Chicken Liver Pate (Pate Gan Ga)

Not sure if you’ve had or even like pate?  If you’ve had a Vietnamese sandwich (banh mi) chances are you’ve eaten this delicious spread.  Typically made of liver, it’s combined with fresh herbs and spices and then whipped into a creamy spreadable paste.  Yes, it makes an amazing condiment for sandwiches (Check out the recipe for Grilled Pork Sandwich) but more often I like to serve it as a party appetizer with crusty French bread, crackers or a vegetable platter.

Chicken Liver Pate (Pate Gan) - Easy, Tasty Recipe | recipe from

A few notes on the recipe

I use chicken livers in this recipe because it’s readily available at my local grocery store.  Feel free to use duck or goose (if you can find it) pork, beef liver or a combination.  Keep in mind pork or beef liver is denser and will change the consistency of the pate.  You can adjust by adding more butter or cream.

Livers can be quite strong-smelling and gamey.  The trick to toning down the smell is in the preparation.  Be sure to rinse the livers with water several times to wash away the blood and soaking liquid.  Also, don’t skip the step where we soak the livers in milk.  This trick really helps to reduce the gameness of the liver.  The longer you soak in milk the mellower it makes the livers.  I like to soak for 1-2 hours if possible but a minimum of 30 minutes.  I’ve read that using milk with higher fat content helps too.  I always have low fat milk at home and so that’s what I use.

Be sure to trim the livers of fat, connective tissues and blood spots.  These bits are stringy (and kinda scary) and we don’t want them in our pate.

Regarding the wine, I love Madeira but you can substitute with any sweet wine or alcohol like Brandy.  Again, I use what I have available but choose something sweet and aromatic.  Another thing we must not skip is the fresh herbs–I use tarragon and thyme but will vary the herbs depending on the season.  Rosemary is nice but use half the amount as it’s pretty strong.  During the summertime, I use basil, chives, cilantro, or dill.  They all work really well so use the herbs you enjoy.

You can vary the processing time of the liver depending on the texture you’d like.  If you prefer a more rustic texture where you can see bits of the liver, pulse in the food processor for 20-35 seconds.  For a smoother more whipped pate, pulse for 1-2 minutes.  The pate will seem a bit loose after processing, like a thin pudding, but will set up after it’s refrigerated.

Remove from the refrigerator 20 minutes before serving.  Pate can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.  If you want to make a big batch, you can freeze for up to 3 months.

Watch the video below for instructions.

Chicken Liver Pate / Pate Gan Ga


1 1/2 lbs chicken livers
1 cup milk
4 Tbsp butter
8 small shallots
4 garlic cloves
3 Tbsp Madeira wine
2 Tbsp half and half
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
6 sprigs fresh tarragon
6 sprigs fresh thyme


Rinse livers in cool water several times and drain well.  Cut off fat, connective tissues and any blood spots and discard.  Cut liver into thin slices.  Soak livers in milk for at least 30 minutes.

Finely dice garlic and shallots and set aside.  Finely chop fresh herbs and set aside.

Melt 2 Tbsp of butter in a large sauté pan over Medium High heat.  Add shallots and garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Transfer livers to the pan using a slotted spoon and leave the milk behind.  Cook for 3 minutes stirring occasionally so livers brown evenly.  Reduce heat to Low.  Add the wine, half and half, salt, nutmeg and black pepper.  Cook for another 3-4 minutes.  Turn off heat, add the fresh herbs and combine.  Remove from stove and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Put cooled livers (along with any liquid) plus 2 Tbsp of butter into a food processor.  Pulse until smooth, approximately 1-2 minutes.

Spoon pate into mini loaf pans or ramekins.  Cover with plastic wrap.   Chill for 4 hours.

Serve with crusty bread, crackers or veggie plate.

Yields:  2 mini loaves, approximately 3 1/2″ X 6″

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14 Responses to Chicken Liver Pate (Pate Gan Ga)

  1. Dave Charlesworth December 26, 2023 at 10:56 am #

    I just found your recipe today after going to the grocery store and finding they were out of Pate. We’re making Banh Mi sandwiches tonight with Char Siu pork I made 2 days ago. I just finished making your recipe and it is amazing! It is honestly better than the Pate I’ve bought in stores. I’ve saved your Page under my favorites. Great recipe!!

  2. Michael Turkic September 2, 2021 at 12:07 am #

    Thanks, made it tonight and reminded me of Saigon!

    • Trang September 10, 2021 at 2:04 pm #

      Thank you Michael! I am glad you liked it.

  3. Alice C. See July 17, 2021 at 1:19 am #

    I have not yet try chicken liver pate. I watched many videos but You taught me so much ! I will follow your recipe. Thank you !

  4. Qua September 23, 2019 at 6:03 am #

    Hi, can I keep it in the freezer for later use?

    • Trang September 30, 2019 at 12:52 pm #

      Hi Qua,
      Yes, the chicken liver pate freezes great. Seal it well and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

  5. Huyền November 22, 2018 at 9:48 am #

    Hello chị,

    what can i use a replacement for madeira wine? 🙂

    • Trang November 25, 2018 at 10:59 am #

      Hi Huyền,
      Any cooking wine such as Sherry or Marsala are good replacements. Enjoy!

  6. Kapoo June 11, 2017 at 6:34 pm #

    Hello, question! What kind of cream did you use for the half and half?

    • Trang July 6, 2017 at 5:18 pm #

      Hi Kapoo,
      Use light cream for the half and half. Good Luck!

  7. Le June 2, 2016 at 12:34 am #

    Hi Trang,
    I saw that you have 2 chicken liver containers in the video. Typically one container is about 1.25 lb. Did you happen to double your recipe for the video? Are we looking at a net if 1.25 lbs after trimming the fat and the connective tissue or is it actually about 2.5 to 3lbs of chicken liver for this recipe? Thank you.

    • Trang June 21, 2016 at 5:40 pm #

      Hi Le,
      The total chicken livers for the recipe is 1 1/2 lbs. I use both containers to get a total of 1 1/2 lbs trimmed, a little more or less is ok. I did not double the recipe in this video. Hope that helps!

  8. Yen January 28, 2015 at 7:56 am #

    Hello Chi Trang,

    I’ve just tried your recipe and it turned out to be delicious!!! The fragrance/flavor from the herbs you recommended WAS essential! Thank you for all of your “how to” videos! I’ve tried several other recipes and absolutely love it! Your ingredients are wholesome and the directions are written clearly and precise.
    Wishing you good health and many more recipes to come!

    • Trang January 29, 2015 at 9:26 pm #

      Hello Yen,

      Thank you for trying this recipe and I am thrilled to hear you enjoyed this recipe and some of the others I’ve shared. I appreciate the kind words and good wishes. Wishing you good eating and good health! 🙂

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