Six easy steps to getting the perfectly cooked duck breast, every time!

Don’t be put off from trying to cook your very own duck dish.  Gressingham or barberry duck is delicious with a fruit sauce and creamy mash potato.  This was the first time I ate duck and the first time I tried cooking itself.  The most effort was the actual cleaning the hob and oven, rather the the cooking!  The only precise cooking is to follow the tips below and oven cook to your preference of ‘pinkness.’

While I agree at duck has a higher fat content than some leaner meats, there is nothing wrong with a little luxury once in a while.  Nutritional values (cooked) per 100g: 9g fat; 3g are saturated, cholesterol 84mg, but has a huge 27g of protein.

1 Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/Gas 7.  Remove any packaging.  Pat the skin of the duck breast with a kitchen towel.

2 Score the skin in both directions, creating a diamond pattern

3 Season the skin side well with sea salt and ground pepper, rubbing into the skin

4 Place the breasts (skin side down) in a cold, non-stick pan, without oil and cook for 6 – 8 minutes on a medium-high heat.  Pour off any fat regular (keep for later).  The skin should be crispy and golden brown.  Flip over the breast, season and flip back, cooking the flesh side for 1 – 2 minutes, turning the heat down to medium.

5 Place the duck breasts, skin side up onto a rack in a roasting tin and cook in the middle of the oven *

6 When the duck is cooked, rest in a warm place for 10 minutes (loosely cover in foil).

cooked duck breast


  • Cooking time:
  • Rare – 10 minutes
  • Medium – 15 minutes
  • Well done – 18 minutes


Top tips:

When preparing the breasts, just cut off any excess skin and with a sharp knife, take off excess sinew.  Take a look at this video for help

You must cook the duck breast well, by allowing the skin to crisp up (this process renders down the fat, just under the skin).

It is very important to rest your duck well, to ensure the temperature is maintained, but also to allow the moisture to spread around – keep warm, by covering with foil.  Duck not rested, as with most meat, will cause the juices to run across the plate when cut into.  It can also make the meat seem chewy as the fibres have not had sufficient time to relax.

Save any cooking fat, allow to cook and keep in the fridge until you prepare roast potatoes.  Need I say more?

Fruit is a great accompaniment for duck.  In season plums stewed goes amazingly well.  Here is my recipe for plum chutney.

For more recipe ideas for cooking with duck breast, try my duck with madeira or warm duck salad with noodles.

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