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Braised Liver and Onions in Gravy

Braised liver and onions with crispy bacon and a rich gravy is a gloriously old-fashioned meal that begs for some buttery mashed potatoes.

This recipe focuses on slowly braising the liver in an oven, but it also contains instructions for an Instant Pot pressure cooker and a slow cooker.

Overhead liver and onions, in onion gravy served with crispy bacon, mashed potato and peas.

Old Fashioned Liver and Gravy

Offal has most definitely fallen out of favour and possibly because of that I have delayed putting one of my favourite recipes here on Krumpli.

As a result, I am delighted to offer you what I think is one of the tastiest meals you can eat and let’s face it… One that is extremely frugal.

I have always loved this dish and I emphatically believe that if you are going to take the life of an animal use all of the beast!

Slow-cooked liver and onions in onion gravy with crispy bacon takes me back to my childhood. It was everywhere from school dinners to my Nans dinner table.

For those of you who love this type of food, you really must check out my faggots and mash, pan-fried lambs liver & port onions, devilled kidneys, kaleji masala or liver curry and chicken balmoral recipes.

Close-up braised liver and onions, in a rich onion gravy served with crispy bacon.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best type of liver to use?

As far as I am concerned, pork or beef (ox) liver works best for this recipe.

Beef liver has a slightly sweeter flavour and has a slightly less aggressive “offal” flavour.

Can I use lamb liver?

I would not braise lamb liver, it benefits from very quick cooking and being left a little bit pink in the middle. The subtler flavours get lost in this recipe and it could also become a little tough.

Can I use chicken livers?

Again, much like lamb liver, chicken livers benefit from quick cooking and their flavours get lost in this recipe.

If you like chicken liver you should check out my quick chicken liver stew.

Why do you soak the liver in milk and can I skip this step?

Soaking the liver in milk reduces some of the “front end” bitterness that many people find objectionable.

I do not mind it at all and will often skip this step if I am using pig liver. However, it enhances the sweeter tones in beef or ox liver.

What’s the best cooking method for this recipe?

I have added oven-braised, Instant Pot and Slow cooker instructions for this recipe. If I had to choose the best way then I would say oven braising is my favourite way to make this recipe.

Overhead close-up liver and onions, in onion gravy served with crispy bacon, mash and peas.

Serving Suggestions

Gravy braised liver and onions with bacon is glorious served with mashed potato and some garden peas, and that’s how I have served it here.

Other mashed veggies work well too, swede and carrot mash is superb if you are using pig liver, and celeriac mash is great with ox liver.

If mash ain’t your thing then some buttered new potatoes are superb with the rich onion gravy in this recipe.

It also pairs really well with buttered cabbage or even some garlic asparagus.

Braised liver and onions, in a rich onion gravy served with crispy bacon and peas.

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But, if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Hob or Stovetop.
  • Oven.
  • Shallow bowl for soaking the liver.
  • Kitchen paper.
  • 28cm or 11″ Frying pan (with a lid). You can improvise a lid with foil.
  • Chopping board.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Kitchen tongs.
  • A combination of weighing scales, measuring jug, measuring cups and spoons.
Braised liver and onions with onion gravy, crispy bacon, mashed potato and peas.
Yield: 2 Servings

Braised Liver and Onions Recipe with Bacon

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Soaking Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Liver bacon and onions may not be everyone's idea of a perfect last meal, but it is definitely in my shortlist. I ADORE this recipe, it is gloriously old-fashioned and it is loaded with flavour!


  • 350g (12 oz) Beef (Ox) or Pork Liver
  • 250ml (1 Cup) Milk
  • 400g (2⅔ Cup) Onion
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 10 Rashers (175g) Smoked Streaky Bacon
  • 25g (2 Tbsp) Butter
  • 375ml (1½ Cups) Beef Stock
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 1 Tsp Marmite
  • 3 Tbsp Flour
  • 1 Tsp Dried Sage
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • ¼ Tsp Black Pepper


Oven Braising Instructions (See Video Below the Recipe):

  1. Slice the liver and trim it of any fat or sinew. Place the liver in a shallow bowl, pour over the milk and allow it to soak for an hour.
  2. Whilst the liver is soaking, cut the onions in half, peel them and then cut them into 5mm (¼) thick half-moon shapes.
  3. Add the cooking oil to a 28cm or 11" frying pan over a medium heat, then toss in the onions and caramelise them for 50-60 minutes. They will need stirring occasionally and if there is a build-up of "fond" on the base of the pan add a splash of water and stir until it has evaporated.
  4. Cut 6 of the rashers of bacon into thin batons.
  5. When the onions are nicely caramelised and the liver has been soaking for an hour, remove them from the pan and set them aside.
  6. Remove the liver from the milk and pat dry, then dredge season it with the salt and pepper and dredge it in the flour.
  7. Return the pan to a medium-high heat and add the butter, and when the butter begins to foam quickly sear off the liver on both sides. You will need to do this in 2-3 batches, then set aside.
  8. Add the bacon batons to the pan and fry them until they begin to crisp up.
  9. Return the onions to the pan, add the tomato puree and dried sage, then cook for a minute or two.
  10. Pour in the beef stock, stir in the marmite and return the liver and any resting juices to the pan.
  11. Spread out the liver in the pan, cover with a lid and cook in the oven 150°C or 300°C for 60 minutes.
  12. Sandwich the slices of bacon between two baking trays and bake in the oven with the liver for 40-45 minutes. Time this so that it is finished at the same time as the liver.

Instant Pot Instructions:

  1. Soak the liver in the milk as above.
  2. If you want caramelised onions (which I would advise) you need to also do step 2 and 3 from above on the stove top because you cannot get the saute temperature low enough on the Instant Pot. However, you can just sweet down the onions on saute mode of the IP if you wish, then remove them
  3. Add the butter to the IP, then sear the liver on both sides and then remove.
  4. Add in the sliced bacon and cook for 5 minutes, then throw in the onion and cook for another 10 minutes.
  5. Sandwich the slices of bacon between two baking trays and bake in the oven with at 180°C or 350°C for 30-35 minutes.
  6. Return the liver to the pan and add the stock, tomato puree and sage along with any resting juices.
  7. Seal the instant pot and cook on manual mode, high pressure for 5-minutes with a 10-minute natural release.

Slow Cooker Instructions:

  1. Follow the instructions for step 1-9 from the oven braised instructions. Then transfer all of the seared ingredients to a slow cooker.
  2. Deglaze the pan with the stock and pour it into the slow cooker, then cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours.


If you like your gravy a little thicker you can make a cornflower slurry (1½ teaspoons of cornflower with equal amounts of water), the stir it through the gravy for the last couple of minutes.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1018Total Fat: 58gSaturated Fat: 23gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 33gCholesterol: 807mgSodium: 3089mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 3gSugar: 10gProtein: 87g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!


Sunday 4th of February 2024

"Instant Pot Instructions (See Video)"

For the life of me, I can't find a video or a link to one....what am I missing?

Brian Jones

Monday 5th of February 2024

The video is right below the recipe, although I have this recipe scheduled for a reshoot next week and I will be replacing the video with an oven braised version.

If you are using and ad-blocker it may prevent the video appearing.

All the best


Peter Sanders

Wednesday 20th of September 2023

Made this for about the sixth time last night (in a pressure cooker). It was wonderful. Brings memories of mum doing it about 60-70 years ago - all through our youth. Cheap n cheerful then, I suppose, but it’s a lovely, lovely meal. Tastier that a lot on more modern meals. Maybe I’ll try and do breast of lamb next? Thanks for the recipe.

Brian Jones

Sunday 1st of October 2023

Glad you like it Peter, thanks for taking the time to let me know :)


Sunday 4th of September 2022

Is any parts of this dish that can be made ahead?

Brian Jones

Sunday 11th of September 2022

Hi Tracy, I would not prepare liver in advance because it has a tendency to become really chewy and tough when reheated, sorry.


Wednesday 23rd of September 2020

Wonder if this could be done using chicken livers?

Brian Jones

Thursday 24th of September 2020

Chicken livers are much better cooked much more quickly, so for me I would say no, but if you want to give it a try I'm happy to be proven wrong ;)

Garry wayne Hughes

Wednesday 25th of September 2019

When I look for a recipe, why do I need to go through a 10 minute waffle, tepeating itself, over & over , can't be bothered, looking fr the recipe

Brian Jones

Thursday 26th of September 2019

Yet somehow you managed to muscle through beyond the recipe to leave this comment... I applaud your resilience, I am sure it was tough!

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