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Old fashioned calf´s liver with onion & apple

German liver onions recipe

Fried liver with onions is a classic among German dishes. 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 easy and fast. Our old fashioned veal liver recipe is based on the Berlin variant with apple and onion. For us this is the best traditional liver recipe!

Which kind of liver to use?

In most regions the liver comes from the calf, but you can also take pork´s liver or even from lamb or chicken. Chicken liver is smaller and therefore fried uncut. Our original old fashioned liver and onions recipe contains veal liver. If you prefer pork´s liver, it is also safe to fry and eat.

In particular, the liver supports the formation of blood in the human body. In the case of anaemia due to iron deficiency, doctors even used to prescribe raw liver for consumption in former times.

In the case of roast pork liver, it is important that it comes from a young animal. So be aware of that when you buy it.


Is liver healthy? 

A healthy liver contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and the vital vitamin B12, which the body cannot produce itself. The liver contains many vitamins and minerals.

But beware: pregnant women should avoid liver because of possible pollutants.

Where to buy liver for the recipe

It’s best to buy liver fresh from the butcher or even from the organic market. Since liver tastes best when it’s not fried too long and still pinkish and tender, you should ensure 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 pleasure.

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

Preparing the liver for cooking

First the liver has to be washed and freed from all coarse tendons and the surrounding skin. Especially the outer skin should be removed, because otherwise the liver pieces will roll up in the pan, because the skin will shrink during roasting.

In the past, the liver was soaked in milk for a few hours before preparation. This should reduce the bitter substances. With fresh side dishes such as onion or apple, however, this is hardly necessary today.

How to get soft liver

To prevent the liver from hardening during roasting, always salt it after cooking. This applies to almost all types of meat, by the way. When preparing the liver, take care not to fry it too long, that also makes it hard.

What can I serve with German liver and onions?

Traditionally fried liver served alongside potatoe mash. The butter, used for frying liver, onions and apple is added on top of a hill from mash potatoes. Simply yummy!

You can also serve freshly baked, dark bread or hash browns. Everything of potatoe goes great along with our fried liver recipe. 

Onion gravy

If you prefer eating your liver recipe with a gravy, you can easily create your gravy using roast stock in the frying pan. Add a little red wine and let the roast stock boil up lightly so that everything comes off the bottom.

Now mix some starch or flour in a little cold water and add it to the frying 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

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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins
2 persons


  • 400 g liver
  • 2 apples, not too sweet
  • 250 g onions
  • 100 g 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.
Nutrition 1 serving
Serving: 1servingCalories: 180kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 23gFat: 9g
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