Don’t Throw it Away, Make Turkey Liver Pâté!

November 8, 2020

This turkey liver pâté makes use of the leftover innards of your Thanksgiving turkey. It’s creamy and irresistible on crackers and sandwiches. 

For me, giving thanks begins with appreciating every part of the Thanksgiving centerpiece: the turkey. Turkeys are noticeably plump, often clumsy, and hold their heads proudly cocked. When roasted, smoked, grilled, or fried, they are decadent and glorious. But I urge you to look past the festive scene of a long, decorated table laden with food and wine, quivering under the weight of adult laughter while the kids snap dreams into reality over the wishbone. With razor-sharp focus our eyes land on the heaps of freshly carved meat, but we strain to see the less celebrated offerings: the organs and the bones. These parts are as essential to my Thanksgiving meal as they were to the turkey’s life, and keep giving long after the last plate is stacked in the cupboard.

On this blustery Sunday morning, I traveled to The Good Life Farm in Interlaken, NY to wrestle a freshly butchered, thirty-pound turkey into the front seat of my car. I find it sensible to order my turkey in advance from a farmer nearby, who’s name I’ve come to know and respect. Melissa raised my turkey in the open air, fed on grass and grubs and other nourishing food that makes the meat healthy and flavorful, and the skeleton and organs even more so! I feel good about honoring this bird’s life.

Emma Frisch Don’t Throw it Away, Make Turkey Liver Pâté Ingredients

A whole turkey is nearly always ready for sale with the inside cavity cleaned of innards, organs, and other unwanted bits, otherwise known as “offal.” However, farmers like Melissa will often package the organs in a smaller bag and store them inside the cavity along with the neck bone. I always put the neck bone straight into a big Ziploc Freezer Bags, where I eventually add the remaining bones from everyone’s plate along with the picked-over turkey carcass. I store the Ziploc in the refrigerator or freezer for turning into a fine Homemade Turkey (or Chicken) Stock. Stock is a flavor-intensifying, nutrient-packed pantry staple, adding an instant boost to any soup, sauce, braised dish, and other creation calling for liquid. I usually make my stock the next morning, letting the house continue to simmer with the scent of turkey bubbling into a broth that will last through the soup season.

However, the liver is still more prized in its unique and unmatched ability to play two countering roles: defiantly bold and sophisticatedly delicate. The liver is dense in iron, strengthening the blood and bones. When sliced and seared with onions, this organ is deserving of its nutritious punch and penetrating flavor. When whipped with eggs, onions, and aromatic herbs, the liver becomes a luscious, refined pre-party spread. Pâté takes less than fifteen minutes to prepare and can be served as an appetizer on Thanksgiving day. If time is short, freeze the liver in a small bag for gracing a future occasion. But please, don’t throw it away.

Why You’ll Love this Turkey Liver Pâté

  • Uses the whole Thanksgiving turkey. Absolutely no waist
  • Comes together in under 30 minutes
  • Basic ingredients
  • Endless uses!

Emma Frisch Don’t Throw it Away, Make Turkey Liver Pâté Prep

How to Serve Turkey Liver Pâté

Emma Frisch Don’t Throw it Away, Make Turkey Liver Pâté 2

For more wintry food and holiday fare, visit my free Digital Thanksgiving Cookbook … because every feast we give thanks! 


Don’t Throw it Away, make Turkey Liver Pâté!

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Serve this turkey liver pâté as an appetizer before Thanksgiving dinner, or simply as a sandwich spread. Simply pack the mixture into a bowl or glass jar, cover, and refrigerate. It can also be frozen and thawed for later use. 

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 minutes
  • Total Time: 27 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x


  • 1 turkey liver
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 34 sprigs fresh thyme (or dried thyme)
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  • 1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped


  1. Rinse the raw liver and pat dry. Slice the liver into uniform pieces so they cook evenly.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and add the onions, sautée until they begin to brown.
  3. Add the liver and garlic, and sautée until it turns from a cabernet color to brown, losing its shine. The liver will not take long to cook, and should still be slightly pink on the inside.
  4. Stir in the parsley, then remove the pan from the heat.
  5. In a food processor or blender, add the liver mixture with the thyme, hard-boiled eggs, salt, and pepper.
  6. Pulse the pâté until coarsely chopped. Then, with the machine running, begin adding the olive oil in a thin, steady stream while continuously blending. Every now and then, use a spatula to push any pâté along the sides back down towards the blade.
  7. The pate should be smooth, even-textured. If it is still chunky and too thick, add more olive oil.
  8. Transfer the pâté to a serving bowl and garnish with parsley. Serve with crackers, cheese, and olives.
  9. Store the pâté in a covered container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.


No turkey liver? No problem, you can find liver paté online.

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  1. I made this without the parsley because it wasn’t listed. It turned out fine I guess but I would have liked to have liked to have tried it the way it was intended and the above pictured amount of parsley would have changed the taste.

    1. Hi Carrie! Thanks for pointing that out. While the parsley is listed in the ingredients, I didn’t mention it in the recipe directions. Hopefully, you have some leftover to try with fresh herbs this time. Cheers!

  2. Made this for Thanksgiving this year; I hate to waste food, and wanted to use every single bit of the turkey, so I decided to give this recipe a shot…. it was super tasty! Went really well spread on the turkey meat, and on bread ! Highly recommend

  3. No need for any fresh herbs. or eggs.. that recipe is for chopped liver. Just use butter, onion or shallet and/or garlic, salt and pepper, gently cook til livers are pink in center, puree. Done. Can add dash of a liquor if you like, Brandy, madiera,, etc

    1. I’m curious, you’re saying you wouldn’t add herbs or eggs to the pate? I love learning different ways to make things!

  4. I made this today—exactly as written. It’s easy and excellent. I am now regretting all of the turkey livers that I’ve thrown away in previous years.

  5. I think fresh parsley should be in the list of ingredients and I chose 2 tablespoons worth. This was a great use of my organic turkey liver.

  6. The quantity of parsley is missing from the ingredients list. Also, can you provide the conversion amounts for dried herbs? (Unfortunately, I don’t have easy access to fresh herbs.)


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