Cooking duck breast

Tips and Tricks: How to Cook Duck Breast

POSTED: 04/24/2022

Duck breast is a versatile protein that is a culinary favorite around the world. Whether part of a casual or upscale meal or served as the main entrée or as an addition to salad, pasta or pizza, duck breast works well in a variety of menus.

Duck breast is also fantastic fare to prepare in every season. So, if you enjoy dining on duck breast but have never been brave enough to prepare it, let Maple Leaf Farms take the guesswork out of cooking it at home with the following tips and cooking tricks.

Score the Skin

A common misconception is that duck breast is super fatty. And while duck breast can have a nice layer of fat under the skin, nearly 70% of this fat can be removed by scoring the skin and slowly rendering out the fat.

Maple Leaf Farms’ instructional video shows you how to do this by cutting the skin in 1/4-inch intervals in a crisscross pattern. Our friend Chef Steve Oakley recommends making 21 cuts across an average sized 5-6 ounce duck breast. The result will be fantastically crisp skin and a good amount of rendered duck fat that you can use to enhance other dishes.

Render Fat Out in a Cool Pan

Always place your scored duck breast in a cool pan skin side down, then turn the heat to medium-low to render out the fat for about 10 minutes. This low and slow method ensures you do not overcook the breast before finishing it off in the oven or grill and yields a perfect crispy skin.

Grill Duck Breast

Duck breast is a wonderful protein to prepare on the barbecue. Just make sure you score and render the breast first before finishing it on the grill to ensure fewer flare ups. If you enjoy using wood versus propane or charcoal, we recommend grilling duck over cherry wood for a great smoky, savory flavor.

Save the Fat

Rendered duck fat is a highly coveted ingredient in the culinary industry. Called “liquid gold” by many chefs and professional bakers, duck fat is great when used to roast vegetables, add depth of flavor to mashed potatoes or toast your favorite bread. Our recipe catalog features a variety of side dishes that are enhanced by duck fat.

Make Duck Cracklings

Use any excess duck skin from the breast to create yummy duck cracklings. Simply cut the skin into strips and pop in the oven or fryer. You can follow along with our how-to video for additional tips.

Armed with these cooking tips, you will be cooking duck breast like a pro in no time and wowing your guests with duck fat enhanced dishes perfect for any menu.