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Traditional Jewish Chopped Liver Recipe

I used to help in our family restaurant, and I love good food. I enjoy thinking up creative ways to use leftovers to avoid food waste.

Chopped liver spread on matzo

Chopped liver spread on matzo

A Simple Recipe for a Traditional Jewish Favorite

Chopped liver is, in effect, a chicken liver pate. The whole preparation and cooking process from start to finish only takes 15 minutes.

I would particularly recommend this recipe for beginner cooks, as there are so few ingredients and not much can go wrong, except perhaps making the texture too smooth by over-blending. The version I know and love has a slightly lumpy texture.

Chopped liver is not only versatile but also slimming—it's great for snacks, starters, a complete meal or a packed lunch!

A Perfect Anytime Snack

We always used to look forward to having this whenever my family travelled from London to visit my mother in Spain—if we arrived in Spain on the night plane, we could always be sure that she would have a plate of chopped liver waiting for us, whatever time we arrived.

It was a great convenience food, as she could make it earlier in the day and then, as it is eaten cold, she could produce it at whatever time of night we turned up, knowing that we would love it, and were looking forward to our favorite snack, spread on whatever she had to hand, be it bread, biscuits, or Ryvita (although traditionally eaten with matzos, which is unleavened bread, matzos would not be readily available in small Spanish food markets).

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

8 min

7 min

15 min

6 servings

Equipment Needed

  • Large pan for frying
  • Tablespoon for mixing and measuring
  • Blender or mincer
  • Small egg saucepan

Note: Don't Worry if You Haven't Got Suitable Equipment

In the olden days before blenders and mincers were available, people would simply mash the ingredients, because the final product is supposed to be a bit lumpy and not a smooth paste.

However, life is much easier if you do have a blender or food processor—I use my Magimix almost every day. It does so many things: it can grate, slice things thickly or thinly, mix pastry and thick sauces, and blend things like soup, puree or pate. My machine has been very hard-wearing and I have had it for over 35 years. Not bad, eh?


Traditional ingredients:

  • 1 lb / 0.5 kilo chicken livers
  • 1 large or 2 small onions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or schmaltz (chicken fat)
  • 2 eggs
  • A sprinkling salt and pepper, to taste

Optional and non-traditional ingredients:

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 clove
  • A sprinkling mixed herbs
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sherry, marsala or brandy

I would just mention that my family version of this recipe has slightly moved away from the traditional version, in that I add a little garlic, spice and a small quantity of alcohol, which gives it a slight tang. These three additional ingredients are, of course, optional.

Onion, garlic and cloves

Onion, garlic and cloves


  1. Fry the onion on a low heat in a large pan for 3 or 4 minutes until it has lightly browned.
  2. Whilst the onion is frying, remove any bitter gall or bits of heart from the liver (if you are not sure what to remove, just fish out any lumpy bits that don't look like liver).
  3. Remove the fried onion and put it in the blender at this stage, or otherwise just move the fried onion to one side of the pan and add the liver. Add seasoning. Continue frying and turning the liver for 3 to 5 minutes until it is just cooked. Frying it on a fairly high heat will brown and slightly crisp it on the outside, and leave it pale pinky-brown. on the inside--browning the onions and liver in this way gives it a nice strong caramelly flavour.
  4. When cooked, empty the mixture into a blender and put one tablespoonful of water and a tablespoonful of alcohol into the pan, swill the pan round to pick up the remains of fried liver, then pour it over the mixture in the blender. Blend it by running the blender in a couple of short bursts, so that the mixture is still lumpy, not smooth.
  5. Whilst the liver is cooking, hard-boil two eggs for 5 to 8 minutes, then run them under cold water to make them easy to peel. Add one peeled hard-boiled egg to the blended liver and give it a short burst on the blender, so that the liver and egg are combined but still slightly lumpy and the bits of egg show through, Turn out the mixture into a suitable dish or container. Then give the second peeled egg a quick blast on the blender so that it is still lumpy, not smooth. Then sprinkle that egg over the top of the chopped liver as a garnish.
  6. Put it in the refrigerator or serve immediately.

Photo Guide

Place the onions in the pan and begin to fry

Place the onions in the pan and begin to fry

Fry the onions until they are soft and browned

Fry the onions until they are soft and browned

Fry the chopped chicken liver

Fry the chopped chicken liver

Fully cooked fried liver and onion ready to blend

Fully cooked fried liver and onion ready to blend

Tray full of cooked chicken liver after lightly blending, but before egg is added

Tray full of cooked chicken liver after lightly blending, but before egg is added

Add the lightly chopped hard-boiled egg to the chicken liver

Add the lightly chopped hard-boiled egg to the chicken liver

Serving Suggestions: Matzo, Ryvita, Fresh Bread or Toast

Chopped liver is also nice on its own, and makes a slimming meal

As a traditional Jewish dish, chopped liver is often eaten with schmaltz (chicken fat) spread thinly on matzos. Orthodox Jews would not eat chopped liver with butter, as their religious food rules prohibit eating milk and meat in the same meal.

However, in my opinion, you don't need any additive with chopped liver and you can spread it directly onto whatever you are having without butter or schmaltz. Either way, it's quite a slimming meal.

Chopped liver on matzo. Bon appetit!

Chopped liver on matzo. Bon appetit!

Matzo is a traditional unleavened bread

Matzo is a traditional unleavened bread

Jewish Comedy With Jackie Mason

© 2010 Diana Grant

What Are Your Thoughts?

DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on June 16, 2019:

I used to love fried lambs' liver as a child, with onions and gravy, served with cabbage. I also like chicken pate but I have nver tried this. It sounds good.

Diana Grant (author) from United Kingdom on October 01, 2015:

I agree - the bought chopped liver is nothing like the home made dish

Lori Green from Las Vegas on September 19, 2015:

I just made this last week. It's my families favorite holiday treat. My blender went on the fritz so I had to hand grind just like my Grandmother did. It came out so good. I used a drop too much oil, but it didn't matter. It was so so good. I crave this stuff during the year. Not store bought. Only hand made.

Diana Grant (author) from United Kingdom on December 31, 2014:

There's no comparison - home-made tastes quite different and much nicer than the bought pate

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on December 28, 2014:

I buy liver pate all the time but I've been wondering how to make it myself. Will try your recipe soon.

Stephanie Henkel from USA on December 28, 2014:

My mother always served chopped chicken liver as an appetizer on holidays, and I love it! Your hub reminded me that it's been too long since I've had it!

Joyfulcrown on December 28, 2014:

I am going to try this and share with my sister, she needs iron. Thanks for sharing.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on September 27, 2014:

I love chopped chicken liver. I haven't had it since I left home. I don't know why I never asked my mother for her recipe; I have so many of her recipes! I had no idea that cloves are one of the ingredients.

I also like chicken livers wrapped in bacon and baked. Yum!

Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on September 26, 2014:

Liver is one of our favorite foods, that is "Lambs liver" we have grown up with it and feed a family of five children, as we kill our own mutton.

It is a food that's high in iron so eating too much could be a problem, especially now I'm older, some foods like that do upset my stomach.

Will try your recipe looks very interesting. Thanks.

Barbara Radisavljevic from Templeton, CA on September 26, 2014:

I don't like liver at all, but my husband loves it. Maybe I should try cooking it for him this way.

Shinichi Mine from Tokyo, Japan on September 26, 2014:

This sounds good too. I don't love liver, but I like it done this way.

Diana Grant (author) from United Kingdom on October 04, 2012:

@Frischy: I've never heard that one before!

Frischy from Kentucky, USA on October 03, 2012:

This is interesting and I am going to give it a try. I have always heard of chopped liver -- as in, "What am I? Chopped liver?" -- but, I never actually knew what it was. Now I know!

anonymous on August 22, 2012:

Thanks for sharing the recipe. Sounds delicious.

Diana Grant (author) from United Kingdom on July 18, 2012:

@Craftypicks: Yes, you are right, shop-bought chopped liver isn't nearly as nice - it doesn't keep well, and seems to have a different flavor

Lori Green from Las Vegas on July 17, 2012:

I grew up on chopped chicken liver and use basically the same recipe. It's SO good. You can't buy it in the store like this. It has to be home made.

norma-holt on February 02, 2012:

Another great lens. Blessed and featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012. Hugs

SilverLotus1 on November 11, 2010:

I love chopped liver! Great idea for a lens, and well done.

Diana Grant (author) from United Kingdom on June 30, 2010:

@Hairdresser007: Yes, I know a lot of people like it much smoother, but the way I make it, and my mother, and her mother before, uses the traditional Jewish recipe - and I suppose it came from Middle and Eastern Europe before they had blenders. Possibly the addition of alcohol is also a modern touch - I don't know.

Diana Grant (author) from United Kingdom on June 30, 2010:

@burgessvillian: I'm making Chopped Liver again today - come over and try some! It beats liverwurst pate any day!

burgessvillian on May 08, 2010:

I enjoyed this lens. I like liverwurst pate so I may like your chopped liver. Another good lens.


James Jordan from Burbank, CA on May 07, 2010:

i usually like chicken liver pate but I am not so thrilled about your first pick for some reason. I like mine more creamy texture I guess. But your lens is great! And the recipe looks good. I might just ground it down more!

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