Chicken livers, like other types of fresh meat, are a perishable item that doesn’t last longer than a couple of days. When you buy way too much and have leftovers, you might need to know ways to safely store them for future use.
So, can you freeze chicken livers? Yes, chicken livers can be frozen for 3-4 months if kept in the right conditions. Since they are a rather delicate type of meat, you may notice a change in their taste and texture, especially if you freeze cooked chicken livers and defrost them later.
Read on to find out the best ways to freeze chicken livers, more on how long they can stay frozen, how freezing affects their taste and texture, and much more.
Best Way To Freeze Chicken Livers
Freezing is a great way to avoid unnecessary food waste, particularly since refrigeration is not a long-term storage solution.
Raw chicken liver lasts for only 24-48 hours in the fridge, while cooked chicken liver doesn’t last longer than 4 days in the fridge since cooked. Also, for it to last this long, the temperature of the fridge must be 40°F or lower.
Chicken liver freezes quite well and by freezing the meat, you can easily store it for much longer and use it at a later time when needed, preferably within 4 months.
The best way to freeze chicken liver is in small portions in its raw form and before it has been left at room temperature for more than 2 hours or for more than 2 days in the fridge.
This ensures that the meat freezes in its optimal condition and undergoes minimal taste and textural changes during defrosting. Also, in order to inhibit bacterial growth, the temperature of the freezer must be between 0-17°F.
Can You Freeze Cooked Chicken Livers?
Chicken livers are a nutrient-dense superfood that makes an incredibly healthy and delicious meal for lunch and dinner.
When cooked, they take on a tender, creamy, and smooth texture, with a rich, meaty taste.
Since chicken liver is delicate organ meat, repeated freezing and cooking may cause it to lose its cellular structure. Every time the meat is processed, it loses its quality and freshness.
For this reason, it is better to opt for raw chicken liver when freezing as cooking it twice may ruin its texture and affect its overall taste and quality.
If you have cooked leftovers and have no option but to freeze them for storage, the results will depend on the type of dish in question.
For instance, chicken liver pâté freezes quite well, but sautéing it twice may have an impact on its quality. Keeping this in mind, unless you are sure that the recipe you cooked freezes well, only freeze fresh chicken livers.
For times when you aren’t left with a choice, such as when you’ve cooked a chicken liver meal and have quite a bit left over, sacrificing a bit on quality is always better than throwing away perfectly good food.
How To Freeze Chicken Livers
Here’s what you need to do:
- Start by draining the excess liquid from the fresh chicken livers. Place them in a colander and pat them dry using a few paper towels for a couple of minutes.
- This is a crucial step since the livers tend to be quite wet and the extra moisture may result in ice crystals, which is something you do not want.
- Portion the meat, especially if you are freezing more than one serving of chicken livers. Divide them into small portions so that you can easily thaw as much as is needed at a certain time.
- Transfer the portioned meat into airtight containers or freezer-safe bags. If using the latter, make sure to squeeze out any excess air before sealing them shut.
- Place them in the freezer. Make sure to label them with the name and date so that you know what it is and how long you can use them.
How Long Can You Freeze Chicken Livers?
Chicken livers can be stored in the freezer for several months and it is a good option when looking for a relatively long-term storage solution.
However, like other food items, the longer it stays in the freezer, the more its quality will deteriorate. For best results, try to use the frozen livers within 3-4 months.
To ensure that the livers are eaten before they become susceptible to freezer burn, properly label and date the storage bags or containers.
Can Frozen Chicken Liver Go Bad?
If stored in the right conditions, frozen chicken livers can go months without going bad. Their quality may deteriorate after a few months, but they will still be edible.
However, in the case of improper handling and storage, chicken livers will go bad after a certain amount of time. The exact time depends on several factors such as the freezer’s temperature and the type of storage containers used.
The biggest reason for frozen liver going bad is having left it out at room temperature or in the fridge for more than the recommended time before freezing — the chicken liver was already past its prime before being frozen.
Also, not absorbing the excess moisture or not maintaining the freezer’s temperature may both result in less-than-ideal results. The chicken liver may become prone to freezer burn and spoilage.
Bad chicken liver may have a few obvious signs of spoilage that include freezer burn, discoloration, slimy to the touch, an off-putting ammonia-type smell, and mold growth.
If you notice any of the above-mentioned signs, discard the liver immediately as eating it may adversely affect your health.
How To Cook Frozen Chicken Livers
The best way to cook frozen chicken livers depends on the dish you are making. If you plan to boil them or cook them in a stew, you can use them in their frozen form.
However, if you wish to fry them, you will have to defrost them in order to retain the delicate texture of the livers. Not only will you lose the tenderness by frying frozen livers, but you’ll also risk cooking them unevenly.
If the recipe and cooking method call for defrosting the livers, the best and safest way to do so is to let them sit in the fridge overnight.
Once defrosted, do not put them back in the fridge and cook them as soon as possible.
If you are pressed on time, you can also thaw the livers in hot water. Simply put them in a sealable zip-lock bag and submerge it in hot water.
While doing so, make sure you don’t leave the chicken livers in hot water for more than 30-40 minutes as the increase in temperature may risk bacterial contamination.
Since freezing raw chicken livers doesn’t affect the flavor and texture that much, you can use them in the same way you would use fresh chicken livers.
You can cook simple dishes such as chicken livers sautéed with onions — not only are they delicious but they’re also incredibly easy to cook. You can also make pâtés, stews, or fried chicken livers using both frozen and fresh chicken livers.
How To Reheat Frozen Chicken Livers
When reheating frozen cooked chicken livers, you need to make sure you do so without affecting the taste, texture, and quality too much.
There are two ways to reheat frozen chicken livers: using the microwave or stovetop. The key is to ensure that the livers are reheated evenly.
Preheat the oven to 400°F and place the frozen livers on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the chicken livers cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Now that you know all about freezing chicken livers and the best way to do so, here are a few additional questions we thought you might have.
Why are some chicken livers green?
This usually happens when the gall bladder, which is attached to the liver, ruptures when it is removed. The liquid inside the gall bladder taints the liver green when it comes in contact with it.
Any green part on chicken livers must be removed as it will taste extremely bitter.
Can you freeze chopped chicken livers?
Yes, chopped chicken liver freezes just as well as whole chicken livers. It is a great option for times when you don’t want to go through the hassle of chopping them up while cooking.
Can you freeze beef livers?
Yes, you can freeze beef livers in the same way you would freeze chicken livers. It is best to freeze them raw as opposed to cooking them first. Portion them and freeze them in airtight bags or containers for up to 4 months.