Read the first chapter of real food for pregnancy for FREE.

Grass-Fed Beef Liver Pate


Before you snarl your nose, hear me out.

I’ll be honest. Taste-wise, liver is not my favorite food.

But on a nutritional scale of 1-10, it gets an 11. And since nutritionally there are literally no foods that can take its place, liver is something I’ve learned to incorporate into my diet – and I think you should, too.

Think of it like a veggie phobic getting my “Veggies: Eat Them Because You Want To, Not Because You Have To” ebook and deciding that kale can have a place in their menu – at least, sometimes.

My culinary adventures with liver started well over a decade ago after reading Sally Fallon’s excellent book, Nourishing Traditions.

I did not grow up eating liver, so everything about it was just – weird. The texture, the flavor, the color…

But over time, I’ve continually experimented and found that liver can actually be, dare I say it, GOOD.

I’m still not much of a fan of straight-up liver (unless it’s chicken liver, lightly sauteed in lots of butter and served with mustard), but liver pate is pretty damn delicious.

If you’re new to the land of liver, I highly suggest starting with chicken liver, due to its mild taste and delicate texture.

Beef liver, especially from a full-grown animal, has a much stronger flavor. It is, however, richer in certain nutrients than chicken liver, such as choline, vitamin A, vitamin B12, and vitamin B3. Both are nutrient-dense, just in slightly different ways.

If you’ve been dragging your feet to try offal, suck it up and make this grass-fed beef liver pate.  You can always make a mini batch just in case. If you don’t love it, save it for making “hidden liver” recipes, like these meatballs or the meatloaf recipe in Real Food for Pregnancy.

At the very least, you’ll have a good story to tell your friends. (Remember that time I tried beef heart?)

Grass-Fed Beef Liver Pate

  • 1 lb grass-fed beef liver (or pasture-raised chicken liver)
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 4 Tbsp butter (ideally from grass-fed cows)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 4 oz heavy whipping cream (ideally from grass-fed cows)


  1. With a paper towel, pat any excess moisture off the liver. Sprinkle with salt, thyme, pepper, then the arrowroot powder (arrowroot is a gluten-free alternative to flour).
  2. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add butter.
  3. Cook liver until lightly browned on both sides. Transfer to the food processor.
  4. Meanwhile, add onions to the skillet. Cook until lightly browned and soft.
  5. Add heavy cream to deglaze the pan (scraping up any caremelized bits with a metal spatula).
  6. Transfer contents of pan to the food processor.
  7. Process/pulse until you have a nice, thick pate. Taste test and add additional salt if needed.
  8. Transfer to small mason jars or ice cube trays*, ensuring no air bubbles are present. Use within 1 week or freeze jars for later use. *If freezing in an ice cube tray, transfer fully frozen pate cubes to another container to reduce the chances of freezer burn.

how to make grass fed liver pate

How to use grass-fed beef liver pate:

  • The classic way to eat pate is smeared on crackers or bread (if you go this route, go heavy on the pate!).
  • If you eat grain-free or low carb, try it on slices of cucumber or kohlrabi – or even serve it as a dip with an array of fresh vegetables (like you would with hummus). I think it’s delicious with fresh carrots.
  • Not a fan of straight-up pate? Mix a few tablespoons into any recipe that uses ground meat. For example, try adding it to lasagne or meatloaf (You’ll notice the Grass-fed Beef Meatballs and Low-Carb Shepherd’s Pie recipes in my books, Real Food for Pregnancy and Real Food for Gestational Diabetes, feature liver).

grass-fed beef liver pate with carrots

Nutritional benefits of liver pate:

Liver is extremely rich in vitamin A (the real stuff), choline, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, folate, and a whole host of other nutrients crucial to health, especially for pregnant women and women who are trying to conceive (as I explain in excruciating detail in my books).

And yes, contrary to outdated prenatal nutrition advice, liver is safe to eat during pregnancy in moderate quantities (see Ch 3 of Real Food for Pregnancy). I’ve never had a client overeat liver! If anything, it takes extra encouragement to include it in the diet.

Pregnant or not, a few ounces of liver pate per week is hugely beneficial to your micronutrient intake.

Before you head out to the butcher, I’d love to hear from you:

  • Have you tried making liver or liver pate?
  • What’s your take – delicious or not?

Until next week,


PS – Wondering why I use liver from grass-fed/pasture-raised animals? Read this.

Veggies: Eat them because you want to, not because you have to

Your guide to making vegetables taste seriously good

You'll also receive Lily Nichols' weekly newsletter.
Unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy

Behind the Scenes of Real Food for Fertility: Insight into the process of writing and researching the book
Can you eat too much fish during pregnancy?
Vitamin B12 & Pregnancy: A nutrient crucial for your baby’s health
How much iron do you actually absorb from food?

Lily Nichols is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, researcher, and author with a passion for evidence-based prenatal nutrition and exercise. Her work is known for being research-focused, thorough, and unapologetically critical of outdated dietary guidelines. She is the author of two bestselling books, Real Food for Pregnancy and Real Food for Gestational Diabetes.


Leave a comment
  1. I’ve tried to make liver twice this year. I have not been able to tolerate it yet. I’m sure it’s a mental block, so I will give this recipe a try when I decide to try again. Luckily my boyfriend is an adventurous eater and ate what I couldn’t. I made the meatballs from your book and he said it’s his second favorite thing I’ve cooked!

    • I hear you. It can take some getting used to. You might like liver in small amounts in a recipe that includes more spices, like these Indian Spiced Stuffed Bell Peppers. Try adding just 1-2 oz per pound of ground meat until you become accustomed to the taste or switch to chicken liver. Good luck. (And glad your hubby liked the meatball recipe!)

    • Is there a dairy free recipe? We have an allergy in our house!

    • I felt that way about eating liver, and then I read a postpartum liver recipe in the TCM book 7 Times a Woman where she said to soak the liver in something acidic for 15-20 minutes first – I use lemon juice. I chop up the liver to the size required for the recipe and soak while prepping other ingredients. When it’s done soaking, I rinse and then continue on with the recipe. I absolutely love liver pate now and eat it weekly.

  2. I’m not a fan of paté, so I mix 1/2 lb. of pureed liver into a batch of 2 meatloaves every few weeks. Everyone who’s tasted it (except my wife, who lives on fast food) has liked the earthiness that the liver adds to the dish, especially with a homemade sriracha sauce.

    • Sounds yummy, Jake! I make a similar meatloaf recipe. The nice thing about pate is I can make it in big batches and freeze it. Then when I’m ready to make meatloaf, I can just defrost a jar and mix it right in to the meatloaf. #lazycook

      • Can you freeze pureed liver in small batches and defrost when needed in recipes? I can only buy liver in 2kg portions

  3. Ewwwww liver! XD lol JK–this doesn’t even look like liver! This looks super tasty!
    Can you please explain to me what arrowroot is? Is it really healthy?

    • Arrowroot starch is obtained from the root of a tropical plant. I use it here as a gluten-free replacement for flour. It caramelizes upon cooking, which adds to the flavor and also helps thicken the pate. It’s not something I’d seek to eat in large quantities – it’s pretty much pure starch – but it’s fine in small amounts in recipes like this.

      • What could I substitute arrowroot for?

  4. Funny you should blog about this now, Lily, as I’ve been obsessed with liver for the last few months, trying to figure out how to eat it in a non-disgusting way. I’ve found a method that seems to work. I mix 1 pound ground lamb with 1/4 pound ground beef liver, and I find that that way, I can barely taste the liver. But I’ve recently discovered that if I use chicken liver, I can tolerate more of it, so I mix 3/4 pound ground lamb with 1/2 lb. ground chicken liver. So question for you. Given that beef is more nutritious than chicken, but chicken is more tolerable so I can eat more of it, what’s better — 1/4 lbs. beef liver or 1/2 lb. chicken liver?

    • Liver is nutrient-dense from all animals, but you could do a nutrient comparison using a free nutrition database, such as, to decide if you want to switch. Both are great options, but off the top of my head, grass-fed beef liver is richer in B12, choline, and omega-3 (and has far fewer omega-6).

  5. Chicken liver curry is probably one of my favorite dishes right now and I look forward to eating it every week. Cherry tomatoes, curry spices, caramelized onions, ginger, garlic and fresh cilantro makes it taste wonderful and the burst of energy you get afterwards is even better, indicating how nutritious it really is 🙂

    • That sounds so yummy, Joni.

  6. Lily,

    I’m one that can tolerate liver or heart just pan fried, but I’ve been looking for a pate recipe to try – your’s looks pretty good. I have a couple of questions. You mention lightly browning the liver – so liver is still pink inside (like med or med rare?) Secondly, what’s the concern about air bubbles?

    • Hi Mike,
      I personally like liver cooked to medium, but you can pan-fry to your preference for this recipe. Pate is very forgiving.

      Removing air bubbles prevents off-flavors from developing. This is most important if you make a large batch and freeze extra for later.

  7. Would it be alright to omit the heavy cream? I think I can do butter in my diet, but not cream…

    • Yes. You’ll need either some liquid or more butter to help deglaze the pan and get the right consistency.

      • Coconut oil instead of extra butter at the end in place of HWC is a good way to switch up the fats for the right consistency.

  8. I would just bet there isn’t too many that have had fresh liver from a grass fed bovine…much more tasty than store bought crap…I cook the fresh beef liver I get with some bacon, butter, & Walla Walla sweet onions topped with a bit of mayo or home made fry sauce

  9. I just made this with grass-fed liver. It’s much more mild than I thought. I’ll eat grass-fed liver anyway,as it’s not as strong as conventional.
    Anyway, thanks for recipe. A lot of them call for liquor, etc. that I don’t have on hand all the time. I had all of the ingedients and ate about a quarter of it with some cucumbers. It was very good:)

    • Glad you liked it, Holly. Yeah, I developed this recipe without liquor or wine, since many of my clients either can’t tolerate sulfites (from wine) or choose not to drink. It’s nice to have another option that still tastes good. 🙂

  10. This is the best recipe I’ve ever used for pate. I’m fortunate enough to have grass-fed liver from our own steer every year, and usually I just pan-fry a slice in butter for a quick breakfast or lunch (talk about fast food!), but this pate is simply too delicious to not take the few extra minutes to prepare.
    Thank you for sharing!

    • Thanks for letting me know how much you love it, Sarah! And how lucky you are to be able to harvest a grass-fed steer each year. 🙂

  11. Hi, great writing!
    After being vegetarian for 10 years and breastfeeding my son 18 months I needed to realize I need to eat meat, bone broth, liver, etc.. to remineralize my teeth. Not easy but I choose to be healthy! I did grow up eating liver but never was my favorite. Goose liver pate ont the other hand: MY FAVORITE!
    So I am going to try your recipe with grass fed beef and eat it up for my health! 😉 Thank you!

    • I hope you enjoy it, Marica, and cheers to restoring your health with real food. 🙂

  12. Just made this. My husband is anemic due to Chemo. Just what the Dr. ordered. I did NOT have a food processor so I used my old blender. Turned out fantastic. DELISH!

    • Awesome to hear, Becky! The iron in liver is very well-absorbed, so grass-fed beef liver pate is indeed “just what the doctor ordered.” 😉

  13. I love all livers! Even though foie gras tastes great, I don’t like the way the poor geese are force fed.

    I buy beef liver in a chunk, not pre-sliced at a local market. They have locally grown meats and poultry that are fresh, not previously frozen. I can than cut it any way I want. My personal favorite is cutting the liver into 1.25″ steaks, adding a dry rub, then pan-searing in the oven with butter, like I do my steaks. Rare!!! Delicious and oh so fork-tender! I hated liver when I was a kid because it was always tough. The reason being is that we kids didn’t want to eat anything bloody, including steak so my Mom indulged us and cooked it all well done. Of course it was tough as an old pair of boots’ leather. She ate hers rare. When I finally got into my teens and started eating rare steak, I knew what I had been missing.

    Liver fajitas are a hit with my friends. Liver and onions are just too plain plus onions, even cooked, can be an issue for my gut. Need to spice it up with some hot peppers (I can handle those, no problem!), salsa, cheese, sour cream, etc. Sizzle, sizzle!

    I had some leftover pan-seared liver and decided to boil it down. Wasn’t sure what I was going to make but had a vague pate in mind. So I added onion, garlic, black pepper, thyme, bay, fennel seed, a bit of balsamic, soy sauce, butter. I added more liquid and decided to add 1.5 slices of several days-old pumpernickel bread. Wow! That tasted great as it cooked. After I hit the mix with the stick blender, I put it in the fridge. It set up nicely. That bread did not detract from the liver flavor at all. Served it with some homemade plum and orange chutney, horseradish, spicy mustard, marmalade, and minced green onion. I’ll have to make that again!

    Liver lovers unite! Lol!

    • All great ideas, Ann. I’ll have to give the liver fajitas a try!

  14. I made this today, 1/4 the recipe to see if I liked it… not bad! Tasted very good. Added extra garlic & had to add a little more liquid but it turned out very good.

    • “Not bad” means “kinda good” for liver, haha. Glad you liked it!

  15. A little trick I learned was to soak the liver overnight in lemon juice before cooking. Cuts some of the flavor. Makes it way more edible.

  16. I add bacon to my recipe, I fry it up first , then the onions in the fat, then the liver in that. I do add butter and also heavy cream. But I add rosemary and thyme when cooking and when pureeing I add a huge dollop of Dijon mustard. Then it goes in the fridge to harden a bit. Only way I can choke this down.

  17. Lily
    Both my husband and I love liver however the “cholesterol “ scare made us rethink. We enjoy pate with a glass of wine SO I am going to wing your recipe using wild venison liver. However I’m going to soak it in buttermilk for at least 12 hours. Wish me luck!

    • Looking up Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. Your body needs cholesterol. Anyone who tells you cholesterol is bad and to keep it limited is lying to you. People believing that lie just feed their pocketbooks and people stay sick.

  18. Eager to hear your thoughts on desiccated grass-fed beef liver capsules. That sure would save me a ton of trouble sourcing, cooking (I’m extremely squeamish these days–first trimester), and trying to enjoy eating it.

    • I cannot give personal supplement advice via this format, but from a general perspective, I see no problem with desiccated liver capsules from a reputable company. There are some considerations with liver consumption and I cover this topic in detail in Real Food for Pregnancy.

  19. Hi Lily,

    I’m reading your new book and just tried this beef liver pate recipe— my favorite so far! Even my 17 month old loves it! Question, how much liver do you recommend pregnant women consume each day or week? In your book you mention at least 3 eggs daily but I’m confused about how much liver to eat to avoid too much vitamin A while still building nutrient reserves for a healthy pregnancy.

    Thank you!

    • I would love to hear the answer to this!

    • I would love to know the answer as well!

  20. Started my 51/2 mo on solids over the past couple weeks and this was one of the first foods we gave him and he LOVES IT!!!!

  21. Do you think 1/4 cup of purées carrot would be a good addition to this? And 24 hour sour cream instead of cream?

  22. To those who have a hard time eating it, I put it on toast and put a tbsp of orange marmalade on top. I make my own marmalade, but store bought is ok too.

  23. Dear Lily,

    I am going to try this recipe as I have been unable to locate all natural liverwurst or pate. However, my primary goal is to increase my iron levels. Would you happen to have the nutritional breakdown for your beef liver pate recipe?

    Thank you very much,

  24. If you can’t tolerate dairy what would you sub? Ghee or coconut or avocado oil? And broth or coconut cream instead of heavy cream?

    • I’d try coconut oil or lard. Ghee would work, but just FYI that it is derived from butter, so whether you choose this depends on your definition of “dairy free”. Use coconut milk in place of heavy cream. Just note that any of the above substitutions will change the flavor and possibly the texture of the final product. Good luck experimenting!

  25. WOW! Am I the only one who LOVES Liver on here??? I grew up with 7 brothers & sisters and my Mom. She made liver & onions twice a week and we lived it! It was a cheap meal! Today I still eat liver most weeks. I love to make Beef and Chicken liver Pate. I absolutely love it!❤❤❤

  26. So, I’ve added some uncured Forest raised-bacon(so lucky to have access!!) and kicked up the seasonings a bit to make it a bit more palatable until I get used to it. Very very good! With the bacon it tastes like liverwurst which I loved as a kid and is very hard to find anymore.

    • Nice addition. Bacon never hurts!

  27. I’m wanting to get on board with liver and pate def seems like the way to go. Any suggestions for replacing the heavy cream? I’m dairy-ish free. Butter’s fine, but cream might be too much for me.

    • Full fat canned coconut milk.

      Or a little more butter + some water to thin the pate to your preferred consistency.

  28. How long can this be frozen for?

  29. Soaking liver in something acidic – I use lemon juice – for 15-20 minutes helps so much with the liver-y flavor for those who can’t stomach it. My favorite thing to eat pate with is pink lady apples (or any apple that has that tart + sweet combo), carrots & celery.

  30. Hi Lily,

    I have your book and tried making this today for the first time. I accidentally doubled the liver and when I taste tested the pate it was very strong. It’s now in the fridge and I’ll check it tomorrow. Have I ruined this and is it garbage as there’s too much liver relative to the recipe ingredients?

    • I would rewarm on the stove top, add extra cream and salt until it tastes good to you. No need to throw it all out.

      Or you can choose to freeze it in small portions (such as ice cube trays) to use as hidden liver in ground meat dishes, like shepherd’s pie, meatloaf, meatballs, etc. Use ~3-4 oz per pound of raw meat, or a little less if liver is a new food/strong flavor for you.

  31. Thank you for your post. Is there a concern for preformed vitamin A toxicity if I eat both liver once a week and take cod liver oil supplements daily for DHA/EPA or should I switch to fish oil (not cod liver) instead? Thank you.

    • That entirely depends on the quantity of vitamin A in the cod liver oil + liver combined. I address some of these concerns in Ch 3 and 6 of Real Food for Pregnancy, but for specific advice, you may wish to work with a dietitian/nutritionist to run a formal micronutrient analysis on your diet and supplement intake.

  32. Lily,
    What modifications do you recommend for your liver pate when introducing it to babies?

    • You can make it as is, but if your baby has any food allergies or you’re not comfortable with all the ingredients, you can just cook liver in a bit of water and puree as is or thin with a little expressed breast milk. I generally thin pate a bit more for babies who are early into starting solids because thicker textures can be challenging for them at the beginning (think of aiming for an apple sauce or yogurt thickness).

  33. Hi, what about liver pâté in the small cans? Are those healthy to eat? Or is it highly processed? I love the liver pate that I have bought from a deli and the individual cans and I spread them on a slice of bread. Is the liver pate from a can ok to feed my 6 month old son?

    • It would depend on the ingredients. If the ingredients are good and you use it within a few days of opening, it should be fine.

  34. Hi Lily!

    This is my first time cooking beef liver, and I am wondering if both sides are browned but it is bleeding, is it safe to eat? (Having trouble knowing when it’s done…)

  35. Hi from Spain Lily!
    I am pregnant 8w and have your book (and Love it)!
    I have consumed chicken liver, Like half dish today and a bit also yesterday. I would like to know how much it is ok to consume. I don’t know if it is too much and I am a bit scared now. Thank you!

  36. Thank you for this amazing and easy recipe. I made it today and can’t get enough. To me it is particularly delicious and I tend to enjoy most liver pates. This is the first time I have made it myself though.

  37. Hi Lily, I make a bolognese with 50/50 ratio of organic grass fed beef mince and beef/chicken liver. It’s delicious, lots of tomatoe too. I’m 20 weeks pregnant and wondering how often and how much I should be eating? To maintain good iron levels as I also know you can have too much, can affect your saturation levels.

  38. Can I leave out the heavy cream or replace it with anything ? Also can I replace butter with avocado oil? I’m Jewish and for kosher reasons I can’t mix meat and dairy.

  39. Can I leave out the heavy cream or replace it with anything. I’m Jewish and for kosher reasons I can’t mix meat and dairy.

  40. Would you say chicken liver is as beneficial as beef liver?

  41. Hi Lily,
    Thank you for this recipe! I’ve been nervous about making pate after one failed attempt in 2014;) I am a bit squeamish about liver and not a fan of thyme so I decided to change up the spices and instead added mild chili powder and fresh cilantro at the end to the food processor and I’m pleasantly surprised;) thank you for all that you do, I love your work and am so grateful to have your books and writings as a resource!

  42. Lily, do you trim the liver before making this pate? My liver always has a thin film on the side that I feel like I should trim off, but it’s so tedious! Not to mention there are usually other fibrous bits in the liver slices. I am wondering if they would just get blended up in the food processor!?

  43. Is there a limit on how much liver you should be eating on a weekly basis? I’m obsessed with how nutrient dense it is but my mom warned against eating too much of it because “it’s an organ meat”. That was the only reasoning lol I’m also in my second trimester and don’t want to overdo it, any suggestion on this?

  44. That photo you have of cooked liver looks like when I cook it, dipped in egg, dredged in seasoned flour or cornmeal, then fried. I actually like it really well done, which takes a while to do without burning it. Then I mix ketchup, horseradish, lemon and honey into a cocktail sauce. I like it cold the next day as well. I look forward to trying your pâté recipe. Thank you!

    • Sounds yummy!

  45. This recipe worked great! I tweaked it a little to be dairy free for my 7 month old, and had already cooked the liver in my instant pot but just pan fried some onions in butter and added 4 oz of bone broth to the blender along with some salt. He loves it! Next time I may try and mix some of my leftover breastmilk in with it.

  46. Hi Lily,
    Is it right that liver doesn’t have to be fully cooked/done to enjoy safe during pregnancy?

  47. I was wondering about the cream, doesn’t it reduce the absorption of iron?
    The jews don’t mix dairy and meat so the recipe I got was with onion carrot and, a hardboiled egg.
    Instead of the cream and butter

  48. Hi Lily, I’m preparing to make my first batch of liver pate and I’m super excited about it! I’m curious if I can use cornstarch in place of the arrowroot powder?

Comment Policy