Pan-seared duck breast has a crispy skin, a rosy interior, and a savory rich taste. Making the perfect duck breast is simple and only takes proper care prior to cooking to create a fantastic meal!

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Duck is often compared to chicken, but it is actually red meat and can be cooked similar to steak. Pan-searing duck is the easiest and best way to make duck and yields the most flavor. Simply seasoning with salt and pepper and pan-searing duck breast properly can make for an incredible dish. However, the biggest secret to making duck is cooking the duck in its own fat.

pan seared duck recipe

Tips To Make Perfect Pan-Seared Duck Breast

  • Allow the duck breast to come to room temperature before cooking. This ensures the duck breast cooks evenly and yields the best results.
  • Score the skin of the duck breast. Underneath the skin of duck is a thick layer of fat, which is released when cooking and helps to enhance the flavor of the cooked duck breast.
  • Cook the duck in its own fat. Slicing thin cuts into the skin before cooking helps to release the fat, which will naturally be used to help cook the duck and enhance its robust flavor. The trick is to turn your pan on the lowest heat setting before placing the duck on the pan. Then, gradually increase the heat over 7-10 minutes. This slow heating process allows the fat to render from the duck and seep into the pan.
scoring duck breast

How To Get The Perfect Crispy Skin on Your Pan-Seared Duck Breast

  1. After rendering the fat, turn the heat up and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes. This is what gives the duck breast the perfect golden, crispy skin.
  2. After searing the skin side, flip the duck over and cook it for only 1-2 minutes. The duck is then placed in the oven for 7-10 minutes where it will finish cooking. Allow the duck to rest for 5 minutes and then enjoy!
pan seared duck breast duck breast on stove top
pan seared duck breast sliced and cooked

What to eat with duck breast?

Duck pairs well with acidic fruit. A French classic is duck a l’orange, duck with orange! But, do not fret, duck goes great with any fruit or vegetable! Acidic fruits are best as they easily cut through the richness of the meat. Try making a sauce with cranberries or pairing it with rhubarb!

Here are a few of my favorite dishes to serve with duck breast:

duck breast with orange

Pan-Seared Duck Breast Recipe

Perfectly cooked duck has a crispy skin, a rosy interior, and a savory rich taste. Making the perfect duck breast is simple and only takes proper care prior to cooking to create a fantastic meal.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American, French
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 583kcal
Author: Capri Lilly


  • 2 lb Duck Breast
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh Crushed Pepper


  • Remove the duck breast from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature.
  • Score the skin of the duck, or cut in a crisscross pattern. This will allow the fat to render when cooking. If you'd like your duck fattier, make fewer cuts in the skin.
  • Season the duck generously with salt and pepper
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F
  • Place the duck skin-side down on an ovenproof safe pan (that has not been heated). Turn the heat on the lowest setting. Gradually turn the heat up until you notice a gentle bubbling of the fat. Maintain the temperature at this level for a 10-15 minute period to allow the fat to render. The duck's internatl temperature should read 125°F.
  • After rendering the fat, turn up the heat and cook the duck for about 2-3 minutes. The skin should become a crispy, golden color.
  • Flip the duck on the opposite side and cookfor 1-2 minutes.
  • Finish the duck by placing the pan in the oven for 7-8 minutes. When the duck is finished cooking it should be slightly springy when pressed. For medium-rare cook until a temperature of 130°F is reached. For medium, 140°F and for well done 155°F.
  • Allow the duck to rest for 5 minutes before cutting
  • Enjoy!


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Calories: 583kcal

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