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Learn how to prepare pork liver! Cooking pork liver is easy, and the results are much more delicious than beef liver (IMO). We’ll cover how to fry pork liver and onions, and also make a pork liver recipe for pate. That way, you can choose the best way to cook pork liver. Plus, learn about pork liver benefits, where to buy pork liver, and much more!

recipe for pig liver

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“Does a pig have a liver?” is one of those questions we may not think about often. However, I’m here to report that it does, and also that it’s quite tasty. If you like liverwurst, which is a pork liver sausage, you’re going to love these recipes!

Pork Liver for Sale

I haven’t been able to find pork liver near me, so I buy pork liver online. Walmart and Amazon don’t carry fresh pork liver, so I buy pasture raised pork liver at US Wellness Meats here.

Their current pork liver price is $11.95 per pound, but is subject to change. You may also be able to find organic pork liver at your local farmer’s market or Polish butcher.

pig liver

How to Cook Pork Liver

You can cook raw pork liver in a variety of ways, including grilled pork liver, pork pate, and so on. If you don’t enjoy the strong flavor of certain types of liver (pork liver, goose liver, etc.), making pate is the way to go.

I’m giving you two recipe options below, and each pork and liver recipe only requires ½ lb of meat. Here are the pig liver pate ingredients (closely adapted from Weston Price):

  • 8 ounces pork liver (227 grams)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup bacon fat (pork fat or lard)
  • 5 pieces thick-sliced bacon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 2 sprigs fresh basil
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • Pinch of salt
  • Buttermilk (1-2 cups for soaking pork liver)

Here are the pork liver, onions, and bacon ingredients:

  • 8 ounces pork liver (227 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat (pork fat)
  • 4 pieces thick-sliced bacon
  • 2 medium onions, halved and sliced thinly
  • 1½ tablespoons flour
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Buttermilk (1-2 cups for soaking pork liver)
pork liver ingredients

Why do you soak liver in milk before cooking? Soaking in milk or buttermilk helps remove strong flavor and odor from liver before cooking. Buttermilk also helps to tenderize pork liver.

Pork Liver Recipes

Here are the step-by-step directions for pork liver pate:

what to do with pig liver
  1. Remove the membrane of the liver (if the butcher did not do this) and chop into pieces. Place in a medium bowl and cover with buttermilk. Let soak for 2 hours in the refrigerator. After soaking, pat the liver pieces dry with clean paper towels.
  1. Cook bacon over medium heat in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop. Set aside and crumble when cool. Leave 1/3 cup of bacon grease in the pan.
  1. Cook chopped onion in the bacon fat to soften, approximately 5 minutes. Add the liver and garlic and cook 5-10 minutes more.
  1. Add the parsley, basil, wine, and salt. Turn the skillet to low, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes.
  1. Allow the mixture in the skillet to cool slightly. Place it in a food processor with the cooked bacon and pulse until smooth.
  1. Serve the pate on crusty crostini or with crackers.
pork liver pate

Pork Liver and Onions Recipe

Here are the instructions for pork liver and onions with bacon:

how to cook pork liver
  1. Remove the membrane of the liver (if the butcher did not do this) and slice into 1/8-¼ inch pieces. Place in a medium bowl and cover with buttermilk. Let soak for 2 hours in the refrigerator. After soaking, pat the liver pieces dry with clean paper towels.
  1. Cook bacon over medium heat in a large skillet on the stovetop. Set aside and crumble when cool. Leave the bacon grease in the pan.
  1. Cook two thinly sliced onions in the bacon fat. Remove the onions from the pan when done to your liking, leaving 2 tablespoons of bacon fat in the cast iron skillet.
  1. Dredge the pork liver slices in flour. Place them in the hot skillet and cook approximately 1-3 minutes per side. They should reach a minimum internal temperature of 145F (63C) using a meat thermometer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  1. Once the liver is cooked, add the cooked onions and bacon back to the pan and serve.
pig liver how to cook

How long to cook pork liver?

Thin slices of pork liver only takes 1-3 minutes per side over medium heat on the stove top. Pig liver can also be braised for longer periods.

How to Serve Pig Liver

What goes with pork liver? Pork liver goes well with carbs like mashed potatoes, corn, rice, or pierogi. Here are some other side dish ideas for pork liver:

pate pork liver

Pork Liver Health Benefits

What are the benefits of eating pork liver? Liver, including pork liver, is often marketed as a superfood because it’s very nutrient dense. Here is the nutrition information for cooked pork liver (per Cronometer for 3 ounces/85 grams):

  • Calories: 140
  • Carbs: 3.2 gram
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Fat: 3.7 grams
  • Saturated fat: 1.2 grams
  • Cholesterol: 301.75 mg
  • Protein: 22.12 grams
  • Thiamin: 14.6% DV
  • Riboflavin: 109.8% DV
  • Niacin: 35.8% DV
  • Vitamin B5: 40.6% DV
  • Vitamin B6: 24.2% DV
  • Vitamin B12: 264.5% DV
  • Folate: 34.6% DV
  • Vitamin A: 304.6% DV (4594.25 ug retinol)
  • Vitamin C: 33.4% DV
  • Calcium: 0.9% DV
  • Iron: 84.6% DV
  • Phosphorus: 20.5% DV
  • Potassium: 3.6% DV
  • Selenium: 82% DV
  • Sodium: 42 mg
  • Zinc: 38.1% DV

Pork liver is an excellent source of riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc. Pork liver is a good source of thiamin. It’s like a natural multivitamin mineral (particularly regarding the vitamin B complex nutrients)!

Pig liver is a keto, low carb, and gluten free food, depending on the recipe. Get the nutrition info for my pork liver recipes in the printable recipe card at the end of the post.

Which animal liver is the healthiest?

Here’s a quick nutritional comparison of 3 ounces (85g) of cooked pork liver vs beef liver vs chicken liver:

NutrientPork LiverBeef LiverChicken Liver
Calories 140 162 146
Carbohydrates (g) 3.2 4.4 0.3
Fiber (g) 0 0 0
Total Fat (g) 3.7 4.5 5.5
Saturated Fat (g) 1.2 2.5 1.7
Cholesterol (mg) 301.75 336.79 479.4
Protein (g) 22.12 24.73 21.91
Thiamin (% DV) 14.6 11 16.5
Riboflavin (% DV) 109.8 171.3 115.7
Niacin (% DV) 35.8 74.5 59.2
Vitamin B5 (% DV) 40.6 60.5 70.7
Vitamin B6 (% DV) 24.2 43.2 35.7
Vitamin B12 (% DV) 264.5 1000.5 299.3
Folate (% DV) 34.6 53.8 119
Vitamin A (% DV) 304.6 535.4 243.4
Vitamin C (% DV) 33.4 2.7 3.8
Iron (% DV) 84.6 30.9 60.8
Phosphorus (% DV) 20.5 42.3 37.6
Zinc (% DV) 38.1 30.1 22.7

What’s healthiest always depends on your particular needs. Of these types of liver, pork liver is lowest in calories, and highest in vitamin C, iron, and zinc. Beef liver is highest in riboflavin, vitamin B12, vitamin A, and phosphorus.

Chicken liver, perhaps surprisingly, is highest in cholesterol according to this source. Instead of restricting to one type of liver, you can occasionally include each of these types to maximize the nutrient benefits.

Is pork liver better than beef liver?

IMVHO, pork liver tastes MUCH better than beef liver. In terms of nutrient benefits, pork liver and beef liver each have advantages. Choose pork liver for more vitamin C and iron, or beef liver for more vitamin B12 and vitamin A.

pig liver pate

Is pork liver high in cholesterol?

Yes, pork liver, and other types of liver, are high cholesterol foods. Keep in mind though that it’s dietary saturated fat that has the biggest impact on your blood cholesterol, not dietary cholesterol. Pork liver is low in saturated fat, with only 1 gram per 3 ounces cooked.

Is pork liver good for diabetics?

Pork liver is an easy fit for both carb exchanges and low carb diets for diabetes. You can enjoy some pork liver in a balanced diabetes diet that includes other food groups.

Is pork liver good for pregnant women?

NHS recommends avoiding liver and liver pate during pregnancy, due to the risk of vitamin A overdose. However, it is possible to enjoy very small amounts of liver and maintain a healthy vitamin A intake. Just make sure the liver is properly cooked, and talk with your doctor about it first.

Pork liver is an extremely nutrient dense food, and most of the vitamins that it is high in are water soluble. This means that an excess intake of them can be easily excreted. The vitamin A in liver (retinol) is an exception; it is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be toxic in high doses.

The tolerable upper intake level for preformed vitamin A is 3000 mcg for adults, including pregnant adults (source). Pork liver has approximately 4600 mcg vitamin A per 3-ounce cooked portion. This means no more than approximately 2 ounces of cooked pork liver should be consumed daily, if no other sources of retinol are eaten.

To be extra safe, I would not eat liver daily, and I would keep my portions at 1 ounce or less. Consuming too much vitamin A can have teratogenic effects on the unborn baby. It’s a risk that’s not worth taking, IMVHO.

As always, talk with your physician or a dietitian familiar with your medical history if you have questions about your diet.

Does pork liver have iron?

Yes! Pork liver is an excellent source of iron, with 84.6% DV per 3 ounce cooked portion.

recipe for pork liver

Does pork liver have protein?

Yes, pork liver is a protein group food. It contains 22 grams of protein per cooked 3-ounce portion.

Can pork liver be frozen?

Yes, you can store raw pork liver in the freezer. If you’d like to freeze cooked pork liver, I recommend making pork liver pate and freezing small portions in ice cube trays covered with plastic wrap. The pork liver and onions recipe doesn’t freeze as well.

freeze pork liver

Both cooked and fresh pork liver can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

pig liver stovetop

FAQs

How to clean pork liver?

If your butcher did not remove the thin outer membrane from the liver, you can do this at home. The USDA does not recommend washing raw meat, including liver, before cooking (source). You may soak the liver in buttermilk to minimize the bitter or metallic taste.

What does pig liver taste like?

Pork liver has a very similar taste to liverwurst. That’s because one of the main ingredients in liverwurst is often pork liver.

Which animal has the best tasting liver?

The answer to this one is subjective, so try them all and be the judge! IMVHO, cod liver and pork liver are tastiest, followed by chicken liver. I’m not too fond of the strong taste of beef liver, but that’s just my opinion.

Is it safe to eat cooked pork liver?

Yes, cooked pork liver is safe to eat and not toxic. Pork liver should be cooked to a minimum safe internal temperature of 145F (63C).

How often should I eat pork liver?

How often can you eat pork liver? You want to keep your pork liver intake low enough that you aren’t taking in vitamin A at a toxic level. Enjoying 1-2 ounces of pork liver once per week should be safe for most adults.

pate made with pork liver

More Organ Meat and Liver Recipes

Here are some more recipes for liver and other organ meats to try:

Watch How to Make It!

pork liver recipe

Pork Liver Recipe (Pig Liver Recipes)

Summer Yule
Learn how to prepare pork liver! We’ll cover how to fry pork liver and onions, and also make a pig liver recipe for pate.
5 from 3 votes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 192 kcal

Ingredients

For Pork Liver and Onions:

  • 8 ounces pork liver 227 grams
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat
  • 4 pieces thick-sliced bacon
  • 2 medium onions (halved and sliced thinly)
  • tablespoons flour
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 cups buttermilk

For Pork Liver Pate:

  • 8 ounces pork liver 227 grams
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • cup bacon fat
  • 5 pieces thick-sliced bacon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 2 sprigs fresh basil
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • pinch of salt
  • 1-2 cups buttermilk
Don’t be a stranger! 😊If you love this recipe, please come back and leave a rating. This helps readers and I’d love to hear from you. Thank you ❤️

Instructions

Make Pork Liver and Onions:

  • Remove the membrane of the liver (if the butcher did not do this) and slice into ⅛-¼ inch pieces. Place in a medium bowl and cover with buttermilk. Let soak for 2 hours in the refrigerator. After soaking, pat the liver pieces dry with clean paper towels. 
  • Cook bacon over medium heat in a large skillet on the stovetop. Set aside and crumble when cool. Leave the bacon grease in the pan. 
  • Cook two thinly sliced onions in the bacon fat. Remove the onions from the pan when done to your liking, leaving 2 tablespoons of bacon fat in the cast iron skillet. 
  • Dredge the pork liver slices in flour. Place them in the hot skillet and cook approximately 1-3 minutes per side. They should reach a minimum internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) using a meat thermometer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
  • Once the liver is cooked, add the cooked onions and bacon back to the pan and serve. 

Make Pork Liver Pate:

  • Remove the membrane of the liver (if the butcher did not do this) and chop into pieces. Place in a medium bowl and cover with buttermilk. Let soak for 2 hours in the refrigerator. After soaking, pat the liver pieces dry with clean paper towels. 
  • Cook bacon over medium heat in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop. Set aside and crumble when cool. Leave ⅓ cup of bacon grease in the pan. 
  • Cook chopped onion in the bacon fat to soften, approximately 5 minutes. Add the liver and garlic and cook 5-10 minutes more. 
  • Add the parsley, basil, wine, and salt. Turn the skillet to low, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes. 
  • Allow the mixture in the skillet to cool slightly. Place it in a food processor with the cooked bacon and pulse until smooth. 
  • Serve the pate on crusty crostini or with crackers. (Recipe closely adapted from Weston Price.)

Notes

💭 Expert Tips from Dietitian Summer Yule

This is a level 1 recipe (may help support fat loss). Is pork liver healthy? Is eating pork liver good for you? The liver of a pig is an extremely nutrient dense food, kind of like nature’s multivitamin. In terms of general nutrition, I would consider pork liver to be healthy.
Like a multivitamin though, you want to be sure not to overdo it. A little pork liver is nutritious, a lot is getting too much of a good thing.
It makes sense if you think about how humans had to eat before grocery stores. If a pig was killed, there was a lot of muscle meat to go around, and only a small amount of liver per person. Enjoy this powerfully nutrient dense food as it was meant to be enjoyed- in small portions.

Is there a downside to eating liver? 

Yes, the main downside to eating liver is that it’s so high in vitamin A it’s easy to overconsume this fat soluble vitamin. Make sure to keep the portions of liver small, particularly for pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as children. 
Nutrition information is for one serving of pork liver and onions. The pork liver pate is 133 calories for 1/6 of the recipe.

 

nutrition info disclaimer

 

All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.

 

The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be inaccurate, so please don’t sweat the numbers too much.

 

“To taste” means to your preferences, which may have to be visual to follow food safety rules. Please don’t eat undercooked food x

Nutrition

Calories: 192kcalCarbohydrates: 9.9gProtein: 21.2gFat: 6.7gSaturated Fat: 2.3gFiber: 1.3gVitamin A: 204% DVVitamin C: 22.3% DVCalcium: 0.6% DVIron: 57.2% DV
Keywords liver of pig, liver of pigs, pig liver, pig liver recipe, pig liver recipes, pigs liver, pork liver, pork liver recipe, pork liver recipes
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5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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