How To Cook Tender Calf Liver

Tips That May Surprise You!

Cooked liver with sauce

Liver can be either the toughest or the tenderest meat you will ever put into your mouth. My mother used to overcook it, which would make it as hard as the sole of your shoe. Of course, it was tough to swallow and had to literally swim in ketchup or mustard to help it go down your throat more easily while disguising the bad taste of it.  If you're just looking for a great meal, you can find wonderful recipes for nearly any dish you like at - but if you're in the mood for liver, read on!

One Sunday, my father decided to make supper for us. What we thought was a delicious, juicy and tender steak shook us to the core as we soon found out that it was, in fact, liver. From that day on, my father was the only one cooking liver for us. What was his secret? Let's find out!

  1. Calf liver is a "must"! Beef is a lean type of meat. When you purchase calf liver, you will discover that the level of tenderness is higher, which means you no longer have to deal with liver as tough as an old bull.
  2. Trim the meat. The first thing that you should do is trim the meat by slicing thick pieces in half (horizontally) as it will diminish the cooking time and will ensure that it is cooked thoroughly. Get rid of the excess fat to avoid making it chewy.
  3. Let's make it hot! Spread the pieces of calf liver on a cookie sheet. Pour some boiling water on top of it. Don't pour too much as you may make a mess or burn yourself and make sure that you are not pouring it too high over the meat, since you will splash yourself. Don't use too much water; you do not wish to drown the meat, just to seal the meat. This step will increase the liver's tenderness. If you wish, you can use baking pans or work near the sink to avoid a mess.
  4. Get rid of it! Drain the excess water in the sink. The less time the calf liver spends in the water, the tastier it will be, as it will not become waterlogged.
  5. Milk it all the way! Pour 1/4 cup of milk and 1 egg in a bowl. Mix them well. Just before proceeding to the seasoning of the liver, dip each piece into this milky mixture. It will keep the liver moist, which will prevent overcooking it. It will also make calf liver even more tender. The egg will help the seasonings to stick to the meat and coat it evenly.
  6. Seasonings are one of the secret ingredients. Mix 1/4 cup of flour, salt and pepper in a plate. You can also add parsley and dill, as fresh herbs always add extra flavor. Cover the bottom of the plate evenly. Cover each side of the calf liver with a thin layer of seasonings. Lightly shake off the excess as you do not wish to bread it, just season it. This will add taste to your liver and it will keep the moisture inside the meat instead of having it escape and dry out the meat.
  7. Cooking time! Warm up a pan on high on the stovetop. Add your favorite coating (butter, margarine or cooking spray) as it will prevent sticking while adding some taste to the meat. Lower the heat to medium-high; cooking on high heat will increase the toughness of the meat. Cook the calf liver for about 15 minutes or when the coating is golden and if you cut a piece of the meat, no red will be in sight. Never overcook or undercook liver!

If you follow these steps, you will change your mind about liver. Your taste buds will beg for more. You will never have the same reaction towards liver. And it's one of the top choice meats that you can eat, as it is an excellent source of iron. Even your children will ask you to cook calf liver more often! Why not enjoy a good meal not only for its taste, but also for its health benefits? Besides, calf liver is also inexpensive to serve. It is easy, fast and tasty. What more can you ask for?


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I have always had good success with liver, but the pre-treatment with hot water is new to me. I will have to give that a try.

By Kathy Steinemann