How To Cook Chicken Gizzards

Fried chicken gizzards are a soul food classic. These come from Price's Chicken Coop in Charlotte, NC. Krista / Flickr (Creative Commons)

The gizzard is an extremely strong and tough muscle with grit inside it, which doesn’t sound appetizing, but it is actually my favorite chicken organ.

It’s the part of the chicken’s digestive tract that holds small stones and grit which helps them grind their food. It is shaped like a small fist, with a cavity in the center.

fried chicken gizzards
Fried chicken gizzards are a soul food classic. These come from Price’s Chicken Coop in Charlotte, NC. Krista / Flickr (Creative Commons)

To prepare it for cooking, slice one side so that it opens like a book. Then you can easily rinse the grit and dirt out and it is ready to cook.

Since it is such a tough organ, gizzards should be cooked low and slow. Put them in a crock pot, or in a pan on the stove with about an inch of water, covered, for up to 3 hours or until the water has evaporated. Then gizzards can be used in any recipe that calls for chicken parts, like stir-fry. My favorite thing to do is to adapt my grandfather’s beef stroganoff recipe for this delicious dark meat.

Chicken Gizzard Stroganoff

  1. Clean the gizzards and put in a pan with water.
  2. Cover and let simmer on the stove top for 2 and a half hours or until fork tender.
  3. When the gizzards are tender, put a pot of water on to boil for pasta. Egg noodles are classic for stroganoff, but you can use any kind of wide pasta that holds sauce well.
  4. Pour off but retain in a bowl any remaining water from the gizzards.
  5. Add equal amounts of onion and mushroom to the pan and saute over medium heat until the onions start to caramelize.
  6. Add back the broth from the gizzards and add water or stock for about two cups of liquid total.
  7. In a separate bowl, mix 1 cup yogurt and 1 cup sour cream (yogurt can be used for the whole dish for a lower fat content, but it will have a tangier flavor and runnier consistency).
  8. Add spoonfuls of hot stock from the pot to the dairy, to raise the temperature slowly and prevent curdling. Once the temperature of the dairy mixture is lukewarm, turn the heat down on the stove and add it to the pan slowly, stirring steadily.
  9. Let the mixer simmer on low heat for fifteen to twenty minutes while the flavors meld. At this stage you can optionally add a tablespoon of flour or cornstarch as a thickening agent, but the sauce will congeal naturally as it cools, especially if you use sour cream. Serve hot.

More Chicken Gizzard Recipes

Southern Fried Chicken Gizzards

The key to this gizzard recipe is the breading—this spicy Southern breading has celery salt, Italian seasoning, cumin, and a few other less-secret spices.

Korean-Style Chicken Gizzard Stir Fry

How to tenderize the gizzards without slow-cooking them forever? Blanch and marinate, according to this recipe.

Giblet Pasta

Combine gizzards and liver in pasta sauce for a savory dish with a unique contrast of textures.

Chicken Gizzard Yakitori

Gizzards are the perfect size for skewers, a.k.a. yakitori in Japan. This recipe calls for boiling the gizzards for 40 minutes to tenderize them, then coating with a sauce and heating up in the oven. If you can grill them over open flame—which is how they make this in Japan—that would be even better.

Written by Lucia Wyss

Lucia Wyss splits her life between town and country. When she's not in Olympia with her garden, she is helping her partner at Hidden River Farms raising pastured pigs and growing organic grain and veggies.

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