Fried or sautéed, liver is a tasty delicacy when paired with onions or made into a pâté.
Liver is an “organ” or “variety” meat that, if properly cooked, makes a tasty main meal, especially when sautéed, fried or served with onions (Fegato alla Veneziana). Most meat departments carry liver from beef, pork, and poultry. Any type can be made into delicious pâtés, but goose (foie gras) is the finest. In some countries, organ meats are considered delicacies.


Calf’s liver is the tastiest and most expensive, followed by the tender chicken liver. Beef liver is tougher and pork livers are strong in flavor. Lamb is also tender, but less flavorful. Specially fattened geese and ducks are prized for their equally fatty livers.

Buying Tips

Liver from younger animals will always have better taste and texture. Expect color variations by age and species. All should be moist without appearing slimy. Some livers will be covered in a membrane, which should be removed before cooking.

Purchase frozen livers for later use. However, if buying fresh and planning to freeze, make sure they have not been frozen and thawed at the market.

Storage Tips

Use within twenty-four hours or freeze for up to four months.

Usage Tips

Cook livers to medium-rare or they will become tough and chewy.

After sautéing, deglaze with butter and wine for a delicious accompanying sauce.

Chicken liver is particularly susceptible to bacterial contamination, both on the surface and throughout the meat. Be sure the interior tissue has maintained a heated temperature of 70ºF/21ºC for three minutes.

Nutrition Notes

Many nutrients are concentrated in liver, which can outweigh the high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol. Younger animals, especially those that are organically raised, will carry fewer toxins in the organs.

Try one of our favorite liver recipes:
Tomato and Liver Stir-Fry
Deep-Fried Chicken Livers
Stuffed Liver