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Crispy Spiced Chicken Livers

I was a weird kid. Aside from roller skating to the library (in blue-and-yellow sneaker skates and an orange terrycloth bathrobe worn over jeans) and forcing my brother to play “Library” with me, I also distinctly remember voluntarily ordering beef liver with onions for dinner at my dad’s diner. I was also a crazy for chicken liver paté on toast and ordered it whenever it appeared on a menu.

Then I became a surly teenager and was sent to Weight Watchers summer camp where they forced us to eat liver once a week as part of the weight-loss plan. The culinary skills of the cooks at camp didn’t stand up to my dad’s line cooks, and I developed an aversion to liver that lasted for years. But now, after sampling some luscious charcuterie plates and eating our legendary dinner at Animal last summer, I’m falling in love with chicken livers again. For the first time, I experimented with coconut flour as a “breading,” and it worked great — especially when seasoned with aromatic spices and lightly pan-fried in coconut oil to form a lovely, crisp crust. This is a recipe I developed for my awesome gig this month as Featured Chef at US Wellness Meats; check out my Q&A on the U.S. Wellness Meats site.

I know you might not be all that keen on chicken livers, but if you’re the least bit curious or amenable to trying them, I recommend this recipe as a good gateway dish. The spices add just a little zing to complement the rich flavor of the livers, and let’s be honest: just about everything tastes great fried in a little dino-chow-friendly fat.

Crispy Spiced Chicken Livers

Prep 10 min | Cook 15 min | Serves 2-4

Ingredients:
1 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken livers (US Wellness sells lovely free range.)
2/3 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon coarse (granulated) garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cloves
2-4 tablespoons coconut oil
garnish: fresh lemon and chopped fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, or mint)

Directions:
Cut chicken livers into 2-inch pieces and pat dry with paper towels.

In a small bowl, mix flour, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and cloves with a fork until blended. Pour the seasoned flour into a large ziplock bag, add the chicken livers, and shake gently until coated evenly.

In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil over medium-high until hot, about 3 minutes. Add about half the chicken livers in a single layer — try to arrange them so they don’t touch. Allow the bottom to brown well and form a crisp crust, about 3-5 minutes. Using tongs, flip the livers, and brown the other side. Set aside to drain on paper towels while you cook the second batch. You may need to add more coconut oil to the pan.

Place the livers on a serving plate and garnish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of chopped fresh herbs.

These taste their crispy best if you eat them immediately, but since I’m the only person in the house who likes chicken livers, I had a lot to eat as leftovers. They were really tasty re-heated, just not as crisp. I had them three days in a row for breakfast, with a side of leafy greens sautéed with chunks of roasted butternut squash. It was luscious and kept me energized all morning.

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110 Responses to “Crispy Spiced Chicken Livers”

  1. I bought a bunch of organ meats a couple of days ago and I was sitting here just now wondering what to make for dinner when this post popped up in my feed reader. Talk about impecable timing! Thanks!

  2. Mel says:

    Awesome! If you try it, please let me know how you like it. So far, I’m the only that’s eaten this recipe because Dave really, really didn’t want to try them.

  3. Tim Huntley says:

    YUM! This makes me crave chicken liver right this second.

    I also love chicken hearts split in two, sauteed, and drizzled with texas pete.

  4. Debbie H says:

    I grew up eating chicken livers — they were what my Mom used to make liver and onions. Your recipe sounds wonderful and I can’t wait to try it! Like you, I’ll be the only one here eating them, which is fine with me! :-)

  5. Kelsey says:

    My dad makes chicken livers wrapped in bacon twice a year when we go camping. It’s always the hor’derve hit of the night. This recipe sounds delish!

  6. Gaby says:

    I’m a liver freak, too. My granny made a delicious blended liver soup for me when I was very little, I’ve always liked beef liver & onions and I love pate. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. Featured Chef at US Wellness Meats! Awesome. I subscribe to Wellness Meats and I saw your name in their newsletter. :)

  8. Elena says:

    Oh,this recipe sounds delisious!I am also looking for some ideas on what to serve to a company of Paleo friends. Something like small bites. I am new to Paleo. Any help ? Thank you.

  9. Made ‘em. Verdict: awesome! Thanks for the recipe. Now, if only I knew what to do with these chicken hearts, pork kidneys and beef liver… ;)

    • Bev says:

      Chicken hearts are yummy chopped, fried and tossed into an omelet for breakfast. Especially with jalapeno. Beef liver would work well treated this way too, I think. I am fond of liver with breakfast, it really does give you energy all day. I often dip it in egg yolk like I used to do with toast.

      • I’ll be having chicken liver leftovers for my post-workout breakfast tomorrow. Maybe I’ll make the chicken hearts for breakfast later this week.

      • Val says:

        I season chicken hearts with chopped garlic, onion powder, and parsley, broil until just cook, throw them in a bowl toss with a squeeze of lemon juice, and enjoy as a snack. When my relatives bring out their popcorn, I bring out the chicken hearts.

    • Mel says:

      Hooray! I have a beef liver in my freezer and need to find a good idea for what to do with it. I’ll let you know if I come up with anything good!

  10. P says:

    I saw a big package of chicken livers for cheap at my supermarket yesterday and wanted to buy them, but had no idea what to do with them! I’ll definitely be dropping by again today, can’t wait to try this!

  11. katetastrophee says:

    I haven’t had chicken livers in ages. I might just have to give this one a whirl. When I was a kid, my mom made the best fried chicken ever and she would fry up the liver, heart and gizzards. I used to fight my dad over gizzards. Such a tough, chewy, ookie thing to eat. I totally loved it. I think eating gizzards is the reason I had TMJ as an adult. Oh, and my dad used to also feed me cannibal sandwiches. What are those you ask? Raw hamburger on saltines topped with raw diced white onion. Apparently, he thought we were cows.

    • Mel says:

      Cannibal Sandwiches! I love it! And that sounds really good, actually. We ate a lot of raw kibbeh when I was a kid… raw lamb with mint and cracke wheat, slathered on pita bread. Same concept, different execution. YUM!

  12. leah b says:

    anyone tried subbing almond flour for the coconut yet? I’m intolerant, but would LOVE to try these. I’ll give ‘em a go and let you know how they turn out.

    • Mel says:

      Leah, you can absolutely use almond flour. I tried both and a blend — they all worked, I just liked the texture of the coconut flour the best. You might need a little more oil with the almond flour so it doesn’t stick to the pan.

  13. Lydia says:

    As a fellow liver-lover, this recipe totally made my day. I can’t wait to try it! Thank you.

  14. Mel, my family will not try organ meat, either. Had to make my own little been & kidney pies and freeze them for lunches because no one else will try them. I have been thinking about liver–I like beef liver but have never cooked it myself. Been looking at chicken livers, wondering…lately… I’m going to have to try this one. I am definately curious, and they look like good little protein snacks. Next, you’ll have to give up your liver pate recipe because some of my non-organ-meat-eating clan will apparently eat that (and I have never liked pate, funny huh?)

  15. Jamie says:

    Mel, thanks for this. My hubby has been bugging me to try liver (my parents scarred me for life – I’m from the midwest lol) and this sounds like it will be a good gateway.

  16. [...] Tegenwoordig braad ik hele kippen en grote stukken vlees, ben ik fan van bacon en is mijn maaltijd niet compleet zonder een deel van iets wat ooit rondhuppelde in een wei. Waarom dan geen lever? In de trein zag ik vanmorgen een recept: http://www.theclothesmakethegirl.com/2012/01/08/crispy-spiced-chicken-livers/ [...]

  17. Elena says:

    Melissa, may be you can post in future some ideas as what to serve at a Paleo party. Small bites, not a sit-down dinner. It will be greatly appreciated. I am not as gifted a cook as you are (sigh ). Thank you!

  18. Susie says:

    Wow these look good! These are going on Pinterest (and into my tummy) ASAP! :)

  19. Emilie says:

    Mel, these were really yummy! The lemon juice gives it that extra little bit of awesome and that’s what really made it for me :)

  20. Tina says:

    Oh, yum, I am definitely going to try this. My mom used to sautee them in butter and green onion and serve them on Ritz crackers. Cooking them this way will give a little of that crispy texture. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      I have to admit: Ritz crackers and green onions with livers sounds really, REALLY good.

      Must not eat Ritz.
      Must not eat Ritz.
      Must not eat Ritz.

  21. Nikki says:

    Hmmm, what would be a good sub out for the coconut flour and coconut oil that wouldn’t wreck the flavor?
    Though I love it, I can’t have coconut of any kind, I am elephant-man, swollen, can’t-breathe, epi-pen or die allergic. :(

    • Mel says:

      Sorry to hear about the coconut!

      Replace the coconut flour with an equal amount of almond flour.

      Replace the coconut oil with either clarified butter/ghee or another paleo-approved cooking oil, but not olive oil because you need high heat and olive oil oxidizes at high temps.

      Hope this helps!
      Mel

  22. shannah says:

    How do you keep from popping?!? I’m throwing off fire crackers in my kitchen!!!

    • Mel says:

      Yes, I should have mentioned that. There’s a little popping. I used our splatter screen to keep from destroying the kitchen

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002MR0TA/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=roltheboo-20

      • Nina_CZ says:

        A LITTLE POPPING??? :D LOL I am just making these and it is like bombing a kitchen :D :D

        • Gwendolyn says:

          I have the same problem NinaCZ. They pop and explode like napalm in the skillet. Even with a splatter screen they seem to know the exact moment to explode…the moment I take off the screen to turn them, but it’s a breeze to clean off the wall, the counter and my nightgown (I usually make them for breakfast :) , but it’s worth it.
          I usually substitute the spices with Chinese 5 Spice.

          Someone on this thread suggested I stab the livers over and over again with a fork before cooking. So, now I use my Jaccard 48-blade meat tenderizer and that helps. They still explode a little though…

  23. Renee says:

    Thank you so much for this! My husband has been dying for chopped liver but wondering how he would eat it without crackers. I bought a pound of chicken liver at Whole Foods today and made the recipe as an appetizer for our Whole30 potluck tonight – best $2.50 I’ve ever spent. I’ll be getting these on a regular basis – the breakfast idea sounds amazing. I forgot the lemon at the end, so I’ll have to try them again soon.

    • Mel says:

      YAY! So glad you and yours enjoyed this recipe.

      I’ve been thinking… chopped chicken livers would be really good spread on slices of Granny Smith apple with some chopped scallions on top… or spread on red pepper wedges with chopped chives. Right?! Also… I bet cucumber slices would be lovely, too.

  24. Robin says:

    My mother used to make fry liver and onions with brown gravy, either over rice or mashed potatoes. Yum, yum, yum! So glad you posted this recipe. Going to try and make the gravy with some mashed cauliflower of some sort…we’ll see how that turns out :)

  25. These are awesome! Lemon really makes them complete! But holy cow did these buggers make a mess of my kitchen, snapping and popping grease all over the place. I sustained more than a couple of grease burns.

  26. keturah says:

    nom nom nom..i cannot wait to make these. Thanks Mel!

  27. [...] PALEO CHALLENGE — Day 20 Deconstructed gyro salad / Crispy spiced chicken livers Trojan horses of chlorella “superfood” Fat + vinegar + cooked, but then cooled potato = [...]

  28. Roberta says:

    So I’ve been slightly anemic forever and I just watched a TED video that talks about how important it is to eat foods that feed your mitochondria and I guess organ meats do So I want to eat/like chicken liver. But, unfortunately after making these I’m kind of in the Dave camp (I think it’s a mental hurdle, it wasn’t the taste but the thought of liver). But I am thinking pate could push me past the mental hurdle! You should come up with a delicious pate recipe. I saw a few and I may try to experiment next week.

  29. I would totally love to see a pate recipe. My non-liver-eating family members actually like pate, and it’s me that did not like it, so I’m willing to give it another try!

  30. [...] really want to try it out at some point. Stolen Garlic Chicken Livers Recipe – Food.com – 110936 Crispy Spiced Chicken Livers | theclothesmakethegirl Reply With Quote   + Reply to Thread « Previous Thread | [...]

  31. [...] These are pretty good: Crispy Spiced Chicken Livers | theclothesmakethegirl Recommendation: don't skip the squeeze of lemon. For me, that's what took these from "yeah, I [...]

  32. Sophie W. says:

    I made these tonight, and they were delish. Even my 11 month old and 3 year old liked them! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  33. Mike Carlson says:

    I made these last night, but I couldn’t seem to get them “Crispy”. Then I realized that the coconut flour, being the most absorbent substance known to man, was soaking up the oil before they were getting a chance to really fry. Maybe almond flour next time? Also, some cayenne pepper in the mix sounds good.
    Do chicken gizzards taste similar? All I know is when I buy a whole roasted chicken, there is some kind of organ meet left behind up towards the back bone accessed from inside that I always search for with dedication. Yum.

  34. [...] topped it was LOTS of fresh chopped cilantro and lemon and had a little port to go along with it Crispy Spiced Chicken Livers | theclothesmakethegirl Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along [...]

  35. candy says:

    My dad and I made these. As I don’t fry much, I don’t have a splatter screen so we kind of destroyed my kitchen :p

    But.

    They were absolutely delicious! We couldn’t fit anywhere near half at a time into the pan so we were out there for awhile, pretty much eating them as they cooled. We quickly decided not to have a civilized dinner at the table, and just noshed and hung out in the kitchen. It turned into one of the best nights he was here visiting me, and a great memory.

    I love your recipes, and I’m pretty sure our taste buds are set to the exact same programming. If I ever make it to Austin, I’m totally going to come meet you!

    • Mel says:

      What a great story! Thanks for much for sharing… really sweet.

      PLEASE let me know if you ever come to Austin. We’ll eat together!

  36. [...] Filed Under  Chicken, healthy, livers, paleo, Recipe This recipe is entirely taken from The Clothes Makes The Girl website, but I thought that it would be nice to share it with you, especially because livers are [...]

  37. [...] Crispy Chicken Livers and [...]

  38. Brooke says:

    Soooo…that splatter screen I debated and debated and debated over in the store yesterday (and didn’t buy) would have definitely come in handy tonight. Oy, my kitchen is a disaster area! That being said, these were great! I haven’t had chicken livers since I was about 8 or so. I loved them then, but I guess livers weren’t in vogue, so somewhere along the way I stopped eating them. Thanks for a great recipe that gets me indulging in such a delicious and nutritious food again.

    • Mel says:

      Yeah, I should probably add a splatter screen to the recipe. Sorry about that!

      Glad to know you enjoyed them, however. YAY!

      • Alli J says:

        I just learned about the need for a splatter screen the hard way on this… But the recipe was great! My Husband and I are okay with liver but hardly love it, this recipe could certainly help us learn too. :)

      • Alli J says:

        I just learned about the need for a splatter screen the hard way on this… But the recipe was great! My Husband and I are okay with liver but hardly love it, this recipe could certainly help us learn to though.

  39. [...] dinner I’m trying out crispy chicken livers (I am totally delighted with Mel and her website if you like paleo blogs) and then hopefully [...]

  40. Jacqui says:

    OH golly these were so yummy! I haven’t had organ items to eat in for….ever! And wow, these hardly could make it onto the dinner plate….as they cooled, they beconed to me….EAT ME…(and I did!). Altho…I did share with hubby. Nice girl that I am :)
    Mel….you are the ROCK. Thank you a bazillion.

  41. Therese says:

    Wasnt really sure what to expect given I’ve never eaten liver before, except in pâté. These were ok for a first try, not in a rush to try them again, the livers that is not your recipe :) thanks for the recipe though as I wouldn’t have had a clue what to do with them. I’d probably use less flour next time, they had a bit too much for my taste, or I just didn’t shake them off enough.

  42. Therese says:

    Ok well on meal two they aren’t as unliked, I find if I cut them up to be about 1cm cubes they are much better. So they may be made again :) thanks again for the recipe.

  43. Hilary says:

    Amazing! This is the first time in my life I’ve ever enjoyed eating liver. I cooked a pound of them and devoured half of them in one sitting. I can’t believe this is actually the same stuff my mom made me eat on toast as a child. Not only that, my house actually smelled *good* while they were cooking, instead of liver-y.

  44. thatgirljj says:

    I was surprised that these were so good. I usually have a problem with the liver texture, but if you cook them until the breading is really *crispy* it changes the whole texture dynamic of the liver bites. Especially with a wedge of lemon and chopped mint… yum.

    One questions though: Do you have problems with coconut oil smoking on medium high heat? Mine always smokes a LOT and smells really acrid and gross to my nose. If I lower the heat it doesn’t get hot enough to make a good crispy crust. Next time I might just use pastured schmaltz, but I’m wondering if I’m buying the wrong coconut oil or something.

  45. Valina says:

    Hmm, sounds really good! Trying to find ways to make something of my chicken liver.

    Do you cook the liver for a minute in boiling water before you cut them in slices and cover them with the crust?

    I am still searching how to find out they are cooked perfect. Not raw and not too long. Soem say cook it first and than bake it for 3 minutes and others only bake it for 10 minutes. So that is wh I wonder if you pre-boiled the liver.

    Thanks!

  46. neptunebch says:

    I was lucky to be the one that got the fried liver when my family fried chicken. Found your recipe yesterday after buying the livers at Whole Foods. I’m new to Primal (since October’12) and had all of your ingredients. This works – very well. Even though I have to admit that I miss the extra crispy from the white flour but love that this is HEALTHY for me and no guilt.

    The main reason I wanted to respond was to help you all with the popping and splattering. While still in the ziplock take a fork and poke the hell out of the livers. Give each liver 2-3 pokes. I had a few pops but not nearly as bad since they were aerated! Even poke them again in the frying pan. Thank you for this delicious recipe! Love your blog.

  47. I’m doing my second whole60, and this time my mom is joining me! She loves chicken livers (I am… reluctant), and recipes keep popping up… I think the universe is telling me to eat some damn chicken livers!

    You take such wonderful photographs for your recipes, it really makes everything so appetizing. I really want to try this!! Thanks for posting

  48. Laura Rockow says:

    I literally posted on facebook “if anyone local has chicken livers from pastured chickens that you don’t need, I’ll take them!”

  49. Karena says:

    Are the spices used in this recipe AIP Paleo friendly? Is the Whole 30 different than AIP? I’m just getting started on this way of eating. Thanks.

  50. TNPrincess says:

    I’ve been eating (trying to eat) Paleo for several months now, since a crazy challenge through my Crossfit gym. I just want to know if you have any recommendations for those of us that HATE (bold font) coconut?

    I’m really afraid to try anything with coconut oil and I definitely don’t want coconut flour. I subbed crushed pecans for coconut flakes in a salmon recipe I found, but not sure that will work every time.

    Suggestions? Recommendations? If at all possible, please don’t tell me to just suck it up!

    Love your blog – was very comforting to me in the early days of Paleo and now is just flat out enjoyable!

  51. [...] taste like canned corned beef hash (something I love dearly – ha!). Today I chose to make a recipe by Melissa Joulwan, who has yet to let me [...]

  52. [...] pieces before frying, and top it would lots of lemon juice and cilantro. It's not too terrible. Crispy Spiced Chicken Livers | theclothesmakethegirl I also can choke down yakitori style chicken livers at a good japanese restaurant. I am going to [...]

  53. Kryssie says:

    This, Mel, is awesome. My husband loves chicken liver and he melted with this recipe. One of our furbabes tried to get into them. He was unsuccessful.

  54. Daphne says:

    I loved these, and so did my 11 month old.

  55. Gwendolyn says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I’ve made your recipe many times because nothing hits the spot for breakfast like chicken livers.

    They pop and explode like napalm in the skillet though. Even with a splatter screen they seem to know the exact moment to explode…the moment I take off the screen to turn them, but it’s a breeze to clean off the wall, the counter and my nightgown (I usually make them for breakfast :), but it’s worth it.

    I usually substitute the spices with Chinese 5 Spice.

  56. LowCarbinJapan says:

    Made it tonight. Left out the cloves and it was still very tasty. Thanks for a delicious new way to eat chicken livers!

  57. [...] Crispy Spiced Chicken Livers from The Clothes Make the Girl [...]

  58. Melodious says:

    Made these again tonight and have leftovers for breakfast! I need to remember to shake the livers off well before placing in the pan, otherwise I get burnt dregs of coconut oil in the bottom of the pan. Tried the poking trick and still got popped on quite a bit. Hint: Don’t cook livers in coconut oil while wearing a tank top. Even with a splatter guard.

  59. […] Pan Fried Chicken Liver Highly nutritious, a pan fried chicken liver can be a great inclusion in your Paleo inspired dinner dish options. To make it more tasty you can include ingredients such as garlic, onions or herbs to add that mild taste of sweetness and acidity. Be sure to serve the dish along side other vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower rice. A perfectly pan fried chicken liver can be cooked all the way and still maintain the pink color associated with liver. You can use olive oil or macadamia oil to do the frying. Here’s a great recipe from TheClothesMakeTheGirl.com […]

  60. Dean says:

    I tried these with 12 oz. of beef livers and chili powder instead of cumin. I topped with chopped parsley, lemon, and coconut aminos.

    It was terrific. Definitely adding this liver variation to my normal rotation.

  61. Steve says:

    Quite possibly the worst recipie for chicken livers ever. Followed the directions to the letter, and had to throw it all out. Sorry..I really wanted to like this. Epic fail.

    • Mel says:

      Wow! I’m really sorry that you had a bad experience with the recipe. I’ve used it many times myself, and it’s worked for me.

      Can you tell me what the problem was? Maybe I need to adjust my instructions.

      Thanks!

  62. Ralph says:

    I made chicken livers with this recipe today and they are outstanding! Thanks! I made about 1 lb and had to force myself to stop before I ate it all…

    I used almond flour instead of coconut flour, and “smoked paprika”, because that’s what was in the pantry.

    I’ll probably use the same recipe for hearts (if I ever find a good local supply).

    Thanks again!

  63. Janette says:

    I love liver, always have. It was one of my favorites when I was a little girl. One year I asked for liver, watermelon and spinach for my birthday. Yeah I’m still that odd ;) Would Tallow work instead of coconut oil?

  64. Alison says:

    I thought of you when I made chicken livers because somewhere I read you can’t stay out of pork rinds. :)I make livers coated in homemade mayo and rolled in ground pork rinds, you can add spices as you like, bake them at 425 for 10 minutes per side. No splatter.

  65. Gippyfish says:

    Made these tonight and LOVED them. I was also pleasantly surprised that with all the spices the coconut flour didn’t taste too coconutty. Instead of coconut oil, I used clarified butter.

    Ate half of them in no time. I made a dipping sauce out of 2 tbs of your mayo recipe with 1 tsp chopped basil and 1/2 tsp chopped garlic. I had to force myself to step away from the table! YUM!

  66. Kris says:

    First time eating chicken livers. These were great! I was scared of trying them and then terrified of the oil splatter, but I so loved them. Thank you Saint Melicious for helping me enter the world of nutrient-dense liver!

    • Mel says:

      OMG. This is the best compliment ever. I totally need someone to draw me as a saint, like the Virgin of Guadalupe, right?! WOOT!

      I’m really glad you liked the chicken livers. I’m trying to remember to eat them every week… so I might be sharing my liver recipes soon!

  67. Rori says:

    I am new to paleo, almost 2 months. Found you blog and this recipe. It was fantastic. Yum!!

  68. Martha says:

    I dislike frying but love fried chicken livers (well, anything fried). I made these today, but rolled them in homemade mayo and cooked them in the oven at 425. Loved them!

  69. Lisa says:

    Made these for lunch Saturday, and they were amazing. Since then we have been snacking on them straight out of the fridge, and they are amazing cold. My husband doesn’t even like cold pizza, and he digs them cold! Somewhat like eating cold fried chicken. Thanks.

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