sliced duck breast over brown rice topped with cherry sauce on a plate
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Start by scoring the skin in a crisscross pattern and season with salt and pepper Let the duck come to room temperature for about 30 minutes. Always start duck in a cold, dry pan (or just a smear of butter like I did in this recipe). Place the duck breast skin-side down over a medium heat. The key is low and slow. Cook until the skin is crispy and most of the fat has been rendered. Then flip and cook to your desired level of doneness on the stove top or in the oven. Let them rest before slicing.
Duck breasts are safe to eat at 135 degrees F. for medium-rare, 145 degrees F. for medium, and up to 160 degrees F. for well-done. Most chefs would agree that duck is best between medium-rare to medium.
While cooking scored duck breasts the way I describe above, the fat will naturally render from the skin. Save that excess fat by pouring it into a container. It is liquid gold and has the most amazing flavor. Use it to cook other dishes and/or for roasting vegetables.
Marinating is not necessary, and I don’t recommend it but I’m sure any basic marinade would be fine. I prefer keep the preparation of the duck simple and putting a flavorful sauce on the side.
Scoring the skin helps render the fat and create crispiness. Cooking skin-side down in a hot skillet without moving the meat too much also helps achieve crispy skin. Remember, you want to cook low and slow.

Yes, you can. Sear the duck breasts in a skillet first, then transfer them to a preheated oven at around 375 – 400 degrees F. until they reach your desired level of doneness – just like I did in this recipe.

Let the cooked duck breasts rest for about 5-10 minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute and ensures more tender meat. Treat them just like you would a steak.
Let the cooked duck breasts rest for about 5-10 minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute and ensures more tender meat. Treat them just like you would a steak.
Slice the duck breasts diagonally and serve them on a plate alongside your chosen sides. Drizzle any pan juices or sauces over the meat. If serving a sauce, always serve it on the side or under the duck breast. You want to keep that skin crispy. Putting sauce on top will make it soffy and undue all your hard work.
sliced duck breast over brown rice topped with cherry sauce on a plate
sliced duck breast over brown rice topped with cherry sauce on a plate

Duck with Cherry Sauce

Perfectly cooked smoked duck breasts are served with a delicious cherry sauce on a bed of a wild rice and brown rice medley.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine French
Servings 4 Served
Calories 34 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.


  • 2 Duck Breasts, skin on (about 1/2 Lb. each)
  • 1 Tbsp. Honey
  • 1 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • Sea Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Cherry Sauce

  • 1/2 Lb. Fresh or frozen cherries, pitted (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Sherry Vinegar
  • 1/2 Tsp. Fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Honey
  • 1/8 Tsp. Sea salt
  • 1-2 Cups Cooked Wild Rice and Brown Rice medley to serve


  • Prep your duck breasts. Using a sharp knife, cut through the skin and fat making diagonal slits about 1/2 inch apart. Be careful to no cut into the meat. Rotate the duck breasts and cut diagonal slits going the other way creating a crisscross pattern. Dry the duck with paper towels and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  • If using fresh cherries, using a cherry pitter, pit them. If using frozen, they should already be pitted.  You will need about 1/4 cup of the cherries, cut in half, to add to the sauce at the end.  Cut those now and put to the side.
  • Make the sauce.  In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat and add the onion and celery and cook for about three minutes. Cook until the vegetables are translucent. Add all but that 1/4 cup of the cherries, vinegar and ginger. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 4-5 minutes. During that time, press down on the fruit with a spatula or spoon so they release their juices. The fruit will start to break down and the mixture will start to get thicker.
  • Add the honey and salt and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the fruit and vegetables are soft and the mixture is even thicker. About 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Cook the duck. Preheat the oven to 400 degree F.
  • Smear the butter on the bottom of a cold, non-stick frying pan. Add the duck, skin side down and place over medium heat. Cook until the skin is crisp and golden and most of the fat has been rendered (about 8 minutes). Flip the breasts over and cook until the underside is seared.  About 2 minutes.  Flip the duck breasts over so they are skin side down and put in the oven for 6 minus.  Flip the duck and using a pastry brush, brush the crispy skin with the honey. Let cook 2 more minutes.  Use a thermometer to test the temperature of the duck to get the doneness you prefer. For rare to medium, you want the meat 130 – 135 degrees F.  For medium, let it go to 135 – 140 degrees F.
  • Move breasts to a cutting board (skin side up). Let rest for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, reheat the sauce over low heat until warmed through. Stir in the reserved cherries.
  • Cut the duck breasts into 1/2 inch slices. Plate the wild and brown rice on a platter and arrange the sliced duck on top. Drizzle any accumulated juices from the board on top. Serve the cherry sauce on the side. Enjoy.


Calories: 34kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 0.01gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.01gSodium: 60mgPotassium: 4mgFiber: 0.01gSugar: 5gVitamin C: 0.04mgCalcium: 0.5mgIron: 0.03mg
Keyword dinner, poultry
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