Beef Liver and Onions is a great dish loaded with nutrients and doesn’t take long to prepare. 

Beef Liver and Onions - The Southern Lady Cooks

If you love this beef recipe, try our Brown Beef Stew! Add our fried cornbread and you have a fantastic meal.


If you love liver this is a dish you have to try. Beef Liver is very high in protein and loaded with nutrients and the onions only enhance this recipe. You cook the liver till it is tender which is only 7-8 minutes so this recipe doesn’t take long at all!

We do dredge the liver in flour, it’s not a whole lot but it is enough to give it a nice light coating. This is one our favorite ways to enjoy beef liver. We also love chicken livers and if you are a fan of those, definitely check out this recipe!


Beef Liver – we buy ours at a local farm but you can find it in the grocery store. 

Bacon Grease – (can use butter or margarine if you don’t have the grease)

Salt and Pepper – great seasonings

Garlic powder – gives the liver a great taste

Onions – such a great addition to this dish!

All-Purpose Flour – we are only using ½ cup


If you want to make this dish your own, add whatever herbs you love. It’s very versatile and a classic that has been around for many years. We use water in this dish but you could easily use beef broth. 


This dish is really easy and only takes about 20 minutes from prep to finish. We make ours in an iron skillet but any skillet will do. 


The only real prep is to get all of our ingredients together and go ahead and cut your onion into slices. You can also cut the liver into smaller pieces if your live is still in a large piece.


Step 1
Put the flour into a shallow dish and add salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Mix well. 

Step 2
Add grease to skillet and have hot.  Dredge liver in flour and fry on both sides until brown. 

Step 3
Sprinkle onion rings on top of the liver in the pan and add about a cup of water.  Cover and simmer until beef it tender about 7 or 8 minutes.


Liver is done when it is still slightly pink in the center with brown edges. Some say 145 degrees and others say 160. It’s really up to you to decide what your version of done is, as some like it more pink that others. 


This dish is wonderful with mashed potatoes and green beans. So that is what we always serve it with. This dish is pretty versatile and could go with just about anything. A good salad is always a wonderful side dish and our Amish Pasta Salad goes with anything!

Beef Liver and Onions - The Southern Lady Cooks


Can liver and onions be frozen?

I have never tried it and wouldn’t recommend it. Just freeze the liver if needed and make this dish fresh.

What is the best liver to buy for this recipe?

If you have the choice calf liver is the best and will be the most tender over a mature cow. 


I just store in an air tight container and reheat on the stove top or in the microwave.

Sausage, Sauerkraut & Potatoes

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Black-Eyed Pea Chili

Twist on a classic and so good! Made with sausage.

Beef Tips and Gravy

Very popular recipe with many great reviews!


This recipe makes about 6 servings and you can easily double it for a larger gathering.

Beef Liver with Onions

Anne Walkup
This old fashioned recipe for beef liver smothered in onions will take you back in time. If you like liver this one is for you.
4.91 from 10 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, southern
Servings 6 servings


  • 1 pound beef liver
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons bacon grease can use butter or margarine if you don’t have the grease
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 – 2 large onions peeled and cut into rings
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup water


  • Put the flour into a shallow dish and add salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mix well. Add grease to skillet and have hot. Dredge liver in flour and fry on both sides until brown. Sprinkle onion rings on top of the liver in the pan and add about a cup of water. Cover and simmer until beef it tender about 7 or 8 minutes.
Keyword beef liver, beef liver and onions
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Recipe Rating


  1. Don Ebart says:

    I will try this. My mother always put the liver in boiling water, till it turned gray then fried it with onions in bacon grease. I will use lard.4 stars

  2. I love chicken livers but never had beef liver. I’m the only one that would eat it in my family. But I don’t want to buy it if I won’t like it. Is it similar in taste/texture to chicken livers? Does it taste like beef? I would like to try it but don’t want to waste food.5 stars

    1. In my opinion its a richer taste than chicken livers, and the texture is similar.

  3. I want to try your recipe for I love the idea to have a bit of the water for a gravy and the onions on top like that…with mashed potatoes instead of boiled then fried…it looks so delicious and the touch of garlic sounds so good to add…Love your recipes….5 stars

  4. Oh my ladies!! This is going on my list to make!!5 stars

  5. I’m about to make this just as you’ve written because it looks like the closest thing to the version of liver of onions that I’ve had before and love very much. But I was wondering one thing — what do you think about the whole soaking the liver in milk before cooking? Appreciate your input!

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      I know some people swear by it, but I have never been one to do that.

    2. Soaking in buttermilk for an hour or two removes the bitterness and tenderizes the liver. According to my Southern 100 year old Grandmother!❤

    3. Mom and I always soaked liver in milk in the refrigerator for a couple seems to take the wild taste away. we drained it well and fried out a pound of bacon and then dredged the liver in the flour with salt and pepper and fried quickly in the bacon drippings…we fried the onions in some of the bacon drippings…till softened.. We cannot find decent liver here, it is sliced so paper thin ….I don’t understand why they would do that….5 stars

  6. Made this tonight and it was a big hit. My 8 year old grandson ate it and enjoyed it. I prefer chicken liver but this was a great recipe for beef.

  7. Cathy Stevens says:

    Cook it only 7-8 minutes? Won’t it be raw/rare??

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      No. This recipe is correct as written. Please read the comments below, it has wonderful reviews.

  8. Noel Brannum says:

    I made this last night. In yrs past mine was always overcooked and dry. This recipe made the most tender liver ever. Thanks for the recipe.5 stars

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      Thank you for the kind words! We’re so glad this recipe worked so well for you. It’s one of our favorites!

  9. Made this for my husband tonight. He said it’s the best he’s ever had ie. better than moms!!! Only thing I did differently was chicken stock instead of water! Thank you for keeping old school southern recipes!!5 stars

  10. So glad I found this recipe. My Mom was a wonderful cook. Made the best smothered liver and onions. Hope I can this to taste like hers. Ingredients sound the same.

  11. THanks for the recipe I’m making making this for my 89yr old grandpa as one of his monthly freezer meals I take to him. He like so them so whatever he wants he gets. IVe then be fore but not my favorite things. THAnks for the recipe.

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      You are welcome, Megan. I hope he enjoys the recipe.

  12. Vivian Brossman says:

    Well I’m a believer now, I got brave and tried it! We don’t cook it in our family. This was a very good recipe! I cooked beef liver, cut off the tough membrane and soaked it in buttermilk, drained it and then dredged it in the flour mixture. I did use bacon grease and I believe this made a great impact on flavor. It was very tender and delicious! Now I have to convince the rest of my family to give a try. 5 stars

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      Good for you for giving it a try! I’m so glad it was a success.

  13. Maybe you are over cooking your liver. Mine is always tender and moist.


  15. I love, love, love liver and onions!! But, organ meat is so fattening! I don’t eat it to much!

  16. Peggy Howard says:

    Could I make this recipe with corn meal instead of flour ? When cook Liver (which isn’t very often because I am the only one that likes it in my home ) I fry it with corn meal .

  17. which is better.beef or calf”s liver I think one is stronger than the other?

  18. Going to make this for my husband and sister in law they are the only ones who eat it. I love all the receipes. Made the old fashion carrot cake tonight with the cream cheese frosting

  19. I make liver and onions for my daughter she loves it and is the only one in the house that eats it. I make mine with cream of mushroom soup. I cook the liver and sautee the onions and then mix the cream of mushroom soup with a little bit of water and whisk it until smooth and pour in the skillet with the liver and onions and heat until bubbles.

  20. mable bowling says:

    all you need is a hot greased cast iron skillet with mashed potatoes and slice of fresh tomato.

  21. I love liver and onions but rarely make it at home because I don’t like the way it makes my house smell afterwards. I might break down and make some because this really really really looks good. I love my liver and onions with fried taters as a side (also fried with onions). I know mega ‘grease’ overload but hey, you only live once… LOL.

  22. Crystal Daniels says:

    I have always loved liver and onions, even as a child!! I think it was because my Mom was such a good cook and it was so tender!! This sounds like the way she fixed it. 🙂

  23. I could go for a plate of this right now. I love liver too. Almost better than steak. No one in my family likes it (Joe will eat it)…just me. When I go out to eat and order it…people look at me like I’m crazy.There are just a couple of restaurants where I will order it. I have bacon with mine. Thanks for making me hungry again!

  24. You can count me in as one of the people who love liver and onions but didn’t like it when younger. I think the reason is that most people cook it until it is like shoe leather.