Sweetbreads are so delicious, even people who wouldn’t normally eat ” adventurous” cuts love them, which is why they end up on so many restaurant menus.
Sweetbreads are most often prepared breaded and fried, but in this simple grilled preparation they develop a nice crust on the outside while staying rich and creamy on the inside. Since they’re delicate, you have to be a little more careful about how you prepare them than other, heartier cuts (like heart), but the work is absolutely worth it.
They truly don’t need to be dressed up with fancy sides, although a flavorful dipping sauce is always welcome; I particularly enjoy something tart or acidic to balance with mild creaminess of the meat, such as the Chimichurri Dipping Sauce.


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Grilled Sweetbreads

  • Author: Jill Baker
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x


Units Scale

1 lb. Lamb or Veal Sweetbreads

2 c. Filtered Water, plus more for soaking

1 tsp. plus 1 pinch Fine Ground Salt, divided

4 Tbsp. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, divided

1 Tbsp. Coconut Aminos or Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper

4 (9-inch) Wood Skewers, soaked in water for 1 hour


  1. Gently rinse the sweetbreads and soak them in a bowl of cold filtered water with a pinch of salt for a minimum of 1 hour or up to 12 hours (overnight). Drain the sweetbreads.
  2. In a pot large enough to fit the sweetbreads in a single layer, bring 2 cups of filtered water to a boil. Turn the heat down to maintain a simmer, add the sweetbreads, and simmer for 30 minutes, until firm but not rubbery. Remove the sweetbreads from the water and put them in a large bowl of ice water, which will allow them to cool and frim up for the grill.
  3. Pat the sweetbreads dry with a paper towel and, with your fingers, remove any visible membranes or fat. Separate into roughly 1 1/2-inch pieces using your fingers, (Even when cooked, they’re delicate and will break apart easily, so make sure you don’t mush them up too much!)
  4. Put the sweetbreads in a large bowl and toss with 2 Tbsp. of olive oil, the coconut aminos, the remaining teaspoon of salt, and the pepper. Then thread the sweetbread pieces carefully onto the skewers, about 5 pieces per skewer.
  5. Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. of oil in a large grill pan over medium heat.
  6. Grill the sweetbreads on the grill pan, turning occasionally, until golden brown on all sides, about 7 minutes total. Transfer to a platter and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.


The sweetbreads will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days, but I recommend you eat them right away. You can reheat them on the stovetop, in a pan over medium heat with a tablespoon of ghee for about 5 minutes.

Recipe is an excerpt from It Takes Guts by Ashleigh Vanhoute and can be purchased here.