Pickled Beef Heart


Pickled Beef Heart is very good and high in protein. The heart is nothing more than a muscle. I know this probably will gross some people out, but I was brought up to try all kinds of food and I love heart. Although I am pickling it, unpickled heart can also be added to many other dishes. Compared to chicken white meat, beef heart is about equal in calories and protein. Three ounces of beef heart is only 140 calories with 24 grams of protein.



Rinse the heart in cold

water removing any blood.



In a large pot place one Tbsp of salt,

the heart (cut into two pieces) and

water to cover. Bring to a boil and

simmer for about two hours with a lid.



Wash a quart jar and lid with

hot soapy water and rinse.



Boil the jar and lid for

10 minutes to sterilize.



In a medium pot heat vinegar and

water just until it starts to boil.



Once the heart is tender, remove it to a cutting board.

Using a sharp knife, peel the skin and remove all

fat and arteries. Slice it 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick.



Remove the jar from the water.

Put 1 tsp of salt on the bottom.

Layer pieces of the heart, onion,

sprinkle of garlic, sprinkle of pickling

spices and packing them tight.

Repeat (no more salt) until all

of the heart is used up.



Pour the hot vinegar mixture into

the jar, put the lid on and tighten.



Store the jar in the refrigerator

for a week then enjoy!


Pickled Beef Heart

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Print




  • 1 beef heart, cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp salt (for the water)
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp (approximately) dehydrated garlic but you can use fresh
  • 1 large onion, sliced and cut into quarters
  • 1 Tbsp (approximately) pickling spices, cloves removed
  • 1 tsp salt (for the jar)


  1. Rinse the two pieces of heart with cold water until all of the blood is removed.
  2. In a medium pot with a lid place 1 Tbsp of salt, the heart and water to cover the heart by about 3”.
  3. Bring the water to a boil. Turn the heat to a simmer and simmer for about two hours or until tender. To tell if it is tender, pierce the skin part with a fork. The fork should easily push through the skin into the heart.
  4. Wash and rinse a quart glass jar and lid. Put the jar into a deep pot and cover with water 2” above the jar. Bring water to a boil. Boil the jar, lid and ring for 10 minutes. I am not canning the heart, just sterilizing the jar.
  5. Just before the heart is finished cooking, in a medium pot mix the vinegar and water. Bring it almost to a boil. Watch carefully and once it starts to roll but not boil, remove from the heat.
  6. Once the heart is cooked remove it to a cutting board. While still hot, cut away the fat, arteries and outer skin of the heart. Slice the meat into 1/4” – 1/2” pieces.
  7. Into the hot quart jar place one tsp salt, a layer of sliced heart, a layer of sliced onions, a sprinkle of garlic and a sprinkle of pickling spices. Continue layering (no more salt) while packing tight.
  8. Fill the jar with the hot vinegar mixture and seal with a lid. Store in the refrigerator for a week then eat.







    • I think you have to train your mind not to think about what it is. Just focus an the flavor. I’m sure there are things I won’t try but this is just beef. I love chicken hearts too. I buy them by the bag full, boil them and chow down. Heart has a really good taste to me. But I totally understand how you feel. It’s not for everyone!

      • Well I do eat chicken hearts and love the innards – 🙂
        So perhaps I would like this and I read your comment to rebel girl snd think it would be tasty…
        Anyhow – your post reminded me of an Amy Tan story called Fish Cheeks – it is a cute little story about her eating the meat from the cheeks of fish and how that ancient Asian custom embarrassed her with her American dinner guests

      • If you like chicken hearts you will definitely like beef heart. You don’t have to pickle it, it is good right after cooking it or even in a dish that calls for beef. However the pickled beef heart is very good!

      • Oh thanks – and later I will come back with two photos now – one to link to dan’s apple tree and the other – a picture of some chicken hearts – because one time I bought an organic whole Chicken and it had almost a dozen hearts – I think the factory workers messed up

      • They definitely did mess up! It is very hard to find chicken heart in my area. They stopped putting them in the chickens. I drive an hour away to try to get a bag of them. One year they will have them, the next they don’t! I buy all they have when I do find them.

      • Well my aim is to get the liver – I lovvvvvvvve it and I hate when they leave it out – and interesting how your place sometimes has it and sometimes doesn’t –
        I was at a small get together earlier this year and the lady made a huge turkey – and her gravy – omg – was a meal itself coz she put the hearts and innards in it. Three helpings of it later she told me all about her tradition of making it that way

      • Ok Liver I do Not like. My mom made us eat it when I was growing up and I do not like the taste. That is so interesting about the gravy. I cut mine up and put them in the stuffing.

      • Yeah – the stuffing I was familiar with – and she also left her pieces all chunky – and so it seriously was a meal – and even though everyone ate that day – I likely had most dense nutrition from all those innards and gravy fat (perhaps) and maybe the fruit of your mom’s liver serving was the potent way it fed your blood as you were growing – it might be why your brain was even able to know all this kitchen and cooking stuff – hah! Go mom

      • Well I am partial to liver – even tho I can only have “so much” which is why I lie the Chicken liver – they are small -/
        And my dog might be mad that I found your blog – he always gets the hearts but maybe not anymore

      • I really don’t know. We buy a side of beef once a year and I ask for the heart and tongue with our beef. We pay for the hanging weight so it’s included in our price. You would have to check with a butcher.

  1. I guess I’m weird because I like the textures of offal. However, I can’t say I’ve tried pickled heart before. Looks interesting, Diane. 🙂

  2. I’m lucky – I love hearts, and feel sorry for all those people who turn their noses up at the thought of it. They don’t know what their missing out on. My mouth was literally watering when reading your recipe. Sheeps hearts are readily available here so I’m going to adapt your recipe to try using them. I’ll let you know how I go. Oh, and do t give up on lambs liver, it’s delicious if cooked correctly. I hated it to cooked the way my mum cooked it, but now I love it. Get a spring lambs liver. Skin it and only use thin slices of meat only. Discard all the tubes and messy stuff, which means you’ll only be using about a third of a whole lambs liver. Gently fry in melted butter, and eat when still slightly pink. ir try cooking it with mushrooms and sour cream and stirring through ribbon pasta. Stroganoff with liver slices instead of beef. I’m sure you’ll love it Diane.

    • It’s so nice to have another person that loves heart as much as I do! I have tried liver in the past and never cared for it but your stroganoff recipe sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing!!

  3. I have eaten pickled cow’s heart my whole life. I love it! This recipe is almost exactly how my family made it. Thanks for sharing!

    • You are welcome! I only make this once a year when we buy a side of beef so I really enjoy it when I do eat it! It is so nice to hear a positive comment usually all I get is yuck….lol

    • I will not recommend it. I don’t want to give any information on canning or storage because if not done properly people could become very sick. The site for the National Center for Home Food Preservation is http://www.nchfp.uga.edu and it has the safe ways to preserve food and can possibly answer your question. I personally would only store it in the refrigerator.

  4. I love pickled beef heart and tongue also. My mother used to make it. I understood it to be from a recipe / tradition passed down from her paternal grandmother who was German. Got some in the refrigerator now. Yum 😋

  5. Funny, a sweet and sour beef heart stew was my father’s favorite dish, so we had it often – until my parents divorced. Never showed up on our table after that. But I liked it.
    Here in Maine everybody is grossed out when I mention it 🙂

      • I looked at different German recipes – this is the one that resembles most the one I remember. Unfortunately I can’t ask my Mom, she is 101, and doesn’t remember the details anymore. 😊

        2 servings

        800 g heart (pork or beef)
        1 yellow onion, chopped
        2 dill pickles, cubed
        vegetable oil
        50 ml vinegar
        salt and pepper
        2 tbsp sugar
        250 ml beef broth
        2 tbsp flour

        Cook heart in salted water until done. Cut in bite-sized cubes.

        In skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil and sear heart, onion and pickles.

        In small bowl, stir together vinegar, broth and sugar.

        Sprinkle heart mixture with flour. Stir in vinegar mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

        Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until thickened as desired.

  6. When I was young, (1950s/60s) my mum used to cook casseroled Ox hearts. That’s a flavour from my childhood. (Never pickled though)
    Many thanks for following my blog, which is appreciated.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • We buy a side a beef from a farmer friend and I always ask for the heart, tongue and tail. I made a new recipe with the heart and tongue this year and they both were amazing. You’re welcome Pete!

  7. My Dad used to love all the miscellaneous “parts” of meat. I don’t know about pickled beef heart, but my mother used to prepare beef heart with vegetables like she fixed a corned beef or chicken. The beef heart produced a nice mild tasting broth when simmered in water, then when it was tender onions, carrots and potatoes, cabbage maybe, were added. It was very good.

    Dad also loved calves brains, which were lovely when cooked (fried) alongside scrambled eggs. These specialty meats were a delicacy, which meant that they were not served to children….except maybe those who begged to try the dish…like me. The serving I got was just a bite, really, but I liked it a lot.

    • Wow I have tried a lot of different parts of meat but never the brain. I would love to see what that tastes like. I would have gotten along great cooking with your dad!

      • I can still imagine how good tasting the calf brains were, and I loved the texture. There all kinds of good things to eat that many of us won’t even consider culturally. One of my grandsons sat in his high chair and pointed at everything on the holiday dinner table…he wasn’t old enough to talk yet…but he wanted to try everything on the table, and to this day he is always open to various foods.

      • My son is the same way, he will try anything.The rest of the family knows the things I make and always ask what it is. I would always say chicken so they would try it. Once they said this is good I told them what it really was, none of them trust me anymore! 🤣😂🤣

      • My food taboos include having potatoes cut in chunks (as opposed to sliced,) My Dad was a great believer in making kids’ clear their plates, and once I sat at the table alone for what seemed like hours, staring a a meatball. To this day I can’t bring myself to have anything to do with leg-of-lamb….which was poisoned for me because 1) the nasty green mint jelly: and 2) the congealed fat on the plate. gag…. I did learn to like tomatoes.

      • I’m with you on eating lamb. I have tried it every which way but just don’t care for the flavor. I was like your dad, made my kids clean their plates. I finally stopped after my son fell asleep on his plate and my daughter threw up on my roast, carrots and potatoes! 🤣 They never let me live that down.

      • One of my favorite foods is beef liver. My kids used to love it, but I haven’t made it in years because of how it looks. Most restaurants tend to overcook it, and I like it with both onions and crisp bacon. Yum…maybe I’ll try some.

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