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

PAGE: 1 2

You May Also Like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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).

  4. 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!

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


    this looks ridiculously awesome.

  6. 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!

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

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

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

    Your duck looks perfectly cooked! Love the crispy skin!

  9. 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!

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

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

  11. 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

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

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

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

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

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

  16. 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

  17. 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!

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

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

  19. 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!

  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. 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!

  22. 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

  23. 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.

  24. 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 :)

  25. 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 :-)

  26. 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.

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

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

  28. Pingback: Recipe: Grilled Duck Breast Club Panini | Panini Happy®

  29. 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…

  30. 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.

  31. Pingback: Duck Confit Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette | A Spicy Perspective

  32. 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.

  33. 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!

  34. 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!

  35. 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.

  36. 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. :)

  37. Pingback: Quack, Quack! | TheFiveSensesOfSarah