Crispy, pan-seared duck breast is such an easy dinner to make, it’s perfect for date night, or any night when you want to elevate dinner! I simply sear seasoned duck breasts until they are golden-brown, crispy, and perfectly tender!
Pan-seared duck breast is tender, juicy, and covered with the crispiest, most delicious skin!
Unless you grew up with it, duck is probably not a part of your regular dinner rotation. We always served duck on special occasions like Valentine’s day, birthdays, or big celebrations.
It’s often thought of as a fancy meal reserved for expensive restaurants, but you can easily make it at home! My pan-seared duck breast is delicious and impressive, while also being extremely simple to make.
Start with a cold skillet, then just add a dry, seasoned duck breast, and fry! That’s all you need to turn this simple protein into an amazing dinner.
Make dinner special tonight with this amazing pan-seared duck breast! It’s juicy, flavorful, and topped with the most delicious crispy skin!
❤️ Why You'll Love This Recipe!
So easy! I was surprised at how easy it was to make duck breast, and you will be too! It’s an elegant dinner that doesn’t require a ton of effort!
Incredibly delicious! If you haven’t had duck, then you’re in for a treat! The meat is rich, juicy, and so full of flavor!
So elegant! I love how fancy a seared duck breast looks on a plate! It’s a great way to impress any dinner guest!
There are just two ingredients here! Duck breasts and a simple seasoning of salt and pepper! The salt and pepper highlight the delightful, rich flavor of the duck breasts without overwhelming the duck flavor.
- 12 ounces Duck Breast – If you can find fresh duck breast, I recommend using it! Otherwise, frozen duck works well—just make sure the duck breasts are completely defrosted before using.
- Salt & Pepper – This will be according to taste! I like a simple seasoning on my duck breasts, but you can season according to the flavor profiles you enjoy! (*See notes below)
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for ingredients, amounts & instructions!*
🔪 Step-By-Step Instructions
Crispy pan-seared duck is an elegant main course that seems difficult – but it’s so easy to make! There are two options for finishing your duck breasts – pick whichever method you prefer!
- Prep. Start the duck breasts by rinsing them under cool water and patting them very dry using paper towels. Optionally, you can use a very sharp knife to score the duck breast skin in a diamond pattern. Just make sure not to cut so deeply that you slice into the meat!
- Season. Next, pick a skillet or frying pan that will provide ample frying room for your duck portions. Season both sides of your prepared duck breasts generously with salt and pepper, then place the duck breasts into a skillet while it is still cold.
- Sear. Heat your skillet with the duck breast portions over low heat for the first 3 minutes. Then, increase the heat to medium. Once the duck breast is sizzling and the fat is starting to render off, leave the duck breast undisturbed. Continue to sear with the fat side down to cook for an additional 6 to 8 minutes. Then, drain or spoon off excess duck fat from your skillet.
- Skillet finish. To finish your duck breasts in the skillet, flip after the fat has fully been rendered and the skin is golden and crispy. Cook for an additional 2 to 4 minutes, or until your duck is done.
Oven finish. To finish your duck breasts in the oven, either make sure your skillet is oven-safe or preheat a clean, rimmed baking sheet at 400°F (205°C) while starting your duck portions in your skillet. When ready, transfer your duck breasts to your baking sheet with the skin side down and roast in the oven for an additional 4 to 6 minutes.
- Rest and Serve. Cook your duck until it has an internal temperature of 130°F (54°C), then remove it from your skillet or oven. Allow the duck breast(s) to rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Easy, crispy pan-seared duck breasts are an amazing way to switch up the usual dinner mains! I like to serve the duck for dinner with creamy Parmesan roasted mashed potatoes and a simple side salad or sautéed green vegetable! Enjoy!
💭 Angela's Tips & Recipe Notes
- When slicing up your duck breast(s) to serve, be sure not to cut the slices too thinly, as they will get cold quickly. I like to slice them about ½ inch thick or so.
- USDA recommends cooking duck until it reaches 165°F (74°C). However, this is overdone to many, me included! Use your personal preference and best judgment to determine to what temperature you’d like your duck to be cooked.
- Save the excess duck fat you’ve drained! You can use this fat to fry up eggs, fried duck fat potatoes, or use it to make a quick pan gravy or sauce to serve over the duck.
- I recommend keeping it simple, but you can add your preferred seasonings to the duck breasts if desired. Try a sprinkle of garlic powder, onion powder, or fresh chopped herbs like rosemary!
🥡 Storing & Reheating
If you happen to have leftover duck, you can easily store it in your fridge! I recommend not slicing any duck you wish to eat at a later date.
Wrap it tightly in plastic cling film or transfer to an airtight container. When properly stored, the duck will keep for just 2 days! Eat it quickly!
I recommend eating the duck as freshly as possible, but if you must you can freeze the duck breast for up to 2 months! Make sure to wrap the cooled duck in plastic cling film, then place in a heavy-duty freezer bag or airtight container to keep the duck at the best quality.
Let it thaw in your fridge overnight the day before you’re ready to eat.
Reheating Leftover Pan-Seared Duck
When you reheat duck, you want to try to get the skin crispy again, but you also don’t want it to overcook. Try reheating in a 350°F (177°C) oven for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until it reaches your desired temperature.
Then, put the duck breast skin side down in a skillet over medium heat and fry until the skin is crispy again, about five minutes. Let the reheated duck breast rest for about 10 minutes, then slice and serve it up!
🍽️ More Impressive Dinner Recipes!
- Grilled Lamb Breast
- Pan-Seared Sword Fish
- Grilled Lamb Chops
- Pan-Seared Wagyu Ribeye Steak
- Boiled Lobster
Most of us who enjoy eating duck agree that medium is the best temperature to serve duck! This is because duck is darker meat with a texture that is more like beef, so a rarer finish results in a more tender duck.
Considering the USDA’s recommendation of fully cooking duck breast, I recommend you use your best judgment and preference when deciding how you’d like to cook your duck.
Scoring duck breast helps to render all the duck fat, which then makes the skin ultra-crispy! If you choose to score the duck, make sure to use a sharp knife and score the skin lightly.
I recommend doing this when the duck breast is cold out of the fridge, so it’s easier to slice. I prefer scoring the duck so that all the fat is rendered, but it will not affect the quality much if you choose not to. *I also think it's easier to score duck after having cooked duck breast once before. 🙂
Pan Seared Duck Breast
- 12 oz duck breast
- each, salt & pepper (to taste)
- Rinse and pat your duck breast(s) dry using paper towels. It is optional, but you can use a sharp knife to score the duck breast fat in a diamond pattern. Make sure not to cut so deep that you cut into the meat!12 oz duck breast
- Pick a skillet or frying pan that will have ample room for your duck portion. Season both sides of your prepared duck breast(s) generously then place the duck breast into skillet while it is still cold.each, salt & pepper
- Heat your skillet with the duck breast(s) over low heat for the first 3 minutes, then increase the heat to medium. Once the duck breast is sizzling and the fat is starting to fry off, leave the duck breast undisturbed with the fat side down to fully cook for an additional 6-8 minutes.
- Drain or spoon off the excess duck fat from your skillet.
- Skillet Finish: To finish your duck breasts in the skillet, flip after the fat has fully been rendered and the skin is nice and crispy. Cook for an additional 2-4 minutes until your duck is done.Oven Finish: To finish your duck breasts in the oven, either make sure that your skillet is oven-safe or preheat a clean rimmed baking sheet at 400°F (205°C) while your starting the duck breasts in your skillet. Transfer the duck breasts to your baking sheet with the skin side down and cook for an additional 4-6 minutes.
- Cook until your duck breast has an internal temperature of 130°F (54°C) then remove from your skillet or oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
- When slicing your duck breast(s) to serve, be sure to not cut your slices too thin as they will get cold quickly.
- USDA recommends cooking duck until it is 165°F (74°C) but this is overdone duck to many, myself included! Use your personal preference and best judgement to determine what temperature you want to cook your duck breasts to.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!