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Pork Liver: Is it Good for You?

By Thomas Wrona Updated on

Table of Contents

Beef liver and chicken liver are among nature’s most nutrient-packed superfoods. But is pork liver good for you? Let’s take a closer look at pork liver nutrition, benefits, and a pork liver pate recipe. 

What is Pork Liver?

Pork liver refers to the liver of a healthy pig, particularly when it’s used as food. 

The difference between pork liver and, say, bacon, couldn’t be much greater. Though not consumed as commonly as beef liver, pork liver can be cooked in many of the same ways. Pork liver is probably most commonly enjoyed in the form of paté. Read on for our pork liver pate recipe. 

Is Pork Liver Good For You?

Pork liver is far more nutritious than your average piece of bacon or ham. It’s higher in B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin K2, and selenium than all other cuts of pork. 

Since pork liver is lower in fat than these other cuts, it’s inherently lower in inflammatory PUFAs. 

Pork Liver Nutrition

Nutritional analysis shows us that it contains 159 calories, 26 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fat per 100 grams. [3] The fat content is mostly unsaturated. 

Nutrition per 100 grams 

NutrientAmount
Vitamin A660%
Vitamin B120%
Vitamin B2170%
Vitamin B352%
Vitamin B594%
Vitamin B631%
Vitamin B941%
Vitamin B12774%
Vitamin C25%
Copper81%
Iron99%
Manganese11%
Phosphorus20%
Selenium124%
Zinc62%
Cholesterol118%

Compared to other types of liver

Pork liver has slightly less vitamin A than most other types of liver. But that may actually be a good thing.  Vitamin A can be difficult for your own liver to dispose of when consumed in excess. 

It is also higher in selenium than beef or chicken liver. Selenium is a thyroid-boosting mineral that plays important roles in regulating immunity and facilitating DNA production. [5][6]

Let’s look at some of the top health and nutritional benefits next. 

Rich in iron

Just 3.5 ounces of pork liver contains 99% of your RDV for iron. This iron comes in the form called heme iron, meaning it’s ultra-easy for your body to absorb and utilize. [7]

Getting enough iron can go a long way towards promoting fertility and warding off fatigue, poor circulation, or shortness of breath. [8

Low in Calories

Pork liver is higher in protein, lower in fat, and lower in calories than most types of meat. Why is this important? Because calories still matter for some people — even on a high fat, low carb diet.

You will gain weight no matter what you eat if you’re consuming more calories than your body uses for its energy needs. 

Rich in Protein

65% of pork liver’s calories come from protein. This is high-quality whole food protein containing all nine essential amino acids, and it is especially high in lysine. [9

Loaded with B vitamins

Of all the nutrients in pork liver, its B vitamin content is most impressive. Just 3.5 ounces of pork liver contains 774% of your RDV for vitamin B12. 

B12 plays an essential role in red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function and the production of DNA. It is also responsible for many bodily functions and supporting fetal development,  bone health,  and mood, while maintaining healthy skin and hair.[10

Pork Liver Supports Your own Organs 

This particular benefit seems to verge on the esoteric, but it’s true nonetheless: eating any particular organ meat can provide health to the very same organ within your body. 

Pork liver’s unique combination of selenium, B vitamins, and vitamin A may increase your own liver’s detoxication abilities. Pork liver may benefit other organs including your thymus gland, brain, and heart. [11][12][13]

How to Cook Pork Liver

Pork liver can be cooked much like other organ meats. Follow a few basic principles, and you should be able to turn it into a truly delicious meal:

Pork Liver Pate

This recipe is a tad complex — but well worth it, and it all comes out in the flavor! 

The ingredients

  • 1 lb ground/minced pork
  • 1 lb of minced pork liver
  • ½ lb of bacon 
  • ½  white onion
  • 1 tbsp cognac 
  • 1 tbsp sherry
  • 1 cloves garlic
  • 2 spring parsley
  • ½ tsp powdered ginger
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The instructions

  1. Process pork, bacon, and pork liver in food processor
  2. Add alcohols, garlic, parsley, and spices into food processor
  3. Place layers of bacon and pate mixture into a terrine dish
  4. Layer a terrine dish with bacon and pate mixture
  5. Place pate mixture and its dish into a water bath for several hours
  6. Remove from water bath, then bake (uncovered) at 350 degrees F for 1-2 hours
  7. Remove pate from oven, then place waxed paper over it
  8. Place a weight over the waxed paper to keep the pate’s texture firm
  9. Chill for several hours, then enjoy! 

Pork Liver and Onions

This classic dish is simple and tasty. 

The ingredients

  • 1 lb pork liver
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 onion (peeled) 
  • ½ cup tapioca or coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The instructions

  1. Rinse liver slices under cold water, then place into a large bowl
  2. Pour in enough milk to fully cover the liver slices, then soak for 1-2 hours
  3. Warm olive oil in a large skillet, then add onion rings
  4. Place liver slices into a bowl with salt, pepper, and flour
  5. Remove slices from flour, then place them into the same skillet
  6. Cook liver slices until golden brown, flip, then reduce the heat
  7. Remove from heat once liver is golden brown on both sides
  8. Enjoy your dish while still warm! 

How to Source Quality Pork Liver

When it comes to sourcing quality organ meats, local sources are a go-to. See if any farmers in your area provide grass-fed pork products — if they do, they might also have some grass-fed pork liver.  Buy in bulk and you should be able to walk away with a great deal. 

Pork Liver: The Takeaway

Pork liver’s nutrient profile makes it a great addition to your keto, carnivore, or whole-food diet. Its diverse nutrient content means that pork liver offers numerous health promoting benefits. Here’s a short recap, pork liver is:

  • rich in iron
  • low in calories
  • a complete protein food
  • loaded with B vitamins
  • supports your organ/liver health