Where To Buy Beef Sweetbread (And Why You Shouldn’t)

Beef sweetbreads are a popular cut in many Latin American countries and some European cuisines.

However, there are still many people who don’t know what beef sweetbreads are or haven’t tried them yet.

Are they a somewhat meat cut of beef that is used in a sweet bread recipe? Let’s learn more about this ingredient in this article and find out where to buy the best beef sweetbreads.

What are beef sweetbreads?

Veal Sweetbreads, Grain Fed, Frozen - 10 Lb

The name of this beef cut has long created many misconceptions about sweetbreads.

Beef sweetbreads refer to the thymus or pancreas glands (the organ meat), normally from a young cow, or calf.

They are not the bread that tastes sweet, but this term is believed to be derived from the fact that the thymus and pancreas glands have a sweet and rich taste, in contrast to the savory taste from regular muscle meat, and bread may come from the Old English “brǣd”, which means flesh.

Beef sweetbreads have a tender, smooth, and creamy texture.

They are usually soaked in saltwater and milk then dried out before being breaded and fried to achieve a crispy crust but still soft inside.

Fried beef sweetbreads can perfectly match an acidic or savory sauce and served as an individual dish.

They can also be used in stuffing or making pate.

How many calories are in beef sweetbreads?

Beef sweetbreads are an ideal option for those who are following a low-carb diet.

This ingredient is pretty high in calories although it isn’t made of muscle meat.

On average, a serving size of four ounces (or 113 grams) of beef sweetbreads will offer 267 calories and are free of carbohydrates.

Moreover, beef sweetbreads are also a rich source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin K, A, and E, B-vitamins, and many essential nutrients for our bodies.

In general, it is true to say that beef sweetbreads are a healthy option to add to your diet.

How to choose the best beef sweetbreads?

Sweetbreads are not widely sold like regular meat cuts like brisket or ribeye steak.

Moreover, the organs of cattle can be usually improperly stored and illegally sold on the market.

Therefore, you need to keep your eyes on the selection process to choose the best beef sweetbreads for your family’s meal:

1. Buy beef sweetbreads from a reputable butcher

Look for beef sweetbreads in a reliable butcher because they will have sweetbreads with a clear origin and from high-quality beef.

Additionally, beef sweetbreads sold in a butcher shop will have a more affordable price compared to in other places.

2. Choose grass-fed beef sweetbreads if possible 

Beef from a grass-fed cow will be more expensive, so do the sweetbreads.

However, the quality will be worth the price.

So if you can afford and have a chance to buy grass-fed beef sweetbreads, just purchase a little more than your family consumption and properly store for later uses.

3. Avoid buying beef sweetbreads that have blood or weird spots with any discoloration or spoilage sign

One of the key factors to having the best beef sweetbreads is to avoid buying the one that has any discoloration and signs of contamination like blood, black, or grey spots, and watery texture.

The fresh beef sweetbreads should look pale to white with a soft but still firm texture.

Where to buy beef sweetbreads?

Beef sweetbreads are not really popular like conventional meat cuts, but it doesn’t mean that you cannot buy beef sweetbreads near your family.

Here are some places where you can find the best beef sweetbreads:

1. Local butcher shops

The best place to buy beef sweetbreads is at a local butcher.

This is where you can buy the freshest sweetbreads at a reasonable price.

2. Grocery store or supermarket

You can also purchase beef sweetbreads in the meat section next to other beef cuts in a grocery store or supermarket.

The higher chance that they can be found in a large chain supermarket like Walmart or Costco with a larger quantity rather than in a small local meat store.

3. Online retailer

Veal Sweetbreads, Grain Fed, Frozen - 10 Lb

Certain retailers support the online shopping method so that customers can easily order beef sweetbreads from their websites.

When buying beef sweetbreads online, one thing to keep in mind is reading the feedback from other customers who have experienced buying from these retailers to ensure the highest quality.


Beef sweetbreads are different from regular beef cuts.

They are offal meat from the calves.

Beef sweetbreads can be found in butcher shops, specialty stores where meat is sold, grocery stores that carry fresh meats on their meat counter, ethnic food markets and online retailers like Amazon and eBay which sell foods internationally.

Which place sounds best to you and what dish you are going to make from beef sweetbreads? Let us know in the comments below.

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