Liver Pâté

August 8, 2012 in Categories: , , by

Print Friendly

Liver Pate-068Pâté is one of my favorite ways to incorporate organ meat into my diet.  I love to spread it on cucumber slices or celery.  There are many different seasonings for pâté out there.  This is mine (it’s autoimmune protocol-friendly), which I greatly enjoy.  My recipe does use sherry or cognac (and alcohol is restricted on the autoimmune protocol).  You cook until the alcohol has burned off, and because it’s the alcohol that is the problem with autoimmune conditions, this will be fine for most people.

Unlike some other organ meat sausages and spreads, pâté does still taste a little like liver (the flavor is muted but it’s still there).  If you use a mild-flavored liver like chicken liver or calf’s liver, the taste will be better masked by the seasoning (but not completely).  I use grass-fed beef liver (which you can buy from US Wellness Meats or Tropical Traditions), which has a stronger taste but also has a better fat profile and is generally more nutrient dense. 

I also typically make a double batch and pour it into a standard loaf pan.  After letting the flavors mature for a couple of days in the fridge, I slice and freeze individual portions for weekday lunches for myself.


1.    Slice liver into 2” chunks (you don’t need to do this if you are using chicken liver) and remove any vessels the butcher might have missed.
2.    Line a 7.5″x3.5″ Loaf Pan with parchment paper (this is an optional step that just makes removing the loaf easier later; you could also use a glass or pottery serving dish).
3.    Heat ¼ cup of your chosen cooking fat in a large skillet over medium high heat.
4.    Add onion, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, sage, mace and garlic to the pan.  Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are well cooked (about 10 minutes).
5.    Add liver to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until browned on the outside and still pink in the middle (about 3-4 minutes). 
6.    Add sherry to pan and bring to boil (you can increase heat to high if you want).  Boil 2-3 minutes, until you can’t smell alcohol in the steam.
7.    Remove from heat.   Remove bay leaf, rosemary stem, and thyme stems.  Add salt and the remaining cooking fat.
8.    Pour hot liver mixture into a blender or food processor.  Pulse until smooth.
9.    Pour into the prepared loaf pan (or serving dish of choice). 
10.  Once it’s cool enough to touch, make sure to cover with plastic wrap tightly across the entire surface (plastic wrap should be touching the pâté with no air bubbles) to prevent oxidation (you’ll still get some, which is okay, but doing this helps your pâté stay a nice pink color which tastes better and is better for you). 
11.  Refrigerate overnight up to a few days before eating.

Liver Pate-036


Apple cider vinegar works! I tried it just now because I forgot to buy sherry or cognac. When you pour it into the pan and boil it, it smells incredibly acidic, and for a second I was afraid I’d ruined the whole thing. But once I had put it all in the food processor, it turned out delicious. I just added a tiny bit of honey – maybe a teaspoon for the whole amount of pate – to counterbalance the acidity.

I can’t wait till tomorrow when I can eat more of it:).

All recipes sounds great, but I grew up eating liver and my mom would just boil liver, some fat meat(bacon), sauté onion, carrots in oil or butter, grind liver and meat in a fine meat grinder, add sauté vegetables, salt and pepper, liquid where liver and meat was cooking as needed, refrigerate and enjoy! It is really good and does not need bunch of ingredient and time to make it. It’s impossible to make bad liver dish! 😉

I have a few pounds of grass fed beef liver in the freezer that I need to use. Love your recipe. How many servings does this make?

Thanks so much.

Sarah, this recipe is AWESOME! I made beef pate a year ago, then was worried that my skin was turning yellow. (That was a combination of lots of beets and vegetables.) Since I did a Whole30 in September, I have given up butter and was wondering what to use. So today I used 1/4 cup beef fat and 1/4 coconut oil, didn’t have any bay leaves or mace, but it tastes fabulous without it! I remember really looking forward to liver, bacon and onion night at my house. Of course the liver was so dry I used a ton of ketchup on it. Eating liver this way is so much better in flavor. It even brings a tear to my eye, thinking of my deceased father. He and I shared an affinity for knockworst and brautworst, while the other family members wouldn’t touch the stuff. My dad would have so appreciated this recipe. Thanks a bunch. 🙂

Hi hope you had a nice weekend. was going to make this today but then noticed the bay leaf.. normally this is removed prior to eating.. do you remove the leaf or do you blend it in the blender too?
thanks! C

I made this today for family brunch, and I am amazed at how easy and wonderfully tasty it is! I used chicken livers, beef drippings and coconut oil, sherry, subbed nutmeg for the mace and left out the thyme. I’ll be making different versions of this on a weekly basis.

Great recipe. Made it within two hours of slaughtering one of our sheep so liver was *very* fresh. Made two mini-loaves. Wonderful! Will make more with liver in freezer. Thanks so much!

I just did this recipe with lambs liver and added a handful of prunes at the end of the cooking. And I gotta say, I liked it. This is the first time I’ve had liver and actually liked it. So, thank you for the recommendation (from your podcast) for lambs liver. Very mild!

I’ve never had a liver before and I’m afraid to taste it. I actually have the liver from the deer sitting in my freezer. Do you think this liver would still be mild enough or too strong of a taste? Thanks!

I just made this, so good! I made some minor modifications because I’m still reluctant with organ meats. I made it with 2 onions instead of one, added a teaspoon of coriander seeds, and use calf’s liver, bacon fat, butter and sherry. Served with capers on top, divine! It was my first experience with sherry and am pleasantly surprised. Oh yeah, I also added some boiled eggs to the mix in the blender as you would for Jewish chopped liver. It seems milder with the eggs. Thanks for the recipe to work off of. Love it!

I made this for my husband to eat for snacks. I’m squeamish about liver so took just a baby taste and OMG it was sooo good.

I used chicken livers, side pork fat, chives instead of onions, cognac, and no mace (because I didn’t have any).

Last night I set it out as an appetizer for a dinner with two other couples. One person said he didn’t like liver, another wouldn’t try it at all, but the other two were gobbling it up along with me and my husband. I loved it on Granny Smith apple slices (to be AIP friendly) but had set out some Sami’s bread toast points for the others.

Anyway, thanks for a great recipe. I am now a convert, if not to liver, at least to liver pate.

I have never been a fan of beef liver. I have had pate made with chicken livers and loved that. Hoping this recipe will make me a convert. 🙂

How long will this pate keep in the freezer? Trying to figure out how much liver to buy. My husband likes liver, so if I don’t like this it will still get eaten.

This looks delicious, and I love the tip about doubling it and freezing. My husband doesn’t eat liver, and I can’t eat it more than 1-2 times per week or it starts to weird me out 😉 Super excited to try this recipe… thank you!

YUM! I just made this recipe. Only small modifications. Used shallots instead of onions and omitted mace. Will enjoy this all by myself as nobody else in my veg household will appreciate it!

Planning to make this tomorrow! Even my husband seems interested and I’d be thrilled to find a way he’ll eat liver. Are the garlic cloves to be left whole or sliced or minced?

So I made this today. The butcher my farmer uses cuts the liver in slices about 3/8″ thick and it cooked quickly. The end product was not pink :-/. Will it still be okay? Should I cook it less time in the future to be sure it stays pink?

I’m not crazy about liver but with Autoimmunity I will eat it. What is the maximum amount of liver you should eat weekly? I have been eating 4 ounces once weekly but would like to eat more. I do take fermented cod liver oil also so should I stop taking the CLO if I up the liver intake? I’d like to drop the cod liver oil completely and just eat liver but not sure how to go about it. Can you advise? With much thanks.

Thanks. I appreciate your prompt response. I did not see a weekly limit. Is it possible to eat too much in a week? Can you get too much Vitamin A?

This is discussed on page 195 of The Paleo Approach. Sarah states that she recommends a minimum of four offal meals per week. She does not recommend eating the same type of offal at each of these meals. Variety is important. She does say that important to use caution if you are taking supplements to address specific micronutrient deficiencies. Too much Vitamin A should not be an issue if you are eating a variety of foods (including offal), and if you are not supplementing with the same vitamin. Sarah is not a medical professional, nor a licensed dietitian or nutritionist. As such, she can not give medical or nutritional advise. For further medical guidance, Sarah recommends both and as excellent directories for finding qualified health professionals in your area (and many of which can work with patients long distance). — Tamar, Sarah’s assistant

I’m thinking about mixing some beef and chicken livers and even adding some chicken hearts into the mix all for taste benefits. I’ll be using my Vitamix so smoothness won’t be an issue. However, any issues to worry about with mixing different species’ livers?

I just made a double batch and the liver is just SWIMMING in 1 cup of oil. I used bacon fat and coconut oil. What is the reason for needing so much fat? Is that a standard in pate?

Yes, pate is traditionally made with a large amount of butter. The fat adds flavor as well as texture, and also makes some of the nutrients more easily absorbed. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

Wonderful!! I added more salt and pepper, 1-1/2 t honey and 8 bing cherries to balance the strength of the beef liver I used. Thanks for the introduction to pate!

You could try bison liver, which has a less strong flavor, or make Sarah’s 50/50/50 Burgers or Hidden Liver Meatloaf to mask the flavor. Pate is one of the strongest-tasting ways to serve liver. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

OMFG…. I just made this … omitted the onion, only half the garlic (fodmap issues) and I didn’t have any mace or nutmeg…. but… even warm it tastes delicious…. CAN NOT WAIT TIL TOMORROW!!!

Just made this recipe with beef liver and it is more of a light brown than the reddish/pink color in the picture. Did I cook it too long? Was the liver supposed to be fully cooked or stay raw inside? By the time I sautéed it and put Sherry in it was pretty well done.

Most liver pate is made with medium liver, but liver’s natural color varies depending on the animal and how it was raised, so your pate may not have the same color even if it is a little less cooked. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

I am on the Autoimmune Protocol as well as following SCD, GAPS and low FODMAPS so I cannot have any onions or garlic and I’m not sure about the sherry/cognac and a couple of the other herbs. Do you think it would be palatable without the onions and garlic?

Thanks so much for your honesty! I appreciate you getting back to me so quickly too! I’ve been referring many of my patients to your website to read all about Autoimmunity. Thanks again!

I love pate, and I like your recipe. I’ve always used butter and cream, so I tried the bacon/coconut oil version with chicken liver.
Just a tip here for someone who is wary of the flavors. I soak my liver in ‘milk'( any milk that you tolerate) over night. Then I drain it and poach it water with the aromatic herbs.
From here, you can keep the liver in the poaching liquid in the fridge. I put my liver to soak in the morning and poach it while I make dinner.
Then I follow the rest of the steps in the recipe.
Soaking and poaching make for a milder flavor. Don’t fear liver!

You almost make me brave enough to try this – you make liver sound so good! I don’t know why it is so difficult but I find I keep having to read these posts with recipes, benefits, etc. because I just haven’t been able to bring myself to the point of consuming it yet – even though I agree it would be so good for me! I have some waiting in the freezer…when I finally do work up the courage I think I will start with this recipe.

We just picked up our cow-share, and we have most of the liver – I’m pretty sure. The problem is that I don’t like the consistency of liver, but I might be okay with pate as a dip on tortilla chips and/or vegetables as you’ve done. And so, I found your recipe, which sounds awesome. My question is, can it be frozen or otherwise preserved (other than refrigerating)? I’m sure my husband will eat it, and I will, but I’m not sure how fast, and I’d hate for any of it to go to waste.

HI, I love your pate recipe. I add 3/4 tsp “Game NIght spice” (allspice, pepper, cinnomon, ginger) as well. It makes a great breakfast meat on top of sauteed kale. I was using chicken liver, and finally got grass fed beef liver, which is probably healthier. But the taste was really different and hard to swallow. I turned it from “get it down” to delicious by adding a can of anchovies, with the oil, (per pound of liver) into the blender when I puree it.

two of my triggers are onions and yeast (so, no vinegar or alcohol) I think I can slip scallions through instead of onions, what can I swap the alcohol for? thanks in advance 🙂

To replace the sherry, I used pure apple juice and squeezed a lemon as well. My son can’t have yeast or grapes… so sherry was out. I think the taste is great… I have yet to see what he thinks.

I would like to make this but I’m concerned that wrapping the pate in plastic wrap will cause chemicals from the wrap to be absorbed into the pate. Is there another way to prevent it oxidising? Thank you

I pour gelatine over the top of mine, it seals the late beautifully and you can decorate it with sage leaves. Make sure the gelatine is pure though and grass fed!


Just checking – do you blend the sage in with the liver? I noticed all the other herbs were taken out and so wasn’t sure.


I’m making this again this year for Christmas! I made it last year with chicken livers and gave some away to our lovely elderly neighbours. This year I’m making enough for us, for them and for my mum! I add to a double batch 300g good quality nitrite free bacon and left out the mace. I also made up gelatine from grass fed beef and poured that over the finished blended pate and popped some fresh sage leaves in it to decorate. It’s really pretty and saves having to use plastic food wraps on warm food. ( I’m sorry if this isn’t AIP friendly though ).

I made this on Monday and it has been chilling. I just portioned it and wrapped it to put in the freezer, with one portion left in the fridge for breakfast. I tasted the little bit that was stuck to the parchment paper and it tastes awesome! I used chicken liver, apple cider vinegar and made the boo-boo of using extra virgin olive oil, rather than coconut oil ( when I realized I panicked and thought it would be ruined!)…..and it came out perfectly! I also used parchment paper rather than cling wrap to line the pan and cover the top, which worked really well. This is definitely a keeper!

Cynthia, how did yours turn out with the ACV in place of the alcohol? I’m looking for a good substitution that is SIBO legal. Might try the vinegar unless anyone has another suggestion.

I chickened out and only used 2 tablespoons of ACV.. Still delicious but I love liver! It was just really really SUPER fatty, so the acid is necessary in this dish. I’d say it’s definitely worth a shot to sub it for the alcohol but I can’t say exactly how much ACV is too much. I’m trying this again tomorrow but I’ll use Cognac this time.

This has become a staple for me! simple and quick, I also add 3-4 juniper berries (only because i had them) and its heavenly! Thank you

This is the BEST RECIPE! Thank you so much, I now look forward to my regular doses of it. I make it with lambs liver. Hugs from Melbourne!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *