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My husband and I honeymooned in Paris. It was every bit as romantic and inspiring as you imagine it would be — and one of the things it inspired me to do was learn how to make pate. While I can’t deliver the Eiffel Tower to your backyard, you can make this chicken liver pate recipe at home and enjoy a decadent and delicious evening with the flavors of Paris right at your kitchen table. It’s deliciously smooth, creamy, and so versatile, yet often underrated as an appetizer or lunchtime companion. And it brings me back to Paris every time.
What Is Pate?
Pate is a type of luxurious and lavish spread usually made from livers of duck, chicken, goose, pork, or veal. It is a classic French recipe that has become increasingly popular worldwide due to its distinctive flavors and textures.
Why You’ll Love This Chicken Liver Pate Recipe
- Slightly sweet, earthy flavor
- Silky smooth, creamy, and luxurious
- Simple ingredients
- Surprisingly easy to make
- Packed with all the nutrients of organ meat, including vitamin A, vitamin B-12, vitamin B-6, riboflavin, folate, iron, zinc, phosphorus, and protein
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for chicken pate, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Chicken Livers – Traditional French pate recipes often use duck or goose liver, which you can do if you can find it. But since fresh chicken liver is much more accessible and less expensive, I went that route.
- Unsalted Butter – I used grass-fed butter here, but ghee, schmaltz, chicken fat, or duck fat are totally fine to use instead if you choose.
- Heavy Cream – When I tried pate in France, I realized just how creamy, smooth, and decadent it can be. The secret in this chicken liver pate recipe is heavy cream. You could also use coconut cream if you prefer.
- Water – While this chicken liver pate recipe uses water to simmer, you can certainly swap out the water for Cognac (or any brandy) if you’d prefer a more traditional flavor.
- Shallot – Similar to an onion, the shallot gives this chicken liver pate recipe a mild sweetness with just a hint of garlic flavor.
- Garlic – I used fresh garlic for the best flavor, but you could use 2 teaspoons jarred minced garlic for convenience.
- Seasoning – For the best chicken liver pate recipe, you’ll use fresh thyme leaves, sea salt and black pepper. If needed, you can also substitute 1 teaspoon dried thyme in place of the tablespoon of fresh thyme, or use other fresh herbs if you prefer.
How To Make Pate
This section shows how to make chicken liver pate, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Trim the livers. Cut the white connective tissue from the chicken livers.
- Saute the aromatics. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots. Cook until fragrant.
- Simmer. Add chicken livers, sea salt, black pepper, thyme leaves, and water to the pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover with a lid. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until livers are light brown on the outside and barely pink inside.
- Drain. Turn off the heat. Leave livers covered in the pan for a few minutes, then drain liquid from the pan.
- Puree. Transfer everything from the pan to a blender or food processor. Puree, gradually adding the cream and remaining butter, until smooth.
TIP: Want it creamier?
Simply add additional cream for more body and smoothness in the pate.
- Cover. Transfer liver pate to ramekins (or a bowl also works). Cover tightly with plastic wrap, with plastic touching the top of the pate (this prevents a film from forming), and secure with rubber bands.
- Chill. Refrigerate the pate until firm. I like to garnish with more fresh thyme.
Storing chicken liver pate properly is key for keeping it safe to eat. Like with many other cooked dishes, the best place to store chicken liver pate is in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for approximately 3-4 days after preparation and should never be left at room temperature. Chilling not only lets it set, but also lets the flavors develop.
Can You Freeze Pate?
Yes, you can freeze pate, though the texture can change slightly. Thaw overnight in the fridge before enjoying.
How To Eat Pate
Liver pate is creamy and smooth in texture, savory and spreadable like a fine paste – the perfect canvas for crudité sticks or toasted breads. Here are some of my favorite ways to take this spread to the next level.
- Crackers – The easiest way to eat liver pate is to simply spread it on some crackers. Choose your favorite kind. I like almond flour crackers (shown in the photo above) or flax seed crackers.
- Charcuterie Board – Serve this luxurious liver pate as part of your charcuterie board. Since it’s keto-friendly, you could even place it on a low carb charcuterie board.
- Bread – Spread the pate on bread or toast. For healthier options, try coconut flour bread, chewy almond flour bread, or toast some flaxseed bread.
- Veggies – Pair pate with regular or pickled cucumbers, celery, or caramelized onions. Pate would also taste great in a cucumber sub.
Tools To Make The Best French Pate
- Skillet – I like this skillet because it is oven safe, so you can use it for a variety of different recipes.
- Food Processor – I recommend using a food processor to make the pate extra smooth, but a high-powered blender would work as well.
- Ramekins – This size is perfect for this pate recipe.
Chicken Liver Pate Recipe
Chicken Liver Pate Recipe (Creamy & Easy!)
This simple chicken liver pate recipe is silky smooth and creamy, thanks to a secret ingredient. It's surprisingly easy to make!
Recipe VideoTap on the image below to watch the video.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Trim the white connective tissue from the chicken livers.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots. Cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
Add the chicken livers, thyme, sea salt, black pepper, and water to the pan. Turn up the heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cover with a lid. Simmer for 4-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the livers are light brown on the outside and barely pink inside.
Turn off the heat. Leave the livers covered in the pan for 5 minutes, then drain the liquid from the pan.
Transfer the liver mixture to a blender or food processor. Puree, gradually adding the cream and remaining butter, until smooth. (Feel free to add additional cream to make it creamier.) Blend in additional sea salt and black pepper to taste.
Transfer the pate to ramekins. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, with the plastic touching the top of the pate (try to avoid having air in direct contact with the top). Secure the plastic wrap around the ramekins with rubber bands to keep air out. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours, or overnight, until firm.
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Serving size: 1/4 cup
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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Adding water is new to me. So clever! It’s much easier to eat liver pate when it is as smooth and creamy as this.
So decadent! I used jarred garlic and dried thyme, and it was still delicious.
I was skeptical… My grandpa wanted some for his birthday so I told him I would make it. I found this recipe and everyone really like it. Super easy to make and flavorful. Will make again.
I love pate of any kind and this was absolutely delicious!! And so easy to make! You won’t be disappointed if you try this recipe. Thank for posting.
The heavy cream was unexpected but really makes this recipe great. Better than any other pate I’ve tasted.
I love your recipes and would do so even more if you enabled us to switch to metric measures without having to open a conversion table on another website – thanks
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Nyasha, At the top of the recipe card you can switch the recipe from US Customary to Metric.
Can I use evoo instead of butter?
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Natalie, Yes that would work.
Just made this YUM!!! So easy to make & came out delicious!
Haven’t tried it yet, looks great! I wanted to comment on the wrapping after cooking.
I used to make pate with my mum and she would flatten the top of each container of pate and put a thin layer of melted butter over the top that would harden and make an air tight seal. That way you can just use the normal container lid, a wax wrap etc instead of plastic.
Wholesome Yum M0
Hi Sara, That’s a great tip! Thanks❤️
Hi there – wondering if it’s possible to make this dairy free?! What can I substitute for ghee or butter (I don’t eat margarine either). Would love to know if there’s a good substitute?! thank you
Wholesome Yum M0
Hi KM, The best and most flavorful substitute for butter in this recipe would be schmaltz (chicken fat).
Very similar to my chicken liver pate recipe, but mine calls for a bit of mace (related to nutmeg) and some cognac. Try it, it’s delicious that way! I always use my cuisinart food processor for making mine (rather than a blender or immersion mixer). Otherwise you might wind up with chunks. I never add water to the pan when cooking though – I think that would dilute flavors. Just butter and the cream when processing. BTW: I’ve seen this made with bits of black truffle…totally decadent.
I used ghee in this recipe. After leaving it in the fridge overnight, a lot of the ghee had floated to the top and congealed. Even overflowing and sticking the ramekin to my shelf. I scrapped off the ghee. Taste was wonderful!
I recently retired to Mexico and I experience ingredient problems from time to time. One is coconut cream, which, around here I cream of coconut with sugar and a boat load of additives. Do you think full fat coconut milk would work? A friend of mine raises chickens and he just gave me 15 free range birds-worth of livers!
Maya | Wholesome Yum0
Hi Barbara, Yes, you can use full-fat coconut milk. Just put the can in the fridge overnight, and the cream will rise to the top, then you can just skim that off.
I would like to incorporate more liver into our Keto diet and I’ve had and enjoyed pate in the past so am interested in trying your recipe. I am wondering though, can it be made using a regular blender or immersion blender? I have both, which are fairly new but not specifically “high powered”. I don’t have a food processor.
Maya | Wholesome Yum0
I haven’t tried it with either of those. It might work, it just might be more effort and time to get it smooth.
Would coconut oil work in place of butter, do you think? I am not paleo, but I do keep kosher and would like to try this recipe.
Maya | Wholesome Yum0
Hi Beth, It probably would, but the flavor would be different. I listed the recipe as paleo since many following it are ok with grass-fed butter, but understand that is not your concern. My understanding is butter can be kosher as long as it’s labeled as such, so you can try looking for that. Otherwise please let me know how it goes if you try the coconut oil!
Thanks for the reply. In the Kosher dietary laws, meat products and dairy products may not be mixed at all regardless of their individual status. I’ll figure something out.
Maya | Wholesome Yum0
Sorry, of course you are right! I forgot about that. Please let me know how it goes if you try the coconut oil version!
If she uses the type of coconut oil that doesn’t have the coconut taste—I believe the Soectrum brand and one that Trader Joe’s carries don’t have a coconut taste—it could probably work. I would add a dash of salt to it.
I think chicken fat might work. At least my kosher grandmother used it.
What is a serving size? It lists nutrition facts but I’m not sure how many servings I had. 😉
Maya | Wholesome Yum0
Hello! One serving would be 1/8 of the entire recipe. 🙂
How long will this keep in the refrigerator? Do you think it could be frozen?
Hi Denise, It will keep in the refrigerator for at least a week (maybe longer – a week is the longest I have tried). It can be frozen as well, and you can thaw it in the refrigerator. Hope this helps!
Stunning photos! Pinned!
Thank you so much, Tasha!