milk
- Oil for frying
- Spices like paprika, garlic powder, cayenne
- Pat chicken livers dry and season with spices.
- Dredge livers in flour, dip in egg wash, then coat with breadcrumbs.
- Fry livers in 1-inch hot oil for 2-3 minutes until golden brown.
- Drain fried chicken livers on paper towels and season again with salt.
More Chicken Liver Cooking Methods
Chicken livers can also be cooked using these appliance-specific techniques:
- Air Fryer: Toss livers with oil and spices then air fry at 380°F for 8-10 mins, shaking halfway.
- Slow Cooker: Combine chicken livers with aromatics and sauce ingredients. Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours until tender.
- Pan-Seared: Get a golden crust on chicken livers by searing in a hot cast iron skillet before finishing in the oven.
With the right preparation, chicken livers can be adapted to many different recipes and cooking methods.
Method Of Cooking Chicken Liver
There are several excellent techniques for cooking chicken livers to maximize their flavor and texture.
Fried Chicken Livers
Crispy pan-fried chicken livers are a classic preparation.
To achieve perfect fried chicken livers:
- Coat livers in flour, seasoned breadcrumbs, or cornmeal
- Pan fry in butter or oil over medium-high heat
- Fry in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan
- Fry for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown
Sautéed onions, garlic, herbs, and spices complement the flavor of fried chicken livers beautifully.
Air Fryer Chicken Livers
Air frying is a healthier technique that still yields deliciously crispy chicken livers.
- Toss chicken livers with oil and breading
- Air fry at 400°F for 4-6 minutes, shaking basket halfway
- Check for doneness and cook longer if needed
The air fryer’s convection heat evenly crisps the exterior while keeping the inside tender.
Chicken Livers in a Pan
For a simple pan-cooked version:
- Coat livers with flour and seasoning
- Fry in oil or butter over medium heat
- Cook through without over-browning
- 5-7 minutes total cook time
Pan cooking gently brings out the chicken liver flavor.
Slow Cooker Chicken Livers
Braising chicken livers in the slow cooker renders them ultra-tender.
- Sauté aromatics like onions, carrots, and garlic
- Deglaze pan with broth and add mushroom soup
- Add chicken livers and liquid to a slow cooker
- Cook on low for 3-4 hours
Below is an additional information for you:
|Quick and flavorful, caramelizes edges
|More versatile, allows adding aromatics and sauces
|Convenient and hands-off, good for larger batches
|Remove membranes and connective tissue
|Crucial for smooth texture and prevents bitterness
|Optional: soak in milk or buttermilk 30 minutes
|Tenderizes and reduces metallic taste
|Flour dust, egg wash, or breadcrumb crust
|Adds texture and prevents drying
|Butter, olive oil, bacon grease
|Adds richness and depth of flavor
|Onion, garlic, shallots, herbs
|Enhances taste and complexity
|3-5 minutes per side
|Avoid overcooking to maintain tenderness
|Medium-rare to medium
|Pinkish center ideal, prevents dryness
|Lemon juice, vinegar, wine, soy sauce
|Adds acidity and umami depth
|Mashed potatoes, rice, polenta
|Creamy or starchy sides complement richness
Chicken livers cook quickly, adjust heat and cook time accordingly
Use fresh, high-quality livers for best results
5 Flavorful Chicken Liver Recipes
Chicken livers are extremely versatile as these flavorful recipe ideas demonstrate:
- Tuscan Chicken Liver Crostini: Chicken livers meet Mediterranean flavors like sun-dried tomato, olives, garlic, and balsamic reduction.
- Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Liver: The savory smokiness of bacon complements the richness of chicken livers in this appetizer.
- Chicken Liver Burgers: Ground chicken livers form the base for unique, iron-rich burgers. Top with favorite condiments.
- Chicken Liver Pasta Sauce: Sauteed livers pureed into a smooth, creamy sauce for pasta.
- Southern Fried Chicken Livers: Crispy fried chicken livers served with hot pepper vinegar are a Dixie delight.
Conclusion: How To Cook Chicken Livers
When prepared properly, chicken livers are tender, flavorful, and packed with nutrients. Always opt for fresh livers and handle them carefully. Trimmed, cleaned chicken livers can be cooked quickly in a pan or adapted to endless recipes. Store leftovers for 3-4 days and add them to sandwiches, pasta, salads, and more. chicken livers are truly one of the most versatile, sustainable meat choices. We hope this guide inspires you to give them a try soon! Let us know your favorite chicken liver recipe ideas.
Bobby Kelly is a bartender at Molly Magees, an Irish pub in Mountain View. He’s been working there for two years and has developed a following among the regulars. Bobby is known for his friendly demeanor and great drink specials. He loves interacting with customers and making them feel welcome. When he’s not at work, Bobby enjoys spending time with his friends and family.