crispy duck breast

How to perfectly cook crispy duck breast

Perfect duck will have golden rendered crispy skin while the meat stays pink and juicy. Here’s how you do it.


Cooking duck to perfection actually isn’t difficult, but having the right tools can definitely help. First the duck itself – I love the Rohan duck breasts from D’Artagnan foods. They are exceptionally well priced and readily available, or you can order from them directly online. Secondly, you will need the right pan to really nail the crispy skin, and a non-stick pan will not cut it. I swear by my Butterpat cast iron skillet, or these five layer super stainless clad pans from Madein.

The real trick here is to score the skin prior to cooking, which will let the fat render a little faster. Then, it’s as simple as starting to cook that duck skin down – and probably for much longer than you’d think! Consider the skin and fat a protective barrier. It’ll buy you lots of time to perfect the golden crispy skin before the meat starts to overcook. So this cooking method is going to be 85/15 – cooked on one side for most of the time before it gets flipped.

Recipe note: rohan breasts are on the small side, which is why my cooking time is 15 then 5 minutes. You may need to cook slightly longer for bigger duck breasts, but make sure the extra cook time is while it’s skin side down, such as 20 then 5 minutes. It also helps to have a quality meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature.

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crispy duck breast

How to perfectly cook crispy duck breast

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4.3 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Jess Pryles
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: serves 2



2 x duck breasts

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper


  1. Remove the duck breasts from their packaging and pat them dry with a paper towel.
  2. Use a sharp knife to score the skin – I make them every 1/2 inch but you can also crosshatch. Season the meat side only with salt and pepper.
  3. Place a stainless, carbon steel or cast iron pan over medium low heat and immediately place the duck breast in, skin side down. Press them down lightly to ensure the skin has made total contact with the pan.
  4. Leave the duck skin side down for 12-15 minutes. You should start to see a lot of fat pool in the pan – this is the duck fat rendering out, and is also the reason you do not need to put fat in the pan to start with.
  5. Flip the duck over and cook a further 3-5 minutes. If you’re using a meat thermometer, it should read about 130f internal temp.
  6. Remove the duck from the pan, then rest it skin side up for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins

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