How about a simple, almost foolproof, stovetop sous vide method that requires no special equipment? Too good to be true? Well, I'm happy to report it's so very true, and produced what my wife and I agreed was the best duck breast we've ever had.

Chef John
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Ingredients

2
Original recipe yields 2 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Cut several very shallow crosswise slashes across the skin of each duck breast about 1/2 inch apart. The cuts should only barely cut into the skin and fat; don't cut into the meat. Season skin sides with salt. Generously season meat sides with salt, black pepper, and thyme.

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  • Place duck breasts in a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag, squeeze out all air, and seal. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

  • Fill a large Dutch oven about 2/3 full with water. Bring water to 135 degrees F (57 degrees C) over medium heat. Attach a candy or oil thermometer to the side of the Dutch oven in order to monitor and maintain the water temperature. Place a silicone hot pad into bottom of the pan to keep the plastic bag from contacting the hot bottom of the pan.

  • Place plastic bag containing duck breasts in the Dutch oven, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain the temperature at 135 degrees F (57 degrees C). Cook for 1 hour, moving the bag around occasionally and maintaining the temperature.

  • Remove duck breasts from plastic bag and pat dry. Generously season skin sides with salt.

  • Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over high heat. Place duck breasts with skin sides down in skillet and cook until fat renders and skin is golden brown, 5 minutes. Turn breasts over and cook until lightly browned and meat still pink in the center, 1 minute. Let duck breasts rest for 2 minutes before slicing.

Nutrition Facts

177 calories; 10.7 g total fat; 105 mg cholesterol; 143 mg sodium. 0.2 g carbohydrates; 19 g protein; Full Nutrition

Reviews (20)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
11/27/2012
This was delicious and easy. One hour in water did the trick. Let it rest uncovered to get a crispy crust. Read More
(7)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
06/28/2013
Did anyone notice the video says 1 hour in the water yet the recipe says 2 hours???? What did the 3 reviewers do - recipe or video. I'm in the middle of this and have settled on 1.5 hours in the water. I will comment & rate again. Read More
25 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 23
  • 4 star values: 1
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
11/26/2012
This was delicious and easy. One hour in water did the trick. Let it rest uncovered to get a crispy crust. Read More
(7)
Rating: 5 stars
11/04/2012
I'm a big duck fan and gave this technique a try and the end result was superb. I did the cooking on an electric range that was very challenging. A gas range would have made it much easier but I heartily recommend this. Read More
(6)
Rating: 5 stars
09/25/2013
This recipe was one of the best things I have ever made. I made a small portion of an asian 'spicy orange sauce' from another recipe here on this website (orange chicken) and drizzled it over the sliced duck as you can see in the picture and it was FANTASTIC! Read More
(3)
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Rating: 5 stars
05/26/2013
Duck came out perfect! I did exactly as Chef John said to do and it came out beautifully. Thank you for the tricks! Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
05/31/2015
I haven't cooked duck breast in years but my son wanted to taste it. I used this technique. It was Perfectly cooked! This was so easy to do. Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
10/02/2013
i love duck but had never made it and i was very nervous since duck is one of those meats that has to be just right. it turned out perfectly. it took time but was very simple and delicious and i loved the peach sweet and sour sauce too. And for the person confused about it saying it takes 2 hours to prepare but 1 to cook that includes the 1 hour it is refrigerating with the seasonings. Read More
(1)
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Rating: 5 stars
01/29/2016
This is a fantastic recipe! I had never made duck before and I had never cooked sous vide before. I made this recipe when the Ohio State Buckeyes were playing the Oregon Ducks for the 2014 national championship.;-) This recipe has inspired me to add duck to our regular rotation as well as to buy a sous vide machin. OMG if you haven't had sous vide steak you are missing out on life! Wow!! Between the steak and the duck it was totally worth 150 and space on my counter. I am still experimenting with other foods (meat veggies eggs). Thank you for introducing me to a new cooking method and adding a new and very tasty protein to my diet! Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
08/21/2018
Brilliant recipe just as it's written. Will definitely make this again Read More
Rating: 5 stars
11/13/2018
This was amazing! Prepared the duck exactly as described and served with roasted potatoes with thyme & rosemary and sautéed spinach & mushrooms. It doesn't need a sauce. Will try again with duck and other things as well. Read More
Rating: 3 stars
06/28/2013
Did anyone notice the video says 1 hour in the water yet the recipe says 2 hours???? What did the 3 reviewers do - recipe or video. I'm in the middle of this and have settled on 1.5 hours in the water. I will comment & rate again. Read More