The best ever chicken liver pate

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chicken liver pate with marmalade with baguette melba toast

This is the best chicken liver pate recipe and I have been making it for over 2 decades. It has also become very popular on my site and you can see the positive feedback in the comments below. I love my original version but have also included a second recipe which uses a splash of cream and less butter. So choose which you prefer.

I love to serve chicken liver pate with crispy melba toast and a dollop of something sweet. It’s silken smooth so it needs the crunch. The Marmalade offers a bitter-sweet flavour which is rather delicious and quite Christmassy too. If you want to be really wild, stir a splash of whiskey into the marmalade to give it that boozy edge.

chicken liver pate with marmalade

I had the intention to make a clementine jelly to go with the pate, but that plan fell apart when I realised I was running out of the year. You know the feeling as you catapult towards Christmas in the silly season and suddenly realise you have bitten off more than you can chew? Literally and figuratively.

I had also planned on doing a few more Christmas recipes (as I do EVERY year) – but didn’t get it together. Note to self to be a bit more organised next year.

I love this season and the food that comes with it the most, so I always disappoint myself if I haven’t come up with something as innovative as my mince pie and frangipane tart, or my apple mince-pie crumble bars (My favourite ever), and my boozy cherry and Christmas pudding strudel with chocolate.  These hot cross cinnamon sticky buns would be perfect for this time of year too. Ah well, there is always next year.

Here are a few of my favourite recipes for Christmas.

In the meantime, this is my best chicken liver pate which is so very easy to make. I always make a double batch and freeze off ramekins for later use. It’s so nice to pop in a basket for a summer picnic.

chicken liver pate

Can you freeze chicken liver pate?

Chicken liver pate freezes very well and I always make a double batch using 500gms of chicken livers.

I fill ceramic ramekins with the pate, top them with melted butter and a bay leaf and then wrap them tightly in plastic wrap to freeze. 

To thaw chicken liver pate, leave it at room temperature for a couple of hours or thaw it in the fridge overnight.

I have made focaccia melba toast before, or melba toast from any good bread, and it’s perfect with crispy flatbread, but for these little party canapes, I made them from very thinly sliced stale baguette. The marmalade is a very good quality store-bought Seville marmalade which has a nice bitterness. I use free-range chicken livers here. 

What readers are saying:

Readers who have made this recipe are raving about it! Here is what they had to say:

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I have made this twice now! 2nd time I made a double batch! So delish and freezes well!

Wife and Mom
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Thanks so much for this recipe:) It is easy to make and delicious! I made it with our own free range organic chicken livers, garlic, onion and bay leaves; used Courvoisier cognac – YUM. Thanks again!
Busy Mom


PS: I have a little recipe update in case you prefer to use less butter and like to use cream. For this, I recommend doing a double batch:

  • 500gm free-range chicken livers
  • 125gm butter (and a bit extra to coat the top if desired)
  • 1 large onion (white), chopped
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 – 4  bay leaves
  • Thyme leaves from about 4 small stalks
  • 125ml cream
  • 80ml good brandy
  • freshly ground black or white pepper (I prefer white)

Follow the instructions above, just add the cream after you have added the brandy and allowed it to cook off for a couple of minutes. Then add the cream and cook for about another minute or two further.

The best ever chicken liver pate recipe

This is a really easy and delicious chicken liver pate recipe that will instantly become your favourite too.
Print Recipe
The best ever chicken liver pate recipe


  • 250 gm free-range chicken livers
  • 125 gm butter and a bit extra to coat the top if desired
  • 1 large onion white, chopped
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 20 – 40 ml brandy
  • freshly ground black or white pepper I prefer white
  • Thinly sliced stale baguette for the melba


  • Melt the butter in the pan and saute the onion for about 5 minutes until turning soft.
  • Add the chicken livers, garlic and bay leaves and cook over moderate heat, stirring until the chicken livers are just done – about 4 – 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the brandy just before finishing off and allow this to cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and let it cool.
  • Remove the bay leaves and blend in a food processor until it is as smooth as it will go. It takes a few minutes. Season with salt and lots of freshly ground white pepper (to taste). Spoon the pate into ramekins or other serving dishes and cool.
  • When cool melt some butter (microwave is great) and pour over the pate which looks pretty decorated with a bay leaf. Cool in the fridge until serving.
  • To make the melba toast slice a stale baguette as thinly as possible and lay the slices out on a cooling rack which you have placed over a large baking tray. This allows for the warm air to flow under and over the bread to dry it out. Bake in an oven preheated to 150C for about 20 minutes until dried out and just starting to colour. They do not need to be golden brown. Store in an airtight container until you are ready to serve.
  • If you are making the canapes yourself vs allowing your guests to spread themselves, do so just before serving as the melba toast will soften quite quickly.
Author: Sam Linsell


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  1. I LOVE Chicken Liver Pate. I can quite happily eat it straight out the tub like ice-cream and I have been craving it lately. I am now drooling all over my keyboard!

  2. A friend shared a photo of this – she made it for Christmas day – on Facebook. It looked so good I demanded the recipe. I believe she substituted shallots for the white onion, but otherwise it was just like yours and looked just as pretty! I will be trying the recipe soon. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thats awesome Kay – thanks for letting me know and glad you enjoyed 🙂

  4. Thanks so much for this awesome recipe!!! It’s delicious!!! I made it in a tiny frying pan out of ONE chicken liver, because I just happened to have one chicken liver, a trickle of calvados to sub for the brandy, and a fresh New York bagel crying out for something better than just cream cheese. I just found your blog, and I can’t wait to read the rest of it!

  5. Thanks Chunghee

    Im so glad you enjoy it as much as I do. Cant believe you did it out of one liver. wow!


  6. Just made it, and it’s gorgeous. Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  7. Im so glad you enjoyed it Sianny 🙂

  8. thank you for the recipe. can I skip brandy? or it is necessary?

  9. Hi Elena – I find the brandy absolutely critical to this recipe.

  10. Oh yum think I’ll attempt to make this at the weekend!! Little question and will sound silly but is it very “livery”! Or mild enough…..

  11. Hi Claire – its not too livery at all. I dont eat liver but I eat this. Has so much flavour and all the bay and brandy make it taste delicious.

  12. says:

    Great ! Thanks Sam – ! Merry Christmas!!

  13. I have made this twice now! 2nd time I made a double batch! So delish and freezes well!

  14. Fist time I’ve made chicken liver pate and it was so so easy and probably the best chicken liverbpate ive tasted! Goodness it was yummy!

  15. Glad you enjoyed it as much as I did Sarah and why I confidently claim its the best 🙂

  16. Kaye Loffler says:

    I am going to try this recipe. Will the butter preserve the pate and how long can I keep it in the fridge? Or should I freeze some ? Looks so easy.

  17. Hi Kaye, it’s probably best to freeze it if you want to keep it for a while. It freezes very well. Just thaw at room temperature.

  18. Janet W Bain says:

    made this many times..always double the recipe and freeze in small ramekins. best I have ever had.

  19. HI Janet, glad to hear you love it as much as I do and yes, it freezes so well and I do the same in small ramekins.

  20. Christine says:

    Just loved it! I fried 3 rashers of chopped up back bacon with it. ( as if I need more cholesterol) but I did cut back on the salt, also didn’t have brandy, so added sherry. Thanks Sam a definite keep!

  21. That is so cool Christine and glad you loved it as much as I do.

  22. What kind of brandy is best for cooking but not too expensive?

  23. HI Carla, I’m not sure where you are from, but I don’t really know, to be honest. I generally only use good quality brandy.

  24. Thank you!

  25. Thanks so much for this recipe:) It is easy to make and delicious! I made it with our own free range organic chicken livers, garlic, onion and bay leaves; used Courvoisier cognac – YUM. Thanks again!

  26. Oh wow Sonja, cognac takes it to the next level. I’m so glad you love the re ipe as much as I do.

  27. Catherine says:

    How long can I keep this in the fridge. I
    want to make it for a dinner party and would like to do it ahead of time if possible.

  28. I think a good 5 days or so. I would freeze it if you need to keep it longer

  29. Tony North says:

    We love this pate thank you very much. Just one think mine doesn’t set very well, even after being in the chiller for a few hours it stays like a mousse instead of a solid pate. Could this be too much butter ?

    Would love your advise, thank you.

  30. Hi Tony, I’m not too sure because if anything butter – especially if it’s chilled, will firm it up so maybe too little? Mine definitely gets quite firm so I’m not entirely sure what could have happened. I know this recipe is 100% accurate as I have made it so many times as have many readers (see comments). Just make 100% sure you have used all the correct measurements of everything. Allow the liquid to cook off a little more maaybe? Best Sam

  31. Tony North says:

    Many thanks Sam, really appreciate your reply.

  32. Thanks for this recipe!
    I used about 1/3 less butter… just couldn’t bring myself to use the full amount… and shallots rather than white onion (what I had available). Absolutely delicious!

  33. HI Susan, I’m so glad you enjoyed it and agree the amount of butter is rather daunting 🙂 (but butter makes everything better). Shallots would definitely be better than onions too.

  34. Made this pate yesterday and it’s amazing ?. Used a third of the recommended butter (agreed with post above, super daunting!) and it has set quite hard so I’ll use more next time!

  35. Hi Rachel, glad you enjoyed it. For me personally, all the butter makes it amazing.

  36. Made recipe for a dinner party. Used a bit less butter and added a splash of double cream and cognac. Was delicious. Like a light parfait/pate. So easy to prepare in advance and every body loved it!

  37. HI Elly – I’m so glad you enjoyed the pate recipe.

  38. Charlotte says:

    Hi, how many does the recipe serve? Can you use a blender rather than a food processor? Many thanks

  39. Charlotte says:

    Hi, how many does this recipe serve? Can you use a blender rather than a processor? Thanks

  40. HI Charlotte, it’s always quite difficult to determine a portion size for pate as it depends on what the occasion is. Mostly people will eat it as a snack. This makes a nice amount (see the picture) so I would say at least 8 people for a substantial snack with a few other things. I’m sure you could make it in a blender just good luck with cleaning it and getting the pate out.

  41. Hi Sam So no need to do the soaking in milk thing with the livers? Do you ever find they come out stringy? Very keen to try this (as well as ALL the recipes I have just read on the site). Thanks

  42. HI Jennifer – thank you and no need to soak. This is my favourite recipe and is very popular on the site. They don’t come out stringy at all. They get cooked down plus get ground up to a silky smooth consistency at the end.

  43. Kath Kynaston says:

    The chicken liver pate came out the best I’ve ever made, in many years of cooking! Making it again today, for the second time, and hoping it will be equally as good, great recipe!

  44. Hi Kath and I’m so glad you liked this recipe. Sam x

  45. Lalani Hyatt says:

    Oh Sam, it’s just too delicious! my cholesterol level is not going to thank me! Perhaps if I had some control over the amount I consume….naaaah! we live but once and this is to die for! <3 Merry Christmas! x

  46. I’m so glad you love this recipe so much Lalani
    sam x

  47. I made this a couple of weeks ago but didn’t have any brandy (nor a suitable substitute) so subbed with a mix of balsamic and sherry vinegar. It was absolutely divine! I have just made a batch with some brandy to share with my family over the Christmas period. Thank you for such a simple yet delicious recipe ?

  48. Im so glad you enjoyed it Ele x

  49. Suzannah Stewart says:

    I made my first batch of pate at Christmas, gone in two days, I have just put on another batch (on the stove now, smells Devine) this recipe is the best I’ve used so far,,,, it’s defiantly one for my personal cook book.

  50. Hi Suzannah, thank you for the message and Im so glad you love the recipe as much as I do.


  51. I love chicken pate’s. I made this using cognac as I don’t have brandy… taste really good.
    Thanks for sharing this recipe. Not I don’t have to buy my pate’s anymore.

  52. Sounds fantastic!

    The livers I bought seen to have a lot of blood in them…would you recommend rinsing them or leaving the blood?

  53. Hi Roni, yes if there is a lot then give them a rinse. There shouldn’t be too much but a small amount will cook-off

  54. Nedra Desouza says:

    I do not have brandy at the moment coz of the lockdown.
    What else can I use instead of brandy?

  55. I have 500 g duck livers can I just sub these for the chicken? Any idea on converting this to cook using a thermomix?

  56. Hi Suezanne, I have not tested this recipe with either duck livers nor do I own a Thermomix so I have no suggestions for you.


  57. HI Nedra, sherry or whisky could be nice or even a fruity white wine. or leave it out. It will not taste the same but it could still be nice.

  58. Thanks for the recipe. It is definitely the best ever chicken liver pate. I just made it and it comes out great!

  59. Michael brindle says:

    Hi great recipe, I changed the white onion to red, and let it caramelise a little, was brill!

  60. Judy Huntwe says:

    I’m very happy with the result. Can I freeze this?

  61. Hi Judy, yes, CLP freezes very well and I always have a few stashed away in my freezer

  62. DeAnn Wylie says:

    I just made my first-ever roasted duck last night which rendered a lot of lovely duck fat. I was wondering if I could substitute duck fat for all or part of the butter. Also, I now have 3 oz of duck liver, and 12 oz of defrosted free-range chicken liver. I think I’ll make a small batch of duck liver pate and a larger batch of chicken liver pate with your recipe – and then do a taste test.

  63. Hi DeAnn I personally wouldn’t use the duck fat in the pate as the butter adds so much flavour and duck fat doesn’t have that. rathe ruse the duck fat to roast potatoes (I have a fantastic recipe on my site just search for best roast potatoes). It will last a few months in the fridge.

  64. Stephen Lloyd says:

    Love your site, we have lived on Crete for some years now and they do not have pate here so when I found your V easy recipe I thought I would have a go and am sooo glad I did. Scrummy. Thank you

  65. Hi Stephen and thanks for letting me know that you loved the pate all the way from Crete 🙂

  66. Hi Sam. Will this recipe work without the brandy? I don’t have any, and alcohol sales are forbidden due to lockdown! If it is necessary I may be able to ask a friend but just checking here first.

  67. Hi Harriet – it will work of course but to me, it’s a critical element for the flavour. Whiskey is also nice

  68. Thanks Sam. Good thing, because I found some brandy and made it as per the recipe. Tasted delish! So easy too. Thank you.

  69. Try adding 1/4 tsp of Thyme to this recipe. It makes it complete.

  70. Tnaks Michael. Thyme is lovely here too

  71. This pâté is the best I’ve ever had, it’s super easy to make and freezes very well. No need for any other recipe! Even if liver generally turns you off, you’ll still like this version.

  72. Hi Tessa, I’m so glad you loved this pate as much as I do

  73. Shelly Jackson says:

    I keep meaning to rate this recipe – it is FABULOUS! I have been making it for years and it always goes down a treat. I usually double the recipe as I have certain friends who I always give a pot to when I make it!

  74. Im so glad you love it as much as I do Shelley. Its always such a favourite at this time of year.

  75. This is really similar to how my mother taught me how to make pate. I love the splash of brandy or cognac. I can’t wait to test this on out!

  76. Wonderful and so easy to make
    I make extra and include it the Christmas hampers I give to my friends and family

  77. I’m so glad you enjoyed it Valerie and thanks for letting me know

  78. Matthew Olivier says:

    Have honestly made this about 20 times so far! Including 3KG’s as Christmas gifts as of yesterday!

    Going to be making this for the rest of my life and am so grateful!!!!

  79. Wow…so simple and yet so very tasty. Made it for Christmas guests and they couldn’t get enough of it. Everyone wanted the recipe!!!

  80. Hi Sue – I so glad you loved the recipe as much as I do

  81. I’m so glad you love this Mathew and thanks for the note

  82. Well, 8+ years have passed but this just goes to show that great recipes will always be relevant! Just found your chicken-liver-pate recipe and it looks fantastic! Planning on making this for Easter Sunday dinner hors d’oeuvres and I’m really looking forward to it. Love chicken livers – this pate should be great!

  83. I’ve been using this wonderful recipe for years now, and it’s never even come close to failing. I tinker with the aromatics occasionally, eg adding a little grated orange rind, but stick to the nuts and bolts of the recipe religiously. It’s always an impressive start to a dinner party, and I’ll keep on making it for as long as chickens have livers, and I can still stand 😁❤️

  84. Hi Maggie and thanks for letting me know. So glad you love it. I like the orange rind addition and I love to serve it with a dash of marmalade on toast too.

  85. Nora O Halloran says:

    Hi Sam can I freeze the pate if I use cream
    Thank you

  86. Hi Nora the pate freezes very well. I do it all the time

  87. Absolutely delicious!! The use of white pepper is IT!
    I didn’t have brandy and use whiskey.

  88. So glad you loved it Tumi

  89. How many people does the pate serve
    Thank you

  90. Hi Denise – one batch of chicken liver pate will serve 2 people as a snack or starter with bread/crackers. I always double the batch and freeze 2 filled ramekins.

  91. This was the most incredibly delicious pâté I have ever made! I substituted the whiskey with sherry. you so much for sharing this recipe.

  92. Thanks for the comment Jo and I’m so glad you love the pate recipe as much as I do 🙂

  93. Toni Wedge says:

    5 stars
    Looking to make this for Christmas Day. When you transfers the ingredients to a blender, does it need to be drained off or does it all go in?

  94. Hi Toni. Everything goes in, just pick out the bay leaf and thyme.

  95. 5 stars
    I love this recipe and make it regularly. Have just found the update with cream, perfect timing for Xmas excess! I usually add grated orange rind – depending on what else I’m serving it with. I also heartily agree with the white pepper recommendation, it brings out a lovely brightness. Thanks so much for giving me a perfect, yet perfectly simple recipe. ❤️

  96. Hi Maggie and thanks for the comment. I love the idea of orange rind. I made a triple batch yesterday and looking forward to eating it at Christmas.

  97. Is the butter unsalted

  98. Hi Estelle yes its salted

  99. 5 stars
    Delicious and so simple to make.
    Only comment I would make/suggest would be to swap the brandy for dry sherry.
    We find brandy generally to be a bit sharp for our liking (but that IS a matter of taste).

  100. Thanks Michael and so glad you liked the pate. I personally love the abrasive taste of brandy in this recipe and add even more at the end, but sherry i s definitely a good alternative and love that hit of fruitiness.

  101. 5 stars
    Nostalgia from my mom’s pate had me making this and it surely tastes like home. When I added the brandy, I flambéd it for proper absorption of flavor then also when blending, I added a quater cup of cream. 😁 my whole family enjoying it. 🇿🇼🇿🇼🇿🇼

  102. So glad you loved it, Valerie, I also like to flambe it to give it amazing flavour. The cream is also nice. I have included a second option with cream.

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