How to Cook Beef Heart for an Incredibly Flavorful yet Affordable Cut

While an uncommon ingredient, beef heart can make for an amazing entrée when cooked properly. With its incredibly rich, beefy flavor, tender texture, and nutritional profile, heart is worth getting familiar with in the kitchen. Follow this guide to learn all about preparing and cooking beef heart.

What is Beef Heart?

Beef heart comes from the muscular organ of cows that pumps blood throughout their bodies. It is an organ meat, along with liver, kidneys, and tongue. Beef heart is darker in color and denser than skeletal muscle cuts like steak or roasts.

Nutritionally, heart is high in protein, iron, zinc, selenium, and B vitamins. It is also low in fat, especially saturated fat. These nutrients and its rich flavor make heart a prized ingredient in many cuisines around the world.

Benefits of Cooking with Beef Heart

Here are some of the biggest benefits of using beef heart:

  • Incredible flavor – Heart has a wonderfully beefy, meaty taste

  • Tender texture – When sliced thin and cooked quickly, it can be very tender

  • Low cost – As an odd cut, heart is very affordable compared to steaks

  • Nutrient density – It provides protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants

  • Sustainability – Using the whole animal minimizes food waste

So for its delicious taste, nutrition, and wallet-friendly price, beef heart is worth experimenting with in the kitchen.

How to Choose Beef Heart

When shopping for beef heart, here are some tips:

  • Look for hearts that are bright red in color without dried or brown spots

  • Choose hearts that feel firm with a bit of bounce when handled

  • Avoid any with odd odors or excessive fat/connective tissue

  • For milder flavor, select younger/smaller hearts from calves or lamb

  • Plan on 3/4 to 1 pound per person for a main course serving

Butchers are the best sources to find high quality, trimmed hearts ready to cook. Larger supermarkets may carry them as well.

Preparing Beef Heart for Cooking

Beef heart requires some prep before cooking:

  • Trim – Remove any visible fat, silverskin, or tubes/arteries. Sometimes hearts come pre-trimmed.

  • Slice – Cut the heart into 1/2 to 1 inch slices or cubes to shorten muscle fibers. This makes the meat much more tender when cooked.

  • Marinate or season – Flavor and tenderize the meat via marinades, rubs, or a salt dry brine.

Proper prep is key to end up with tender, great tasting beef heart. Take the time to trim, slice, and season it before cooking.

How to Cook Beef Heart

Because it contains muscle fibers andconnective tissue, gentle moist cooking methods are ideal for heart. Here are top cooking methods:

  • Pan searing – Cook sliced heart in a hot pan briefly to develop flavor. Slice thin against the grain.

  • Grilling – Quick grill over high heat, cooking just until medium rare. Slice across the grain.

  • Braising – Slow cook larger chunks in flavorful liquid until fall-apart tender.

  • Stewing – Simmer sliced or cubed heart in soups, stews, and curries.

  • Sous vide – Vacuum seal seasoned slices, then cook in a precise water bath.

The key is to cook heart just until rare or medium-rare to prevent it from drying out and becoming tough.

Tips for Cooking Beef Heart

Follow these tips when preparing beef heart:

  • Dry brine – Salt the meat and refrigerate uncovered overnight to boost flavor and moisture.

  • Cook quickly over high heat – Whether pan searing, grilling or broiling, use high heat to develop a nice crust while keeping the interior pink.

  • Slice thin – Cut heart into 1/2 inch slices or small cubes to shorten muscle fibers and prevent toughness.

  • Don’t overcook – Cook just until rare or medium-rare to prevent drying out. Medium and beyond will become tough.

  • Let rest before serving – Allow the meat to rest 5-10 minutes after cooking so juices redistribute evenly.

Serving Suggestions for Beef Heart

Beef heart’s rich flavor pairs well with bright, acidic ingredients. Here are tasty ways to serve it:

  • Italian style with lemon, parsley, garlic, olive oil, and pasta

  • Mexican style with lime, cilantro, chili powder, peppers, onions, corn tortillas

  • Brazilian style with chimichurri sauce made with parsley, garlic, olive oil, vinegar

  • Japanese style with soy sauce, mirin, sesame seeds, shichimi togarashi spice

  • Indian style in a curry with yogurt, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, spices, rice

  • All-American style with mashed potatoes, roasted veggies, and pan gravy

Storing and Reheating Leftover Beef Heart

Here are some tips for storing leftover cooked beef heart:

  • Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 3-4 days

  • Freeze slices or cubes in an airtight bag for 2-3 months

  • Reheat in a skillet, microwave, or oven until warmed through

  • Add to soups, stews, pasta sauce, etc. to give great flavor

With proper storage, leftovers can be enjoyed in many quick and easy meals. The cooked beef heart also freezes very well.

Common FAQs about Cooking Beef Heart

Is beef heart tough?

When properly trimmed, sliced, and cooked, heart can be very tender and delicious. The keys are cutting across the grain when slicing and not overcooking.

What’s the best way to cook beef heart?

Quick high-heat methods like grilling, broiling and pan searing are best to cook the heart while keeping it tender and juicy inside.

Should I marinate beef heart?

Yes, marinating for several hours or up to 24 hours helps tenderize and infuse flavor. Acidic marinades work especially well.

What are good seasonings for beef heart?

Garlic, onions, parsley, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, oregano, soy sauce, lemon, lime, vinegar all complement beef heart wonderfully.

Is beef heart healthy?

Yes! Heart is high in protein, low in fat and cholesterol, and packed with essential vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc and B vitamins. It is one of the most nutrient-dense cuts of beef.


While unfamiliar to many home cooks, beef heart is worth getting to know. With its outsized beefy flavor, tender texture when sliced thin and cooked quickly, stellar nutrition, and cost savings, heart can make for a fabulous and economical entrée. Follow proper prep and quick cooking methods to enjoy this odd cut at its very best. Braised, grilled, or pan seared beef heart steaks can give any high-end steak a run for its money, especially when served with a flavorful sauce. So embrace this odd cut and enjoybeef heart in creative new ways soon!

how to cook beef heart | nose to tail cooking series


Is beef heart good eating?

Beef Heart is nutrient-dense and delicious with many steak-like qualities. Adding beef heart to your diet is a tasty way to boost your consumtion of bioavailable nutrients and a great way to embrace organ meats and nose-to-tail eating.

Is beef heart a tender meat?

Beef heart is just like a steak with a more intense, rich beef flavor; however, it’s not as tender as a steak, as it has a firmer texture. The heart can be used for delicious preparations and is extremely versatile. It’s a great way for beginners to start eating organs.

At what temperature is beef heart cooked?

Cook all organ and variety meats (such as heart, kidney, liver and tongue) to 160 °F (71.1 °C). Cook all raw beef steaks and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F (62.8 °C) as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source.

Does beef heart taste better than beef liver?

It doesn’t have the strong flavor of liver, and tastes more like steak (a muscle) since the heart also is a muscle, but a different texture, more fine-grained. I usually cut it into small pieces for some sort of stir-fry. Chicken hearts are also excellent and don’t require cutting into pieces since they’re bite-sized.

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