Liver and Onions (Hígado Encebollado)


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided into 2
  • 1 pound beef liver, sliced ¼” thick
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Maggi sauce
  • ¼ cup beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste


  • To clean the liver, use a small knife and cut through the membrane and peel it off, and place in a bowl. Add milk and soak for about 10 minutes 
  • Discard milk and rinse liver in cold water. Add salt & pepper to taste, and cumin and mix until fully incorporated. Cover and marinate for 1 hour 
  • Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the liver slices and cook for 5 minutes on one side. Turn and cook for 5 minutes on the other side. Remove from the skillet and set aside (Note: be sure not to overcook, to avoid the liver becoming tough)
  • Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter to the skillet. Once melted, add the sliced onions and cook them until caramelized, for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and Maggi sauce, and stir until well combined. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for another 5 minutes
  • Add 1 tablespoon of the beef stock to the tablespoon of flour and mix together in a small bowl, until it forms a paste. Add the rest of the beef stock to the paste and mix until well combined. Add the mixture to the skillet and bring to a boil
  • Reduce the heat to low and stir in the tomato paste and simmer for about 5 minutes to allow the liquid to reduce by a third, and gravy has thickened slightly. Add the liver and simmer for 2-3 minutes to allow the gravy to warm the liver
  • Serve immediately with Panamanian corn tortillas, Panamanian hojaldas, or over a bed of white rice


Liver is commonly soaked in vinegar or lemon juice to get rid of the smell and toxins. However, we find that milk does the same thing as vinegar or lemon juice, plus it also tenderizes the liver.