How to pan-fry the perfect duck breast

Pan-fried Duck Breast with Tomato Galette

With its crispy skin and rich gamey flavor, the duck breast is just about the most delicious cut of meat there is.

Unfortunately, a lot of people find it difficult to get it right, so I would like to offer my two-cents on this subject.

Pan-fried duck breast

For me, the perfectly-cooked duck breast should have crispy skin with most (if not all) of the white fat rendered out, a juicy pink center and is tender all the way.

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 1 Duck Breast, about 480g, seasoned


  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/392°F
  2. Score the skin of the duck breast diagonally without cutting into the meat
  3. Place the duck breast skin-side down on a cold dry pan and turn on the heat (medium)
  4. As the fat renders, pour it out into a bowl and reserve (for frying chips or rice)
  5. Once the skin is crispy, turn the duck breast over and continue cooking for 1 minute, just to sear the meat
  6. Turn the duck breast skin-side down on the pan and place it into the oven and cook for 5 minutes
  7. Remove from oven and let the duck breast rest for at least 15 minutes
  8. Slice thickly at an angle, dot the slices with aged Balsamic Vinegar and serve on a bed of arugula


  • I use my secret marinade for game meats but you can use salt and pepper to season the duck breast before cooking.
  • The cold dry (meaning no oil) pan is important; starting on a pre-heated pan sears and locks up the fat and you end up with a overly-fatty piece of meat.
  • You can also use the rendered duck fat as a salad oil; great with baby spinach.
  • One way to tell if the skin is ready is that the duck breast stops sticking to the pan.
  • Resist the urge to move the duck breast around because it will tear the skin if it is not ready.
  • Resist the urge to cut into the duck breast upon removal from the oven because you’ll lose all the juices to the cutting board.
  • Upon removal from the oven, press down on the duck breast, if it is firm with a slight bounce, it means it’s pink inside and you’ve got some good eating coming soon.
  • When you finally do cut into the duck breast, slice it at an angle into thick slices. Thin slices gets cold very fast; besides, it’s home-cooking, you should be generous.
  • A good aged Balsamic Vinegar seems to be the best accompaniment for duck breast. If you don’t have it, you can reduce regular Balsamic Vinegar on the pan until it becomes a syrup.
  • Finally, Cold Pan and the Balsamic Ducks would be a great name for a rock band.

Posted on 23rd Aug 2010 in Meat, Old School, Recipes


There Are 9 Comments


imp commented on August 23, 2010 at 11:32 pm

I like this recipe, very much. 😀


ivan commented on August 24, 2010 at 12:38 am

How did you do yours? Am very curious now…


imp commented on August 25, 2010 at 11:01 am

We did it The most recent recipes we use is from Gourmet for Pan-Grilled Duck Paillards. That’s very dependable. The other is from The New Best Recipe, which still needs tweaking and improvisation for crispy roast duck with orange glaze.


ivan commented on August 25, 2010 at 11:19 am

But the skins were removed! Nooooooo!

Orange glaze: butter, orange zest, 2 x tsp of orange juice, 2 x tbsp of sugar, pinch of crushed black pepper, finish off with a flambe of Grand Marnier (optional). Brush lightly on the meat side of the duck breast (not on the skin).

Very classic but I prefer using a good Balsamic.


stargirl commented on August 25, 2010 at 6:04 pm

darn my nose is still sneezy but i’m feeling better now, thank you for the well wishes (:

mmm i love duck breast… speaking of great names for a band, my chamber group initially wanted to call ourselves The Four Flabbergasted Jujubes haha!


Ian Low commented on September 15, 2010 at 12:36 am

really like yr site!

takes after my own stomach .. haha

i like yr mix of recipe, local and mod cuisine … very wide ranging .. and now that i hv started my own blog, u r an inspiration to say the least!

keep blogging! and i will be back for seconds for sure 🙂


ivan commented on September 15, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Hi Ian, thank you. I am glad you like my site. It’s slightly off-menu, so do come back and explore.

The recipes here are of things that I like to eat, so I am glad to share it with everyone.


Ian Low commented on September 15, 2010 at 5:34 pm

oh i like off menu stuff!

do visit my site when u hv the time and we can explore ideas! i love to play around with things and create new idaes out of classics | Notes on the perfect roast beef commented on December 27, 2013 at 10:33 am

[…] I made roast beef for dinner. I also made pan-roasted duck which you can find the recipe here. […]

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