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How to Cook Deer Liver

by Christina Kalinowski, studioD

Deer liver is often overlooked at specialty markets or discarded by hunters in lieu of more popular venison portions, such as the loin. But deer liver can be quite delicious if it is prepared correctly. Fry sliced deer liver with onions for a hearty meal, or puree cooked livers to create a savory delicacy of liver pate.

Deer Liver And Onions

Cut deer liver and an onion into thin slices. Prepare a simple coating by adding flour and desired seasonings to a shallow dish. Use simple seasonings, such as salt and pepper, or fresh chopped herbs, such as parsley. Dredge the liver slices in the flour mixture, coating both sides evenly to help seal in moisture while cooking.

Over medium heat, melt butter to coat the surface of the skillet, or cook a few strips of bacon and use the bacon grease to cook with instead. Add sliced onions to the skillet and cook them until tender.

Move the onions to the side of the skillet, then add the deer liver slices. Fry the deer liver slices until they are golden brown, about two minutes per side. Remove the liver from the skillet and serve it with the onions on top.

Deer Liver Pate

Soak the deer liver in a bowl of milk for two hours to reduce the gamey flavor. Completely submerge the deer liver in milk and refrigerate while soaking. After about two hours, drain the liver well.

In a large skillet, melt enough butter to coat the surface of the pan over medium-high heat, or cook a few strips of bacon and use the bacon grease to cook with instead. Add the deer liver and seasonings, then sauté it until the liver is browned on the outside, about five minutes. Add onions and garlic or fresh herbs, such as thyme, as you saute.

Remove the skillet from the heat, add a small amount of alcohol like brandy or wine, and return to heat. Continue cooking until most of the alcohol has evaporated and the the liver is cooked through. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Puree the cooled liver in a food processor until smooth. To create a richer finished product, add butter and blend until it reaches the desired consistency. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Spray a mold with cooking spray and pack the pate into it. Refrigerate overnight or until firm, about six hours.

Remove the pate from mold and serve it with slices of French bread, crackers or toasted pita bread.

Items you will need
  •  Skillet
  •  Flour
  •  Seasonings
  •  Sliced onions
  •  Butter
  •  Bacon, optional
  •  Milk
  •  Garlic, optional
  •  Fresh herbs, optional
  •  Brandy or wine
  •  Pate mold
  •  Food processor
  •  Cooking spray
  •  French bread or crackers


  • Consumption of undercooked meat increases the likelihood of exposure to foodborne illness. Cook meat to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

About the Author

Christina Kalinowski is a writer from the Twin Cities who began her career in 2011. She contributes food and drink related articles to The Daily Meal. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from Purdue University.

Photo Credits

  • Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images