How-To Guides

How to cook lamb liver

An overhead shot of sliced lamb's liver on an oval metal tray.

What is lamb liver?

Lamb’s liver is part of the offal, and as the name suggests, is the liver of the animal. It is a cheap, lean, highly nutritious and highly delicious meat. A nutrient dense superfood, lamb’s liver is a source of high quality protein, plus an impressive list of vitamins – most prominently vitamin B12, for which it is one of the best food sources.

Lamb liver cooking time

Liver isn’t traditionally the most popular of meats (which is a shame) and this is possibly because of an association with the grainy texture that comes with over cooking them. Lamb’s liver wants to be cooked relatively quickly over a high heat so as to achieve some caramelisation on the outside, whilst keeping the middle on the pink side.

What is the best way to cook lamb liver?

A simple preparation of lamb’s liver sauteed in butter:

  • Remove the lamb’s liver from the fridge and its packaging and pat dry with kitchen towel. 
  • Season with sea salt. 
  • Set a cast-iron skillet over a high heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil begins to smoke, carefully lay the livers in the pan. Turn the heat down to medium and add a large knob of butter. Leave to saute, in the foaming butter, for 90 seconds. Then flip and repeat on the other side for a further 90 seconds. If at any point the butter looks like it might be burning, then turn the heat down. 
  • Remove the pan from the heat and baste the liver with the brown butter for a minute before serving.

Top tips when cooking lamb liver

  • You can soak the livers in milk for an hour or two before cooking, which will soften the flavour of the meat.
  • Dusting the liver in a little seasoned flour before frying can make for a pleasing, golden crust. 
  • Lamb’s livers are lovely on a skewer and cooked over hot coals. Try seasoning with salt, crushed cumin seeds and a pinch of cayenne pepper. The cumin, in particular, pairs very well with the flavour of the liver.
  • A splash of sweet vinegar – sherry, moscatel, or similar – into the pan at the end of cooking is a pleasing touch. 

Lamb liver recipe

Sometimes there is no need to stray far away from the classics, and so lamb’s liver, sweet, soft onions and mashed potato should not be ignored. To give the dish a lift, try Val Warner’s lamb’s liver with sage butter. Or try tossing the liver in a devilled flour and fry in butter before serving on some toasted sourdough.