Chicken Liver Pâté With Bourbon and Cranberry Gelée Recipe

All-American ingredients like bourbon, apple cider, and cranberries are the stars of this holiday pâté. Vicky Wasik

Designed for the Thanksgiving table, this chicken liver pâté is flavored with bourbon and apple cider, then topped with a cranberry gelée. It's silky, smooth, and perfect for a holiday gathering.

Why This Recipe Works:

  • Removing the livers from the skillet before deglazing with bourbon reduces the chances of overcooking them, which helps guarantee pâté with a silky texture.
  • Passing the pâté through a fine mesh strainer produces an especially refined texture.

Note: You can use sweetened cranberry juice, but if you do, omit the sugar.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 5 hrs
Serves: 10 to 12 servings
Makes: 1 terrine

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  • 2 pounds chicken livers, trimmed of sinew and fat

  • 1/4 tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 shallots, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

  • 2 ounces bourbon or American whiskey

  • 2 ounces apple cider

  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter

  • 1/2 envelope unflavored gelatin

  • 1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice (see note)

  • 2 tablespoons sugar


  1. Pat livers dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet until smoking. Cook half of the livers, turning, until browned on both sides and pink in the middle, about 4 minutes. Transfer livers to the bowl of a food processor. Add 1 more tablespoon oil, heat until smoking and repeat with remaining livers.

  2. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet, add shallots and thyme and cook, stirring until softened, about 2 minutes. Add bourbon and cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom of skillet, until almost evaporated (you can flame the bourbon, but use caution as flames can leap high from the skillet). Add cider and cook until slightly reduced. Scrape shallots and any remaining liquid into food-processor bowl with livers.

  3. Add butter and process, stopping to scrape down sides, until a smooth puree forms.

  4. Set a fine mesh strainer over a large mixing bowl and, using a wooden spoon or ladle, press and plunge liver puree through it. Season liver puree with salt and pepper and scrape into a large ramekin or terrine, tapping against counter to remove air pockets. Smooth surface, then press plastic wrap directly against surface and chill in refrigerator until set, at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

  5. In a glass measuring cup, sprinkle gelatin on top of cranberry juice and let stand for 15 minutes.

  6. Transfer cranberry juice and gelatin to a small saucepan and stir in sugar. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved and juice is simmering. Remove from heat and let cool.

  7. Gently pour cooled cranberry juice on top. Cover with plastic and refrigerate until cranberry juice sets, at least 2 hours. Pâté can be refrigerated for up to 5 days before serving.

Special equipment

fine mesh strainer; food processor; 1 or 1 1/2-quart ramekin or pâté terrine

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
265 Calories
20g Fat
7g Carbs
14g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 265
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 25%
Saturated Fat 9g 43%
Cholesterol 350mg 117%
Sodium 204mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 14g
Vitamin C 21mg 103%
Calcium 16mg 1%
Iron 7mg 38%
Potassium 208mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)