How to Make Chopped Liver

This classic recipe is surprisingly easy to make from scratch.

Chopped liver is a staple on holiday tables during Passover and Rosh Hashanah, as well as served up deliciously at Jewish delis across the country. It is a beloved, old-world dish born out of the desire to use every part of the animal — even the livers. And so its origins are quite humble. Still, the result of the livers with fried onions, oil or schmaltz, and either eggs or vegetables is a super rich spread fit for a king. (Also, it’s really quite easy to make!)

I think the secret to great chopped liver is lots of fried onions, a little bit of schmaltz and not over-broiling the livers. According to rules of kashrut livers, must be fully cooked. But if you cook them exactly the right amount of time, or just slightly under, the liver result is much richer than if you over-broil them and dry them out.

You can buy schmaltz (chicken fat) in most grocery stores or butcher shops, but it is also very easy to make. The basic method is to cook pieces of chicken skin and fat in a pan with a little water and lots of onions very low and slow until the fat is release. Strain the fat, and it’s ready for chopped liver! The bits of onion and fried chicken skin are known as gribenes and are absolutely delicious eaten on the side. Think of them like Jewish pork rinds.

Follow this simple, classic recipe and you’ll be schmearing chopped liver before you know it. We love it on pletzl, an Ashkenazi flatbread topped with onion and poppy seeds.

If you have non-meat eaters in your midst, this vegan chopped liver with mushrooms and miso is just as rich and flavorful as the real deal. And this simple mock chopped liver recipe with mushroom and walnuts is a cinch to whip up.

Note: The chopped liver can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for up to four days.

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chopped liver recipe jewish passover Rosh Hashanah
Photo credit Shannon Sarna

Chopped Liver

This classic chopped liver recipe is surprisingly easy to make from scratch!

  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 lb raw livers (or buy already broiled from butcher)
  • 23 Tbsp olive oil or schmaltz
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • -½ cup sweet wine or brandy
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. If livers are raw, set oven to broil. Place livers on a baking sheet lined with foil in a single layer.
  2. Broil until livers are just no longer pink in the middle, about 3-4 minutes each side. Allow to cool slightly.
  3. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add 2-3 Tbsp olive oil or schmaltz. Add onions and cook for 15-20 minutes, until onions are browned.
  4. Place livers, half the onions, ¼ cup olive oil,  cup sweet wine or brandy and the leaves of 2-3 fresh thyme sprigs into a food processor fitted with blade. Pulse a few times.
  5. Taste, adding around ¼ tsp salt and  tsp pepper. Add more to taste. You can also add more wine or brandy at this point depending on desired consistency and taste. Pulse a few more times.
  6. Scoop liver mixture into a large bowl. Fold in chopped hard boiled eggs and the other half of the fried onions. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh thyme, if desired.

Notes

The chopped liver can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for up to four days.

  • Author: Shannon Sarna
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Ashkenazi

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