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    Published December 6, 2023. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    This classic French Duck Confit Recipe is slow-cooked in an herb and garlic-filled pot of duck fat for several hours until crispy on the outside and fork-tender on the inside. To this day, this is one of my all-time favorite things to eat.

    We eat quite a bit of chicken and poultry in our house because the flavors are mild, and the meat is lean. Not to mention, everyone in my family likes it. If you feel the same, try my Chicken Scallopini or Roast Turkey.

    duck confit on a plate


     

    Duck Confit

    Duck confit is an ancient dish rooted in Gascony, France, consisting of duck salted and cooked in its fat. The duck is then chilled and used as a procedure for preserving. Once the duck confit is cooled, a fat cap forms on the top, preventing oxidation from penetrating the protein. This process is also commonly used with goose and pork.

    This dish is the epitome of French cuisine, and the technique of confiting itself has become popular worldwide. It is used to make things like tomato or garlic confit. Duck confit is an easy dish to make and requires almost no over-the-stove cooking and watching. I promise you that you will enjoy this dish once you try it.

    Ingredients and Substitutions

    duck confit ingredients
    • Duck – Classically, duck confit only uses duck legs, including the thigh and drum intact with the skin on. You can use duck breasts as well, but it is not advised.
    • Onions – I use shallots and garlic in this recipe for the confit oil and for seasoning the duck overnight before cooking. You can substitute the shallot with a ¼ peeled red onion.
    • Herbs – You will need fresh thyme and dried bay leaves. Dry thyme can only be used when bringing the duck overnight, but do not use it in the confit oil.
    • Seasonings – Coarse salt and whole peppercorns are what you need. Any color peppercorns will work.
    • Fat – Traditionally, duck fat is what’s used. Add or substitute with pork lard, beef tallow, or a neutral-flavored oil like avocado or a lightly flavored olive oil. 

    How to Make Duck Confit

    Add the duck legs to a 13×9 casserole dish and season both sides with coarse salt and cracked pepper.

    seasoning duck

    Next, rub in 4-5 thyme sprigs, ½ crushed bay leaf, and 1 smashed garlic clove into the flesh side of each duck leg.

    adding herbs to duck

    Flip the duck over and repeat the process entirely to each duck leg.

    garlic and herbs on duck legs

    Cover the pan in plastic and place it in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours.

    covering duck

    Remove the duck and rinse each leg under cold water to remove any leftover thyme leaves or bay leaves. It’s ok if some pepper is still on there.

    rinsing duck breasts

    Transfer the duck to a sheet tray or platter and blot them dry on both sides with paper towels.

    patting down dfuck

    Add the duck fat and any additional lards or oils to a medium-sized saucepot along with the shallot, garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, coarse salt, and peppercorns over low heat, just to a low simmer. This takes about 5-7 minutes.

    adding herbs and shallots to fat

    Next, add in the duck legs and ensure they are submerged.

    adding duck to a pot of fat

    Place a lid on the pan in the bottom third of the oven and cook at 250° for 2 ½ hours.

    adding a pot to an oven

    Remove the pan’s lid and cook for an additional 90 minutes or until the duck is very tender and easily shreds.

    duck confit in a pot

    The duck can be served as is. To crisp up the skin, add ½ cup of the confit oil to a non-stick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat and carefully add the duck skin side down and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the skin becomes more browned.

    searing duck confit

    You can also place the duck on a rack over a sheet tray and bake in the oven at 425° for 25 to 30 minutes.

    browning duck

    Serve the duck confit on a bed of fresh thyme sprigs or your favorite side dish.

    Storing Duck Confit

    If you want to preserve the duck, cool it in the oil to room temperature and then place the duck legs into a container and strain the confit oil into the container, completely covering them.

    straining duck confit fat

    Place the container in the refrigerator to cool to form a fat cap. This will last covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

    duck confit submerged in fat

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    Make-Ahead: If you want to serve it relatively soon, for freshness, duck confit can be made up to 2 days ahead.

    How to Store: Store it in a container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The duck also freezes well for up to 6 months. If the duck is submerged and cooled in the confit oil, it can last covered with the fat cap untouched for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating.

    How to Reheat: Place the desired amount of duck confit in a pan with ½ cup of the confit oil or chicken stock. Cover with a lid or foil and cook in the oven at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until warm.

    Chef Billy Parisi

    Chef Notes + Tips

    • The pot must be large enough to ensure the duck legs are entirely submerged and the duck legs are heavily overlapped.
    • I never use convection unless specified.
    • Duck tastes like a very flavorful chicken and has almost no gamey taste.

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    Video

    Duck Confit Recipe

    5 from 6 votes
    This Duck Confit Recipe is slow-cooked in an herb and garlic-filled pot of duck fat until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
    Servings: 5
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 4 hours

    Ingredients 

    • 4 skin on duck legs
    • 48 fresh thyme sprigs
    • 4 bay leaves
    • 14 garlic cloves
    • 4 cups duck fat
    • coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
    • 8 to 12 peppercorns

    Instructions

    • Add the duck legs to a 13×9 casserole dish and season both sides with coarse salt and cracked pepper.
    • Next, rub in 5 thyme sprigs, ½ crushed bay leaf, and 1 smashed garlic clove into the flesh side of each duck leg.
    • Flip the duck over and repeat the process completely to each duck leg.
    • Cover the pan in plastic and place it in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours.
    • Remove the duck and rinse each leg under cold water to remove any leftover thyme leaves or bay leaves. It’s ok if some pepper is still on there.
    • Transfer the duck to a sheet tray or platter and blot them dry on both sides with paper towels.
    • Add the duck fat and any additional lards or oils to a medium-sized saucepot along with the shallot, garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, coarse salt, and peppercorns over low heat, just to a low simmer. This takes about 5-7 minutes.
    • Next, add in the duck legs and ensure they are submerged.
    • Place a lid on the pan place it in the bottom third of the oven and cook at 250° for 2 ½ hours.
    • Remove the pan's lid and cook for an additional 90 minutes or until the duck is very tender and shreds with ease. They will have an internal temperature of around 208° to 210°.
    • The duck can be served as is. However, to crisp up the skin, add ½ cup of the confit oil to a non-stick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat and carefully add the duck skin side down and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the skin becomes more browned.
    • Optionally place the duck on a rack over a sheet tray and bake in the oven at 425° for 25 to 30 minutes.
    • Serve the duck confit on a bed of fresh thyme sprigs or your favorite side dish.
    • If you want to preserve the duck, cool it in the oil to room temperature and then place the duck legs into a container and strain the confit oil into the container, completely covering them.
    • Place the container in the refrigerator to cool to form a fat cap. This will last cover in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

    Notes

    Make-Ahead: If you want to serve it relatively soon, for freshness, duck confit can be made up to 2 days ahead.
    How to Store: Store it in a container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The duck also freezes well for up to 6 months. If the duck is submerged and cooled in the confit oil, it can last covered with the fat cap untouched for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating.
    How to Reheat: Place the desired amount of duck confit in a pan with ½ cup of the confit oil or chicken stock. Cover with a lid or foil and cook in the oven at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until warm.
    The pot must be large enough to ensure the duck legs are entirely submerged and the duck legs are heavily overlapped.
    I never use convection unless specified.
    Duck tastes like a very flavorful chicken and has almost no gamey taste.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 594kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 38gFat: 47gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 188mgSodium: 154mgPotassium: 95mgFiber: 2gSugar: 0.1gVitamin A: 463IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 69mgIron: 5mg
    Course: dinner, Main Course
    Cuisine: French