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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
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 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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