Easy Vietnamese Liver Pâté Recipe for Bánh Mì Sandwiches — Vicky Pham (2024)

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Easy Vietnamese Liver Pâté Recipe for Bánh Mì Sandwiches — Vicky Pham (1)

What is Pâté

Pate, pronounced “pah-tay,” is French for paste. It is a type of meat paste with liver as the main ingredient.

Pate is mostly associated with French cuisine,but variations can be found all over the world. It made its way to Vietnam during the French colonialization in the late 1800s. Now it is a beloved livery spread for Bánh Mì, a classic and iconic Vietnamese sandwich. The spread adds a rich and savory flavor to the sandwich, making it an essential component of the Bánh Mì. Without it, the Bánh Mì simply feels incomplete.

Spread the pate inside of the baguette for your banh mi before adding the other ingredients. You can also enjoy it as a delicious snack by smearing it on crackers.

Easy Vietnamese Liver Pâté Recipe for Bánh Mì Sandwiches — Vicky Pham (2)

What You’ll Need

Below is the recipe to make your own pate at home. With just a few simple ingredients, you can create a delicious spread that will add authenticity to your Banh Mi.

Easy Vietnamese Liver Pâté Recipe for Bánh Mì Sandwiches — Vicky Pham (3)

Easy Vietnamese Liver Pâté Recipe for Bánh Mì Sandwiches — Vicky Pham (4)

Liver — You can use any kind of liver. I’m using one piece of pork liver in this recipe. You can also use chicken, duck, goose, or beef. Remove any tough connective tissue then slice into bite-sized pieces.

Milk — Start by soaking the liver in whole milk to help clean and get rid of the strong smell. Soak for at least 30 minutes or overnight in the fridge. Discard the soaking milk and rinse the liver well. It is now ready for use. Milk is also needed as the liquid to make the paste.

Easy Vietnamese Liver Pâté Recipe for Bánh Mì Sandwiches — Vicky Pham (5)

Butter — This also makes the pate creamy and fatty. Butter is also used to top off the pate so that it doesn’t dry out. Sometimes, rendered pork fat is used instead.

Aromatics — When it comes to liver, you need plenty of aromatics to subdue the smell. Here I’m using plenty of shallots and garlic. If you don’t have shallots, use white or yellow onions instead.

Oil — A little bit is needed to pan-fry the shallots and garlic to bring out their aroma. You can use either vegetable or canola oil.

Cooking wine — I’m using a Chinese cooking wine (Shaoxing), but you can use whatever cooking wine or white wine that you have. Cooking wine is another way to mellow out the livery flavor and aroma. It also provides a small amount of acidity to break down the liver when pulsed into a paste.

Seasonings — To season the liver, I’m using salt, a bit of sugar for balance, Chinese five-spice for flavor, MSG (optional) for that well-rounded umami flavor, and ground black pepper for a small kick.

Food processor — Once the liver is cooked on the stovetop and seasoned, you will need a food processor to pulse the liver and all the aromatics into a paste. Generally, the Vietnamese liver pate is coarser than the French variety, but that is entirely up to you. Pulse longer for a smoother texture. Less for a coarser texture.

Easy Vietnamese Liver Pâté Recipe for Bánh Mì Sandwiches — Vicky Pham (6)

Where to Buy Pâté

If you don’t have access to quality liver to make it at home or it's just too daunting to make your own, you can get pate from your other sources.

Banh Mi shops are likely to have pate for purchase. Simply ask them and they can sell you their house blend in a small container.

If you don’t have a Banh Mi shop nearby, you can purchase canned pate at a specialty grocery store or online. The canned pate is typically very small (4.5 oz), which is convenient if you just need a small amount.

Related Links

All About the Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwich)
Top 10 Most Delicious Vietnamese Dishes You Must Try Before You Die

Authentic Cơm Tấm: A Delicious and Traditional Vietnamese Broken Rice Dish

Easy Vietnamese Liver Pâté Recipe for Bánh Mì Sandwiches — Vicky Pham (7)

Easy Vietnamese Liver Pâté Recipe for Bánh Mì Sandwiches — Vicky Pham (8)

Yield 10

Author Vicky Pham

Prep time

5 Min

Cook time

15 Min

Inactive time

40 Min

Total time

1 Hour

Easy Vietnamese Liver Pâté Recipe for for Bánh Mì Sandwiches

Pâté, the beloved livery spread for Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches. Make your own pate at home with just a few simple ingredients and take your Banh Mi to the next level.This recipe makes about 2 cups.



  1. Remove any connective tissue on the liver then slice it into bite-sized pieces. Rinse well. Soak the liver in 1 cup whole milk for at least 30 minutes then rinse again. This will subdue the strong smell.
  2. In a large skillet, heat up oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Add garlic and shallots. Pan fry for one minute. Add liver and pan fry for 10 minutes on medium-low heat.
  3. Add wine and cook for one more minute or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt, pepper, sugar, five-spice powder, and MSG (optional). Add milk to deglaze the pan, making sure to scrap any of the charred bits at the bottom of the skillet but don't let the milk evaporate off. Pour mixture into a blender or food processor. Add another tablespoon of butter and blend until smooth.
  4. Transfer pate to two 4-inch ramekins or small bowls. Melt the last of the butter in the microwave and pour a very thin layer over the pate in the two ramekins. This will keep the pate from drying out. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes or until the butter was set.
  5. Spread a thin smear of pate onto your baguette for your Banh Mi or your favorite crackers. Any remaining pate can be wrapped up tightly and stored in the freezer for at least 6 months.

Nutrition Facts


3 g


168 mg

Sat. Fat

4 g


11 g

Net carbs

6 g


0 g


8 g


140 mg


6 g


143 kcal

The values provided should be considered estimates. Factors such as brands purchased, natural variations in fresh ingredients, etc. will change the nutritional information in any recipe. To obtain accurate nutritional information for a recipe, use your preferred nutrition calculator to determine nutritional information with the actual ingredients and quantities used.


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condiment, snack

French, Vietnamese

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Vicky Pham

pate, Pâté, liver, banh mi, Bánh Mì, pate recipe, pâté recipe


Easy Vietnamese Liver Pâté Recipe for Bánh Mì Sandwiches — Vicky Pham (2024)
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