How to Cook Duck Breast

 Duck breast is a versatile and delicious protein that can be cooked in a variety of ways. Whether you're looking to impress guests at a dinner party or just want a tasty meal for yourself, learning how to cook duck breast is a valuable skill to have in your culinary arsenal.

Duck Breast


Before you get started, you'll need the following ingredients:

  • 2 duck breasts
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic cloves
  • Thyme sprigs
  • Butter

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Score the Skin

Using a sharp knife, score the skin of the duck breasts in a criss-cross pattern. This will help the fat render down and create a crispy skin.

Scoring Duck Breast

Step 2: Season the Meat

Generously season both sides of the duck breasts with salt and pepper.

Step 3: Preheat the Pan

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add a drizzle of olive oil.

Step 4: Cook the Duck Breasts

  • Place the duck breasts skin-side down in the hot pan and cook for 5-6 minutes until the skin is crispy and golden brown.
  • Flip the duck breasts over and add smashed garlic cloves and thyme sprigs to the pan.
  • Continue cooking for an additional 5-6 minutes until the duck breasts are cooked to your desired level of doneness.

Step 5: Let the Meat Rest

Remove the duck breasts from the pan and let them rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Step 6: Add Butter

Add a knob of butter to the pan and swirl it around until melted and combined with the pan juices.

Step 7: Serve

Slice the duck breasts and serve with the pan sauce and your favorite sides.

Pros and Cons of Cooking Duck Breast


  • Duck breast is a flavorful and tender protein that is sure to impress.
  • There are a variety of ways to cook duck breast, so you can experiment with different flavors and techniques.
  • Duck breast pairs well with a wide range of sides and sauces.


  • Duck breast can be expensive compared to other types of meat.
  • Cooking duck breast can be tricky, as it requires careful attention to prevent overcooking or undercooking.
  • Duck breast is higher in fat than other types of meat, so it may not be the best choice for those watching their fat intake.


Q: Can I cook duck breast on the grill?

A: Yes, you can grill duck breast for a delicious smoky flavor. Just be sure to keep an eye on it and flip it frequently to prevent burning.

Q: Is duck breast difficult to cook?

A: Duck breast can be a bit tricky to cook, as it requires careful attention to prevent overcooking or undercooking. However, with a bit of practice, you can master the technique.

Q: What should I serve with duck breast?

A: Duck breast pairs well with a wide range of sides, including roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, and rice pilaf.

Q: Can I use frozen duck breasts?

A: Yes, you can use frozen duck breasts, but be sure to thaw them completely before cooking to ensure even cooking.