How Long to Cook Chitterlings?

Chitterlings cooked with Chinese peppers.

Looking to try your hand at cooking chitterlings? You likely already know that this traditional soul food dish takes time and care to prepare safely. Read on for the details on how long to cook chitterlings with four different cooking methods, plus some tips for cleaning them. 

Cooking time for chitterlings

You can cook chitlins on the stove, in the oven, in a slow cooker, or in a pressure cooker. The table below outlines cook times for each method. Note that this assumes you have already cleaned the chitterlings thoroughly. Notes for each cooking method are below the table. 

Chitterlings cooked with Chinese peppers.
Source: Envato.
MethodCook Time
Boiling 2-3 hours
Roasting Boil for 1 hour, then roast for 1 hour
Slow cooking Boil for 1 hour, then slow cook for 6-8 hours 
Pressure cooking Boil for 30 minutes, then pressure cook for 30 minutes 

Boiling

To boil chitterlings, add them to a big pot of water along with your preferred spices, herbs, and seasonings. Cover the pot and boil for at least 2 hours or until they reach your desired level of tenderness. Drain the water and add more spices as needed.

Roasting

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You can also oven-roast chitterlings. To start, precook the chitterlings by boiling them for 1 hour. As they boil, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Place the boiled chitlins on a roasting pan and cook them for 30 minutes to an hour. They’re done when they achieve a crispy and golden-brown texture. Watch them carefully because they can burn.

Slow cooking

Slow cooking is a popular prep method because it breaks down the tough texture of the intestine meat. Once again, you’ll boil them for 1 hour first. Then add the chitterlings to your slow cooker, along with your preferred spices, and let them simmer on low for 6 to 8 hours. Check them periodically and add broth as needed. 

Slow cooked chitlins go nicely with collard greens and hot sauce. 

Pressure cooking

If you’re short on time, pressure cooking in an Instant Pot is a faster cooking method. First, boil the cleaned chitterlings for 20 minutes. Then transfer them to your pressure cooker. Add water to cover them, along with spices. Cook at high pressure for 30 minutes and then allow the pressure to release naturally and slowly. This will help tenderize the chitlins. 

What about frying?

To fry chitterlings, boil them first in a large pot. Once they’ve boiled for 2 or 3 hours, drain them. Dip each piece in buttermilk, then roll it in flour. Deep fry the coated pieces at 375°F or 191°C until they’re crispy and brown. Drain on paper towels and serve. 

Cleaning chitterlings

Chitterlings are hard to clean, especially if you purchase them raw. If you want to avoid that process, ask your butcher for precooked chitterlings — they’re much safer and easier to prepare. 

If you only have access to raw chitterlings, follow these steps to clean them: 

  1. Gather and clean all the tools you’ll need ahead of time. These include cutting boards, knives, seasonings, pans and pots, measuring cups, colanders, paper towels, and antibacterial cleaner. You don’t want to be reaching around for things and inadvertently contaminating your kitchen. 
  2. Wear latex gloves.
  3. Once the necessary materials are within reach, boil the chitterlings for 5 minutes and drain them carefully in a colander in the sink. Do your best to avoid splashing the water on kitchen surfaces. 
  4. Soak the chitterlings in cold water, and check every piece for hair, straw, fecal matter, and undigested food. Keep the batch immersed in cold water throughout the observation period. Rinse the piece that needs such under running water in the sink, and transfer into another bowl of cold water for a few minutes.
  5. If you notice an unclear color in the soak water, rinse the chitterlings out, and soak again in cleaner water. The water should be clearer after the soaking period before you commence cooking.

Once you’re done cleaning, wash the materials and kitchen equipment used thoroughly with soap and water. Then, disinfect cutting surfaces and the kitchen floor.

For more details, see: How to cook chitterlings without the smell. You may also want to check out: What do chitlins taste like?

Prepping chitterlings

After the chitterlings have been thoroughly cleaned, switch to a fresh pair of gloves and then tear or cut the chitlins into whatever size you prefer. Most prefer them in one-inch sizes, but you can make them larger or smaller. Remember to use clean kitchen equipment before and after, so you don’t expose the chitterlings to germs all over again. 

Seasoning

Popular options for infusing flavor to chitlins include black pepper, garlic, cayenne pepper, chili powder, paprika, red pepper flakes, and any type of seasoning salt. You can also select any herb including rosemary, thyme, coriander, cardamom, marjoram, sage, basil, parsley, and oregano.

Fresh spices and vegetables like jalapenos, bell peppers, chiles, and habanero are also good choices. And ingredients like ginger, garlic, onions, shallots, celery, potatoes, leeks, and apple cider or white vinegar help mask the meat’s strong odor.

The chitterlings recipe below uses onion, salt, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes. 

Boiled Chitterlings Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs cleaned pork chitterlings
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp of minced garlic
  • 1 medium-sized chopped bell pepper
  • 2 tbsp of chopped jalapeno peppers
  • 1 tbsp of crushed red peppers
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 teaspoon of salt

Instructions

  1. Fill a 6-quart pot with cold water and place the chitterlings inside it.
  2. Begin to boil it, season it with salt, crushed red peppers, jalapeños, and garlic, and then add the onion. Make sure that before adding seasonings, the water is boiling very well to prevent the chitterlings from becoming tough.
  3. Put the pot on the stove and cover the pot. Increase the level of heat and continue to boil it. Let it boil for about 10 minutes, then reduce it to a medium level.
  4. Continue to simmer over medium heat for 3 to 4 hours until chitterlings are tender.
  5. Serve with spaghetti or collard greens.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 789Total Fat: 46gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 320mgSodium: 940mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 83g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

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