Chicken Gizzard vs Liver

When it comes to exploring different parts of a chicken, two commonly enjoyed organs are the gizzard and the liver. Both offer unique textures and flavors, making them a popular addition to various dishes around the world. However, it is important to understand the differences between these two chicken parts in terms of taste, texture, health benefits, and risks.

The chicken gizzard is a muscular organ, responsible for grinding up food. It has a firmer texture and a mildly gamey flavor. On the other hand, the liver is a softer and smoother organ involved in processing nutrients for the body. It has a rich, distinct taste, and a high nutritional value. By comparing these two organs, you can better decide which one suits your personal preference and how to utilize them in your recipes.

As you dive deeper into the world of chicken gizzards and livers, it becomes important to also consider their health benefits, potential risks, and the dietary preferences of those consuming them. From choosing the right recipes to understanding their unique features, this comparison of chicken gizzards versus livers will aid in making informed decisions in the kitchen.

Key Takeaways

  • Chicken gizzard is a firmer, mildly gamey organ, while liver is softer, smoother, and rich in flavor.
  • It’s essential to be aware of the health benefits, potential risks, and dietary preferences when using gizzards and liver.
  • Selecting appropriate recipes can help showcase the unique features of each organ.

What is Chicken Gizzard?

The chicken gizzard is a muscular organ found in the digestive tract. It serves as the bird’s equivalent of a stomach, aiding in the grinding and processing of food before it reaches the intestines. The gizzard consists of thick, strong muscles that work together to crush and break down food particles. In fact, birds often swallow small stones or grit to aid in this process.

Nutritional Composition

Chicken gizzards are a nutrient-rich organ meat that contains essential vitamins and minerals. Some of the key nutritional components include:

  • Protein: Gizzards are a high-quality protein source, providing essential amino acids necessary for the growth and maintenance of your body’s tissues.
  • Vitamins: They are packed with B vitamins, especially vitamin B12, which supports healthy red blood cell formation and nerve function.
  • Minerals: These organ meats are a good source of minerals such as iron, zinc, and selenium, essential for various bodily functions like oxygen transport, immune support, and antioxidant defense.

Utilization in Cuisine

In cuisine, chicken gizzards appeal to those who enjoy organ meats, offering a unique texture and flavor. They can be prepared through a variety of cooking methods, such as boiling, sautéeing, or braising. Some popular dishes featuring gizzards include:

  • Gizzard stew: Simmered with vegetables and spices, gizzards are turned into a popular stew that can be enjoyed over rice or with crusty bread.
  • Fried gizzards: Coated with seasoned flour and deep-fried, they become a crispy appetizer or side dish.
  • Grilled skewers: Marinated and skewered with vegetables, gizzards are transformed into a tasty barbecue option.

When cooking gizzards, it is essential to clean them thoroughly, removing any grit or stones that may have been ingested by the bird during their lifetime.

What is Chicken Liver?

Chicken liver is a type of organ meat, soft and tender in texture, which comes from the specially bred chickens. Typically dark reddish-brown in color, livers have a strong and distinct flavor. They are a popular choice among organ meats because of their palatability and versatility in cooking.

Nutritional Composition

Chicken liver is a powerhouse of nutrients. It is particularly high in:

  • Protein: Important for muscle growth and repair, you can acquire a good amount of protein from chicken liver.
  • Vitamin A: Known for promoting good eyesight and a healthy immune system, chicken livers are loaded with vitamin A.
  • Iron: Contributing to red blood cell production and oxygen transportation, liver is an excellent source of heme iron, which is more easily absorbed than non-heme iron found in plant sources.
  • Vitamin B12: Essential for brain function and the nervous system, chicken liver provides an abundance of this vitamin.

Utilization in Cuisine

Chicken liver is widely used in various dishes around the world. Here are some popular ways to incorporate it into your meals:

  • Pâté: A classic French spread typically made by blending cooked chicken livers with butter, herbs, and seasonings.
  • Liver and onions: A simple pan-fried dish that pairs liver with caramelized onions, providing a delightful contrast of flavors.
  • Sautéed with vegetables: Enhance the flavors of a vegetable stir-fry by adding bite-sized pieces of chicken liver to the mix.

Remember, when cooking chicken liver, avoid overcooking it, as this will result in a dry and crumbly texture. To enjoy its tender taste, cook until slightly pink in the center.

country pate
country pate with meat and liver

Comparison between Chicken Gizzard and Liver

Taste and Texture

When it comes to taste and texture, chicken gizzards and livers are quite distinct. Gizzards are muscular and tough, requiring slow cooking or braising to tenderize. Their taste is mild and can be compared to dark meat in terms of flavor. On the other hand, livers are soft and tender, with a rich, slightly metallic taste. The texture of liver is smooth and creamy, which can be polarizing for some people.

Nutritional Differences

Nutritionally, chicken gizzards and livers offer different benefits. Gizzards, being a muscle, are high in protein and essential amino acids. They also contain iron and zinc, which are vital for maintaining good health. Here’s a brief outline of the nutritional content in a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of chicken gizzard:

  • Protein: 18 grams
  • Iron: 2.3 mg
  • Zinc: 2.2 mg

Chicken liver, on the other hand, is packed with vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, B-vitamins, iron, and copper. It’s considered a powerhouse of nutrition for its nutrient density. Here’s the nutritional content in a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of chicken liver:

  • Protein: 17 grams
  • Vitamin A: 276% DV (Daily Value)
  • Vitamin B12: 201% DV
  • Iron: 50% DV
  • Copper: 463% DV

Cooking Differences

Due to the varying textures of chicken gizzards and livers, they require different cooking methods to achieve optimal results. Gizzards can be quite tough, so it’s essential to cook them using low and slow methods like simmering, stewing, or braising to make them tender. You can also marinate gizzards before cooking them to enhance their flavor and tenderness.

Liver, being delicate and tender, cooks quickly and can become overcooked and dry if not prepared right. It’s best to pan-fry or sauté liver over medium heat so that the outside is cooked while the inside remains moist. Be cautious with the cooking time, as liver can turn bitter if overcooked. Adding aromatic flavors like onions and herbs can help balance the strong taste of the liver.

Health Benefits and Risks

Chicken gizzard and liver are nutrient-dense foods, both providing you with excellent health benefits. They are rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals that can enhance your well-being, while also having some potential risks that you should take into account.

Chicken Gizzard Chicken gizzard is known for being a low-calorie and low-fat source of protein. It contains various essential minerals, including iron, zinc, and potassium, which contribute to your overall health. The presence of these minerals promotes healthy muscle growth, boosts energy levels, and aids in digestion.

However, chicken gizzards also contain cholesterol, which may be a concern for individuals trying to control their blood cholesterol levels. Although they are low in saturated fat, it is still essential to watch the portion sizes and consider it as a part of a balanced diet.

Chicken Liver Chicken liver is another protein-rich food that also provides you with essential nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin B12, iron, and folate. It plays a significant role in improving immune function, maintaining red blood cells production, and preventing anemia.

At the same time, chicken liver is also rich in cholesterol and higher in fat compared to gizzards. It’s essential to monitor your intake, especially if you already have high cholesterol levels, heart disease, or other health issues that require a low-fat diet. Additionally, consuming chicken liver carries the risk of exposure to toxins, as the liver’s primary function is to filter out harmful substances from the body.

In conclusion, both chicken gizzard and liver have their unique health benefits and risks. When balancing your diet, keep in mind the nutrient content and potential risks associated with each option. Consume them in moderation and as a part of a well-rounded, nutrient-rich diet for optimal health.

Chicken Gizzard and Liver Recipes

If you’re looking to try some delicious new dishes, we highly recommend cooking with chicken gizzard and liver. These underrated ingredients are not only nutritious, but also versatile, making them perfect for a variety of recipes.

Fried Gizzard and Liver: A classic way to cook gizzard and liver is by frying them. Start by cleaning and cutting the gizzard and liver into bite-sized pieces. Season with your favorite spices, lightly coat in flour, and fry in hot oil until golden brown and crispy. Serve with steamed rice or as an appetizer with a dipping sauce.

Gizzard and Liver Curry: To prepare this flavorful dish, first clean and cut the gizzard and liver into bite-sized pieces. Sauté them with onions, garlic, and ginger in a bit of oil. Add your favorite curry spices (such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, and chili powder) and cook for a few minutes. Add tomatoes and water, then simmer until the gizzard and liver are tender. Serve over rice or with flatbread for a satisfying meal.

Chicken Gizzard and Liver Stew: A comforting stew can be an excellent way to showcase the unique flavors of gizzard and liver. Brown the gizzard and liver pieces in a pot with oil, then remove them and set aside. In the same pot, sauté onions, garlic, and your choice of vegetables. Pour in water or broth, and add the gizzard and liver back into the pot. Simmer until everything is cooked through and the flavors have melded. Serve your gizzard and liver stew with crusty bread, rice, or potatoes to complete the meal.

Braised Gizzard and Liver with Rice: This simple yet flavorful dish is perfect for a weeknight dinner. First, clean the gizzard and liver and cut them into smaller pieces. In a pan, sauté onion and garlic until softened. Add the gizzard and liver, and cook for a few minutes. Pour in a mixture of water, soy sauce, and a touch of sugar. Cover and braise the gizzard and liver over low heat until they are tender. To finish, stir in cooked rice and allow the flavors to meld together. Serve your braised gizzard and liver with rice as a scrumptious one-pot meal.

Remember, while cooking chicken gizzard and liver, it’s crucial to clean them thoroughly and remove any grit. With these fantastic recipes in your culinary repertoire, you’ll be able to turn these often-overlooked ingredients into delectable delicacies that everyone will love.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the nutritional differences between chicken gizzards and livers?

Chicken gizzards and livers both offer valuable nutrients. Gizzards are a good source of protein, iron, zinc, and B vitamins. Livers, on the other hand, are rich in vitamin A, vitamin B12, folate, and iron. While gizzards have slightly less fat than livers, livers contain more cholesterol.

Which is healthier to eat: chicken gizzard or liver?

Both chicken gizzards and livers have nutritional value, but their health benefits depend on your dietary needs. If you require vitamin A, B12, and folate, chicken liver would be a better choice. However, if you want to avoid high cholesterol levels or need to consume more protein, gizzards might be more suitable for you.

Can both chicken gizzards and livers be given to pets?

Yes, both chicken gizzards and livers can be fed to pets, but it is important to do so in moderation. These organ meats should be considered as treats or supplements rather than a primary food source. Overfeeding certain nutrients, such as vitamin A found in liver, can lead to health issues. Always consult with your veterinarian regarding your pet’s dietary needs.

What is the taste difference between chicken gizzards and livers?

Chicken gizzards have a chewy texture and a mild flavor. In contrast, chicken livers exhibit a soft and creamy texture with a richer and more distinct taste. Some people describe livers as having an “earthy” flavor, while others find them slightly sweet.

How do the cooking methods for chicken gizzards and livers differ?

Due to the difference in texture, cooking methods for gizzards and livers do not overlap entirely. Gizzards benefit from slow cooking, like braising or simmering, to tenderize the meat. You can also slice and lightly sauté or stir-fry them. Livers require a more gentle approach; overcooking may cause the meat to become tough and rubbery. Quick sautéing, pan-frying, or making a pâté are some common ways to cook chicken livers.

Are there any side effects of consuming chicken gizzards or livers?

In general, both gizzards and livers are safe to eat, as long as they are prepared and cooked properly. However, consuming high amounts of livers can lead to an overdose of certain nutrients, like vitamin A, which may result in health issues. Additionally, both organs may contain toxins if the source bird was exposed to certain chemicals. Therefore, it is essential to buy chicken gizzards and livers from reputable sources and enjoy them in moderation.

Chicken Gizzard vs Liver + Recipe

Here's a simple recipe for chicken gizzards:
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 277 kcal


  • 1 pound chicken gizzards
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil


  • Rinse the chicken gizzards and trim any excess fat or connective tissue.
  • In a bowl, mix together the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper.
  • Add the chicken gizzards to the bowl and toss to coat evenly with the flour mixture.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the coated chicken gizzards to the skillet and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown and crispy.
  • Remove the chicken gizzards from the skillet and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.
  • Serve hot and enjoy!


You can also add your favorite spices and herbs to the flour mixture to customize the flavor to your liking.


Calories: 277kcal
Keyword chicken gizzard vs chicken liver
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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