Chicken Liver Pâté

Chicken liver pâté. Looks atrocious. Tastes great.

In fact, this is one of those instances where you pity the fool who refuses to eat something because it doesn’t look appetizing. And then you’re secretly happy because that means there’s more for you. (By the way, the secret to serving or photographing unattractive food? Put it on a pretty plate.)

Unlike many of the pâtés we make that require a weighted terrine in a water bath, this one is relatively easy. You just trim the chicken livers of their connective tissue, sauté them in butter with shallots, garlic, and capers, add a little brandy, and then purée with cream and a little more butter. It’s best serve chilled, and because of its richness, a little goes a long way.

Chicken Liver Pâté Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 16 as an appetizer.

If you want, you can soak the chicken livers in milk for an hour or so before proceeding with the recipe. Soaking the livers in milk will take a bit of the edge off the liver and make them taste more mild. This recipe makes a lot. You can easily halve (or double).



  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/3 cup minced shallot
  • 1 pound chicken livers
  • Salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp capers
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/4 cup cream



1 Trim any fat or connective tissue from the livers and discard.

2 Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large sauté pan on medium heat and let the butter brown, about 3-5 minutes. Do not let it burn.

3 Add the shallots and sauté for 1 minute. Add the livers. Be sure to space them well in the pan so they can brown more easily. Sprinkle salt over the livers. Flip the livers when one side browns, about 2 minutes. Once the livers have browned, add the capers, thyme, garlic, and anchovy paste if using, and sauté another minute.


4 Take the pan off the heat and add the brandy. (Be careful when you return it to the heat, as it could flame up, especially if you are using a gas range. If it does, cover the pan for a moment.) Turn the heat to high and boil down the brandy to the consistency of syrup, about 1-2 minutes. Turn off heat and allow the mixture to cool.

5 Put the mixture into a food processor or blender and pulse a few times to combine. Add the remaining butter and the cream and purée. The mixture will look a little loose, but it will firm up in the fridge. Pack the pâté into ramekins or a small bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before using.

The pâté will last a week or so in the fridge. If you want to preserve it for up to a month, pour a little melted lard or clarified putter on top to seal. Each time you dip into the pâté, you will need to reseal the top to preserve it.

Serve spread on crackers or baguette slices.

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Chicken Liver Paté with Sherry and Winter Spices - from Choosy Beggars
Liver Paté with Creme Fraiche - from Christine Cooks
Italian Style Chicken Liver Paté - from Gastronomy Blog


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Showing 4 of 28 Comments

  • Rocky Mountain Woman

    I love pate! I have never tried to make it though. I’ll have to try this….

    Happy New Year!!!

  • Michelle

    It must be a sign this is the 2nd recipe I’ve seen in 24hrs for Chicken Liver Pate. I do believe I’m gonna have to try it. However, try as I might I just can not get past the taste of capers, can I up the anchovies (those I like:P)? Or is there another possible sub?

    Just skip the capers. You might want to add a little more salt, and perhaps some pickle juice, or a diced up small sweet pickle. Sweet pickles of any sort will taste great with this pate, by the way. ~Elise

  • Je Ae

    I have never, ever had chicken pate. I had foie gras once(that’s made from duck I think?), and couldn’t handle it. Too salty and rich. Then I learned how brutal the industry is to the poor ducks and swore I’d never eat it again. I’m very curious as to what chicken pate tastes like though, I’ll just have to put this on my wishlist of food to try one day.

  • Em

    Oooh, that looks so good. Maybe I need some iron or something, because I saw the first picture and instantly craved some for myself! Thanks for posting!

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