A Complete Guide to Pâté: What It Is, How It’s Made, and More

If you’re a fan of French cuisine, you’ve probably heard of pâté. This savory spread has been a staple in French cuisine for centuries, but it’s only recently started gaining popularity in other parts of the world. In this post, we’ll explore everything you need to know about pâté, including what it’s made of, how it’s made, and the different types of pâté.

What Is Pâté Made Of?

At its most basic level, pâté is a spread made from meat, fat, and spices. The most common type of pâté is made from liver, which is cooked and ground into a paste with other ingredients. Other meats, such as pork, veal, or game, can also be used to make pâté.

In addition to the meat, pâté may also contain other ingredients, such as wine, brandy, cognac, or herbs. The final result is a rich and flavorful spread that can be enjoyed on its own or used as a topping or filling for other dishes.

What Is Pâté Called in America?

Pâté is not a commonly used term in America, and many people may not be familiar with the word. Most Americans refer to pâté as “liverwurst,” which is a similar type of spread made from liver and other ingredients.

However, it’s important to note that liverwurst and pâté are not the same thing. Liverwurst is generally coarser in texture than pâté and is often flavored with garlic, onion, or other spices. Additionally, liverwurst is typically made from pork, while pâté is more commonly made from duck or chicken liver.

Is Pâté Raw?

One common misconception about pâté is that it’s raw or undercooked, which can be a concern for food safety. However, pâté is always cooked before it’s served, and the cooking process kills any harmful bacteria that may be present in the meat.

In fact, the traditional method for making pâté involves cooking the meat at a low temperature for an extended period of time, which ensures that the final product is safe to eat. So, if you’re worried about the safety of pâté, rest assured that it’s fully cooked and safe to consume.

What Is the Difference Between Liverwurst and Pâté?

As mentioned earlier, liverwurst and pâté are not the same thing. While both spreads are made from liver, they differ in their texture, flavor, and ingredients.

Liverwurst is typically coarser in texture and has a stronger flavor than pâté. Additionally, liverwurst often contains ingredients like garlic and onion, while pâté may have more delicate flavors like herbs or fruit.

Another key difference between the two spreads is the type of meat used. Liverwurst is typically made from pork liver, while pâté may be made from chicken, duck, or other game birds.

How Is Pâté Made?

The process for making pâté can vary depending on the recipe, but the basic steps are the same. Here’s a general overview of how pâté is made:

  1. Start by cleaning and preparing the liver. Remove any fat, veins, or connective tissue from the liver and cut it into small pieces.

  2. Rinse the liver with cold water and pat it dry with paper towels.

  3. Season the liver with salt, pepper, and any other spices or herbs you’d like to use. You may also add other ingredients like onions, garlic, or shallots.

  4. Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add some butter or oil. Once the butter has melted or the oil is hot, add the liver.

  5. Cook the liver until it’s browned on all sides, but still slightly pink inside. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature, which should be around 160°F (71°C).

  6. Remove the liver from the pan and set it aside to cool.

  7. Once the liver has cooled slightly, puree it in a food processor until it’s smooth.

  8. Add additional ingredients like wine, brandy, or cream to the liver puree and mix well.

  9. Transfer the pâté to a mold or ramekin and refrigerate until it’s set.

What Is a French Pâté?

French pâté is a type of pâté that is made using traditional French techniques and ingredients. In France, pâté is considered a gourmet food and is often served as an appetizer or as part of a charcuterie board.

French pâté can be made from a variety of meats, including duck, chicken, pork, or game birds. It is often flavored with herbs, spices, or alcohol, such as cognac or port wine. Additionally, French pâté is typically served with bread or crackers and may be accompanied by other foods like cheese and fruit.


In summary, pâté is a rich and flavorful spread that has been a part of French cuisine for centuries. Made from meat, fat, and spices, pâté can be enjoyed on its own or used as a topping or filling for other dishes.

While it may be called “liverwurst” in America, it’s important to note that liverwurst and pâté are not the same thing. Additionally, pâté is always cooked before serving, so there’s no need to worry about the safety of the meat.

Whether you’re a fan of French cuisine or just love a good spread, pâté is definitely worth trying. So, next time you’re looking for a tasty appetizer or snack, consider giving pâté a try.