ITALIAN Sweetbreads Meat Recipes for Home Use

What are Sweetbreads? 

Sweetbread is a nourishing name for the thymus or pancreas from cattle, which prepares sweetbread meat recipes. The “heart” of sweetbreads is more spherical, while the “throat” is more cylindrical.

Preparing sweetbread meat can be challenging. Some people prefer it in tiny pieces while others in more significant portions. Let’s dive deeper.

Fresh lamb sweetbreads

What Part of the Cow is Sweetbread? 

Once in a while, you may wonder, what part of the cow is sweetbread? The pancreas and the thymus gland form the sweetbread. In most cases, young animals like calves and lambs give out the best sweetbreads. 

The thymus has two parts: the first part is in the cervical region, which is close to the trachea, and the second part is the thorax region, which is the pancreas, the chest, or abdomen.

The common name for sweetbreads is “heart sweetbreads” when they come from the pancreas, while the “throat sweetbreads” come from the thymus glands. It can either be a veal sweetbread or a lamb sweetbread. 

How to Cook Sweetbread

When exploring how to cook sweetbreads, you can come across many recipes for making sweetbreads. A general method of making this meal also comes in handy sometimes. Single specific recipes add extra components to improve the final meal.

However, there is one general way in which you may come up with sweetbreads. Below is the general procedure to follow:

  1. Submerge the sweetbread in a bowl containing cold water for not less than eight hours. You may also use milk instead of water. Using milk increases the taste of the final meal. Cover the bowl with a paper towel.  

You may soak the sweetbread for more than eight hours. Professional chefs typically recommend this option since it makes the bread a lot firm and clean as well. For this reason, you can soak your sweetbread for a maximum of 24 hours.

  1. After successfully soaking the sweetbreads meat in water, place it inside a large bowl. When transferring it, make sure you use your bare hands since using other objects may affect the natural texture. In the pot, add four liters of water and leave out a hand space of at least two inches. When making the transfer, you do not need to rinse first.
  1. Add vinegar to the water. The vinegar that you use here should be well distilled. Afterwards, use a wooden spoon to stir the water gently. Next, place it on the cooking stove or burner. 
  1. Using medium to high heat, bring the sweetbread to a boil. Immediately you notice it boiling, reduce the heat gradually and let the water simmer. The sweetbread should simmer for at least ten minutes. As the simmering goes on, start an ice bath preparation by placing ice inside a bowl. 
  1. After the simmering is complete, take the sweetbreads from the water and place them into an ice bath. Be extra careful when handling the sweetbreads to avoid damaging them. To be entirely on the safe side, use a pair of tongs to hold this bread. The sweetbreads should soak in the ice bath for ten minutes. 

After the sweetbreads cool completely, transfer them to a paper towel. While transferring, be careful and use a pair of tongs during this time. 

  1. Remove the gristles, veins, and thick membrane from the sweetbread. You can do this by simply using your hands. Make sure you properly peel the thick membrane from the outside section of the meat.  
  1. After cleaning the sweetbreads correctly, remove any excess water by putting them on a dry paper towel. Do not stack or pile the sweetbreads to maintain their natural shape. 
  1. You may now tear the sweetbreads into much smaller pieces. While tearing, you do not need to use any equipment; use your bare hands. If you cut with a knife, the bread may lose its natural firmness and texture. The small pieces are ideal for the final cooking. 

How Does Spanish and Italian Sweetbread Differ?

These two types of bread have very slight differences. In most cases, you can distinguish them by only the type of ingredients and spices used in their preparation.

The preparation method also matters; the preparation of the Spanish and Italian bread employs different cooking methods. In most cases, Italian sweetbread uses more spices and ingredients than Spanish sweetbread.

Veal Sweetbreads with Pasta

A Sweetbread Recipe to Try at Home(Meaty)

Time: 25 minutes

Serving size: 4

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Nutritional Facts

  1. Saturated fat: 0.01 pounds (8.7 grams)
  2. Fat: 0.0019  pounds (28.8 grams)
  3. Fiber: 0.0008 pounds (0.4 grams)
  4. Carbohydrate: 0.026 pounds (11.9 grams)
  5. Protein: 0.03 pounds (15.4grams)
  6. Cholesterol: 0.008 ounces (253.1 milligrams)
  7. Niacin equivalents: 0.0001 ounces (5.2 milligrams)
  8. Vitamin B6: 7.05 ounces (0.2 milligrams)
  9. Vitamin C: 0.001 ounces (38.6 milligrams)
  10. Calcium: 0.003 ounces (10.3 milligrams)
  11. Iron: 0.0001 ounces (3.1 milligrams)
  12. Magnesium: 0.0006 ounces (19.3 milligrams)
  13. Potassium: 0.015 ounces (425.3 milligrams)
  14. Sodium: 0.0038 ounces (109.3 milligrams)
  15. Thiamin: 7.054 ounces (0.2 milligrams)
  16. Calories: 258.8 kcal
  17. Folate: 30.9 mcg

The Cooking Equipment

  • A skillet
  • Paring knife
  • One bowl
  • A few cups and spoons

The Cooking Ingredients

  • 1 cup of oil for frying
  • 1 pound ( 0.454 kilograms) beef sweetbreads
  • Pepper and salt to taste
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour for dredging


After knowing the ingredients and equipment for making sweetbreads, you should also know the art of preparing this tasty meal. Follow the steps below to come up with the best sweetbreads meat:

  1. The first step is to tear the beef sweetbread apart into inch sections and then remove the stringy ligaments holding them together. Rinse it in water and dip the sweetbread pieces in flour.
  2. After dipping the sweetbread in the flour, heat ½ cup of oil in a large skillet. Fry the flour-coated sweetbread in hot oil until it turns golden brown. Finally, place the sweetbread meat on paper towels and season it with salt and pepper.

Italian Sweetbread Recipe

Time: 30 minutes

Serving size: 16 pieces

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Nutritional Facts

  1. Protein: 0.105 ounces (3 grams)
  2. Fiber: 0
  3. Sugar: 0.105 ounces (3 grams)
  4. Carbohydrate: 0.529 ounces (15 grams)
  5. Sodium: 0.004 ounces (119 milligrams)
  6. Cholesterol: 0.0007 ounces (22 milligrams)
  7. Saturated fat: 0.004  pounds (2 grams)
  8. Calories: 87 kcal

The Cooking Equipment

  1. A pastry brush
  2. Two-wire racks
  3. Two baking pans
  4. A few tablespoons
  5. Bread machine 

The Cooking ingredients

To make this tasty bread, you need several ingredients. The following is a list of the main ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup warm 2% milk (70 to 80 degrees Celsius) (2,366 to 2,704 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 2 tablespoons of softened  butter
  • Egg wash
  • Italian seasoning


In order to make this sweet Italian delicacy, below is a good guide  for creating  the best sweetbread:

  1. Place all the first seven ingredients in a bread machine in their listed order. Select the dough setting as suggested by the manufacturer (after five minutes of mixing, check your dough and be sure to add one to two tablespoons of water or flour if necessary).
  2. After the mixing is finally completed, carefully turn the dough onto a floured surface. Divide into half to get two portions and start shaping each portion into a ball; flatten slightly. Next, place them on a greased round baking pan. Afterwards, cover and let them rise until they double their raw size for about 45 minutes.
  3. Lastly, beat the egg in water and brush over the dough using a pastry brush. Next, sprinkle the Italian seasoning on the dough. Bake at 350 degrees (11,830 degrees Fahrenheit) until it becomes golden brown for 20-25 minutes. Remove the bread from the pans to the wire racks to allow them to cool.

The Different Types of Italian Sweetbreads

“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of the feast” James Beard coined this statement, and it is true. Italian bread offers satisfying sweetness in every meal.

So whenever you want a yummy golden brown bread to enjoy with your breakfast, mid-day snack, or something to pair with dinner, the list below has it. Let’s check it out!

Colomba Pasquale

Colomba Pasquale is a traditional Italian bread usually prepared during Easter. It has a shape that resembles a dove, and it is covered in sugar and studded with almonds. The dough is made with sugar, eggs, flour, yeast, and butter.


Panettone is one of the famous sweetbreads decorated with raisins and orange and lemon peels. In Italian culture, this type of bread befits the Christmas festivities. It represents an act of kindness and a wish for a happy holiday.


It originates from Verona. Its name comes from pan d’ oro, meaning golden bread. The egg yolk that is used during preparation has a yellow color. Pandoro is traditionally baked in a special star-shaped mold.

Torta delle Rose

Torta delle Rose means the cake of roses. This bread is a delicious bouquet that consists of rose-shaped yeasted bread rolls filled with sweetened buttercream. Italians believe that the Torta delle rose was for celebrating the marriage of Isabella d’ Este and Francesco II Gonzaga. Nevertheless, it is a simple but attractive cake when served with breakfast for special occasions.

Torta delle Rose


Certosino is a type of Italian bread that hails from Bologna. It contains almonds, nuts, pine, cocoa powder, honey, dark chocolate, and candied fruit. It also befits the Christmas holidays. Certosino normally contains yeast, so it requires a long storing time before it is consumed.

Food, Glorious Food!

With all the information in this article, you can now get into your kitchen and start making these sweetbread meat recipes. Be sure to follow each highlighted step for the best final outcomes.