Pan Seared Duck Breast with Savory Blackberry Sauce

 Ever wondered How to Cook Duck Breast? This Duck Breast Recipe will have you searing like a pro. It’s the perfect dish to impressed your dinner guests this holiday season… you may even impress yourself!

How to Cook Duck Breast

Have you ever seen a raw duck breast? Such a curious thing. A dark sliver of meat topped with a thick blanket of fat, sometimes just as thick as the breast meat itself. As you sear the breast, the fat gently renders away to a thin crispy crust, leaving a pool of “liquid gold” duck fat to save and reuse. Magically, as the fat renders, the breast plumps up to a succulent red meat sensation. …Possibly even better than a good beef fillet.

Duck Breast Recipes

People often steer clear of duck because they don’t know how to cook duck breasts, and don’t want to mess with roasting a whole duck. What a travesty! Duck breasts are ridiculously easy to prepare and offer a luxurious fatty flavor that will have your dinner guests Oooooing and Ahhhhing. That makes it a brilliant dish to serves over the holidays, quick low maintenance cooking, BIG impact.

Seared Duck Breasts with Blackberry Pan Sauce

As for the rendered fat, DON’T THROW IT AWAY. Duck fat is highly regarded as a superior fat for cooking. It provides intense flavor, has a high smoking point, and is considered one of the healthiest animal fats. Some say it’s as healthy as olive oil.

Once you’ve finished rendering the duck breast, be sure to carefully pour the fat into a glass container and store in the fridge.

Last winter I seared duck breasts for a party, but was in a bit of a hurry. I removed the breasts from the pan and grabbed a bowl for the duck fat. Without thinking, I poured the fat into a plastic container. Immediately the boiling hot duck fat melted through the container and ran over my counter and down the cabinets! Standing there in stupor, tears welled in my eyes. NOT over the mess I had to clean up, but over the loss of the precious duck fat.

Yes, it’s that good.

Seared Duck Breast

How to Cook Duck Breast

Score the fat layer with a sharp knife reaching all the way to the breast meat.

Scoring Duck Breasts

Salt and pepper liberally. Then place the breast in a hot skillet, fat side down. Render the fat over medium-low heat for 10-12 minutes.

Pan Seared Duck Breast

Flip the breasts and sear another 6-10 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts. (These were 13 oz. breasts and I seared them 10 minutes on the fat side and 7 minutes on the breast side.)

Searing Duck Breasts

Allow the breast to rest under foil while you make the sauce, then slice them thin and fan the slices on a platter.

Sliced Duck Breast

Seared duck breast is RICH and needs to be paired with strong flavors. This duck breast recipe includes a savory-sweet blackberry pan sauce with bourbon and shallots. I added a side of mashed sweet potatoes to complement to flavors. Mmmmmm.

Blackberry Pan Sauce

More Dinner Party Recipes:

Stuffed Poblanos with Red Pepper Puree

Fried Calamari Salad with Caper and Lemon Aioli

Seared Scallops with Wilted Greens

Brined Rack of Pork ~ Tidy Mom

Slow Cooker Garlic Chicken ~ Recipe Girl

Salmon and Potato Pierogies ~ Cookin Canuck

Seared Duck Breast with Blackberry Pan Sauce

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time:10 minutes

Cook Time:30 minutes

5 / 5 (1 Reviews)
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“How to Cook Duck Breast.”


2 ~ 12-16 ounce Magret Duck Breasts
2 shallots, peeled and diced
1/2 cup good blackberry jam
2 teaspoon all purpose flour
1/4 cup bourbon
2 cups beef stock
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Salt and Pepper


Pat the duck breasts dry. Score the fat on the top of each breast, cutting down to the flesh.

Heat a large skillet over MEDIUM-LOW. Salt and pepper the breast liberally.

Place them in the skillet, fat side down, and render the fat for 10-12 minutes. A dark golden crust should form as the fat melts away.

Flip the breasts and cook another 6-10 minutes for medium-rare meat.

Remove from the pan and tent with foil.

Carefully pour the duck fat into a glass container to store for later use.

Raise the heat to medium, and add the shallots to the pan. Saute for 3-5 minutes to soften and brown.

Mix the flour into the blackberry jam. Then add the jam, bourbon, beef stock, red pepper and thyme.

Stir and bring to a low boil. Simmer for 5-7 minutes to thicken. Salt and pepper to taste.

Slice the duck breasts thin and serve topped with blackberry pan sauce.

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42 comments on “Pan Seared Duck Breast with Savory Blackberry Sauce

  1. Pingback: Honey Roast Duck Recipe - House of Nash Eats

  2. Anthony Schraderposted April 30, 2019 at 6:57 pm Reply

    Excellent! Great Flavor Combination with a very refined and tasty finish. I will definitely make this again.

    Rating: 5
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  4. Marguerite Ransomposted February 16, 2015 at 7:44 am Reply

    Absolutely amazing and so easy to make. You can use fresh blackberries and a bit of sugar instead of jam as well and can eliminate the flour and the sauce is just as wonderful. The bit of spice is a wonderful addition…

    • Stephanieposted September 18, 2017 at 5:44 pm Reply

      I have fresh blackberries and was wondering how to pull off the sauce with them instead of jam. Any advise??

      • Sommerposted September 18, 2017 at 7:16 pm

        Hi Stephanie!

        I would add about triple the amount of berries and 1-2 tablespoons of sugar. That would give you similar results. :)

  5. Lauraposted January 23, 2015 at 11:24 am Reply

    I had never cooked duck breast before, but love it and would order it at restaurants. I have made this several times now – it’s become one of our “steak night” substitutes. The sauce is spectacular, I’ve added some finely minced jalepeno to kick it up a tiny bit. The result of the meat is very much like a filet cooked medium rare but with a crispy exterior – delicious! One breast is more than enough for my husband and I to split as it is very rich. Try this…you won’t be sorry. And the duck fat makes for perfect roasted potatoes. Keeps in the fridge for a while.

  6. Gary Trevisanposted October 4, 2014 at 6:50 pm Reply

    I made this tonight and it was fantastic! I had wanted to make duck for some time now and bought 2 yesterday. Since I’m just cooking for one I froze one of the breasts. This was such an easy recipe to use. I did add bacon to the glaze….hope you understand. I can’t seem to leave recipes alone. Love to tweak them to my taste. Thanks again!

  7. Caroline Bacherposted March 11, 2014 at 7:05 pm Reply

    I made this recipe tonight and it was exquisite–the cooking time for the duck breast is perfect and yielded a crispy skinned, medium rare. Thanks so much for great instructions and lovely photos!

    • Sommerposted March 11, 2014 at 11:22 pm Reply

      Thanks so much Caroline!

  8. Patriciaposted February 15, 2014 at 11:36 am Reply

    Adjusted just the sauce a bit . . . used chicken broth instead of beef & fortified it with D’Artagnon duck & chicken demi-glace. Used the bourbon to deglaze the pan before adding everything else. Simmered it longer to reduce a bit, but it still made WAY more sauce than needed. It was delicious, though, and I’ll serve the rest over some roast pork loin.

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  10. Pattiposted October 28, 2013 at 6:44 am Reply

    This was a great recipe, but something is off with the sauce proportions. I think the beef stock amount is what is wrong. Wound up with a soupy blackberry sauce that I had to thicken with flour. Tasted great – but not quite what I had expected.

  11. jillybeanposted June 12, 2012 at 12:44 pm Reply

    Sometimes you can find just duck breast in the freezer section by the turkey, cornish hen, etc. Two come in a little box and perfect for a couple. Whole ducks are expensive (around $25 each here in Maine), and the breasts cost about $8 and are generous. And yes, no one throw out that duck fat!!! You’ve never had a french fry ’til you’ve had them fried in duck fat. Duck fat on rye toast with a smidge of salt in the AM is delish! Don’t any of you remember your gramma having a container on the stove full of chicken fat, whatever fat that she would use to cook everything? That’s why her food tasted soooo good. Last month purchased 15 pounds of it through the web, rendered down, in buckets, use it for everything. It’s actually healthier than butter (google it, it’s true!!!). Now, if I can only find someone to “process” my 12 pekin ducks for me, apparently they are very difficult to defeather without destroying the skin, hence their price at market…

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  13. Chris and Amyposted December 30, 2011 at 9:28 am Reply

    Duck is one of favorite things, and this recipe sounds fabulous.

  14. kyleenposted December 29, 2011 at 11:36 am Reply

    When I turned 15, my mom took me out for lunch at a fancy restaurant where I ordered the seared duck breast. It was so, so good, and I’ve since tried convincing my mom to make it at home, but she always said that duck breast was difficult to cook. I’ll show her this wonderful post and then her mouth will water like mine is right now. Love the step by step photos; so helpful.

  15. kateiscookingposted December 28, 2011 at 9:51 pm Reply

    Duck is one of our favorite meats! Can’t wait to try this fabulous version with our wonderful Maple Leaf duck that we can get up here in Indianapolis. We’ve even gotten so brave as to make our own duck confit :-)

  16. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidenceposted December 28, 2011 at 9:50 pm Reply

    I’ve eaten many a duck breast in my life; however, I have yet to try to cook one! I think I’m going to need to make cooking a duck breast one of my goals for 2012 :)

  17. Caraposted December 28, 2011 at 9:35 pm Reply

    I love cooking duck breasts! The biggest problem I have is that they can be a bit hard to find – last time I wanted some for a dinner party I literally had to call 8 butchers/supermarkets before finding them. So worth it though! Great sounding recipe.

  18. Marlaposted December 28, 2011 at 9:33 pm Reply

    Beautiful recipe for the holidays! Can I come you your house please?! Happy holidays my friend to you and your family :) xo

  19. A Canadian Foodieposted December 28, 2011 at 9:32 pm Reply

    Love the step by step and have some lovely farm fresh duck breast in my fridge right now – and as you say “Yes, it is that good” – so, I must make this recipe, then, mustn’t i? :) Merry Christmas, Sommer! There is definitely magic in the air! Best wishes for a prosperous and dream filled 2012!

  20. Joytiposted December 28, 2011 at 9:31 pm Reply

    Your duck looks lovely. Nice sear, but nicely rare (medium rare) on the inside. And it seems to special and festive.
    Hope you’re having a lovely holiday season, and a Merry Christmas!

  21. Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessertposted December 28, 2011 at 9:31 pm Reply

    Yes I have! (wondered how to cook duck). Beautiful dish and a must try on my bucket list. Merry Christmas Sommer!

  22. Roxana @ GreenGirlposted December 28, 2011 at 9:29 pm Reply

    I’m emailing this recipe to MIL. She adores duck!!
    Happy Holidays Sommer!

  23. Alison @ Ingredients Inc.posted December 28, 2011 at 9:27 pm Reply

    Looks great! I once did a duck breast story for Cooking Light, and I had no clue how to cook them prior to that. They are so versatile, and these looks great!

  24. Katieposted December 28, 2011 at 9:26 pm Reply

    I slow-roasted it last winter and loved the results. The fat didn’t get crispy (which I don’t eat, anyway) but the meat was perfectly medium rare all the way through – and no mess on the cook top LOL

  25. Jessica @ How Sweetposted December 28, 2011 at 9:21 pm Reply

    I love love love duck so much. This looks so good.

  26. Marisaposted December 28, 2011 at 9:20 pm Reply

    Duck prepared this way is my absolute favorite. And it is really is SO easy to make. Love this blackberry pan sauce. Wow!

  27. Annposted December 28, 2011 at 9:19 pm Reply

    Delicious! I’ve made duck breast at home, but not very often…I LOVE the stuff! Your directions and pictures are PERFECT!

  28. Heleneposted December 28, 2011 at 9:18 pm Reply

    Looks like a meal at a restaurant. I have never eaten it. Merry Christmas!

  29. Magic of Spiceposted December 28, 2011 at 9:17 pm Reply

    I have never prepared a duck breast, whole ducks yes, and my children just love duck. This is so beautifully prepared…gorgeous meal!
    Happy Holidays

  30. Barbara | Creative Culinaryposted December 28, 2011 at 9:30 pm Reply

    Mmmm good. You’ve convinced me; now dying to try it!

  31. Wenderlyposted December 28, 2011 at 3:03 pm Reply

    I must admit that I’ve never been a big fan of duck, however THIS looks like it might just win me over!

  32. Kiri W.posted December 28, 2011 at 3:04 am Reply

    Your duck looks perfectly cooked! Love the crispy skin!

  33. Jen at The Three Little Pigletsposted December 22, 2011 at 12:47 pm Reply

    Ahhh, a blanket of fat! Just a thing of beauty!

  34. Susanposted December 22, 2011 at 12:33 pm Reply

    This is a tremendous recipe … and your commentary on rendered duck fat is inspirational … I have no plans for New Years Eve and can think of no other more special meal … thanks, Sommer!

    Merry Christmas to you and yours this season!

  35. Bev Weidnerposted December 22, 2011 at 9:17 am Reply


    this looks ridiculously awesome.

  36. Nanaposted December 22, 2011 at 8:35 am Reply

    I’ve never served duck, period. After reading your instructions, I know I could do this. Seems very simple when having guest for dinner. I’m going to start looking for duck breast in Oklahoma….I am sure it is here somewhere. Your photos are beautiful!

  37. The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Timeposted December 22, 2011 at 8:04 am Reply

    I’ve had several recipes for duck pass through my kitchen but have never been able to find duck breasts. Whole duck, yes, but not just the breast. Now I’m on a quest. These look amazing. The pan sauce is the bomb. Your explanations and walk-through made me feel comfortable about the process and explained a lot (i.e., what the big deal about the fat is).

  38. Curtposted December 22, 2011 at 7:53 am Reply

    This looks so good. One of these days I gotta get around to cooking duck. I can’t believe I’ve never cooked, and have only eaten it once.

  39. Jeanetteposted December 22, 2011 at 7:16 am Reply

    Looks so professional, like what I would see in a fancy restaurant! Thanks for the tutorial. I can only imagine how perfectly your blackberry pan sauce and sweet potatoes compliment the duck.