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    Published December 4, 2023. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    This seared suck breast recipe is pan-roasted to a crispy brown and served with an easy-to-make tempting peppercorn sauce that perfectly complements. The flavors in this dish are incredible and something you would expect to eat at a fine dining restaurant.

    We eat a lot of poultry in our house because it’s something everyone in my family likes and eats. If you’re in the same boat, try my Turkey Burger or Chicken Fricassee.

    duck breast with sauce


     

    Duck Breast

    Duck breasts are a cut of meat that comes from the chest area of a duck. The meat itself is very lean and tender. However, a ¼” to ½” fat cap from the duck skin is on one side, making the cut incredibly flavorful. You’ll also notice it has a deep, almost purplish-red color.

    There are many ways to cook duck breasts, but I think they are best pan-seared to form a crispy brown skin and a medium-rare to medium internal temperature. Duck tastes like a highly flavorful chicken with little to no gamey taste. While the duck breast may look like a thin cut when raw, it will puff up quite a bit while cooking.

    If you’re new to duck, this foolproof duck breast recipe with peppercorn sauce is a quick way to a highly flavorful dish.

    Ingredients and Substitutions

    duck breast ingredients
    • Duck – Skin on duck breasts is used in this recipe. They do not need to be Frenched, with the bone still in it.
    • Herbs – A combination of fresh thyme and parsley are used for the sauce. These are optional, but they do bring out some good flavors.
    • Pepper – You will need peppercorns for the sauce. Any color peppercorns will work.
    • Cream – Heavy whipping cream is needed.
    • Stock – Use a good beef stock for the sauce.
    • Wine – Dry red wine such as cabernet sauvignon, merlot, blend, or shiraz is perfect.
    • Fat – You will need some unsalted butter for the sauce and avocado or olive oil for searing the duck breast.

    How to Make Duck Breasts

    Trim any excess fat away from the duck breasts. Be sure not to cut off any of the breast meat.

    removing fat from a duck breast

    Make 4 scores about a 1/8” deep into the fat cap of the breasts.

    scoring duck breast

    Pat them dry very well on both sides using paper towels.

    patting dry duck breasts

    Season the duck breasts on both sides with coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper.

    seasonoing duck

    Add the oil to a large non-stick or cast-iron skillet over high heat and heat until it begins to smoke lightly.

    adding oil to a pan

    Place the duck skin side down about 1” apart from one another so that it sears properly. Immediately turn the heat to medium and cook for 4 ½ to 5 minutes.

    duck breast searing in pan

    Turn the duck over, turn the heat down to low medium, and cook for 8-10 minutes or until it reaches 135° internally.

    browned duck

    While it’s cooking, reduce the beef stock to a small-sized sauce pot over high heat until there is 1 cup remaining. Keep it warm.

    cooking beef stock

    Remove the duck breasts from the pan and let them rest for 4-6 minutes.

    resting duck

    Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of fat in the pan and return it to the burner over medium heat. add in the peppercorns and cook while constantly stirring for 30 seconds.

    peppercorns in a pan

    Deglaze with the red wine and cook over high heat until it is reduced to about ¼ cup. This will only take about 2 minutes.

    adding wine to a pan

    Pour in the beef stock and cream and cook over medium-high heat until the amount of liquid is reduced by ½. There should be about a 1/3 to ½ cup sauce remaining. This should take about 4 to 5 minutes.

    adding stock to a pan

    Finish the sauce by stirring in the butter, thyme, and parsley. There will be no need to season it with salt and pepper.

    butter and herbs in a pan

    Slice the duck and serve it with the sauce.

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    Make-Ahead: This recipe is meant to be eaten as soon as it is done cooking.

    How to Reheat: To reheat it, place the duck breasts back in a pan with some of the pan sauce and 3 tablespoons of water, cover it, and cook in the oven for 10 minutes at 350°.

    How to Store: It will hold in the refrigerator with it covered up for up to 4 days. It will also freeze well covered for up to 3 months. It is best if you can keep the duck separate from the sauce. Pull it out as needed and let it thaw in the refrigerator before using it.

    Chef Billy Parisi

    Chef Notes + Tips

    • Removing excess fat from the duck shouldn’t overlap the meat. 
    • For flavor and moisture, duck is best-served medium-rare to medium.
    • When the duck cooks, it will puff up quite a bit.

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    Let's Cook - Chef Billy Parisi

    Duck Breast Recipe

    This seared suck breast recipe is pan-roasted to a crispy brown and served with an easy-to-make tempting peppercorn sauce.
    Servings: 4
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 22 minutes

    Ingredients 

    • 4 skin-on duck breasts
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 3 tablespoons peppercorns
    • ¾ cup dry red wine
    • 2 cups beef stock cooked down to 1 cup
    • 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
    • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
    • 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
    • coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

    Instructions

    • Trim any excess fat away from the duck breasts. Be sure not to cut off any of the breast meat.
    • Make 4 scores about a 1/8” deep into the fat cap of the breasts.
    • Pat them dry very well on both sides using paper towels.
    • Season the duck breasts on both sides with coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper.
    • Add the oil to a large non-stick or cast-iron skillet over high heat and heat until it begins to smoke lightly.
    • Place the duck skin side down about 1” apart from one another so that it sears properly. Immediately turn the heat to medium and cook for 4 ½ to 5 minutes.
    • Turn the duck over, turn the heat down to low medium, and cook for 8-10 minutes or until it reaches 135° internally.
    • While it’s cooking, reduce the beef stock in a small-sized sauce pot over high heat until there is 1 cup remaining. Keep it warm.
    • Remove the duck breasts from the pan and let them rest for 4-6 minutes.
    • Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of fat in the pan and return it to the burner over medium heat add in the peppercorns and cook while constantly stirring for 30 seconds.
    • Deglaze with the red wine and cook over high heat until it is reduced to about ¼ cup. This will only take about 2 minutes.
    • Pour in the beef stock and cream and cook over medium-high heat until the amount of liquid is reduced by ½. There should be about a 1/3 to ½ cup sauce remaining. This should take about 4 to 5 minutes.
    • Finish the sauce by stirring in the butter, thyme, and parsley. There will be no need to season it with salt and pepper.
    • Slice the duck and serve it with the sauce.

    Notes

    Make-Ahead: This recipe is meant to be eaten as soon as it is done cooking.
    How to Reheat: To reheat it, place the duck breasts back in a pan with some of the pan sauce and 3 tablespoons of water, cover it, and cook in the oven for 10 minutes at 350°.
    How to Store: It will hold in the refrigerator with it covered up for up to 4 days. It will also freeze well covered for up to 3 months. It is best if you can keep the duck separate from the sauce. Pull it out as needed and let it thaw in the refrigerator before using it.
    Removing excess fat from the duck shouldn’t overlap the meat.
    For flavor and moisture, duck is best-served medium-rare to medium.
    When the duck cooks, it will puff up quite a bit.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 445kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 48gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 194mgSodium: 371mgPotassium: 942mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 442IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 60mgIron: 11mg
    Course: dinner, Main Course
    Cuisine: French