You’ve bought way too much chicken liver, and you need to store the leftovers somehow. Maybe you’re the only one in your household who enjoys that meat, so even a small container is too big for a single dish.
Or you planned on making a pâté or a chicken-liver crostini, but things went sideways and you had to postpone. That means you need a way of storing those livers for another week or so.
As you know, fresh meat doesn’t last longer than a couple of days, so chucking that container of livers into the fridge is a no-go. That’s when the idea of freezing them comes up. So, can you freeze livers?
Before we proceed, you should know that while this article focuses on chicken liver meat, the same rules apply to livers of other animals. So no matter if you’re stocked up on chicken, beef, pork, duck, turkey, or lamb liver, this article is for you.
Can You Freeze Livers?
Quite often, you can buy containers of frozen fresh liver, which makes it pretty obvious that freezing that meat is a thing. And like other meats, it freezes quite alright. In other words, it’s usually difficult to tell if those livers that you’ve sauteed or fried were frozen or not.
One thing that’s important to remember here is that the liver is a delicate piece of meat. That means cooking it twice usually makes its flavor and overall quality worse. Because of that, I highly suggest freezing fresh liver.
If you go the other way around, that is you first cook it then freeze it, your results depend on the recipe you’re following.
Some dishes, like a pâté freeze quite well. But sauteeing chicken livers twice (before freezing, and after thawing) might not be as good of an idea.
It’s not chicken breast, that you can cook, freeze and reheat, and it turns out perfectly fine.
Long story short, unless you know that livers cooked your favorite way freeze well, freeze fresh livers.
How to Freeze Livers?
Freezing livers is straightforward and takes only a couple of minutes.
All you need is a couple of paper towels, some freezer bags or containers, and some space in the freezer.
If you’ve got all that prepared, you’re good to go. Here’s what you do:
- Drain excess liquids. Fresh livers usually are quite wet, and we don’t need that extra moisture when freezing. The easiest way to get rid of it is to transfer the livers on paper towels for a couple of minutes.
- Portion the meat. If you’re freezing more livers than you need for a single dish, divide them into several dish-size portions. This way, you can easily thaw as much meat as you need.
- Package. Airtight containers and freezer bags work well for this purpose. You can even use the container the livers come in if you like. While I prefer containers, going with bags is a better option if you’re short on freezer space. If using bags, squeeze the air out before sealing them.
- Stick it in the freezer. The last part of our short journey is putting the packaged meat where it belongs – into the freezer.
After a couple of hours, depending on the amount, the meat will be frozen solid.
You can keep it there for months, but like with pretty much any other food product, the longer it stays in the freezer, the worse the quality.
For best results, try to use those livers within 3 to 6 months. That shouldn’t be a problem if you’re only postponing that pâté or crostini by a week or so.
How to Defrost Frozen Livers?
To defrost frozen livers, transfer the container or bag from the freezer to the fridge. Leave it there to thaw slowly overnight for best results.
If you’re pressed for time, you can speed things up a bit by submerging the bag or container in a bowl of lukewarm tap water.
This way, the meat should be defrosted within 3 to 6 hours, depending on the amount. And that means you can start thawing it in the morning and have it ready when you’re back home after work.
How to Use Frozen and Thawed Livers?
As I already mentioned, freezing and thawing doesn’t affect the flavor or texture of liver meat that much. That means you can use it in exactly the same ways you would use fresh livers.
I prefer simple dishes, like livers sauteed with onions, because they’re easy to cook and can be prepared within 30 minutes or less. But if you’re into more sophisticated dishes, like pâtés, stews, or fried chicken livers, using thawed livers shouldn’t be an issue either.
About the Author
Marcin is the managing editor of CanYouFreezeThis.com. He is making sure all the freezing info on this page is accurate and the posts easy to digest and use.