French Sardine Pate

Incredibly Tasty French Sardine Pate

May Simpkin
This incredibly tasty and easy French sardine pate is one that has surprised many of my guests over the years! It’s one of my store cupboard “go-to’s” which I can put together is less than 5 mins. As well as being quick and easy, it is of course a wonderfully healthy choice providing plenty of anti-inflammatory omega-3s that we need to eat more of as well as good calcium. I first came across this recipe up in France and found that the strong flavour of the sardines is perfectly balanced with the mustard and lemon juice as well as a little butter.
So, if you're asking "how can I make sardines taste better?", this is how! It's a great recipe using canned sardines and the good news is that canned sardines are just as good for you.
Conscious of the apprehension that many have for a fish pate, I hope you’ll find that this will appeal even to those who may initially turn their nose up at the suggestion! I’d love to hear how you get on with this one!
Try it as a starter for a dinner party or simply as a dipping snack to share.
5 from 4 votes
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Course Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine French


To Make this easy French sardine pate, you’ll need…..

  • 2 tins good quality sardines in olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon gherkins and/or capers optional
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Juice of half a lemon or more to taste
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Finely chopped chives or spring onions to garnish


  • Mash the sardines in a bowl with the back of a fork, including the soft (calcium rich) bones. Add the butter, mustard and lemon juice and continue to mash until they are all well combined.
  • Finely chop the gherkins/capers and add to the pate mixture. Season well with salt and pepper, and more lemon juice if preferred.
  • if you prefer a smoother consistency, combine the ingredients (as prepped above) in a food processor and pulse to a fine, soft mixture. Check seasoning.
  • Garnish with some chopped chives or spring onions (optional)

If you are using a powerful blender such as Thermomix or Nutribullet, follow these instructions from scratch

    Thermomix Instructions:

    • Chop the gherkins and capers for 2 sec/speed 5 – set aside
    • Combine all ingredients in the mixing bowl and blend 5 sec/speed 5. Scrape down the sides and blend again 4 sec/speed 7, until the desired consistency – a chunky dip. Add the capers and combine by hand. Check seasoning.


    Serve this French sardine pate with a selection of raw vegetable cruditées, crispbreads, pitta toasts, some warm chunky wholegrain bread or fresh baguettes.