Creative Ways to Use Canned Pâté

Open your eyes to the world of pâtés. Whether you have a can in your cabinet or you’re looking to purchase some from the grocery store, you can integrate pâté into your cooking in so many ways. It doesn’t have to be a side dish or a second thought, it can be a star of the show. If you’re not super familiar with pâté, this meat-based paste isn’t as out of reach as you may believe. Pâté often comes with a connotation that it is expensive, out of reach, and only for fancy occasions, but that’s not the case at all. You can find varied pâtés in grocery stores and online, making them widely available. 

Depending on the brand and type of pâté, it can cost just a few dollars per can, so it isn’t as pricey as you might initially think. Of course, there are more expensive brands out there, but you can purchase a can of pâté without breaking the bank. Canned pâtés come in a range of options, from poultry or pork pâtés to fish pâtés made with mackerel, sardines, or tuna. You can use it to boost the protein in nearly any dish. From pâté sandwiches to pâté potatoes, you’ll find that there are many creative uses for pâté. Stay inspired with this list of potential ways to use canned pâtés.

Spread it on a sandwich

Grilled sandwiches on a board

Sandwiches are a household staple for a reason. They’re versatile, affordable, delicious, and filling. You can make sandwiches with basically any ingredients that you have in your home. Whether you have cold cuts, leftovers, veggies, or dips, you can create a sandwich with it — as well as with canned pâté. Make a pâté sandwich with shaved radishes, cornichons, and spicy mustard. Try pâté on a bahn mi, or spread a generous heap on fresh bread with cheese and mayonnaise before grilling it on the stovetop. Canned pâté can turn a mundane sandwich into a marvelous one by giving it dimension and flavor. 

Mix and match sandwich basics such as bacon, turkey, ham, avocado, tomato, sliced cheese, or lettuce with your pâté. Get some new inspiration for the best sandwich recipes and then add your choice of pâté as a base. Keep it simple and try a cured pork liver pâté sandwich with cheddar cheese, lettuce, and microgreens on a chunky ciabatta. If you prefer fish-based pâtés, canned spiced mackerel pâté pairs well with capers, fresh dill, and cream cheese. Put it all together on sourdough bread or a crusty baguette, and you’ll never look at a sandwich the same way again. When you open the door to adding pâté to your sandwiches, you’ll realize it should have been there all along.

Forget tuna salad, make a pâté salad

Pâté salad on bread

Tuna salad is a thing of the past when you can make pâté salad instead. Swap the tuna for canned pâté made with mackerel, sardine, or cod. There is a surprising range of fish-based pâtés available in specialty grocery stores and online. There are even fish pâté variety packs, allowing you to buy a set and do a taste test to determine which type of fish pâté you prefer. Pick your tuna salad recipe and replace the tuna with your pâté of choice. Swap each can of tuna with a can of pâté, if they are the same weight. 

You can start with tuna salad basics such as mayonnaise, mustard, olive oil, lemon, mustard, salt, pepper, celery, or onion, and then include other items like carrots, bell pepper, arugula, spinach, pepperoncini, or cucumber. Add some fresh herbs such as parsley, dill, cilantro, chives, thyme, basil, or tarragon. If you don’t love a mayonnaise-based salad, replace the mayo with Greek yogurt, avocado, silken tofu, or hummus to give it a similar consistency. Eat the pâté salad on its own, with freshly toasted bread, or in lettuce cups. It’ll be delicious and satisfying no matter which vehicle you use to eat it.

Elevate your grazing board

Charcuterie platter with meats

Charcuterie boards and grazing platters are all the rage. There are plenty of videos and how-tos with suggestions for making one, but it boils down to what you want to include and how much you want to spend. You can go all out when you make a party charcuterie board with chicken liver pâté alongside a range of expensive meats and cheeses — or you can opt for something more affordable. You could easily substitute chicken liver pâté for pork liver pâté. Gather your essential components such as cheese, crackers, fruits, and meats, then jazz it up from there. 

Cheeses like brie, goat cheese, sharp cheddar, gruyere, burrata, and Gorgonzola will taste divine with a pâté. You can opt for hard or soft cheeses or a mix of both. If you’re seeking affordability, stores like Trader Joe’s offer delectable imported cheeses for great prices. For fruits, go for sliced Granny Smith apples, pears, or figs. They’ll deepen the flavor of the pâté without completely overwhelming it, like a super sweet fruit would. A pâté spreads easily and acts as a binder, so the other components won’t fall off the cracker. Keep it completely savory and replace spreadable jams, such as orange marmalade or strawberry jam, with your choice of pâté. 

Top your pizza with canned pâté

Pizza with pâté

Maria Saifutdinova/Getty Images

While pâté might not be the most popular pizza topping, it’s certainly worth experimenting with. Mix things up on your homemade pizza and use a canned pâté instead of a more typical meat addition. Since pâté tends to be on the salty side, balance it out with something sweet or spicy. Use canned chicken liver pâté and pair it with barbecue sauce and red onions for a barbecue-chicken-inspired pizza, or add pork liver pâté and pineapple for something along the lines of Hawaiian pizza. 

Go the spicy route and add freshly chopped jalapeños and red pepper flakes to your pâté pizza. You can use pâté as you would any protein on pizza, so the flavor combinations can depend on what type of pâté you choose. Omit regular dough and try pâté on French bread white pizza or on light and airy flammkuchen, made with puff pastry. The options never end. 

Enjoy pâté with eggs

Egg breakfast on plate

Pâté and eggs make a scrumptious combination. You can use pâté in an omelet, with scrambled eggs, or even top a fried egg with it. For an omelet, you can use just about any pâté. A poultry pâté omelet goes well with onion, diced bell pepper, and cheese like pepper jack, cheddar, or Monterey jack. Add your toppings of choice, and then add pâté at the end, allowing it to warm up while still retaining its flavor.

To make scrambled eggs, mix the eggs, salt, pepper, and canned pâté in a bowl so everything is completely incorporated before adding it to your pan to cook. The pâté adds another element of protein while enhancing the overall complexity of your scrambled eggs. To avoid overwhelming the eggs, start small by adding a couple of spoonfuls of pâté rather than using the entire can. You could add garlic, onion, paprika, or red chili pepper flakes as well. Make a traditional eggs Benedict and top it with a spoonful of pork pâté. It’s a great substitution, since eggs Benedict usually comes with Canadian bacon, which is a pork product. Pâté will add depth to any egg dish, whether it’s sunny side up or deviled eggs.

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Add pâté to your potatoes

Baked potato on plate

Don’t be afraid to integrate canned pâté with tubers, from mashed potatoes to baked potatoes. It works best with chicken or pork liver pâté, but you could use a fish-based pâté. Tuna with baked potatoes is a known dish, so substitute the tuna for canned sardine pâté as a quick alternative for your next baked potato. Forget the bacon. A loaded baked potato with pork pâté, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and chives would be delicious. Or try making scalloped potatoes with pâté by using thinly sliced potatoes, your favorite pâté, and a few other ingredients. 

No matter what you end up making, pâté transforms an average potato into a gourmet dish by giving it additional flavor without totally altering the texture. You could make a batch of fries, and then mix gravy and pâté together before topping the fries with the mixture and cheese curds for a poutine-inspired dish. Make a creamy dill potato salad and add a can of sardine or chicken pâté. Since pâté is a paste, you don’t have to worry about unpleasant lumps or chunks in your potatoes.

Use it as a dip

Eggplant and pâté dip

You can absolutely open up a can of pâté and serve it as a dip by itself. It comes flavored and ready to go, making this an easy but delectable canned item to keep in your pantry in case unexpected guests drop by. Pair pâté with vegetables such as celery, carrots, or broccoli, or with chips like potato, pita, or tortilla chips. This already makes a tasty combination, but you can choose to transform it with additional ingredients if you’re seeking creative ways to enhance it. 

Fancy it up even more by mixing pâté with truffle, goat cheese, or roasted eggplant. It’s the perfect base for a dip. You could mix pâté with sour cream and chives for a creamy dip that pairs well with crispy potato chips. Try adding it to roasted eggplant or hummus for a Mediterranean-inspired dip. Blend pâté and avocado with cilantro, garlic, onion, salt, and lime for an elevated guacamole to eat with tortilla chips. Spinach-artichoke dip with chicken pâté is a great side dish for a family game night. A pâté-based dip will pique the interest of guests at your next potluck, since it’s an unexpected addition; it’ll keep people guessing about the secret ingredient that makes your dip so tasty. 

Stuff your peppers with pâté

Stuffed bell peppers with bread

Tuna is often added to stuffed peppers, so add canned sardine or mackerel pâté to give the dish an upgrade. Swap tuna for pâté in canned tuna stuffed peppers. Sardine pâté is the closest alternative to tuna, but you could opt for any fish-based pâté that you find (cod, mackerel, sardine, etc.) to give this dish a salty, savory spin with a delicate, nuanced texture. You’ll just need your canned pâté, bell peppers, spices to taste, and a grain of some kind such as rice, quinoa, or bulgur. For something lower in carbs, skip the grain and add riced broccoli or cauliflower. 

Stuffed peppers allow a lot of room for creativity, so you can integrate other chopped vegetables or herbs like parsley, dill, or thyme. Add different cheeses such as feta, goat cheese, or cheddar to elevate the taste. For more protein, you can add ground beef, which is a stuffed-pepper classic, or opt for chicken, bacon, or ham. Depending on the protein you end up using, you can integrate a pâté of the same nature, such as pork pâté instead of bacon.

Make an herbed pâté compound butter

Herbed butter roll

Compound butter can enhance nearly any dish. Mix your canned pork liver pâté with butter and fresh herbs to make a savory herbed compound butter. Spread pâté butter on toast, crostini, or a sandwich. Chop the butter into coins and add it to a grazing board with crackers, cheese, and meats. Use a food processor as a simple method for making compound butter; this allows everything to be mixed together without getting any hand cramps by blending it manually. You could also use a hand mixer or a blender. Once it’s fully mixed, roll the butter into a log shape in plastic wrap. Place it in the fridge to harden and cool completely, and then you can use it however you please.

Compound butter allows you free reign on how you want it to taste and what ingredients you’d like to add. You can use fresh herbs such as basil, chives, mint, parsley, rosemary, thyme, or sage. You could add minced garlic or flaky salt to give it some texture. Try a fish-based compound butter by using cod pâté in place of the crawfish in this crawfish butter recipe. Compound butter is a chic-looking and incredible-tasting spread that you can eat with bread, or use to enhance a meal like steak. Make a batch to bring to a potluck or a family dinner. It looks more expensive and laborious to make than it really is.

Eat pâté with pasta

Baked pasta in a dish

Use your canned pâté as a base for sauce or as a mix-in for your pasta dish. No matter if your favorite pasta is angel hair or ziti, there are plenty of ways to incorporate it into pasta. Integrate pâté with nuts, fresh herbs, lemon, or any of the other best ingredients to take your pasta dishes to the next level. You can easily add pork or poultry pâté into tomato sauce for any pasta dish, giving it a savory richness thanks to the fat content. Mix equal parts of pesto with pâté for a decadent, mouthwatering pasta. Use pork pâté as a filling for ravioli, or add a can or two as the meat layer in lasagna. Add sardine pâté into your meatballs or to make a quick pasta con le sarde. Upgrade your tuna noodle casserole with a fish-based pâté like cod, mackerel, or sardine; it’s a simple swap that can make your casserole shine with flavor. Substitute the chopped sausage in spaghetti pie with pork pâté. Pâté makes a simple addition to your pasta, whether you’re making a quick spaghetti or a timballo to bring to a party. 

Preserve it in an ice cube tray

Ice cube trays in freezer

Perhaps you overshot the amount of pâté needed for a charcuterie board, or you opened a can for a snack and now have some left over. You might be wondering what you can do with a small amount of pâté — not quite enough to make it an integral part of a meal, but enough that you don’t want to toss it out. If you want some extra time to figure out what to do with your leftover pâté, freeze small pieces in an ice cube tray and transfer them into an airtight container or baggie. Then you can pop a frozen piece or two into your next sauce, meat dish, chili, or pasta. Let a cube thaw out, and then spread it on your next sandwich or add it into your scrambled eggs. This way you don’t waste any of the deliciousness while maximizing pâté’s shelf life after opening it. Freezing your pâté in small pieces is a simple way to get full use out of the entire can.

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