These Sous Vide Duck Breasts have crispy skin on the outside and deeply rich and tender meat on the inside. Sous vide method will have you cooking like a pro, making the restaurant-quality duck breasts at your own home!
This foolproof sous vide recipe allows you to cook the meat to the precise temperature you set. It’s so succulent and rivals some of the best steaks. No more over-cooked duck breast! Serve with red wine sauce on potatoes or tacos for a mouth-watering dinner, and impress your guest this holiday season!
Why sous vide duck breast
Unlike chicken breast, the breast of the duck is a rich and dark meat, covered by a thick layer of fat. Low and slow is the preferred method to produce the most tender duck meat, making it an ideal candidate for sous vide cooking.
You may think the skin is too fat and thick, but searing after sous vide can turn the skin into a thin and crispy crust, so don’t trim it off. Scoring the skin so that the fat will render away easily while cooking.
What is sous vide? Sous vide means ‘under vacuum’ in French. It’s a low and slow cooking technique where the food is vacuum-sealed in a bag, and then cooked to a precise temperature in a warm water bath. Sous vide duck breast guarantees the perfect tender and juicy texture!
How to cook sous vide duck breast
Score duck breasts: Place the breast on a cutting board skin side up. Score the skin in a crosshatch pattern (as shown below), making sure not to cut through to the meat. Scoring helps to render the fat from the skin during cooking.
Season the breast: Season the skin side with salt only (no pepper, as I like the clean look of the skin). Then flip the breast, and season the flesh side with salt and pepper.
Sous vide cook duck breasts: Place seasoned duck breasts in a vacuum bag or zip-lock bag. Vacuum seal the bag and cook in the sous vide warm water bath at 135°F (57°C) for about 2 hours.
Finish by searing in a skillet: Sear the sous vide cooked duck breasts skin-side down until the skin turns golden crispy. Flip and sear the flesh side for 30 seconds. Let the breasts rest for 3-5 minutes; slice and serve.
Temperature and doneness
Unlike other types of poultry, duck can safely be cooked to a lower temperature. Our preferred doneness is medium-rare when the breast is cooked to 135°F (57°C). Remember that the temperature will rise slightly when searing in the pan later. This recipe produces the duck meat that’s extremely tender with silky-smooth texture. If you’d like to cook your duck to different doneness, follow the chart below:
|Duck Breast Internal Temperature||Doneness|
|130 °F / 54 °C||Rare|
|135 °F / 57 °C||Medium-rare (tender and juicy)|
|145 °F / 63 °C||Medium (less juicy, but still tender)|
|155 °F / 68 °C||Well-done (More chewy)|
How long does it take to sous vide duck breast?
It’s best to cook the duck breast in the warm water bath for 1.5 hours to 2 hours. You can take it out after 1 hour if you are in a hurry, or cook it for as long as 4 hours. If cook from frozen duck breasts, add half an hour to the cooking time.
Tips for making tender and juicy duck breasts
- Score the skin before sous vide cooking. Keep the scores about 1/2 inch apart and make sure to cut all the way through the edges. This will prevent them from curling up during searing.
- After sous vide cooking, pat dry duck breasts thoroughly, any moisture left on the skin will interfere with the proper searing, making the skin less crispy.
- Don’t throw away the rendered fat from duck breasts. It’s considered one of the healthiest animal fats. Frying potatoes in this fat is a classic French approach to duck.
How to serve sous vide duck breast?
Serve the breast with potatoes or green vegetables, thinly slice the meat and drizzle with red wine sauce or berry sauce. I’d pair it with:
Crispy Skin Sous Vide Duck Breast
- 2 duck breasts skin-on (about 6 ounces each)
- kosher salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- red wine sauce or berry sauce for serving
- rosemary for garnishing
Add water to the sous vide container or a large pot, set the Sous Vide Precision Cooker to 135°F (57°C). This is my preferred doneness with medium-rare meat, and if you’d like to cook it more or less, follow the temperate guide in the post above.
Score Duck Breasts: Place the breast on a cutting board skin side up. Using a sharp knife, score the skin in 1/2 inch intervals with a crosshatch (diamond) pattern. (Be sure to cut through the fat, but not the meat.)
Season the breast: Season the skin side with salt only. Then flip the breast, and season the flesh side with salt and pepper.
Sous vide duck breast: Place the seasoned duck breast in a zip-lock bag, vacuum seal it using “water displacement” technique: seal all but one corner of the bag, and slowly place it into a container with water. Make sure everything below the zip-line is covered by water. Then seal the rest of the bag. (If you use a vacuum sealer, seal the bag on the dry setting.)
When the water has reached the set temperature, lower the bag slowly into the water bath and make sure the breasts are fully submerged.
Cook for 2 hours. (This is my preferred cooking time, but you can reduce it to 1 hour if you are in a hurry, or cook as long as 4 hours.)
Sear duck breasts: When the timer goes off, remove the duck breasts from the bag and carefully pat dry with paper towel. (Make sure that you pat dry the breast very well, otherwise it will interfere with the searing.)
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add duck breasts with skin-side down in the pan. Remove from heat when the skin is evenly browned, about 5-8 minutes. It’s ok if you find the center of the meat still pink. (If you find there’s too much water coming out of the breast, you can pat dry it one more time, and drain the liquid in the pan. Then continue searing.)
Flip the breast and quickly sear the flesh side for about 30 seconds.
Let duck breasts rest for 3 to 5 minutes.
Slice the breast, serve with potatoes, and drizzle with red wine sauce or berry sauce.
- No need to add oil during searing if you use a non-stick pan. The duck breast will render a lot of fat.
- Don’t throw away the rendered fat from duck breasts. It’s considered one of the healthiest animal fats. You can fry some potatoes in this fat, or pour it in an airtight jar. Store it in the fridge for later use.
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