How to Cook Lamb Sweetbreads

Sweetbreads are an underappreciated cut of lamb loved by chefs for their texture and subtle flavor. In this post we’ll show you how to prepare and cook lamb sweetbreads at home like a pro.

Lamb sweetbreads on a bed of lettuce with nasturtium capers
Lamb sweetbreads with a lemon caper sauce: an example what sweetbreads can be after frying. See Chef Bergo’s recipe here.

An organ meat, sweetbreads come in two different shapes and names: heartbreads, and neck sweetbreads, which are the pancreas, and thymus glands, respectively. Neck sweetbreads are longer in shape, where heart breads are more round. Both types are fine for cooking, and interchangeable in recipes.

Chef Bergo recommends combining them with something as simple as lemon wedges and a simple salad for a light meal, or, saucing them with a tangy sauce made from lemon and capers.

How to Prepare Lamb Sweetbreads

Unlike other organ meats like kidneys or liver, sweetbreads have a very mild flavor. After par cooking they’re tender, juicy, and delicious, especially when fried. They take a little effort, but once you taste them, we think you’ll agree lamb sweetbreads are excellent. The images below illustrate the key points of the recipe.

This recipe is by chef Alan Bergo. A chef from Minnesota, Alan is a veteran of the culinary industry, former executive chef of acclaimed Lucia’s Restaurant, and the Salt Cellar. Founder of the website Forager Chef, he’s best known as a respected authority on Midwestern foraging. Learn more about Alan and his hunt for mushrooms, wild and obscure foods at Forager Chef. Alan Bergo

Looking to buy lamb or goat online? Shepherd Song Farm: Grass to table. We raise lambs & goats traditionally, humanely and sustainably. 100% Grass Fed, Pasture Raised, Never Confined, no Hormones, Grains or Animal Byproducts. Born, raised and processed in the U.S.A. Good for you and good for the environment.

More Lamb Offal Recipes

Lamb Head Soup with Vegetables and Pesto

Tortilla del Sacromonte Omelet 

Morrocan Lamb Brains Recipe with Eggs and Harissa

How to Cook Lamb Brains

Golden brown fried sweetbreads in a pan.
5 from 1 vote

How to Cook Lamb Sweetbreads

A basic how-to for cooking lamb sweetbreads (a gland from the neck or around the heart) are a delicacy worth trying.
Prep Time12 hours
Active Time20 minutes
Total Time12 hours 20 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Goat, Lamb, Sweetbread
Yield: 4 People
Cost: 10


  • 1 Saute pan
  • 1 2 quart sauce pot
  • 1 Bowl or Tupperware container for soaking the sweetbreads.


  • 1 lb Lamb sweetbreads as needed
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 cups Milk or salt water enough to cover the sweetbreads
  • Lard or cooking oil as needed for frying
  • 2 cups Seasoned all purpose flour as needed for dredging
  • 3 each Beaten eggs as needed for breading the sweetbreads
  • Kosher salt


  • Cover the sweetbreads with milk and soak overnight in the refrigerator. Season the flour with salt and pepper.
  • The next day, bring a pot of water seasoned with salt so it tastes like the sea to a simmer, then add the sweetbreads and cook for 10 minutes. Use roughly 2 teaspoons of salt per quart of water.
  • Remove the sweetbreads and cool, then trim off tissue with a paring knife to reveal the inner meat. From here, the sweetbreads can also be crumbled into pieces and added to a dish, such as pasta. See a pasta recipe with sweetbreads here.
  • To cook the sweetbreads, have a separate bowl of beaten egg and flour ready, warm some oil in a wide pan. Dip the sweetbreads in flour, then egg, then flour again, then carefully add to the hot oil and cook until golden on each side. Serve the sweetbreads hot, any leftovers should be eaten within 24 hours.


Brains can be cooked the same as sweetbreads. 

Get Cooking

Fried Lamb Sweetbreads
Fried lamb sweetbreads on a paper towel.