Buffalo Sweetbreads with Blue Cheese Dressing

Southern Kitchen
Buffalo Sweetbreads with Blue Cheese Dressing

About the recipe

Ever the misnomer, sweetbreads are actually the thymus gland, typically harvested from veal, beef or lamb. Veal sweetbreads are likely the most readily available and have the mildest flavor. Sometimes called the “gateway offal,” crispy sweetbreads carry a similar texture and flavor to chicken nuggets. With that in mind, we’re preparing them in the same manner as Buffalo wings. Sweetbreads require some cleaning, but the result is worth the effort.

We like to use Frank’s hot sauce in this recipe.

Serves: 4

Hands On Time: 1 hour and 0 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 0 minutes


Blue Cheese Dressing

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


1 yellow onion, quartered

6 cloves garlic, peeled

3 bay leaves

Kosher salt

1 pound veal sweetbreads, rinsed

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning

1 cup vegetable oil

Bottled Buffalo hot sauce, for serving

Carrot and celery sticks, for serving


To make the blue cheese dressing: In a food processor or blender, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, 1/4 cup of the blue cheese, the lemon juice and the Worcestershire sauce. Pureé until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the remaining blue cheese. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

To make the sweetbreads: Fill a large stockpot or Dutch oven three-quarters full of water. Add the onion, garlic and bay leaves, then season generously with salt. Bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat.

When the water is simmering, add the sweetbreads and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer the sweetbreads to a strainer and run under cold running water until cool. Use a knife to trim away the tough exterior membranes and cut the sweetbreads into approximately 2-inch pieces.

In a medium bowl, combine the sweetbread pieces with the buttermilk. In a second medium bowl, whisk together the flour and Old Bay, then season with salt.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. While the oil is heating, dredge the sweetbreads in the flour mixture until completely coated. When the oil is shimmering, tap off the excess flour from the sweetbreads and place into the hot oil. Cook until golden brown on the first side, 3 to 5 minutes, then flip and cook on the second side until crisp and golden, about 3 minutes.

Transfer the sweetbreads to a third medium bowl and toss with the Buffalo sauce to taste. Serve with the blue cheese dressing and carrot and celery sticks.