Are Pate and Terrine the Same Thing?

What defines a pate? What about a terrine? Are they the same thing or completely different dishes?

What defines a pate? What about a Terrine? Are they the same thing or completely different dishes?

The Short Answer

Some pates are terrines but many terrines are not pate.

The Long Answer

Pate and terrine, or as I like to call them, fancy meatloaf.

Ok, that’s an extreme oversimplification but these two foreign sounding words do describe meat combinations that are packed into a loaf and baked in a very specific type of loaf pan.

A lot of different pates can be considered terrines, however, not all terrines are pate.

What is a terrine you ask? That’s a very convenient question, dear reader! Let me explain.

A terrine is a dish that is made out of various different ingredients. Most of them involve some kind of meat. It can be ground meat, organ meat, veggies, seafood, boiled eggs, and mixed in with varying herbs. The defining feature of a terrine is that it is cooked in a steel or ceramic loaf mold called a terrine.  

Terrines are typically cooked in a bath of water, then cooled, then turned out and sliced up to be served. They can also be wrapped in a puff pastry and baked.

Ok, so now that you understand what a terrine is, let’s talk about pate. I’m sure you’ve heard the term, even if you’re not a huge foodie. It has been the go-to fancy sounding food in pop culture for a long time.

Pate is a blending of meat and organ meat (usually liver) mixed with seasonings and various herbs. Some of the smoother pates contain milk. Most of them have eggs as a major ingredient in order to help set them to their mold. Many pate recipes also include bread or breadcrumbs to stretch the ingredients and add firmness to the overall loaf.

A pate is usually a lot finer in texture than most terrines and can be made from a mold or pan of any shape.

Sometimes, pate is cooked in a terrine pan and when that happens it is technically a terrine. However, that’s not the only way to make a pate so this is one of the first instances here on Is This That Food where the answer to our question is “….Sometimes?”

Do you enjoy pate? What’s your favorite kind? Do you cook it like a terrine? Sound off in the comment section below and let us know!

Are Pate and Terrine the Same Thing?
Are Pate and Terrine the Same Thing?

Kevin Kessler

Kevin J. Kessler is an experienced professional writer and published author living in Orlando, Florida. With a lifelong passion for food, this sandwich loving Italian boy enjoys exploring unanswered questions about the foods we all know and love so well. Kevin’s foodie lifestyle was born through his love of Walt Disney World and the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. A lover of stories, he enjoys trying new dishes from all over the world and learning everything there is to know about where food comes from, how its prepared, and what variations on it exist.