Chicken gizzards are just weird chicken stomachs that pulverize food into tiny bits, so you can think of gizzards as the tripe of chicken. Cook them right, and they are tender, delicious, and packed with dark chicken flavor. Cook them incorrectly? You’re stuck with leathery, chewy bits.
Gizzards are usually fried, sauteed, or stewed and used for gravy, tacos, chilis, homemade stuffing, fried rice, soups, and even homemade dog treats.
Regardless of how you use them in the end, the trick is to cook gizzards low and slow and don’t rush the prep. The sweet spot is to cook them softly before frying or sauteing. Aim for between 180º and 210º, either in a slow cooker or simmering water, to give the connective tissues time to soften and turn into a tender gelatin [*].
The trick to cooking gizzards is the prep
Regardless of which recipe you pick, almost all gizzard recipes benefit from a little tenderizing prep. Don’t skip these steps — they really matter.
- Trim any tough fat, gristle, and sinew from the gizzards. Basically, anything that seems extra chewy.
- For whole gizzards, cut open and remove any debris or yellow build-up. If it doesn’t look tasty, remove it!
- Rinse the gizzards thoroughly.
- Let the gizzards marinate in salted water for an hour and then simmer for 30+ minutes until fork tender; OR
- Place raw in buttermilk a day in advance
Note: a buttermilk marinade results in a chewier, gamier, and tangier fried gizzard. A simmered or boiled gizzard results in a fork tender, more succulent fry [*]. Both are delicious!
16 delicious chicken gizzard recipes
Here are 16 amazing chicken gizzard recipes that cover all sorts of cuisines and cooking methods. Find your favorite, grab some pasture-raised chicken, and get cooking!
This recipe from Lady Lee’s Home shows you how to saute gizzards without making them tough or flavorless. A great breakdown on cleaning and tenderizing gizzards, spicy peppers, cumin, and turmeric combine to make a delicious and simple meal.
This recipe from Delish uses extra thin slicing to skip the tenderizing prep, but you could always add in a salted soak or simmer before stir-frying to make the gizzards extra tender. Don’t skip the garlic!
For gizzards in true Southern fashion, Just a Pinch has your back. This is not your healthy option, and that is exactly the point.
Gizzard gravy is as satisfying to eat as it is to say. Serve this recipe from Mom’s Dish over creamy mashed potatoes along with a side of green beans for a rich and homey meal.
Dak Dong Jib is a widely popular Korean appetizer, and it is essentially chicken gizzards sauteed with garlic and red pepper. Don’t skip the milk soak since Jessica Chantilly’s recipe calls for a saute without slicing the chicken thinly.
This recipe from Low Carb Africa comes out spicy, but you can swap in and out milder peppers as you like. And remember — you can use the same frying oil three or four times to save money.
A cup of water, 25 minutes on high, and ta-da — you have chicken gizzard. Melanie Cooks offers a straightforward and tasty seasoning blend, but you could easily add paprika and red pepper to this. If you wanted, you could also cook them up in a little less time and then finish them in a wok or fryer for extra flavor.
Want to skip the flour but still get some of that crunchy fry goodness? Use this recipe from aptly named ChickenAirFryerRecipes.com. This recipe doesn’t advise a soak beforehand, but a buttermilk soak would work well.
Any of the saute recipes will be pretty healthy, but for a healthy take on the breaded side, try this recipe from Izzy Cooking. You essentially roll the gizzards in panko breadcrumbs and roast them up.
All of that collagen and flavor in gizzards make for fantastic stocks and soups, and this recipe from AllChickenRecipes takes advantage of that. They recommend cooking it like Bourguignon, which is a great call.
The goal of Sunagimo is crunchiness, and Japan Mcconnell shows you the ropes. She also recommends keeping some of the silver skin in the gizzards instead of cleaning them — that way the tough fat mostly breaks down but still keeps some chewiness.
This is the perfect cookout meal designed to serve sixty people! Kosher.com throws delicious sauteed gizzards over a blended bean base and brings the beans up in garlic, salt, and parsley root — yum.
For a tomato-forward angle, try this Nigerian chicken gizzard dish from Sims Home Kitchen. The sauce is made of scotch bonnet peppers, tomatoes, bell peppers, red onions, and thyme. So good!
For an air-fried option that does include flour, try this one from Thyme and Joy. This recipe uses a trick a lot of fried recipes use — dredge in flour, dip in egg, and then do a second coat of either flour or bread crumbs. That double layer is the secret to the texture.
Busting out the grill? Add chicken gizzards to the mix with Grillax’s recipe. All you do is buttermilk soak and then cook them over indirect heat until they get to temp.
Use Dominican Cooking’s recipe to make gizzards in the classic Dominican style. You basically boil the gizzards until tender, and then stew them in a tomato sauce before putting it over rice. The olives really bring something special to the table here too.
Where to buy chicken gizzards
You can grab chicken gizzards from your local butcher, your supermarket, or online butchers. Most gizzards from large chains will be cleaned, but double-check if your gizzards have been cleaned when buying from a butcher.
Gizzards will also be included in the giblets when buying whole chickens, but there will only be one gizzard per chicken.
For the best taste and nutrition, opt for pasture-raised chicken. When chickens are raised on sustainable farms with plenty of room to peck and scratch up insects, worms, grasses, and seeds, all of that delicious flavor and nutrition goes straight to us. Once you eat pasture-raised, you won’t go back to antibiotic-filled industrial chicken.
See how good chicken gizzards can taste.
Chicken gizzard FAQ
How do you cook gizzards so they are not tough?
Low and slow. Start with a long soak in salted water or buttermilk — at least 2 hours, or bring salted water up to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for an hour or until fork tender. Then fry or saute them after!
Can you fry gizzards without boiling?
They will be pretty tough, so we don’t recommend it — but if you do I’d fry them on lower heat for longer and make sure they get up to 165º.
Do you wash gizzards before cooking?
Yeah! Give them a good rinse before and after your soak. You should also trim any gristly fat and yellowish lining from the gizzards. It’s not bad to eat them, but they aren’t great for texture and taste.
How do you know when gizzards are done?
When your gizzards are tender and/or cooked to 165º!
How long do you fry chicken gizzards?
It depends on the size of the gizzards and the heat of the oil, but gizzards tend to cook pretty fast. You don’t usually need more than 4-6 minutes.
How do you season chicken gizzards?
That depends on what you want them to taste like! You have all sorts of options. At a basic level, your simmer or pre-boil should include salted water. It doesn’t have to be pasta-level salt, but you should taste the salt in the water. During the saute, I like to combine a few dry seasonings with fresh aromatics. For example, you may do paprika, black pepper, garlic, and basil. Or for a Mexican spin, bring it up with chili powder and cumin before turning off the heat and tossing it with a bit of lime juice and cilantro.
What goes well with chicken gizzards?
Polenta (grits), rice, and mashed potatoes are great starchier/carbier options. Blanched green beans with bacon bits would also be delicious. Or serve fried gizzards with a tangy ranch and house salad with a sharp lemon dressing to offer some contrast to the salt.
Don’t let the prep or texture of gizzards scare you off. The cleaning is easier than it sounds, and if you take your time to tenderize them and season them properly, the result is an unbelievably rich and tasty dish. That goes for simmering, sauteing, frying — any of the methods.
Nathan Phelps owns and writes for Crafted Copy, a boutique copywriting shop that finds the perfect words for interesting products. He is also an ethical foodie, outdoors-aficionado, and hails from Nashville, TN. He splits his time between helping sustainable businesses find new customers and managing his ever-increasing list of hobbies, which include playing guitar, baking bread, and creating board games.