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Sweetbreads are the throat and pancreas glands from calves or lambs. They're available from good butchers. This is a straightforward recipe that involves dipping them in flour and lightly frying, but they also taste good simmered in a creamy herb sauce.

61 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 450g lamb or veal sweetbreads
  • 4 tablespoons plain flour
  • oil for frying
  • salt and pepper to taste

MethodPrep:5min ›Cook:20min ›Ready in:25min

  1. Trim the sweetbreads and rinse with water. Dip the slightly wet sweetbreads into flour.
  2. Heat 2mm of oil in a large heavy frying pan. Fry the sweetbreads in the hot oil until golden brown, turning once. Remove from oil, and drain on kitchen paper. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(21)

Reviews in English (15)

Something else.Added a sprinkle of ground bay leave & paprika mix from Spain-01 Apr 2011


I can't believe there is someone else in this world who loves sweetbread!!!We make ours the exact way. except i dont know how u can compare them to chicken hearts, yuk! we make them at the same time we make pheasant. we make the pheasant the same way. its nice to eat a few pheasant then a few sweetbread. sweetbread is a very soft texture with a sweet taste. mmm mmmm!! i strongly suggest people try them. but make sure your butcher gets the right muscle cause i've had butchers think they know what it is but don't. please people dont be afraid to try it, u wont be disapointed. (takes more than 1 cup of oil, enough to deep-fat fry.)-29 Jan 2005

by Shellygloo

I always wanted to try sweetbreads, and always wondered what they were. I found some in my local grocery store for the first time and bought a package--very inexpensive! I used this recipe, and wow...quite delicious. Very mild and sweet flavor.-11 Feb 2006

More collections

Basque sweetbreads, fried (Choriak) from The Frugal Gourmet on Our Immigrant Ancestors: Recipes You Should Have Gotten from Your Grandmother by Jeff Smith

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  • green bell peppers
  • paprika
  • parsley
  • all-purpose flour
  • veal sweetbreads

Always check the publication for a full list of ingredients. An Eat Your Books index lists the main ingredients and does not include 'store-cupboard ingredients' (salt, pepper, oil, flour, etc.) - unless called for in significant quantity.

What are sweetbreads?

Sweetbreads are a type of offal (organ meats), just like liver, tripe, or heart. Offal includes a wide variety of organs, but some consider sweetbreads the “caviar” of them all.

The name can throw some people off since there is no actual part of a cow’s body that is called “the sweetbread”. “Sweetbreads” is actually just a culinary term used to refer to some of the glands in the cow’s body, mostly the thymus gland and the pancreas. These are specifically known as “throat sweetbread” and “heart sweetbread”, respectively, and are what you will most likely get if you go to your grocery store and buy a package labeled “sweetbreads”. Beef sweetbreads and veal sweetbreads are the easiest to find, but lamb and pork sweetbreads are also sold in some places.

What do sweetbreads taste like?

A lot of offal meats (liver, kidneys, etc.) share a distinctive taste, one that’s strong and gamey. Of these, sweetbread is regarded as one of the mellowest in flavor. The taste is smoother and creamier than that of liver. This makes it a great type of meat for beginners that haven’t tasted other organ meats. If you’ve tried intestines before (we call them “tripitas” in Mexico, and like to make them in tacos), then sweetbreads will taste very familiar to you.

How do you cook sweetbreads?

The cooking time for sweetbreads will depend on the method you are using to prepare them. For stews, some cooks like to boil them in water or milk for about 1 hour, before chopping them into pieces and adding them to the stew.

If you want to grill or pan-fry the sweetbreads, you will need to cook them for about 15 minutes per side on medium-low heat. If the sweetbreads are too thick, remove them from the heat once they are partially cooked and have a solid consistency (and have shrunk a little), and cut them lengthwise. Put them back on the frying pan or grill and turn the heat to high (or add more charcoal) brown the sweetbreads on both sides.

Prior to grilling, cooks will sometimes soak the sweetbreads in water, salt water, milk, or even vinegar. They do this soften the texture of the sweetbreads.

Where can you buy sweetbreads?

You can buy sweetbreads at your local supermarket look for the RUMBA® Meats packages in the meat section. Their cuts of meats are sold in a convenient vacuum-sealed package, and pretty soon they will also offer their products for sale online.

Chicken Fried Sweetbread Nuggets

I went home this past weekend to Boise for my cousins wedding. Going back home for me is always a struggle. The internet is reeeaaallllyyy slow there. You can’t eat any kind of food you want whenever you want. Everything is closed on Sundays, and when it gets really hot there, I sweat in places I don’t want to talk about. Once I hop on the plane back to LA, I then start to realize all the awesome things about Boise. Friends, family, rivers, camping, stars, and thrift stores. Things that I want to do more of in and around LA, but I am just not sure how. Do any of you LA people have some awesome summer activities you want to share? :)

Today we have this amazing delicious recipe. I feel like everything is the form of nuggets is good. These are no exception. Chicken frying them makes them really crispy, but the inside still stays juicy and yummy. We also gave you two sauces to dip with. Honey Mustard, and Grilled Banana Ketchup from a post last week. If you missed it, go see it and try it. It’s soooooo good.
♥ Teri

Crispy Sweetbreads

Sweetbreads from veal are my favorite of the variety meats. Gloria's two favorite offal are calves' brains and pig's feet, both of which she ranks above sweetbreads. When I came to the United States many years ago, sweetbreads were extremely inexpensive because no one bought them. Unfortunately, times have changed, and sweetbreads are quite expensive now. There are two types of sweetbreads: the long, narrow strip in the throat, which is the thymus gland, and a larger, rounder gland near the heart, which is the pancreas gland. Both are good, though I tend to prefer the larger one, which is more solid and in one piece, so it is easier to slice into it. You can have your sweetbreads in pâtés, braised slowly in the oven, or in puff pastry. In this recipe, they are sliced and sautéed. Regardless of how you plan to serve sweetbreads, they must be soaked in cold water first. I often do this overnight, but the water should be changed a few times, as it gets reddish in color. Sweetbreads should be white after soaking, which improves their taste and appearance. In most of my cooking life, I have blanched sweetbreads and pressed them under a weight before proceeding with a recipe. All of my books reflect this. Some chefs blanch sweetbreads for a minute or so, others for 15 minutes. Blanching eliminates the sometimes offending odor of raw offal, and keeping them under a weight makes them more compact and uniform in texture. But for this recipe, I slice raw, unblanched sweetbreads into ½-inch slices and sauté them with excellent results. You can dredge the slices in one of the following: fine, dry bread crumbs, regular flour, Wondra flour, or roasted corn flour. Each of these gives a slightly different coating and crispness to the sweetbreads. A favorite classic preparation is to brush the sweetbreads with melted butter before coating them with bread crumbs, so the crumbs will adhere well. I serve sweetbreads on top of corn or other vegetables in season, and make a little dressing with fresh tomato, onion, capers, oil, and lemon juice to spoon over them. The dressing shouldn”t be spooned on until the last minute, because you don”t want to lose the crispness of the sliced sweetbreads. The dressing can also be served on the side.

Occasion Casual Dinner Party, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Course main course

Dietary Consideration egg-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Taste and Texture crisp, juicy, meaty, savory, sweet, tangy, tart


  • 1 or 2 pieces (about 1¼ pounds total) veal sweetbreads
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups fine dried bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 5 ears sweet corn
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Minced chives
  • ¾ cup tomato , seeded and cut into ½-inch dice
  • 1 scant teaspoon garlic , finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons onion , finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers , drained
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon parsley , chopped


Soak the sweetbreads overnight or for at least 6 hours, changing the water occasionally, until they are white. Remove any skin, and pull out any sinews from the outside. Cut into ½-inch slices, about 2 slices per person, and set aside.

For the corn, remove the kernels from the ears, which should yield about 3 cups. Sauté the kernels in the butter for about 2 minutes over high heat, just enough for the starch to set, making the corn very sweet. Add salt, pepper, and a sprinkling of minced chives, mix, and set aside. You can always rewarm the corn in a regular oven or a microwave oven at serving time.

For the dressing, combine in a glass bowl the tomato, garlic, onion, capers, good olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and parsley. Set aside.

When ready to sauté your sweetbreads, salt and pepper the slices. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a microwave oven, and dip the sweetbread slices into about 2 cups of fine dried bread crumbs, making sure that they are well coated on both sides. (I dry leftover bread, preferably from a country-style loaf or baguette, in a 180°F oven, and then process it in a food processor to a make a fine meal.)

Heat the oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large nonstick skillet (or two smaller skillets). Add the sweetbread slices, and cook over high heat for about 4 minutes on each side, or until each side is nicely browned and crisp.

Divide the warm corn kernels among four dinner plates, and form them into “nests.” Arrange 2 slices of sweetbreads in the center of the nest on each plate. Spoon the dressing around the sweetbreads or on top of them, as you prefer, and serve immediately.

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What Are Sweetbreads, Exactly?

Sweet breads are considered offal, or the internal organs of an animal. There are two different types: Neck/throat sweetbreads and heart sweet breads.

The thymus glands are referred to as neck sweetbreads or throat sweetbreads. Because of their shape, sweetbreads from the pancreas gland are also called heart sweetbread.

The younger the animal, the more delicate the flavor and texture, and the lighter color of the sweetbreads. Connoisseurs view the sweetbreads of milk-fed veal or young calves as the best. It is a common misconception that sweetbreads are from the testicles of an animal. But rest assured, that is not the case.

Wines to match with crispy sweetbreads, asparagus and almond pur é e

In France this delicate white meat is traditionally paired with a crisp white wine. So keeping with tradition, why not try a 100% Chardonnay from Burgundy. Cave de Lugny Les charmes, Mâcon Lugny 2014 is refreshingly crisp and perfect to offset the full richness from the sweetbreads.

For those who truly prefer a red wine with meat, I suggest a light Pinot Noir from the Loire region. The 2013 Reuilly Rouge, Les Pierres Plates from Denis Jamain is bursting with redcurrant flavours and subtle hints of earthiness. Which genuinely complements the roasted veggies in this recipe.

Finally, a very special white wine to accompany this delectable offal dish. I assure you the 2012 Ch â teauneuf-du-pape, pure Roussane from Domaine Raymond Usseglio is worth every penny. This dry and aged in barrel white wine just embellishes and brings this whole dish together.

Deep-Fried Chitterlings

Chitterlings, or chitlins, are a classic Southern recipe consisting of pork intestines that can be cooked or fried. Mild in flavor, their bits are a great canvas to work with because they can take on whatever seasonings and cooking method you're using. Often categorized as soul food, chitterlings can be eaten boiled and served simply over rice, or boiled, breaded, and fried as in our recipe. Deep-fried chitterlings are a decadent dish that is common during the holidays, served alongside hog maws—pork stomach—cornbread, rice, hot sauces, vinegar, collard greens, and fried chicken. Not for the faint of heart!

The chitterlings need to be cleaned thoroughly and then boiled for two hours before they are breaded and fried, so plan accordingly. The cleaning process is key to an appetizing meal: chitterlings are famous for their unpleasant smell, and because of their origin, they must be adequately clean to avoid contamination in your kitchen or illness. Nowadays, finding clean and pre-cooked chitterlings is a convenient way of bringing this unusual and tasty ingredient to your table.

Our recipe uses some alliums to boil the chitterlings in before frying, but add to these seasonings any spices or other vegetables that you'd like: bell peppers, carrots, celery stalks, red pepper flakes, parsley, cilantro, or Creole seasoning are great additions.

Food and wine pairing

Pan fried sweetbreads, split pea purée, ceps and roasted chestnuts

Chestnuts and ceps, two of autumn&rsquos most celebrated crop are paired with sweetbreads and split peas for a perfect meal. As a general rule, this dish should be an aged red wine&rsquos best friend. For example the hearty flavour of these ingredients complementing the meaty, mushroom, warm spices, undergrowth flavour of a traditional Rioja Reserva. However on this occasion, the curry powder could clash with the tannins, therefore, the wine needs to be very smooth and elegant with very little dryness. The Rioja Reserva, Viña Real Oro, 2009 from CVNE, in northern Spain, should be up to the challenge. It is a complex wine, concentrated with a mellow long finish and a reminiscence of cherries macerated in brandy. Alternatively, a smooth New World Pinot Noir with three or four years of age should also work. This style of wine is perfect served in large globe shape glasses to enhance the aroma and increase the freshness of palate. Enjoy!

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