Classic French Pork Rillettes

Classic French Pork Rillettes

The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 3 hrs
Total: 3 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
531 Calories
43g Fat
0g Carbs
33g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 531
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 43g 55%
Saturated Fat 15g 76%
Cholesterol 141mg 47%
Sodium 435mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 33g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 32mg 2%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 347mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Be warned, classic French pork rillettes are not a pâté, as you will find to your peril should you ever use the term in France. Rillettes are long, slow-cooked meats, usually cooked in their own fat, and a few herbs and seasoning. What is created by the long slow cooking is akin to pulled pork with a softer flavor. They are, quite simply, delicious. 

Spread rillettes on toasted baguette, sprinkle lightly with freshly cracked black pepper and salt for a quick, easy appetizer. For a bold flavor or gourmet appetizer spread the toasts with fig jam; the sweet jam and pork work so well together. 


  • 1 1/2 pounds lean pork, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 3/4 pound pork fatback

  • 1/2 pound duck legs, kept whole

  • 3/4 cup water

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 dried bay leaf

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for classic French pork rillettes

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  2. Preheat oven to 325 F. In a large ovenproof baking dish, mix all the ingredients.

    Classic French Pork Rillettes ingredients in a baking dish

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  3. Tightly cover the dish with foil or a well-fitting lid. 

    closed pot

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  4. Cook in the center of the oven for 3 hours, until the meat is falling apart. It is imperative to keep checking the dish to make sure the meat is not drying out as it cooks; add more water if needed. Once cooked, remove the dish from the heat, leave the foil or lid in place and allow the meat to cool in the dish for 30 to 45 minutes until it is warm.

    Classic French Pork Rillettes in a baking dish

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  5. Remove the lid and discard the bay leaf and duck bones and any little pieces of meat which may have dried too far.

    remove bones and bay leaf from the pot

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  6. Shred and stir the meat and fat with a large fork until it resembles a chunky, creamy spread, if correctly cooked this will be very easy to do.

    Shred and stir meat in the pot

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  7. Place the rillettes in a beautiful serving pot and level with the back of a spoon.

    Place rillettes in serving container

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  8. Pour any remaining fat in the cooking dish over the surface to help keep the rillettes moist. 

    Pour fat in the serving dish

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  9. Chill for at least 24 hours before serving.

    Classic French Pork Rillettes

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg


  • The pâté will keep for several days untouched.
  • Once you have started eating, use within 72 hours.
  • Classic pork rillettes from the French city of Tours are now protected under EU law's PDO status and as such must be made with pork to a particular recipe.