How to Clean Chitterlings and Chitlins

The correct way to clean Chitterlings (Click the image to watch a video)

Diane from Houston Texas reached out to us about how to clean chitterlings and chitlins. She said, "I remember the great taste of the chitterlings my grandma use to make when I was growing up. Since she's not around anymore to cook chitlins, I thought I would give it a try. I know you have to boil them until they are tender but I can't remember exactly how to clean chitterlings. Does anyone know how to clean chitlins? Thanks for your help." 

If you're like Diane maybe you need a helping hand.  If so, you can stop wondering how to clean chitterlings and chitlins? Here are a few really fast ways to clean chitlins.

How to Clean Chitterlings and Chitlins The Fast & Easy Way

Cleaning ChitterlingsCleaning Chitterlings

Dec 11, 2018
Can you freeze chitlans (by: Anonymous)
I want to know if you can freeze chitlans after you clean them before you cook them? I do not that them all the way I put them in cold water so can I refreeze them?

Nov 12, 2017 
Hand Cleaned Chitlins (by: Anonymous)
I suggest you purchase your Chitterlings from the Gourmet Food Center. They have been in Business for 30 years and have a reputation for having the Cleanest Chitterlings on the Market. Go to their website They Hand Clean all of their Chitterlings. 

Dec 22, 2016
The best way to clean chitterlings (by: Becky from Virginia)  
Soak chitterlings in salt water until thwarted. The first round of cleaning should be in very warm water. After you pull off the membrane place in cold vinegar water. Now in plain water without the vinegar rinse, rinse, and rinse until the water is clear and you don't see any membrane or dirt, etc.

Now it's time to cook the chitterlings. Put them in a pot of boiling water and boil for five minutes. Pour off water and drain. Wash the pot, return chitterlings , add your cooking seasonings some hog maws and small cut onion. When the chitlins are almost done add vinegar to your taste and add some hot sauce for color. I can't tell nobody when I am cooking them because everybody want some. Enjoy!

Dec 27, 2015
Question more so than comments (by: Anonymous) 
Has anyone ran across chitterlings that are snow white? I purchased a 10lb bucket of chitterlings and they were snow white instead of pink like I'm used to seeing. Advice? The brand was Sioux-Preme.

Nov 13, 2015
How to clean maws and chitterlings (by: Razor-Back-Bacon Hog)
First, I would always purify and sanitize my chitterlings and maws with white Vinegar. Soak the maws in a little beer for half hour, or so. Rinse them until the water is clear as stream water, coming out of Golden Colorado, Ups( that's a beer topic).

Then, I take a veggie bag (looks like a grated net, but oblong in shape) and stuff it with potatoes and onions, celery (leaves), also red chili flakes, garlic. Then take the Tampico Co. Menudo Mix, and drop one to two packages into a batch of 5lbs to 8lbs. This will provide a good flavor. Add a bit of kosher salt and a pinch of Arm and Hammer baking soda.

Let the chitterlings simmer unto ready for checking. If the surface water is too greasy and thick ( you didn't discard the fat, membranes as instructed. Skim off the greasy-foaming water, if you so desire and care about your arteries clogging up. Then enjoy them with coleslaw, corn bread, black-eyed peas, and ( a bottle of effervescence libation)

Jan 02, 2015
Cleaning chittlins recipe suggestion (by: Soul food Kitchen Queen) 
Cleaning chitterlings is like getting ready for the Olympics!! Nice to know you all clean them well! I agree with everyone. Once you have joined the ranks of a cleaner & preparer of a damn good pot of chittlins you earn respect by the elders and all family members.

Lol its like a...right of passage! I have joined the ranks!

I just want to add that once you have very thoroughly cleaned & rinsed your chittlins. I suggest a par-boil pour out that water (yuck you will see foam) wash the pot & rinse chitlins one more time and THEN add chicken broth, celery, bell pepper, onion, salt, pepper, garlic, bayleaf...I guarantee you will have a good pot of chittlins!

Happy New Year All!!

Nov 28, 2014
The chitterlings are awesome (by: Marilyn)
I ordered 20lbs of chitterlings from gourmet foods in Detroit. They were cleaned properly and I mean they were split, cut into manageable lengths, the membrane removed and the edges were super clean. I live in Chicago and the tubs were packed so perfectly that they were still frozen solid. They were delicious!

Nov 18, 2014
Cleaning Chitterlings and Hog Maws (by: Jena)
My family and I just love CHITTERLINGS AND HOG MAWS. Cleaning can be excessive. Before I began cleaning, I defrost and prewash. The pre-washing definitely defuse the smell. I remove the membrane too and prick the edges. I take my time. 

I wash them a second time and soak them in vinegar for 30 to 45 minutes. Wash them again and package them for freezing. I put in hog maws to make the chitterlings stretch. The maws should be semi frozen before cleaning and the fat will peel right off. Then I cut them into strips, wash, soak in vinegar, wash, and prepare for freezing. Maws must be completely cooked.

I add chitterling in with the maws, re-season and let them cook. Maws will not be overcooked but melt in your mouth. I loved reading the previous responses. We do have "removing the membrane in common. LOTS OF CLEAN COOKS!

Nov 11, 2014
New Way to Clean (by: Anonymous)
Ok I have South Carolina and New York history when it comes to cleaning chitlins. I found a much easier way to clean rather than slave all day. First once chitterlings are thawed out put in pot to boil. This attacks bacteria right away before washing. Boil for 10 to 20 minutes. Then put in large drain buckets(2). Put on plastic gloves and get soft or medium toothbrush unused please(lol).

Now after chitlins have cooled a bit use brush to identify the dirt on the skins. The reason you boil before cleaning is it does turn white or bleach like and makes it easier to identify the dirt. The boil itself already had eliminated 20 to 50% of bacteria and dirt.

Now like everyone says you separate the the thin layer but not always because it is part of the flavor chitlins. What I do is use the toot brush as it scraps and get the dirt much easier and faster than my fingers.  Trust me ya'll you save a lot more time doing this and I got this from my aunt back in the 70's but twisted it up a bit. Using a toothbrush is more effective.

After you clean them you run through water over and over again a few time. Then add your seasoning. I personally use chive flakes, garlic powder, accent season, tenderizer, bell pepper flakes, salt. The person that mention you shouldn't smell them right when they are cooking because if clean properly it should eliminate smell quickly. I sell plates sometimes during the late fall and winter and this system works very good.

Los from NY

Jan 05, 2012
Clean Chitterlings Gourmet Food Center (by: Bruce) 
Considering the price of gas in today's economy. I think the packaging, shipping, and handling price to have the chitlins delivered to you from the Gourmet Food Center is very reasonable.

Dec 30, 2011
How to Cleaning Chitterlings (by: Mary -Alabama Girl)
After cleaning, by removing that thin layer, making sure the edges are checked completely. I then do an inspection one by one. After several rinsing in hot water, put them in a pot of hot water covering them. Bringing to a boil. If there are any dark to yellow spots they can be spotted, for they turn very white in the hot boiling water. Then comes the last inspection, and your seasoning.
I don't share with others, I don't eat anyone else's nor do anyone else eat mine. ENJOY!! That's good eating.

Nov 28, 2011
Cleaning Chitterlings (by: Ms. Betty)
I am glad to hear that people do realize that you have to remove that layer of skin to thoroughly clean a chitterlings. The already pre-cleaned or just open package, rinse and cook is misleading to some because you still have to go through each one and pull that layer of skin off and then rinse them until the water is clear. I have never run into chitterlings in the store that were clean enough for me to just put in a pot and cook. If you purchase a 5lb package of chitterlings after cleaning them you have about 2.5 lbs of chitterlings to eat.

Feb 21, 2011
Clean Chitterlings Gourmet Food Center by: Bruce
This recommendation is by Bruce. Go to the website Chitlins .net and buy them already Hand Cleaned. They are delivered to your door 100 per cent Hand Cleaned.
Bruce thanks for the recommendation.
I just visited the website. Today, they're offering a special where they deliver 10 pounds of frozen, hand-cleaned, chitterlings to your doorstep. Although the price of $24.99 is reasonable for that much of pre-cleaned chitlins, the $13.15 charge for shipping and taxes is a little high.

Nov 22, 2010 
Cleaning Chitterlings (by: Anonymous)
Diane, I agree with you. Once you have removed the inner lining the job is pretty much done. Like you, I remove the inner lining, then inspect at least twice more to make sure I didn't miss anything. I also continue to rinse several times to make sure the water is clean. Once completed the water around the chitterlings should be clear. My mom and I clean ours early and freeze them. When its time for cooking we inspect again and rinse.

Before cooking we also per-boil for at least 5 minutes, re-rinse, and then boil for cooking and adding seasoning. My rule of thumb is they should not have a smell while cooking. If you add potatoes, peppers, onions etc this will help with that. Also keep in mind that they do have some bacteria because they are intestines so please make sure they are properly cleaned to protect yourself and family from illness.

And like my momma always told don't eat every bodies chitterlings because some folk really don't know how to clean them and you don't want to eat trash...Best of luck to you all.

Happy Holidays!

Dec 31, 2009
Easier Way to Clean (by: TNick)  

Diane, Remove the intestinal lining from the intestine. That will remove most of the fat and foreign material. It's like peeling apart window film or contact paper, but it saves time in the long run. Then go back over and inspect a second and even third time. Rinse in cold and prepare as desired.

Dec 21, 2008
Clean Chitterlings (by: Soul Food Chef )
Its good to see you worked up enough nerve to try your hand at fixing a dish your Grandma use to make. Chitlin cleaning is not too difficult, but if you get it wrong to can cause you and your family to get real sick. The chitterlings must be repeatedly soaked and rinsed during several different cycles. During which you will hand pick and remove excess fat and any fecal matter that is present. Once cleaned, add the meat to your pot with spices and bring to a boil. Skim away any foam that is produced and when foam is no longer present reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender.