How to Make Southern-Fried Chicken Livers

Buster began cooking as a wee pup by watching his mother fix the kibble. He was hooked. He loves preparing—and writing about—food.

Incredible Southern-Style Fried Chicken Livers


I've fried hundreds of chicken livers over the years and have learned a thing or two about how to make them taste delicious. They're one of my favorite foods.

And if you're reading this, I'm sure you love them, too.

I think the best ones are well-seasoned and in a super-crispy crust. The following recipe is for Southern-style fried chicken livers.

The Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken livers
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. dried sage
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • vegetable oil for frying

Chicken Livers Frying in the Skillet



  1. Pour the vegetable oil into your skillet to a depth of about one inch. Place over high heat until the oil is shimmering. I like to use a thermometer, and I wait until my oil has reached 360 degrees. This is the optimal temperature for frying.
  2. Meanwhile, put the livers in a colander and rinse thoroughly. Pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Season the livers generously with salt, black pepper, sage and the red pepper flakes. (We like livers to have a spicy hot flavor. If you're sensitive to heat, then omit the red pepper flakes.)
  4. Pour the flour into a bag (I usually use a gallon freezer bag), then toss all of the livers in the flour. It's important to toss the livers in the flour first, before going on to the next step.
  5. As I remove them from the bag of flour, I place them on a cutting board, and then slice some livers into a few pieces. I do this because I like some larger and some smaller pieces of liver in a crunchy crust. The smaller liver pieces are usually about the size of the end of my thumb.
  6. Pour the buttermilk into a bowl, put the livers into the buttermilk, then back into the bag of flour. Toss to coat thoroughly. This "double-dipping"—livers into the flour, then into the buttermilk, then back into the flour—is what makes for a super-crispy crust.
  7. Lower the pieces of liver into the hot oil, then lower the stove temperature to medium high. After the bottoms have turned medium brown, turn the liver and fry on the other side. This usually takes no more than about 2 or 3 minutes per side.
  8. Once they're crispy brown, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a platter lined with paper towels.

Buttermilk-Battered Chicken Livers Ready to Fry


Freshly Made Southern Chicken Livers


Final Thoughts

I always use a frying screen when I'm frying chicken livers. They tend to splatter oil, and you'll have a mess on your stove if you don't. The frying screen also prevents the hot oil from spattering onto your hands while you fry.

Questions & Answers

Question: How do you prevent chicken livers from popping when frying?

Answer: Because of the liquid in livers, it's nearly impossible to prevent them from popping while frying. Always use a frying screen.

I've noticed that if I shake my livers in flour before I dip them into the batter, the popping is lessened. I think the flour absorbs some of the liquid.

Question: What if I don't have buttermilk for this recipe for fried chicken livers?

Answer: You can make your own like this: to a cup of milk, add one tsp of lemon juice OR rice vinegar. Stir and leave to sit for 5 minutes. It won't look like buttermilk but will work great for this recipe.


Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on June 05, 2020:

Thanks Bruce. You're right -- it helps to drain the livers (or find a way to absorb liquid, like with extra flour) to decrease splatters in the oil.

Thanks for taking the time to comment!


bruce meyers on June 05, 2020:

I"ve found if you poke the livers w/ a fork before frying they won"t pop hardly at all, fyi

Stephanie Das from Miami, US on September 19, 2011:

Chicken livers are good for you too. I haven't had them in years, but I'll have to give your recipe and tips a try. Thanks for the good hub.

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on August 21, 2011:

Useful! Voted up! I love chicken livers. This makes me crave some. Will definitely have to try this recipe. Look forward to more of your hubs. I like your topics.

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