Beef Liver and Onions

Beef Liver and Onions

This delicious, classic recipe for caramelized onions and seared lamb’s liver features sweet, jammy onions and tender, blushing pink liver for a simple, comforting meal. Learn the easy method for cooking the onions low and slow to coax out their natural sweetness before frying the liver quickly to medium-rare perfection.

What’s the best way to avoid overcooking the liver?

Sear the liver over high heat for just 3-4 minutes per side. Check for visual cues like lightly blushed pink centers. Let it rest before slicing.

Can I prepare the onions ahead? 

Yes, you can caramelize the onions a day or two in advance. Simply store chilled and reheat before serving.

What sides go well with liver and onions? 

Mashed or roasted potatoes are classic accompaniments. A bitter green salad or steamed veggies also balance the rich liver nicely.

What kind of vinegar works best? 

Balsamic, sherry vinegar, and red wine vinegar all taste delicious. Their acidity cuts through the richness.


  • 2 large onions per person, sliced into thin slices
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 pound lamb liver, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (such as red wine, sherry, or balsamic)


Caramelize the Onions:

  1. Peel the onions and slice in half from root to stem. Remove the skins and slice onions into thin slices. You’ll want a generous amount – use 2 large onions per person. Recipe by
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the sliced onions and season generously with salt and pepper. Stir well.
  3. Cook the onions slowly over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring every couple minutes, until deeply caramelized – soft, sweet and jammy with a deep golden brown color.
  4. Pour in the vinegar and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Allow the vinegar to reduce down until syrupy, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer onions to a plate and set aside.

Cook the Liver:

  1. 5. Pat the liver slices dry with paper towels and season all over with salt and pepper.
  2. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the same skillet over high heat until hot and foaming.
  3. Add the liver slices in a single layer and cook 3-4 minutes per side for medium-rare doneness. The liver should be lightly blushing pink in the center. Be careful not to overcook.
  4. Transfer the seared liver to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

To Serve:

  1. 9. Slice the rested liver and serve topped generously with the caramelized onions. Enjoy immediately.


  1. Slice the onions thinly and use plenty – 2 large onions per serving. Their sweetness balances the mineral flavor of liver beautifully.
  2. Take your time caramelizing the onions over low heat until jammy and deep golden brown. Rushing this step risks burning.
  3. Pat the liver slices very dry before seasoning and searing. Moisture leads to boiling versus browning.
  4. Fry the liver in butter or oil over high heat. The browning reactions add lots of flavor.
  5. Check liver doneness by appearance and touch. It should still have a hint of springy resistance when prodded but be just blushing interiorly.


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