Liver and onions recipe: the secret that makes it irresistible!

“This looks good,” commented my son Timothy, helping himself to the platter of liver and onions in front of him. “Does anybody else want some of this cow’s poison removal organ?”

Amalia and little Mack both froze, and they turned toward Timothy and the platter of liver and onions in front of him. He smiled slyly at them. They turned away.

“No, thank you, I’m not very hungry,” said Malachi, helping himself to an enormous pile of rice from another bowl.

“I ate too many snacks this afternoon,” mumbled my daughter, picking at her salad. “I think I’ll just have salad, Mom.”

Darn you, high school biology! I fumed, as I gave my son a dirty look. He and I had had this debate for years: is liver actually packed full of nutrients and good for you (as I believed), or an organ meat to be avoided (his argument, although it must be noted that he does eat large portions of it whenever it is offered to him, after all that)? I knew I was on the winning side, as I had done enough research to know that the healthy aspects of eating liver far outweighed any potential unhealthy aspects, but Timothy enjoyed engaging me in this silly debate every time I fixed liver for dinner. It didn’t stop him from eating it, mind you, but he did enjoy arguing about it with Mom.

Why does everybody like to argue with Mom, I ask? I have no answer for that.

This platter of liver and onions is great served with a big green salad, and hot steamed rice.

This platter of liver and onions is great served with a big green salad, and hot steamed rice.

“Did you know that the FDA checks liver more often than it does any other meat?” I asked my son.

“There’s a good reason for that, Mom. A good reason, since all the toxins and poisons and chemicals that the cow comes into contact with go right through this organ here.” He took a big bite of liver, and smiled at me.

I narrowed my eyes at my son. We had had this argument many times before, but it was all in fun.

Liver has so many good things going for it–it just makes me blanch when I think of the fact that my own butcher throws out most of the liver he gets in, because people just don’t buy it!

Here are the facts: liver is:

  • low in calories
  • low in fat
  • packed with nutrients, including riboflavin, copper, vitamins A and B12 and B6, thiamin, protein and iron
  • really delicious if prepared correctly

While it’s true that the liver neutralizes toxins from the body, it does not store them. (Timothy, perhaps, did you skip that vital paragraph in your biology text?) The toxins that the body cannot eliminate, in fact, tend to accumulate in the body’s fatty tissues and nervous systems. I generally do not eat the fatty tissues or the nervous system of the cow, do you, Timothy?

Didn’t think so.

(By the way, did I mention that this post is dedicated to my dear smart-aleck son Timothy? No? Well, it is.  So you have to read it, dear son-o-mine.)

On the other hand, liver is the storage organ for many important nutrients (vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid, as well as many minerals). Ironically (and please point this out to your child who may try to use the same argument with you) these nutrients provide your body with some of the tools it need to get rid of toxins.

So there, Timothy.

But enough about how wonderful it is, you may say. How can I prepare it so my family will enjoy it, and get all these lovely nutrients into their bodies? There’s this . . . thing . . .about liver. Everybody turns up their noses at it . . . what’s that about?

My mom knew, years (and years and years) ago, how nutritious liver was, and she made it for us all the time. We grew up eating liver and onions, and we never knew that it was something that we shouldn’t like.  But then, Mom has always had this uncanny ability to make common things utterly delicious, and her liver and onions was no exception. We probably ate it with as much gusto as we ate steak, or hamburgers.

Guess what. I have Mom’s recipe here. Yep. I do. Just for you, Gentle Readers. ‘Cause I love ya. And as you know–love is powerful stuff.

Mom’s recipe is quick, easy, and will take the sometimes-too-strong or bitter taste away from liver, so your family will enjoy this nutritious meat. You have to plan a little in advance, because of the secret that makes it so delicious, but it’ll be worth your efforts, I promise!

Here goes:

4.8 from 12 reviews
Liver and onions: a secret that will make it irresistible
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Liver is packed with nutrients and is a great way to get lots of protein and iron and many micronutrients. Here's a great way to prepare it. We like it served with steamed rice and a big green salad.
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds liver, sliced thin
  • 1½ cups of milk, or so
  • 2 large onions, sliced into rings (preferably sweet or Vidalia onions)
  • ¼ cup butter, divided (add more if necessary--don't skimp on the butter!)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, with salt and pepper added, or more as needed
Instructions
  1. First, the Big Secret: An hour or two before dinner, place liver in a shallow bowl (or a ziplock bag) and cover with milk, and refrigerate. Let soak as long as possible. This will remove much of the bitter taste from the meat. Then, melt a couple of tablespoons of butter in a heavy skillet (I use cast-iron) and saute onion rings slowly until they are translucent and a bit carmelized, on medium-low heat. While the onions are cooking, dredge the liver slices in the flour/salt/pepper mixture. Remove the onions from the skillet, and melt the rest of the butter. Saute the liver in the butter slowly, turning once. My family likes the liver with just a hint of pink inside, and it takes only a few minutes to cook it to this point. When all the liver is cooked, reduce heat, add the onions back to the skillet, and heat through. Arrange on platter and serve.

This makes me hungry.

This makes me hungry.

Now you have the recipe. And the secret. Go. Go, brave stalwart soul, and prepare liver.

And eat it. It’ll do your body good.

🙂

By the way . . . need anything from Amazon? Remember if you order it from clicking through my blog links, I’ll receive a teensy commission, which I’ll plow back into maintaining my blog and sharing handy-dandy posts like the one you just read . . . so it’s a win/win, baby, and THANK YOU SINCERELY!! 🙂

Are you still here? Well! Before you go away, could I ask you a favor? If you enjoyed this post, and/or learned something new whilst reading it, would you do my the greatest honor of sharing it? Pin it, share it to Facebook, tweet away, whatever you like: and thank you. I’ll love ya forever.

 

And remember . . . love is powerful stuff, baby.

*smooch*

 

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73 thoughts on “Liver and onions recipe: the secret that makes it irresistible!

  1. Chef William

    Timothy is so smart, I am surprised you didn’t see this, by having this conversation with you every time liver is served, Amalia and little Mack eat something else, leaving their share for him. Pretty cool if you ask me. I have always soaked liver in milk before cooking it, but don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      thanks Chef, I suppose there’s nothing new under the sun–not even soaking liver in milk–and I agree with you, that my Timothy is about as savvy as they come.

  2. Francene Stanley

    Your arguments for liver are good and I hope people take them into consideration. There’s nothing like a mother’s recipe. It brings warmth to the heart and a tear to the eye. Memories.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      I absolutely believe that almond milk would work, Charlotte, just don’t use the “sweetened” variety. And maybe you could dip the liver into cornmeal, instead?

  3. Susie

    will have to give this a go… I will let the liver soak in milk all day…. I cannot handle the bitter taste.. I may even put some spices like dill or oregano in the flour and then maybe we will put some mushrooms in the mix too…. fungus amongus (mushrooms)is always good! You may have a winner Amy.. will let you know…..

  4. Anita-Clare Field

    I am just going to come out and say it. I loathe liver with a passion known only to me. It makes me physically ill. However, I agree about a Mothers recipe and mine was a saint ( still is) when I was a kid. She prepared liver for my Daddy and little Sister by coating it in seasoned flour ( salt, pepper, cayenne, mixed herbs) and then shallow fried and served with mustard mash and fried onions and a gravy. I always had sausages and mash and onion gravy instead. I’ve tried to like it honest indjun but it’s only one of three things I detest and I know I am not alone 🙂

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Awww, I’m sorry, Anita-Clare, and I’m thankful that your mother was sympathetic to your plight of being a liver-hater, and didn’t try to force you to eat it. If you only truly detest three things, I’d say you’re way ahead of most of us, anyway! 😉

  5. Alana (@RamblinGarden)

    Traumatic memories of liver. My husband loves liver. I – well,don’t. When we were newlyweds, beef liver was cheap. We ate the proverbial river of liver (cooked by my cooking talented husband but, still…) until I just couldn’t take it anymore and rebelled. My husband hasn’t eaten liver in years because of what he’s read about the liver storing toxins, but maybe now he will have his favorite dish: chicken liver, chopped with raw onions, and lots of them.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Alana,
      Oh, I feel your pain–my hubby and I ate some awful food when we were first married, just because it was cheap! I like chicken liver, too, sauteed dry, then with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice added, and fresh chopped garlic sprinkled on top. Yum!

  6. Carolina HeartStrings

    I have never eaten liver because…. well, because it is liver. So that doesn’t really sound like a very good reason, does it? So now this looks like it would taste good. Will have to see if I can get some support at home to take the plunge!

  7. Evelyn Kalinosky

    You’ve almost convinced me with your recipe that liver may not be so bad at all. I weigh in on the side of your son, but think that’s more from the terrible way it was always prepared when I was growing up. Guess I may have to rethink my resistance and give your recipe a go! Thanks for sharing…

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Isobel,
      Mashed potatoes with liver sounds wonderful! Thank you so much for the nomination, what a nice thing for you to do!

  8. Michelle

    My mom made liver for us growing up and I hated it. But I also hated a lot of other things and one thing I have learned as an adult is you can prepare things a certain way and they actually taste good! I disliked brussel sprouts growing up, and it wasn’t until my father in law served roasted brussel sprouts with dinner that I realized they were really good! I make them all the time now. So I do believe how you prepare things can make a world of difference in the taste! I love your back and forth with your son though!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Michelle,
      It’s a pleasant thing to discover, as an adult, that the foods you abhorred as a child taste better now! But the key is (in my opinion) preparing these things the right way, as you found out with your roasted brussel sprouts! Hope you try the liver!

  9. Ed

    I don’t like liver either, but I was given liver from a friend who butchers. Another friend told me to put the liver in a crock pot with brown gravy and onions. put on low for 6 to 8 hours. he said it melts in your mouth. Im making it for dinner tomorrow. comments say to soak liver in milk. I am going to try buttermilk.

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  11. Marie

    My mom had a stoke 2 years ago. She would always make me liver add I loved it. This mothers day I’ll be cooking for her.

  12. Cindy Baquera

    Im trying your Liver with Onions recipe tonight. My husband has been wanting it, and I’ll be making it with mashed potatoes, and carrots. I sure hope it comes out as delicious as it sounds. If it does, many thanks to your mama, and you! Thanks again,
    Cindy B. El Paso, Tx.

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  14. Joe

    My mother always soaked liver in buttermilk and added a touch of garlic to the flour mixture before preparing, She spent many years trying before she finally convinced me to try it and am i ever glad she did.

      1. Diana

        I love liver and have my whole life never knew about soaking in milk. However I do make mashed potatoes and a white gravy with this meal. Is it ok to use the soak milk for this or will it have a bitter taste?

        1. dramamamafive Post author

          Diana,
          I wouldn’t use the soaked milk for the gravy. It is going to have the bitter taste in it that you don’t want, and there may be a contamination issue, too, since it’s going to be sitting in the liver. I’d toss it!

  15. Dortha Britton

    I grew up eating liver and onions. The thing to eat if your iron was low. When I was first married my husband went with me to the grocery store. I started to buy liver and he said no, I don’t like liver. Some time later I asked what he ate for lunch and he replied, liver and onions. Guess he forgot he didn’t like it. After that I fixed it occasionally. My picky daughter even liked it until she got older and decided it was gross. She has probably never tasted since.

  16. Raymond Rimmer

    As a child, I hated liver…unfortunately, my mom and grandmom didn’t know how to prepare it…it was always overfried and HARD…since growing up and doing a little investigating however, it’s one of my favorite meats…my kids never liked it and my wife “tolerated” it…their loss…strangely, I guess I’m one of the few people who actually like that bit of bitterness though…tonight however, I’m going to try your mom’s recipe Amy…sounds delicious…I’ve heard of it before but never tried it…thanks for the tip

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Raymond, I actually have grown to like the bitter flavor, too, as I’ve gotten older. I also kind of crave bitter greens, like dandelion, kale, arugula, etc. Maybe my taste buds are wearing down! That is the thing about any sort of protein–if you cook it at too high of heat, it will stiffen and get hard: liver, any sort of meat, eggs, etc. I hope your family enjoys it made this way! IF they don’t–check out my post on how to cook chicken livers, with lots of bacon!!

  17. Janet Bolt

    Made this recipe several times before will make it again on Friday for a friend who has anemia and is in dire need of iron. Her doctor said eat it as much as you want. So I will be making this wonderful recipe once again. thank you for the wonderful tip on soaking the liver in milk. makes all the difference in the taste and texture. Rate it a 5 or at least highest

  18. suzie advie

    I used to hate liver as a child. Oddly enough I craved it while I was pregnant for my daughter. Lucky for me I was active duty Air Force at the time and the chow hall served liver once a week. So I got my craving full filled and didn’t even have to cook it! They did theirs kind of braised though, with a brown gravy and mashed potatoes. After seeing this recipe I think I may look for some liver next time I go shopping. Wonder if the Mister will like it? LOL! I like to just cook things and surprise him. 😀

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Oh Suzie, I hope the Mister likes it! If he doesn’t you might want to check out my recipe for chicken livers with bacon: it tastes not so much like liver, as it does bacon, and what Mister doesn’t like bacon??

  19. Frances Stridiron

    Thank you so very much for sharing with us your mothers secret recipe for cooking liver! I was also raised on liver and onions and have raised my children on it as well. My mother always said “don’t say you don’t like certain foods until you’ve tried it.” And since I’ve always lived by that. I’ve learned that if you over cook liver the flavor is atrocious. However if you cook it with some pink still left to it, it’s actually a great flavor. I’ve never heard of soaking it in milk though and it actually sounds like a great idea. I will definitely try it. And also thank you for the suggestion of using corn meal instead of flour. I’ve always wondered how it would be with corn meal and now you’ve given the courage to try it. I have about 5 packages of liver on hand always because I love it so much and now I have a reason to cook it tonight for dinner. Thank GOD my husband loves liver too so this should definitely go well! Blessings to you and your family.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Frances, I nearly always have several pounds of liver on hand, too, because our favorite butcher doesn’t usually sell it; he tosses it because people don’t often buy it! So he always has quite a bit on hand. Try the recipe! And you are so right, that you don’t have to cook it long for the best flavor. Overcooked liver is pretty awful!

  20. Rachelle Schoenemann

    Thanks for sharing the recipe, as well as the entertaining family conversation. You’ve inspired to me to try liver again and blog about it as well. As a healthy blogger I’m always looking to broaden my healthy food horizons 😉

  21. Lisa Eubanks

    I just made my very first meal with liver and I used your mom’s recipe. It turned out great. Although I grew up eating liver, I never cared much for it. My mother cooked it until it was very dry.
    Thanks for sharing your story. I read it to my doubting husband, who had similar views as your son! Next I plan to share the milk tip with my mom.

  22. Elizabeth

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I always tend to make it to tough and it’s always so bitter I have can finish my plate at one go but I fix it because I know how healthy it is for you. Now maybe my children won’t complain as bad lol.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Elizabeth,
      Yes, like many things, liver–when cooked correctly–is delicious, but when cooked (or overcooked!) incorrectly is nearly inedible.

  23. Ann

    Thanks for sharing your blog with all of us out here, happy to find a ‘Someone’ who not only posts great recipes, but also great, real stories…became entranced with your blog after reading your readers’ responses along with your kind, encouraging (and ACCEPTING) replies. So relaxing to notice you don’t push anyone to try this recipe, you respect their experience instead, and respond with caring … and sometimes with (supportive) suggestions. Have made your liver and onions recipe 3 or 4 times, reminds me of my mom; hubby, who can be a little picky, loves it too. Found your story of letting your son try skating on the frozen pond, (all the while monitoring your freezing toes to make sure you could get your kids and yourself home safe and sound), culminating in that wonder-ful discovery of Fall’s leaves embedded in the ice, the epitome of a mother’s lenient love, and of the rewards that often come to pass when we take that sort of risk. Thank you; I hope you are awarded the blogger’s recognition another of your readers nominated you for. Bon chance, long life, and many more adventures!!

  24. Janet

    I m trying this recipe, right now! Yes, immediately, at 9:20 a.m. Seriously.

    I’ve been marinating my liver for 2 days, I hope it’s still good.

    I absolutely love your url “vomiting chicken” – OMG! What kind of person thinks up such stuff?? ROTFLMFAO!!

    Thank you for the great info and the gut holding laugh…

    About 30 minutes later…

    DeeeLish!!

    I now have a beautiful plate of liver and onions, with no one to share. Sigh, I’m surrounded by such ordinary folks who can’t eat beef that isn’t steak or a burger.

  25. Michael Faris

    I love it! Great recipe blog. I’ve gotten into liver and onions lately (for the exact reasons you pose and your son argues against 😉 ) I’ve been doing the same thing, however I’ve never hear of soaking it in milk..I grew up hunting waterfowl and am quite accustomed to the gamey flavor, which I feel liver has. So I never got why people don’t like liver other than they are not familiar with a gamey flavor…I always asked for…and was rejected! haha. Thanks for your blog! I enjoyed the read. and I’ll try out your milk addition one of these times I make liver again! Thanks.

  26. Michael

    I love it! Great recipe blog. I’ve gotten into liver and onions lately (for the exact reasons you pose and your son argues against 😉 ) I’ve been doing the same thing, however I’ve never hear of soaking it in milk..I grew up hunting waterfowl and am quite accustomed to the gamey flavor, which I feel liver has. So I never got why people don’t like liver other than they are not familiar with a gamey flavor…I always asked for…and was rejected! haha. Thanks for your blog! I enjoyed the read. and I’ll try out your milk addition one of these times I make liver again! Thanks.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Michael, thank you for your comment! I would be interested to hear back from you, after you’ve tried the milk marinade. My mom, I’m sure, actually used it because we kids probably complained about the “bitter” taste that liver often has. But I slavishly copy everything my mom does, for good reason!

  27. Kent

    My grandmother was an advocate for soaking gamey meats and specifically gizzards in buttermilk to negate some of the bitter/gamey taste. Do you think buttermilk would work equally as well as regular sweet milk in this recipe?

  28. chris

    I love liver but have never tried soaking it in milk, I will try that when I next make it. What I DO is marinate it in worcestershire sauce for a few minutes before flouring and cook it with the onions. Either this also kills any bitter taste or I just never notice it in the worcestershire goodness.

    Gonna have to try this in the next couple of weeks.

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