Beef liver with bacon and caramelized onions is a quick, tasty, nutrient dense meal. And I’ve updated the recipe to include a cooking video so you can watch how to make it. You’ll find the video right above the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
If you were to take a poll in our house of who would like to have liver tonight for dinner, the responses would always be three in favor, two against, and one a nonchalant OK. The two negatives always add a strong “yuck” when the word liver is mentioned.
These are typical reactions to a proposed liver dinner. Most people either love it or hate it. Personally, I love it, especially when it’s smothered in bacon and onions.
Perhaps if people discovered how good liver is for them they would get over their initial rejection of it and come to embrace it as a delicious and potent superfood. Let’s take a quick look at the health benefits of liver.
Nutritionally, liver is one of the most nutrient dense foods around. It’s like a super multivitamin pill in a delicious, fairly inexpensive wrapper. Beef liver is packed with a mega dose of vitamin A (36,000 IU in 4 ounces) and a series of B vitamins.
It has a healthy dose of B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6, B12, and folate. Liver also contains a significant amount of copper, selenium, phosphorus and iron. Remember that when you consume liver all these vitamins and minerals are present in their natural unprocessed state.
Some concerns answered
Some people have voiced concerns over the high levels of vitamin A in liver as there is a potential for toxicity when vitamin A is consumed in high quantities. However, for acute vitamin toxicity to occur, one would have to consume about 500,000 IU at one time. For chronic vitamin A to occur, one would have to consume about 25,000 IU of vitamin A per day for several months.
Consuming a moderate portion of liver once or twice a week would never achieve those levels of vitamin A.
Another possible reason that might cause people to avoid liver is its function as an organ that filters toxins. However, the liver does not store toxins. It removes toxins from the body so they can be excreted.
Make sure your beef liver is grass fed
Remember if you’re going to eat liver make sure that it’s organic or grass fed. This really makes a difference in taste. And it also means that the liver will be healthier because the cows are healthier.
We just found a local supplier who owns a farm in upstate New York. He delivers right to our front door. Finding him was a home run. And get this: the liver was only $6/pound. Can you tell I’m stoked about liver? 😉
Wellness Meats also has grass-fed beef that is recognized for its exceptional taste, quality, and health benefits, and you can order directly online from their website to have it delivered to your door.
The winter will be arriving shortly. It’s a time when we really have to keep our immune systems in tip top shape. Liver can provide many of the necessary vitamins and minerals we need to do that.
Let me show you how easy it is to make. The trick is to smother it in sweet caramelized onions and crispy bacon.
*Free printable recipe card is available at the end of the post.
First, cut the liver into strips and soak them in milk to remove any bitterness.
Meanwhile, slice up the onions and set aside. Cook the bacon in a large skillet. Drain the strips of bacon on paper towels. Then cut them into 1/2 inch pieces and set aside.
Reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the skillet. Add two tablespoons of butter and the onion slices. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally until the onions are caramelized, about 25 minutes.
Make sure to regulate the heat so that the butter remains hot but doesn’t burn. Remove the onions to a dish, sprinkle with salt, and set aside.
Now for the liver. Pat the pieces of liver dry and discard the milk. Return the skillet to high heat and add 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan. When the foam from the butter subsides, arrange the liver in the pan.
In order to avoid crowding the pan, I work in two batches.
This isn’t a problem as liver cooks very fast. I sauté the liver just enough to brown both sides. First for 3 minutes on one side, regulating the heat again so that the butter remains hot but doesn’t burn. Then on the other side, 2 minutes more until brown.
The inside meat should still be pink. Serve topped with onions and bacon.
Pro tips and recipe notes:
- Soak liver in the milk for about 20 minutes to remove any bitterness.
- Cooking time depends on how thick your slices are. Don’t overcook it or it can become tough.
- If you’re following a low-carb diet, you may choose to eliminate the onions for an even lower carb count.
And that’s it. A tasty, nutrient dense meal in just 30 minutes.
I can’t wait for you to try this recipe. And if you have any questions, please reach out to me in the comments or shoot me an email, and I’ll respond ASAP.
Have a happy and healthy week!
Love bacon? Try one of these recipes
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How To Cook Bacon In The Oven: Here’s how to cook bacon in your oven. You don’t have to stand at your stove dodging splattering oil. No fuss, no mess, just delicious perfectly done bacon.
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Irish Nachos: Irish nachos are a fun twist on traditional nachos. Crispy, seasoned potato slices are drowned in cheese, bacon, green onions and cilantro.
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Tastiest Low-Carb Keto Stuffed Cabbage: Whether you’re cutting out grains, reducing carbs because you want to lower your insulin response, trying to lose some extra pounds or you’re just looking for comfort food, this stuffed cabbage is just what you need!
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Watch now to make it!
Beef Liver with Bacon and Caramelized Onions
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 pound beef liver cut into strips
- 3 large onions sliced
- 4 slices bacon
- 5 tablespoons butter divided
- salt to taste
- Add milk to a shallow bowl. Soak liver in the milk for about 20 minutes to remove any bitterness.
- Meanwhile, cook your bacon in a large skillet. Drain on paper towels and cut into 1/2" chunks. Set aside.
- Reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons of bacon grease and add 2 tablespoons of the butter to the bacon grease in the same skillet. Add onions and cook over a medium heat stirring occasionally until caramelized, about 25 minutes. Remove onions to a dish, sprinkle with salt and set aside.
- Pat liver dry and discard the milk. Return skillet to high heat and add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan. When the butter foam subsides, the butter is hot enough. Arrange the liver in the pan being certain not to crowd the pan. I worked in two batches. Sauté for 3 minutes regulating the heat so that the butter remains hot, but does not burn. Turn liver over and sauté about 2 minutes more. The inside meat should still be pink.
- Serve liver topped with onion and bacon.
- First, cut the liver into strips and soak them in milk to remove any bitterness.
- Cooking time depends on how thick your slices are. Don't overcook it or it can become tough.
- If you're following a low-carb diet, you may choose to eliminate the onions for an even lower carb count.
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Years ago, this would have been my husband’s favorite recipe. He doesn’t eat liver anymore, and since I rarely ate it (I really had to be in the mood), I don’t miss it – until I read recipes like this one. Wish there was such a thing as transmitting scents via blogs…this would smell so good!
Ha, Alana, that would really be something. Whenever I start caramelizing onions, my kids run into the kitchen to see what I’m making. It smells so good. And of course, the smell of bacon makes everyone hungry.
Ms Enchntress says
I make this dish exactly like this only I add an “eye-ball” egg on top. This was the only way I could get my kids to eat liver. (A eye-ball egg is a sunny side up egg with a runny yolk).
Barbara Bianchi says
Thanks, Tracy. How fun is that! I love your idea to add the “eye-ball” egg.
Can you use an alternative milk to soak if you are dairy free?
Hi Laurel, Some people soak the liver in the lemon juice. I haven’t tried it so please let me know how you like it.
Hi Barbara & Nicole,
Wow this looks delicious. My husband would love. I really not that fond of liver but this I could eat. Thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays. Pinned & tweeted. Have a healthy happy blessed Thanksgiving!
Emily @ Recipes to Nourish says
My husband would love this! I haven’t tried it yet except I take liver in capsules. I’ll have to give this a try. Thanks for sharing this with us at Savoring Saturdays linky party! Hope you’ll join us again!
This looks tasty however I cannot eat onions. Do you know any other good substitute that goes well with liver? thank you!
Excellent question. I haven’t substituted any food specifically for onions, but you can certainly skip the onions if they don’t agree with you. Enjoy, Sonya. 🙂
Can you have leek? That would be a good substitute, however its in the onion family! I think eliminating onions may comprise the total flavor. I like the idea of soaking in lemon rather then milk.
Thanks for being so helpful, Livia. 🙂
Here I am, four years and two days late, but here’s my suggestion. Slices of bell pepper (green or yellow, I suggest) or chopped tomatoes would be nice replacements for onions. So would sliced mushrooms. You could combine any or all of them, too.
Barbara Bianchi says
Thanks so much, Bonny. 😊
This is absolutely delicious!
Wow Dory, you made my day! I’m so glad that you liked this. Thanks so much for coming back and telling me. 💕
Have a great weekend.
I hated to see the liver soaking in the bowl of milk as a child when my mother would make this for dinner. When I got married I made it for my husband without the milk. I rinsed it with water and patted it dry and then I would coat it in a flour, and season-all mixture just before placing it in the cast iron pan. When my own children came along I stopped making liver. I just drove through Wisconsin to Minnesota and found an old school family restaurant with liver and onions on the menu. I took a tip from the waitress that it is one of the popular menu items and was transferred to a bygone day. Liver and onions is so fabulous. Now that we have options for organic grass fed beef again i am going to add this back into my diet monthly.
Excellent, Sandy! I love happy food memories. 😊
Glenda Freeman says
This is an excellent recipe – very detailed and it turned out exactly as hoped for. The first time for me it was a little time-consuming – partly because I just HAD to have fried potatoes and green beans with it. Now that I am familiar with the steps, however, it will go faster next time. I had never cooked liver before and I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to expectations – but it did – fabulously! Thanks for the post : )
Barbara Bianchi says
Woot! That’s awesome, Glenda. Thanks so much for coming back and leaving this sweet note. And thanks for the stars! 💕