Chicken Liver Pâté

An easy chicken liver pate with shallots, garlic, brandy, capers and thyme, blended smooth to spread on bread or crackers.

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).

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

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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.

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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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Comments

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. Sven Bystrom

    i’ve never had a liver pate that I didn’t like. And while it is time consuming to make, it’s always good.
    I prefer it on a French Baguette as opposed to something like Carr’s crackers as depicted in the photograph. But we all have our preferences.

  5. Wietje

    Elise, thank you for this recipe. I’ve always loved chicken liver pate but never made it. I will try this, but may need a substitution for brandy. Any suggestion? Will wine do or preferably non alcohol? Thanks again.

    Just skip the brandy if you can’t have alcohol. ~Elise

  6. Betsy M

    This was the dish I most looked forward to at my Aunt’s New Year’s Eve party every year. It makes my mouth water to think of it. I cannot have dairy now – can you think of what else I could put in for the cream? I am also off from soy, legumes and gluten.

  7. Kimberly

    Yum! When I got together with friends in November to slaughter 75 broilers, no one else wanted any of their livers, so I ended up with several pounds of them. I made a couple of different pâtés, and froze the rest of the livers for later use. My favorite pâté recipe has about half the butter/cream of this recipe, but includes half an apple and subs calvados for brandy. The apple lightens the texture, and the flavor is great with liver.

    Love the idea of including an apple and subbing calvados. Thanks! ~Elise

  8. Yoko

    had the best chicken liver pate in my life at a French cafe in Meguro and have been craving it ever since. didn’t know it was so easy to make! will be making this frequently from now on :)

  9. Judy

    Wooo! I love it!It looks tasty!It’s a pity I’m not good at cooking!!But sometimes I wanna have a try to learn it, like now!!:D Hope I could do it!!:P

  10. anon

    My family makes this pate in an alternate style. We start with two slices of bacon, Render said bacon, remove from pan onto a paper lined plate and reserve for later use.

    Meanwhile chop one large white onion finely and hard boil one egg. Saute onion, in same pan bacon was rendered in, (s&p) for about four minutes before adding the chicken livers. Cook through, chopping the livers while heating. When cooked remove pan from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes while peeling eggshell.

    In a food processor, chop reserved bacon, egg and liver and onion mixture, (taste – s&p to taste). If too thick add water or chicken broth/stock until desired consistency.

    Refrigerate for at least three hours before serving. Serve on either Ritz cracker or Toated Onion Crackers. These are the best!!!!

  11. kelly campbell

    I have always wanted to make a chicken pate. I love your recipe, in fact, I love all your recipes. Thank you for being there.

  12. Sally

    Nice photo, considering what you had to work with! I am craving this right now; it will have to wait. BUT I ‘m about to dash to the market, so you never know. I don’t trust myself to make pate unless there are a lot of people around to eat it, since I could eat most of it all by myself. I usually make a similar recipe from Tuscan chef Benedetta Vitale’s book Soffrito–the magic ingredient is the anchovies–no matter how much you think you hate them, you shouldn’t leave them out! I wish you could beam me some right now :)

  13. Judy B.

    Everyone in our family (even the little kids) love pate and request it several times a year. We’ve always used the recipe in the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook (red and white cover, page 15), which is a lot less sophisticated than your version, Elise. Still, it’s easy to make, and using the oiled mold makes for a pretty presentation if it matters to your family. This recipe makes 1 2/3 cups, which isn’t nearly enough for our crowd, but it can be doubled or tripled if necessary. The Tabasco adds flavor and a hint of heat, but you can skip it or add less if you like, but it doesn’t bother even the little ones in our family.
    1 lb chicken livers
    1/4 cup chopped onion
    2 Tbsp butter
    3 Tbsp mayo or salad dressing (ie, Miracle Whip)
    2 Tbsp lemon juice
    2 Tbsp butter, softened
    8 drops Tabasco Sauce
    1/2 tsp dry mustard, 1/2 tsp salt, dash pepper

    Cook livers and onions in 2 Tbsp butter in a covered skillet about 5 min. Drain; reserve 3 Tbsp drippings. In a food processor, whirl the mixture (incl. reserved drippings)until smooth. Add everything else and whirl until smooth. Place in well-oiled 2 cup mold or bowl and chill at least 6 hours or overnight.
    Garnish with sliced hard boiled eggs, parsley, snipped chives, etc.

  14. Chit

    Hi Elise!

    Can I substitute white wine for brandy in your liver pate recipe? Thanx!

    Chit

    Hi Chit, you could try it, or you could just skip it all together. ~Elise

  15. Rhonda

    I adore live pate of all kinds. Your’s certainly looks better than mine (I’ll remember your photo trick). I made a deer liver pate and it was divine. It made a lot, so I mixed the leftover with cream cheese and we had sandwiches with it, delish!

  16. Marion Olson

    I read this recipe yesterday, just before a trip to the grocery store for some last minute New Year’s ingredients. I found a one pound tub of chicken livers, so I brought them home with this recipe in mind. I had a recipe for chopped chicken livers that used olive oil instead of butter, and incorporated hard boiled eggs and cooked carrots, so I sort of combined the two recipes, using my favorite flavors from each of them.

    The other one caramelized the onions, but poached the livers rather than sauteeing them, which didn’t appeal to me at all. Instead, I browned the onions in olive oil and then cooked the livers with the onions. I put them into the food processor with hard-cooked eggs and carrots. The juice from the onion-liver sautee provided enough liquid, and the eggs and carrots gave it some more body and texture. I added a little Marsala (lacking brandy!) and chilled it in a bowl. Creamy, with with a sort of roasted flavor, this turned out really well even though I forgot the capers, and didn’t use the cream.

    I had bought some rye crispbread flavored with rosemary for our New Year’s pickled herring, and the crispbread turned out to be just right with the liver, too. Excellent!

  17. Jenny

    Just a note to be sure to cook the livers through. I adore chicken liver pate, but have seen recipes that call for the livers still to be pink in the center. The one time I tried this, I was hospitalized with salmonella and campylobacter! As long as they are cooked, this recipe should be not just delicious but perfectly safe.

  18. Paula Barroso

    I use to make the liver pate forever but instead of sautee, I cook the liver in a chicken broth (could be an instant broth you buy in a supermarket but with low sodium). I use the liquid to complement the cream when processing the cooked liver in the processor.
    Instead of capers and anchovy, I put a tea spoon of a very good curry (powder).
    And finally, to make it firmer, prepare a package of white powder gelatin and mix it to the pate still warm, before send it to the fridge.

  19. Dasha

    I love pate but I’ve never seen liver/s sold separately. Where would you look for it? Are they sold cooked/raw/frozen?

    We have two local grocery stores with butchers (one of the stores is Whole Foods). I just get raw chicken livers from the butcher, and I’ve seen them packaged as well. ~Elise

  20. Judith

    For those who can’t eat dairy, this is how I make chicken liver pate:
    Saute 3 or 4 chopped shallots in olive oil (or butter if it doesn’t bother you too much). Saute the cleaned chicken livers until just cooked (not pink but still very soft). Take the livers out of the pan. Throw in about 1tsp of fresh thyme and about 1/3 cup of cheap ruby port. Reduce the port until it’s about 3tbsp. Puree all this in the food processor and add salt and pepper to taste. (I find it needs about 1tsp of kosher salt, but everyone has their own salt needs.) Chill and eat!
    PS. If you’re really hungry, eat some livers and sauce over pasta or rice before pureeing the rest for pate. It’s a great meal!
    Happy New Year!

  21. Martin Hudson

    We love chicken liver pate too. It’s a regular feature in our house because it’s so easy to share when friends come to visit.

  22. JH

    How long does it take to cook the livers. How do you know when they are cooked? Thanks much.

    The timing sort of depends on the size of the livers and how hot your stove can get. The livers should just be cooked through. ~Elise

  23. Delishhh

    I am going to make this – love pate – very common in Sweden on a sandwich with pickles – as common as cheese. I usually just get the stuff here in Seattle in a german store but going to try to make myself. . .it’s about time.

  24. Murdy

    “I love pate but I’ve never seen liver/s sold separately. Where would you look for it? Are they sold cooked/raw/frozen?”
    They are sold fresh & frozen. If you are not seeing them by the chicken, ask. They are probably in a freezer somewhere. I’ve never had a problem finding them.