It is known that the elasticity of liver reduces progressively in the case of diffuse liver disease. Currently, the diagnosis of diffuse liver disease requires a biopsy, which is an invasive procedure. In this paper, we evaluate and report a noninvasive method that can be used to quantify liver stiffness using quasi-static ultrasound elastography approach. Quasi-static elastography is popular in clinical applications where the qualitative assessment of relative tissue stiffness is enough, whereas its potential is relatively underutilized in liver imaging due to lack of local stiffness contrast in the case of diffuse liver disease. Recently, we demonstrated an approach of using a calibrated reference layer to produce quantitative modulus elastograms of the target tissue in simulations and phantom experiments. In a separate work, we reported the development of a compact handheld device to reduce inter- and intraoperator variability in freehand elastography. In this work, we have integrated the reference layer with a handheld controlled compression device and evaluate it for quantitative liver stiffness imaging application. The performance of this technique was assessed on ex vivo goat liver samples. The Young’s modulus values obtained from indentation measurements of liver samples acted as the ground truth for comparison. The results from this work demonstrate that by combining the handheld device along with reference layer, the estimated Young’s modulus value approaches the ground truth with less error compared with that obtained using freehand compression (8% vs. 15%). The results suggest that the intra- and interoperator reproducibility of the liver elasticity also improved when using the handheld device. Elastography with a handheld compression device and reference layer is a reliable and simple technique to provide a quantitative measure of elasticity. © The Author(s) 2020.