How to cook duck breast - you've come to the right place to find the detailed recipe and tutorial (with lots of photos!) on how to make the best duck ever with crispy skin and juicy meat. Easy recipe, it takes only 30 minutes from start to finish, with so much flavor! Gluten free!
I love to eat duck. It's surprisingly easy to cook, has so much flavor, and goes great with many kinds of fruit or berry based sauces that you can so easily purchase in the grocery stores these days.
Duck also makes an exceptional dish for a special occasion or a holiday, such as Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. If you want something different for holidays this year - make this duck!
Here is the detailed photo-tutorial on how to cook duck breast!
Start by preparing your duck breasts for cooking. Make sure the duck breasts are completely thawed (if using frozen ones), and pat dry your duck with the paper towels if there is too much liquid from thawing. Use a large oven-proof cast iron pan, or use a large oven-proof stainless steel skillet (make sure that the pan you use has an oven-proof handle).
Score the duck's skin in parallel lines or in criss-cross pattern. If you have a hard time scoring the skin in pretty patterns, don't worry. You can hardly call this pattern below pretty, yet the end result was beautiful as you will see in the final photos.
Generously season the skin side of duck breasts with salt. Don't forget to season the other side, although less so, with salt too! Use at least ½ teaspoon salt.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in an oven-proof skillet until the oil is hot. Then, add duck breasts to the skillet skin side down:
Cook the duck breasts on the skin side on medium heat, uncovered, for about 8 minutes, until the fat is released.
I used a stainless steel skillet, and I like to use a splatter screen which keeps the oil from splattering, while allowing the heat to escape.
The splatter screen is especially handy with stainless steel skillets and when you cook in a lot of fat. The duck skin releases a lot of fat during the cooking process.
After 8 minutes, remove the duck fat from the skillet, leaving just enough to cover the bottom of the skillet. Turn the duck breasts over to the other side (non-skin side) and cook for 2 more minutes on medium heat.
Then, place your oven proof skillet (with duck breasts in it) in the oven (preheated to 400 F) and let the duck breasts roast for about 5 minutes, until they are medium rare.
Remove the skillet from the oven (wearing oven-proof gloves to protect your hands, of course), and let the duck breasts rest for about 7 minutes before slicing them.
It's ready! Serve the sliced duck with the store-bought or homemade cranberry sauce - it always tastes delicious with the duck.
Cooking duck was super easy, wasn't it? It tastes really good as is, but even better with the sauce for duck breast.
You can make your own sauce for duck breast, or buy any fruit or berry based sauce for meats in the grocery store, such as pomegranate, cranberry, cherry, or blueberry sauce.
How To Cook Duck Breast
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1.8 lb duck breasts (4 duck breasts)
- ½ teaspoon salt , can use more, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Score the skin of duck breasts in parallel lines or in criss-cross pattern. Generously season both sides of duck breasts (and especially add more salt to the skin side!) with at least ½ teaspoon salt.
- Use a large oven-proof cast iron pan, or use an oven-proof large stainless steel skillet (make sure that the pan you use has an oven-proof handle).
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat until the oil is hot. Add duck breasts to the skillet skin side down.
- Cook the duck breasts, uncovered, for about 8 minutes on medium heat on the skin side, until the fat is released. I like to use a splatter screen to keep the oil from splattering (the splatter screen allows the heat to escape). After 8 minutes, remove the duck fat from the skillet, leaving just enough to cover the bottom of the skillet. Turn the duck breasts over to the other side (non-skin side) and cook for 2 more minutes on medium heat.
- Place your oven proof skillet (with duck breasts in it) in the oven (preheated to 400 F) and let the duck breasts roast for about 5 minutes, until they are medium rare.
- Remove the skillet from the oven (wearing oven-proof gloves to protect your hands, of course), and let the duck breasts rest for about 7 minutes before slicing them.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
If you want to cook a whole duck, then make sure to check out this tutorial on how to cook a whole duck.
Also, here are some ideas for great side dishes to go with your duck:
Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Cinnamon Butternut Squash, Pecans, and Cranberries
Asiago Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Julia This was a quick easy way to cook duck breasts.I matched it with 1 of your autumn time recipes. long story short amazing thank u
Your comment made my day! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! 🙂
Thank you, Julia, for this good detailed recipe. I have only cooked wild birds previously, this was my first try at domestic duck breasts and it was delicious. I just cooked them in the oven about 5 min longer to get them more done. Wil definitely use this recipe again.
Judy, I am so glad you found this recipe useful! Thank you for taking the time to share such a positive comment and the 5-star rating! 🙂
Thanks for this detailed recipe! I've cooked duck breasts a couple of times recently. They turned out ok, but I think they could be yummier! So I'm looking forward to trying this recipe. Do you cover the pan when you put it in the oven to roast?
No, I do not cover the pan when roasting the duck breasts in the oven. I hope you give this recipe a try and enjoy it! 🙂
This turned out to be the best duck I have ever made..... delicious and easy. Husband loved it. Will save this recipe and keep with my favorites. Thank you.
Catie, your comment really made my day! Glad you liked this recipe, and thank you for taking the time to share your 5-star review! 🙂
I used a 1 lb half breast magret from D'Artagnan (which I left in one piece) and followed your recipe exactly. Per your instructions, I finished it off in a regular bake oven (not convection) at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. The duck was still blood red and inedible. I found I had to continue to bake it for another 15-20 minutes to bring it to pink. What did I do wrong? Ultimately the duck was delicious. I garnished with semi-tart cherries from Oregon that I sweetened similar to cranberries.
Chris, thank you for such a detailed and insightful comment. Seems like you were able to figure out the correct course of action to fix the undercooked duck. Love that you garnished the cooked duck with semi-tart cherries.
I just have to finish this off....
Well he opened the oven door and was so upset I'd cooked his duck, knowing I don't like it... so I said, just come here, and look at this recipe I found...
He was so delighted, overjoyed and then he ate it and said it was the best !
Will keep this recipe for a long time!
Love it, thank you! Kathy
Wow, Kathy, your comment made my day! Thank you so much for sharing this story. I love to hear such personal stories about people enjoying food, especially my recipes. 🙂 Thank you, again, for taking the time to share this positive feedback - I appreciate it! 🙂
I don't eat duck, and I've never cooked it before.
My husband LOVES duck and love the duck breast filet...
So he bought one, and was busy, so I followed your recipe and I know he's going to love it!
What a great story - thank you for sharing! 🙂 I finished reading your story in your second comment - love it! 🙂