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Old fashioned calf´s liver with onion & apple

German liver onions recipe

Fried liver with onions is a classic German dish. Served with mashed potatoes and, depending on the region, braised apple and/or celery puree, this dish is both down-to-earth and true comfort food.

Roasting liver is quick and easy. Our Old-Fashioned Calf’s Liver recipe is based on the Berlin style with apple and onion. We think it is the best traditional liver recipe!

Which kind of liver to use?

In most regions, veal liver is used, but you can also use pork liver or even lamb or chicken liver. Chicken livers are smaller and therefore fried whole. Our original recipe for Old Fashioned Liver and Onions contains calf’s liver. If you prefer pork liver, it is also safe to fry and eat.

In particular, the liver assists in the formation of blood in the human body. In the past, doctors even prescribed raw liver for people suffering from anemia due to iron deficiency.

In the case of roasted pork liver, it is important that it comes from a young animal. So make sure of that when you buy it.

Fresh liver is dark red, shiny and does not smell strongly.

Is liver healthy? 

A healthy liver contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, and the essential vitamin B12, which the body cannot make. There are many vitamins and minerals in the liver. But be careful: pregnant women should avoid liver because of possible contaminants.

Where to buy liver for the recipe

It’s best to buy liver fresh from the butcher or even at the organic market. Liver tastes best when it’s not overcooked and is still pink and tender, so make sure it’s of good quality. It’s not just a matter of preparing the liver!

With a fat content of only about 5%, liver is also a lean indulgence. Fresh liver is dark red, shiny, and does not have a strong odor.

Preparing the liver for cooking

First, the liver must be washed and cleaned of all coarse tendons and surrounding skin. Especially the outer skin should be removed, otherwise the liver pieces will roll up in the pan as the skin shrinks during frying.

In the past, the liver was soaked in milk for several hours before cooking. This was done to reduce the bitterness. Nowadays, however, with fresh garnishes such as onions or apples, this is hardly necessary.


How to make a soft liver

To prevent the liver from hardening during frying, always salt it after cooking. This applies to almost all types of meat. When preparing liver, be careful not to fry it too long, as this also makes it tough.

What can I serve with German liver and onions?

Traditionally, fried liver is served with mashed potatoes. The butter used to fry the liver, onions and apple is added to a mound of mashed potatoes. Simply delicious!

You can also serve freshly baked, dark bread or hash browns. Any form of potato goes great with our fried liver recipe.

Onion gravy

If you prefer to eat your fried liver recipe with a gravy, you can easily make your own gravy from roast stock in a frying pan. Add a little red wine and bring the pan juices to a light boil so that everything falls off the bottom.

Mix some cornstarch or flour in a little cold water and add to the pan. Stir for about 1 minute until the sauce has the desired consistency.

Also try our Traditional German lentil and bacon soup or Grandma’s best German vegetarian potato salad.

Here is the original recipe:

German liver onions recipe

Old fashioned Liver and Onions Recipe

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Meat
Cuisine German
Servings 2 persons
Calories 180 kcal


  • 1 lb liver
  • 2 apples not too sweet
  • 1.5 cups onions
  • 3.5 oz butter
  • Salt as required
  • Wheat flour


  • Cut the liver, prepared as described above, into medium-thin slices or thin pieces. Peel the onions and cut them into thin rings.
    Put flour on a large plate and properly dust the liver pieces with it.
  • Heat 50 g of butter in a frying pan. Put the liver in the hot pan immediately after dusting it with flour. If you leave it lying longer, the flour coating becomes soft and does not adhere well.
    Fry the liver briefly from both sides and then cook it over moderate heat for about 10 to 15 minutes until done.
  • Take the liver out of the pan and keep it warm.
  • Now clean the apples and cut them into thin slices. Heat another tablespoon of butter in the same frying pan. We want to use all these great roasting flavours!
    First soften the apple slices until slightly brown. Take them out.
  • Now add the onion rings and simmer until golden brown. While the onions are browning, sprinkle with a little salt.
    When the onions are fninshed, you can now lightly salt the liver from both sides.
  • Put liver slices on plates and arrange apple slices and onions on top.


How to perfectly brown onions: Always brown onions on low heat, that will bring out the finest taste. That´s because no bitter substances are released this way. Leave them at low heat until they are soft.
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Copyright © by Susanne Queck und Wunderlander Verlag LLC. Original on Unauthorized republication of all or part of the text is prohibited.Image credit: Unless otherwise noted: ©Pro Stock Media via or ©


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