Learn what to do with chicken giblets for less waste in the kitchen! Chicken necks, livers, heart, and gizzards can all be used.
I bought a whole chicken… Now what’s in this bag?
You saw a big sale on whole chickens, so you stocked up. Genius! But you unwrap it to find a bag of weird looking chicken parts. What are these and what should you do with them? These are called “giblets,” and it’s the chicken neck, liver, heart, and gizzards! While you may or may not be used to eating these, each one has its own benefits and uses.
What are giblets?
Giblets are the chicken organs that are often included inside the cavity, or they are cleaned out when butchering your own chicken. These pieces consist of the neck, liver, gizzard, and heart. All but the liver could easily be tossed into your next chicken stock, or you could consider cooking up something new!
Can it go into a chicken broth?
How to Cook Giblets
Like all organ meats, giblets can be a required taste! Each piece has its own best cooking methods, pros, and cons. Here’s a general guide to give you an idea of how to cook chicken necks, livers, hearts, and gizzards.
What to do with chicken necks?
Chicken necks aren’t commonly served in North America, but they are regularly eaten elsewhere in the world. Necks have tons of connective tissue, skin, and fat but not a ton of actual meat… Similar to wings, just even less meat. These can be roasted, fried, cooked in soup, or used to make a beautifully gelatinous and nutritious stock!
While there isn’t much meat, the meat that is there is very rich and flavorful. It’s wonderful when simmered in a sauce or soup as this allows the tissues to break down and adds loads of flavor.
If you’re feeling just adventurous enough to try it but don’t want to buy a whole pack of them, just tuck it under the bird when you roast it! It’ll come out nice and tender, then you can give it a few minutes in the air fryer to crisp up the skin if you prefer.
What to do with chicken livers?
Chicken livers are super healthy and packed with nutrients! They’re high in protein, iron, Vitamin A, Folate, Selenium, and so much more. They’re powerhouses of nutrition, so it’s worth considering adding to your diet every now and then!
Livers cook quickly and are often pan fried–just 3-5 minutes on each side with a spray of oil and you’re done! This pairs well with caramelized onions. It can be turned into a pate spread that is great on toast and a popular appetizer.
Some people don’t love the taste. They’re earthy and a little nutty, but there can be a bitter, almost metallic flavor. To reduce that flavor, just soak your chicken livers in milk anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours before cooking. This will make the organ a bit more tender, too.
What to do with chicken gizzard?
Chicken gizzards are from the digestive tract, and they basically grind the food up for a chicken before sending the food to the stomach. There’s a lot of connective tissue, so it’s best to cook gizzards slowly (preferably with a lot of moisture) for a tender texture. You can gently braise them for an hour or two and serve, or you can batter and fry them before serving for a crunchy meal!
Gizzards have a deep, rich flavor similar to dark meat. It’s important to make sure the gizzards are cleaned before cooking–There’s a lot of grit in them that can be super unpleasant when eating. As long as they’re clean and cooked slowly, they can be a great addition to casseroles, tacos, pasta sauces, and more!
What to do with chicken heart?
Hearts are a great source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and all that healthy stuff we want. The heart is not as bitter as the other organs and has a more delicate texture. It tastes similar to dark meat but has more of a gamey flavor.
These small organs cook quickly, so it’s a great choice for a healthy meal after a busy day. Just pan fry with some onions, garlic, and mushrooms for a filling meal your body will love. They can also be grilled or even air fried!