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.


Servings: 4

  • 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)


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    Put 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine in a large frying pan with the onions.
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    Cook the onions on medium heat until they are golden and soft, about 5 minutes.
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    Remove the onions from the pan with a slotted spatula and transfer them into a bowl.
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    Set the onions aside and turn off the heat under the pan.
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    Mix the flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl or shallow pan.
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    Lay each slice of liver in the flour mixture and turn it over to lightly but evenly coat each piece.
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    Place the floured liver slices on a plate.
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    Add the remaining butter or margarine to the frying pan and melt it over medium heat.
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    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.
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    Add the stock or broth to the pan and then place the cooked onions on top of the liver slices.
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    Cover the pan and turn the heat down to medium-low so the liquid is just simmering.
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    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.


  • 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
  • Bowl
  • Plate
  • Measuring cup and spoons
  • Knife and kitchen shears if liver is not pre-sliced.

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Meat