What Does a Cow Tongue Taste Like

What does a cow tongue taste like? Well, if a cow managed to lick you on the tongue, the answer is probably wet and slobbery. All joking aside, cow tongue certainly has a unique taste. While you’ve probably never tried it – and are reading this article out of curiosity, it probably doesn’t taste the way you think.

While the tongue isn’t the first part of the cow you thought about eating, it’s certainly edible and used in plenty of dishes outside of the United States. Let’s explore a bit.

Cow tongue actually tastes a fair bit like steak. The taste is relatively mild compared to other non traditional meats. Let’s look further and see what you can do with cow tongue.

So, what does it taste like?

Cow tongues, brains, and hearts are the types of meat that you expect to see in a bar or old general store, in a large jar floating in a large amount of pickling brine. The method is mostly for preservation as when people first started eating meats and other animal items, they didn’t necessarily have a good way of preserving them.

That image in your head aside, cow tongue is made from muscle – just like steak. The texture is sometimes a bit chewy, which ultimately makes it taste like a cheaper cut of steak. Some have also compared the flavor to filet mignon, red meats, and lamb shank. 

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The actual taste does of course depend on the preparation. You’ll soon learn that cow tongue is quite versatile.

What is the texture like?

Cow tongue can have a chewy, fatty texture to it because it does have higher fat content. Otherwise, the texture isn’t particularly unlike other cuts of meat or beef.

What should I use cow tongue in?

Cow tongue is actually quite versatile, though not often eaten in the United States. The dish is quite common in Mexico and Asia though.

Cow tongue can be used in just about any dish regular meat could be used in, especially when minced or even ground.

The tongue of the bovine is quite common and really good in “Tacos de Lengua” which as you might guess, is tacos with cow tongue for meat. Cow tongue meat is easily shaved 

Cow tongue meat is fatty and quite easy to dice up and cut into chunks, making it ideal for dishes like tacos or anything with ground beef.

Korean and Japanese barbeques also use beef tongue frequently in their dishes and as a main course.

The good news is that beef tongue might taste better than regular beef to some – many people, especially those who don’t know it’s beef tongue, might not even notice a difference between regular beef and the tongue of the cow.

Cow tongue can be eaten as a main course. Keep in mind that cow tongues can weigh up to 3 pounds, so you probably won’t eaten an entire cow tongue (also, see nutritional facts below before trying to eat an entire cow tongue in one sitting) but with the right sauces it’s pretty good.

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Speaking of sauces, cow tongue could use a little more flavor. Since it tastes like mild steak, you could use anything from steak sauce like A1 for cow tongue alone, to cream based sauces or broth if you are using it in other dishes.

Add a bit of a snap with horse radish or worchestershire sauce, too.

What does it look like?

Cow tongue generally has an appearance like sliced beef. If you happen to have the top part of the tongue, you’ll also be able to see the taste buds. Cow tongue looks a bit like a lighter colored roast beef.

Is cow tongue good for you?

Yes and no. Cow tongue has plenty of zinc which helps boost your immune system. Eating cow tongue while fighting a virus isn’t a bad idea as zinc can help shorten the length of a cold.

Cow tongue also has plenty of iron. A deficiency of iron can lead to anemia, which leads to a feeling of fatigue when your blood doesn’t transport oxygen well. 

Cow tongue has a good supply of amino acids, which helps build and maintain muscle. If you are weight lifting or running, this can be great for rebuilding and growing your muscles.

Finally, tongue has vitamin B12, which plays a good role in your nervous system by producing the chemicals that support the sheaths for nervous system communication.

The bad news is that like steak, cow tongue can be quite fatty. Between calories and fat, a serving of beef tongue can take up about one third of your daily need for fat – that’s quite a bit. This is honestly part of what makes cow tongue taste good, and give it the potential to be the “melt in your mouth” kind of meat. While cow tongue tastes good, we wouldn’t suggest eating it every day.

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Eating a smaller amount of beef tongue on a regular basis clearly has health benefits though.

Is cow tongue cheap?

Cow tongue is priced similarly to regular ground beef – which at this particular moment is between $4 to $5 per pound. 

Where can I find cow tongue?

Let’s face one thing here: Cow tongue isn’t common in North America. Maybe it’s due to it’s potential appearance – or the fact that it hard the word “tongue” in it. Cow tongue will be difficult to find at the average grocery store which usually carries ground beef, chicken, steak, and others.

Find a local butcher or a specialty grocery store. If you have one in the area, you can also try a traditional Korean or otherwise Asian grocer.


Beef tongue actually tastes like a tender beef, which is quite nice considering what you would expect from a tongue. It certainly has some health benefits that are balanced by being rather high in fiat.