Hairy Bikers Liver and Onions Recipe

Hairy Bikers Liver and Onions Recipe
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 40 Mins Cook Time: 1 Hr Total Time: 1 Hr 40 Mins

The Hairy Bikers Liver and Onions recipe is a classic dish that brings the warmth of traditional home cooking to your table. Known for its rich flavors and comforting qualities, this dish combines tender liver slices with caramelized onions, all simmered to perfection in a savory gravy. It’s a recipe that promises not just to satisfy your hunger but to evoke a sense of nostalgia for those family dinners of yesteryear.

Serving 4-6 people, this dish can be prepared in about an hour, making it an excellent choice for a hearty weeknight dinner or a cozy gathering with friends and family.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the process of creating the Hairy Bikers’ Liver and Onions, offering personal insights and expert tips to ensure your dish turns out beautifully. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or trying this recipe for the first time, I’m here to help you make this dish a new favorite in your home.

What is Hairy Bikers and Onions Recipe?

Hairy Bikers Liver and Onions is a quintessential British dish, celebrated for its heartiness and depth of flavor. At its core, it features liver, often from beef or calves, that’s been thinly sliced and fried until tender. The liver is then served with a generous helping of sweet, caramelized onions, all bathed in a rich, thick gravy that’s flavored with the essence of the meat and onions. This dish stands out for its simplicity and the way it transforms humble ingredients into a meal that’s both nutritious and deeply satisfying.

Hairy Bikers Liver and Onions Recipe

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

The Hairy Bikers Liver and Onions recipe is beloved for several reasons:

  • Flavorful Comfort: It epitomizes comfort food, with its rich, savory flavors warming you from the inside out.
  • Nutritional Value: Liver is packed with essential nutrients, including iron, vitamin A, and proteins, making this dish as healthy as it is delicious.
  • Simplicity: Despite its complex flavors, the recipe is straightforward, making it accessible to cooks of all skill levels.
  • Versatility: It pairs beautifully with a variety of side dishes, allowing you to tailor it to your taste or dietary needs.
  • Nostalgia: For many, it brings back fond memories of family meals and traditions, connecting the past with the present through the act of cooking and sharing food.

Ingredients Needed to Make Hairy Bikers Liver and Onions

To make Hairy Bikers Liver and Onions, you will need the following ingredients:

Main Ingredients:

  • 500g (1lb) fresh liver (beef or calf), thinly sliced
  • 2 large onions, sliced into rings
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (for dusting the liver)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to season)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or unsalted butter (for frying)

For the Gravy:

  • 500ml (17 fl oz) beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (to thicken)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)


  • 2 tablespoons milk (if soaking the liver)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)

Instructions to Make Hairy Bikers Liver and Onions

Creating this traditional dish involves simple techniques that yield rich and comforting flavors.

Here’s how to do it, step by step:

Step 1: Coat the liver with flour

In a shallow bowl, mix the flour with salt and pepper. Coat the liver slices with the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Set aside.

Step 2: Fry the liver and bacon

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Fry the liver slices in batches for about 2 minutes per side, or until browned. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. If using bacon, fry it in the same skillet until crisp, then transfer to a plate and keep warm.

Step 3: Make the onion gravy

In the same skillet over medium-low heat, add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until soft and golden. Add the stock, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

Step 4: Simmer the liver in the gravy

Return the liver and bacon to the skillet and submerge them in the gravy. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the liver is cooked through and tender.

Step 5: Serve and enjoy

Sprinkle the parsley over the dish and serve hot with mashed potatoes, peas, or your favorite vegetables.

Hairy Bikers Liver and Onions

What Do I Serve With Hairy Bikers Liver and Onions?

Pairing the right side dishes with Hairy Bikers Liver and Onions can elevate this comforting meal into a truly memorable dining experience. Here are some perfect accompaniments:

  • Mashed Potatoes: Creamy and buttery, mashed potatoes are the classic choice, soaking up the rich gravy beautifully.
  • Steamed Greens: A side of steamed kale, spinach, or green beans adds a pop of color and a dose of healthy vitamins.
  • Roasted Carrots: Their natural sweetness complements the savory flavors of the liver and onions.
  • Polenta: For a delightful twist, creamy polenta can be a comforting alternative to mashed potatoes.
  • Fresh Bread: A crusty loaf is ideal for mopping up any leftover gravy on the plate.

Pro Tips to Make Perfect Hairy Bikers Liver and Onions

  • Select Fresh Liver: Opt for fresh, high-quality liver for the best taste and texture. If using beef liver, soak it in milk for a few hours before cooking to mellow its strong flavor.
  • Don’t Overcook the Liver: Liver should be cooked just until it’s no longer pink inside to keep it tender. Overcooking will make it tough and grainy.
  • Caramelize the Onions Well: Take your time caramelizing the onions; they should be golden brown and sweet, adding depth to the dish.
  • Deglaze the Pan: After cooking the liver and onions, deglaze the pan with a splash of wine, broth, or water to incorporate all the delicious browned bits into your gravy.
  • Season Well: Liver benefits from generous seasoning. Don’t be shy with salt, pepper, and herbs to enhance its flavor.

Variations of Hairy Bikers Liver and Onions

While the classic version is always a hit, you can tweak the recipe to suit your palate or make use of what you have on hand:

  • With Bacon: Adding crispy bacon bits introduces a smoky flavor that pairs wonderfully with the liver and onions.
  • Different Livers: Experiment with chicken or mutton for a milder taste.
  • Gluten-Free Gravy: Use cornstarch instead of flour to thicken the gravy for a gluten-free option.
  • Spicy Version: Add a pinch of chili flakes or cayenne pepper to the gravy for a bit of heat.

How do I Store Hairy Bikers Liver and Onions Leftovers?

How to Store Leftovers:

  • Place the leftovers in an airtight container.
  • Store in the refrigerator.
  • Keep for up to 3 days.

How do I Reheat Hairy Bikers Liver and Onions Leftovers?

When you’re ready to reheat your Hairy Bikers Liver and Onions, you have a couple of options to ensure the liver remains tender and the dish tastes just as good as when it was freshly made.

  • Skillet Method: The best way to reheat the leftovers is in a skillet over low heat. Add a splash of water or broth to the skillet to prevent the dish from drying out. Gently warm the liver and onions, stirring occasionally, until they are heated through. This method helps retain the moisture and tenderness of the liver.
  • Microwave Method: Alternatively, you can use the microwave for reheating. Place the leftovers in a microwave-safe container, add a splash of water or broth to keep everything moist, and cover. Heat on a low setting in short bursts, stirring in between each burst to ensure even heating. Be cautious not to overheat, as high heat can make the liver tough.

Nutrition Value List (per serving, based on 4 servings):

  • Calories: Approximately 350 kcal
  • Protein: 27g
  • Fat: 15g (Saturated Fat: 5g)
  • Carbohydrates: 20g (Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugars: 8g)
  • Cholesterol: 300mg
  • Sodium: 500mg
  • Potassium: 350mg
  • Iron: 6.5mg
  • Vitamin A: 22000IU
  • Vitamin C: 4mg
  • Calcium: 30mg


Can I use chicken liver instead of beef or calf liver in this recipe?

Yes, you can use chicken liver as a substitute for beef or calf liver in the Hairy Bikers Liver and Onions recipe. Chicken liver has a milder flavor and a softer texture, making it a good alternative for those who prefer it. Just remember that chicken livers cook faster than beef or calf liver, so adjust the cooking time accordingly to avoid overcooking.

How can I make the gravy gluten-free?

To make the gravy gluten-free, you can substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend or cornstarch. When using cornstarch, mix it with an equal amount of cold water to create a slurry before adding it to the gravy. This will thicken the gravy without the need for wheat flour, making it suitable for those with gluten sensitivities.

What’s the best way to ensure the liver is tender and not tough?

The key to a tender liver is to avoid overcooking it. Liver should be cooked just until it’s no longer pink in the middle. Soaking the liver in milk for a few hours before cooking can also help tenderize it and mellow out any strong flavors. Additionally, ensure that the liver slices are not too thick; thinner slices cook more quickly and are less likely to become tough.

Can I freeze the leftovers of Hairy Bikers Liver and Onions?

Yes, you can freeze leftovers of Hairy Bikers Liver, and Onions. Place the cooled dish in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 2-3 months. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then gently reheat in a skillet over low heat or in the microwave, adding a little broth or water if needed to keep it moist.

Are there any vegetarian alternatives to this dish?

While the Hairy Bikers Liver and Onions is traditionally a meat-based dish, vegetarians can create a similar savory experience using mushrooms, such as portobellos or shiitakes, in place of the liver. The mushrooms can be sliced and sautéed with onions and gravy ingredients, following the same basic cooking steps. This provides a rich, umami-packed alternative that captures the essence of the original dish.

Final Words

Hairy Bikers Liver and Onions is more than just a recipe; it’s a journey back to the heart of traditional cooking, where simplicity, flavor, and nutrition reign supreme. Whether you’re looking to recreate a taste of home or explore the rich tapestry of British cuisine, this dish is sure to delight and comfort in equal measure. So, tie on your apron, and let’s bring this classic recipe to life in your kitchen.

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