Pâté is one of my favorite delicacies. Of course, it helps that I like liver – a lot. This pâté has a subtle liver flavor because it’s made with mild chicken livers. It’s silky smooth and spreadable.


Pâté is not to be confused with foie gras, which are actual lobes of fattened liver, usually goose, typically served in slices with a fruit compote of some sort.

There are also terrines, sometimes called Terrines de Campagne, which are dense loaves made from coarsely ground meats, that typically don’t include liver. Terrine slices are fabulous as part of an aprés-ski spread, especially for non-liver lovers.

Quite often in the fall or winter, I’ll make this simple and inexpensive pâté, even though I’m usually the only one who enjoys it. I like it served the traditional way – on toast points or bread, as part of an hors d’oeuvres platter.

This recipe is my mother’s. I’ve seen similar recipes, but I just stick to this one because it always comes out perfectly. Here it is:



2 pounds chicken livers, at room temperature
1 large onion, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
Few bay leaves
2 sticks butter
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Pinch of salt
A few grindings black pepper
4 tablespoons cognac

The first thing that needs to be done is clean the livers. There are membranes and sometimes little blobs of fat that need to be removed. You’ll feel the membranes – just do your best to pull on them while holding the livers in the other hand, until you can pull them out. Then discard. Continue with all the livers, rinsing them as you go, and placing them in a colander.

Place all of the livers on paper towels to dry; set aside.

Meanwhile, have all of your aromatics ready to go. Then heat both sticks of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. I like to brown the butter slightly.

When the butter is bubbling, add the onion, garlic, and bay leaves. Sauté for 5 minutes.

Add the livers to the skillet, plus the thyme, allspice, salt, and pepper. After about 5 minutes of cooking and occasional stirring, add the cognac. Stir the mixture and let it cook for another minute or so. Turn off the heat and let everything cool down.

When it’s all cooled, cover the mixture and place in the refrigerator overnight. Before making the pâté, bring the liver mixture to room temperature or even warm gently.

Remove the bay leaves. Place about half of the livers in a blender, not including all of the liquid. Have a rubber spatula handy.

Blend on low; it will look like it won’t blend, but it really will. Be patient with the mixture. Move it around with the spatula, and blend again.


Once it’s smooth, pour into a terrine, or loaf-shaped mold, then repeat with the remaining liver mixture. The terrine I used measures 4 1/2″ x 11 3/4″, and is 3 3/4″ deep, but you can use multiple dishes as well.

Chill the pâté, covered, for about 2 hours. Then, cover it with about 1/4″ of duck fat or slightly warm butter. Then cover again and keep in the refrigerator for two days before using.

Serve at room temperature, with bread or toasts alongside a jam, chutney, or my favorite – Dijon mustard.

note: Except for foie gras, the terms pâté and terrine can be used interchangeably. I took a picture of this curried chicken and raisin “pâté” when I was wandering through Le District in NYC recently, (France’s version of Eataly,) and I bet it’s more of a meat terrine, and mostly likely doesn’t contain liver. To me, a pâté is smooth, and a terrine coarse in texture, sometimes even containing sausages or eggs. But never make assumptions. Do keep in mind that if you dislike liver, you could still enjoy terrines.


By Published On: December 28th, 201655 Comments on Pâté

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. Ester December 28, 2016 at 7:42 AM - Reply

    Seems delicious!

  2. David Crichton December 28, 2016 at 7:44 AM - Reply

    Hi Mimi, what a great overview of some fantastic terrines and pates. I made a ham hock terrine for xmas eve with a loads of cornichons and parsley. it was a lovely basic terrine with lots of room for improvement. I’ve made a few chicken liver pates, I always soak mine in milk first. Is this something you do or is it just a fallacy?

    Hope you have a great NY btw.

    • chef mimi December 28, 2016 at 6:21 PM - Reply

      Wow. A ham hock terrine with cornichons inside?!!! So interesting. Ive never heard the thing about milk. I wonder what it is supposed to do?

      • David Crichton December 29, 2016 at 2:17 AM

        It’s supposed to take a some of the bitter/irony taste away. I think!

      • chef mimi December 29, 2016 at 8:50 AM

        Maybe they needed to clean the livers better?!! Interesting, tho. Happy New Year’s my talented friend!

  3. Gerlinde @ Sunnycovechef December 28, 2016 at 9:02 AM - Reply

    I used to mak a simple pate for my father in law. He loved it . These days I make a country terrine for the holidays. I like your recipe and have to try it .

    • chef mimi December 28, 2016 at 6:20 PM - Reply

      It’s just a simple pate, but I love love all versions of terrines, at least those I’ve tried or had in pubs!

  4. Nadia December 28, 2016 at 9:07 AM - Reply

    Definitely one of life’s great delicacies. Nothing like a good terrine. I actually just made a pork and beef terrine with chestnuts this morning. Can’t wait to try it.

  5. Barbara December 28, 2016 at 9:39 AM - Reply

    Thanks for sharing this Mimi – I too, love chicken livers and going on a Paleo diet come January, this is a luxury that will be allowed! Happy 2017!

  6. sa.fifer December 28, 2016 at 12:00 PM - Reply

    Reblogged this on A single serving and commented:
    This looks like a wonderful, simple recipe!

    • chef mimi December 28, 2016 at 6:18 PM - Reply

      Thank you!

      • sa.fifer December 29, 2016 at 11:11 AM

        You’re most welcome. That was just too good not to share. Amazingly simple.

  7. Tasty Eats Ronit Penso December 28, 2016 at 12:09 PM - Reply

    Mouthwatering here – chicken liver pate is one of my favorites and yours perfect! :)

    • chef mimi December 28, 2016 at 6:17 PM - Reply

      Thank you. Such great stuff! And so peasanty!

  8. Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward December 28, 2016 at 12:16 PM - Reply

    I grew up eating chicken liver and onions. Love liver, too!!!

    • chef mimi December 28, 2016 at 6:17 PM - Reply

      I really like beef liver and onions. Dont’ know why… oh,, and eggs!

  9. anotherfoodieblogger December 28, 2016 at 2:06 PM - Reply

    Mmmmm I love chicken liver pate, and like you, I am the only one who eats it in this house. I’m glad to have your trusted recipe on hand next time I get a craving for chicken livers.

    • chef mimi December 28, 2016 at 6:16 PM - Reply

      Isn’t that sad?!! More for us, I guess!

  10. Daniel M. Pliska December 28, 2016 at 2:31 PM - Reply

    Great post! I like to marinade my chicken or duck livers prior to preparing a mousse of pate also technically known as a farce gratin.

    • chef mimi December 28, 2016 at 6:16 PM - Reply

      I will have to try that! Thank you!

      • Daniel M. Pliska December 28, 2016 at 7:52 PM

        Try it with equal parts port wine, sherry and brandy. Great flavor!

      • chef mimi December 28, 2016 at 8:41 PM


  11. centerforcreativework December 28, 2016 at 4:52 PM - Reply

    My wife and I love chicken livers. Can’t wait to make this pâté!

  12. Laura @ Feast Wisely December 28, 2016 at 6:10 PM - Reply

    Lovely post Chef Mimi – especially because I’m a pate fan too – I’ll be trying the addition of allspice from here in!

  13. Indu December 28, 2016 at 10:10 PM - Reply

    I love chicken livers and of late have been on a Paleo autoimmune diet where I need to eat more of organ meat. I will have to try your recipe. It looks fabulous!

  14. Sumith December 29, 2016 at 6:17 AM - Reply

    Wow love pate!! Love to eat and to make!!

  15. Jeff the Chef December 29, 2016 at 7:46 AM - Reply

    I love paté. I make it from a recipe similar to yours, but I’ve never considered a layer of duck fat or butter. I will from now on, though – it sounds delicious! I put my paté into small containers and put half of them in the freezer. It freezes perfectly.

    • chef mimi December 29, 2016 at 8:50 AM - Reply

      I think the fat procedure was for storage purposes in the old days without refrigeration. The oil seals the air out. But I still like a little layer of some kind of fat because it prevents discoloration. If I’m going to re-serve the pate, I’ll scrape it smooth, and add more fat.

  16. Michelle December 29, 2016 at 8:57 PM - Reply

    Just as your husband won’t eat fruit with meat, mine won’t eat liver (except foie gras, to which he makes an exception). Your pâté looks absolutely delicious to me, though. Happy new year!

    • chef mimi December 29, 2016 at 9:08 PM - Reply

      Mine won’t eat liver of any sort in anything either. Those are my friend’s hands in the photo – the only other person who I know who loves liver!!! They’re just missing out…

      • Michelle December 29, 2016 at 9:09 PM

        They are!

  17. Sabine December 30, 2016 at 7:26 AM - Reply

    I adore pâtés! And liver, but the latter isn´t so welcome in my family either . That´s why this year, I went for pâté en croûte instead – no giblets involved, so anyone liked it ;-)
    happy holidays!!

    • chef mimi December 30, 2016 at 6:38 PM - Reply

      That’s smart. And with the crust the presentation is much prettier!

  18. gypsygurl64 December 30, 2016 at 9:27 AM - Reply

    I grew up in Louisiana where we had liver and onion smothered in gravy! Very yummy! We use chicken livers in dirty rice and at Thanksgiving when we make cornbread dressing/stuffing. I’ve never tried pate’. I might have to try this next.

  19. Johnny Hepburn December 30, 2016 at 4:30 PM - Reply

    Couldn’t help but notice how perfectly applied the red nail varnish is – and that’s the hand of your friend. Is she a picture straightener, too?!
    – Even though I’m not especially keen on offal I’ve made pate several times. Love the stuff during autumn & winter – fattening my skinny self up, I suppose. Really like your recipe with the allspice – will have to try it.
    – Happy New Year!

    • chef mimi December 30, 2016 at 6:36 PM - Reply

      That’s very funny! That’s actually my thumb, but someone else did the work! Pate made this way, with all of the butter, is quite caloric. But I don’t care!!! Happy New Year!

  20. Karen December 31, 2016 at 8:21 AM - Reply

    A slice of your pâté and a glass of Champagne would be a wonderful way to celebrate the New Year. Wishing you all the best in 2017.

    • chef mimi December 31, 2016 at 5:24 PM - Reply

      You’re so right! I wish I had some leftover just for myself! Happy New Year!

  21. Our Growing Paynes December 31, 2016 at 10:48 AM - Reply

    This makes me want to try to make pâté. I love the stuff. :) Happy New Year!

  22. Cocoa & Lavender January 1, 2017 at 3:13 AM - Reply

    I am a huge fan of liver, too. And foie gras, which I seared for Christmas Eve with a red current compote. I don’t have a good basic liver pâté recipe… or, should I say that I didn’t till today? I can’t wait to get home and try this, Mimi – I plan to serve it for Twelfth Night! Happy New Year!

    • chef mimi January 1, 2017 at 5:20 PM - Reply

      Sounds wonderful! Stephane made an actual foie gras pate for me when I visited him and it was incredible. Actual foie gras, some seasoning, some Armagnac, a little baking, and that was it. Quite decadent and lovely!

  23. eliotthecat January 2, 2017 at 4:29 PM - Reply

    It actually is a beautiful dish (as it was cooking in your photos). :)

  24. ChgoJohn January 3, 2017 at 8:27 AM - Reply

    Wonderful pâté tutorial, Mimi. I’ve often thought of attempting to make it but didn’t have a recipe I trusted — until now. Thanks for sharing yours.

  25. Frank Fariello January 3, 2017 at 12:42 PM - Reply

    You’re a cook after my own heart, Mimi. Love liver and especially pate!

  26. Cynthia | What A Girl Eats November 19, 2018 at 3:27 PM - Reply

    One of my all time favorites Mimi! Love it!

    • chef mimi November 19, 2018 at 3:33 PM - Reply

      Thank you!

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