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How To Cook Duck Breast
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How To Cook Duck Breast

Learn how to cook duck breasts in just one skillet. Juicy duck breast with crispy skin served with duck orange sauce. Easy recipe!

How To Cook Duck Breast
This recipe is honestly lifechanging to me. I used to dislike duck, really. Jernej simply loves duck breasts and the whole roasted duck is one of his favorites. Me? Not so much. The reason is that gamey aftertaste the duck gives to my taste buds. It's powerful, it's rich and it's always there. At least that's what I thought. In this recipe, the duck breasts are marinated in a delicious, homemade mixture made of ginger, soy sauce, orange juice, spices. What that mixture does is that it takes that deep gamey flavor out of duck and it leaves it with a beautiful, flavorful, juicy aroma - without that overpowering gamey taste. I mean, I don't know about you, but to me, that's game-changing. Soft, juicy duck breasts, made in a skillet in just 45 minutes. Love it!

Cooked Duck Breast

These duck breasts with orange sauce are incredibly tasty and easy to make. 

  • made in just 45 minutes
  • soft, juicy, cooked to perfection
  • serve them instead of chicken for Feast of St. Martin, Thanksgiving, Christmas or other special occasions
  • simple recipe with all the tips and tricks you need
  • dairy-free and gluten-free
  • made in just one skillet!
  • served with a luscious, rich orange sauce

How To Cook Duck Breast in the skillet

If possible, choose an oven-safe skillet, because if we're cooking large duck breasts (approx. 350g / 12.3 oz per breast) we will need to finish them off in an oven. First, we need to marinate the duck breasts in a simple, orange juice, soy, ginger marinade, that will help remove that deep gamey flavor. Marinate the breasts for at least 20 minutes, or up to 2 days in the fridge. 

Then, pat dry the breast with a paper towel and make a diamond pattern in the skin (don't go through it) with a sharp knife. This will allow the skin to roast evenly and become crispy and delicious. Transfer the breast to a skillet, skin-side down. Using a spatula, press the skin down and cook the small breasts (approx. 200g / 7 oz per breast) for 6 minutes OR large breasts for 8 - 10 minutes. 

Turn the breasts and continue to cook, depending on your taste.

duck breasts

 

How To Cook Duck Breast

 

marinated duck breasts

 

How long to cook duck breast?

The first step is always the same: Transfer the breast to a skillet, skin-side down. Using a spatula, press the skin down and cook the small breasts (approx. 200g / 7 oz per breast) for 6 minutes OR large breasts for 8 - 10 minutes. Turn the breasts and continue to cook depending on your taste:

Small breasts (approx. 200g / 7 oz per breast):

For medium-rare - 2 - 3 minutes (or until it reaches 58 °C / 135 °F) - tender and juicy (as seen on the photo)

For medium - 4 minutes (or until it reaches 62 °C / 144 °F) - less juicy, but still tender and delicious

For well done - 8 - 10 minutes (or until it reaches 70 °C / 158 °F) - cooked all the way through, not as juicy

Large breasts (approx. 350g / 12.3 oz per breast)

Finish them in the oven. Continue to cook for 2 minutes skin-side down, then turn the breasts and cook:

For medium-rare - 3 - 4 minutes (or until it reaches 58 °C / 135 °F)​​​​​​​ - tender and juicy

For medium - 6 minutes  (or until it reaches 62 °C / 144 °F)​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ - less juicy, but still tender and delicious

For well done - 8 - 10 minutes (or until it reaches 70 °C / 158 °F)​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ - cooked all the way through, not as juicy

Then, transfer to a plate and leave them to rest for 10 minutes - they will continue to cook.

cut duck breasts

 

cut duck breast in diamond pattern

 

how to cook thick and thin duck breast

 

How To Cook Duck Breast in the oven

If we're cooking large duck breasts (approx. 350g / 12.3 oz per breast) we will need to finish them off in an oven. Transfer the oven-safe skillet to the oven and continue to cook the large duck breasts in the oven at 200 °C / 390 °F for 2 minutes skin-side down, then turn them around and cook for additional time, depending on your preference (medium-rare, medium or well done). Then, transfer to a plate and leave them to rest for 10 minutes - they will continue to cook.​​​​​​​

How To Cook Duck Breast in a skillet

 

cooked thin and thick duck breasts

 

How To Cook Duck Breast

 

What to serve with duck breast

Pour homemade duck orange sauce over the cooked duck breasts and serve with your favorite side dish. We love these:

cooked duck breast with baked noodles

 

cooked duck breast

 

How to store cooked duck breast?

You can marinate the duck breasts up to two days ahead, however, we need to always serve them warm and immediately.

Try these duck recipes too

 

Lets get cooking!

ONLY A FEW MOMENTS SPENT IN THE KITCHEN AND YOU WILL HAVE THIS FANTASTIC DISH IN FRONT OF YOU.
  • serves
    4
    people
  • preparation:
    30
    minutes
  • cook:
    15
    minutes
  • total time:
    45
    minutes

METHOD

  • duck marinade

    In a blender jug or in a bowl (if you're using an immersion blender) combine peeled cloves of garlic, freshly squeezed orange juice, peeled and sliced ginger, soy sauce, allspice, vinegar, cloves, chili and vegetable oil. Blend into a smooth mixture using a blender or an immersion blender.

  • marinate the duck breast

    Add duck breasts to a freezer bag. Pour the marinade over the breasts and seal the bag. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes (or up to two days).

    Tip
    The marinade will remove some of that specific gamey flavor. The longer we marinate the duck breasts, the less gamey flavor they will have.
  • cook the duck breasts

    Remove the duck breasts from the marinade. Strain the marinade through a sieve and store it for later. Pat dry using paper towels. Using a sharp knife score the skin. Make 6 - 8 parallel shallow cuts into the skin. Don't go through the skin. Then, make 6 - 8 shallow cuts in another direction, making a diamond pattern. Place a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the duck breasts (don't overcrowd the skillet), if you need to, cook them in batches. Place the duck breasts skin side down. There's no need to add oil because the duck skin is incredibly fatty and will release enough fat for the duck breasts to cook. Cook the small duck breasts for 6 minutes (skin-side down) and cook the larger breasts for 8 - 10 minutes (skin-side down). Using a spatula gently press down the duck breasts, so that the skin is completely intact with the skillet - this way the skin will be evenly crispy.

    Tip
    If there's more than 1 cm or 1/2 inch of the duck fat in the skillet, pour it from the skillet into a bowl and store for later use.
  • cook the duck breasts

    When the skin is crispy and delicious, turn the small duck breasts and continue to cook for 2 - 3 minutes for medium-rare OR 4 minutes for medium OR 8 - 10 minutes for well done. Then, transfer to a plate and leave them to rest for 10 minutes - they will continue to cook. For the large duck breasts, the process is a bit different. Place the oven-safe skillet in the preheated oven at 200 °C / 390 °F. Continue to cook skin-side down for 2 minutes, then turn the duck breasts and cook in the oven for 3 - 4 minutes for medium-rare OR 6 minutes for medium OR 8 - 10 minutes for well done. Then, transfer to a plate and leave them to rest for 10 minutes - they will continue to cook.

  • duck sauce

    Add the marinade, freshly squeezed orange juice and honey to a saucepan. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, or until about 1/3 of the sauce is reduced and the sauce is thick.

  • serve

    Slice the rested duck breasts on the diagonal using a sharp knife with one straight motion. Serve them over traditional mlinci (baked noodles) or mashed potatoes. Pour the duck sauce over the duck breasts and devour. Enjoy.

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