Sous vide duck breast is an absolute game-changer. Cooking sous vide allows you to make perfectly juicy and tender duck breasts, every single time. Time to say goodbye to the days of overcooked duck, and hello to juicy meat cooked exactly how you want it.
For this recipe, I created a delicious, savory blackberry pan sauce that perfectly compliments the flavor profile of the duck. The result? A sauce that will send your taste buds straight to Valhalla.
It’s easy, convenient, and incredibly delicious – what could be better?
In this recipe, we will walk you through everything you need to know to make the best duck breast of your life. From how long to sous vide duck, to different searing methods, this recipe has it all.
Scoring the Duck Skin
Scoring the skin of a duck breast helps render the fat from the skin. To get the best results, score the duck breast when it is cold and firm, and make sure not to cut into the meat of the breast too deeply.
To score duck skin, place the duck breast on a cutting board skin side up and grab a sharp knife. Score the skin in a diagonal direction, then turn the breast around and score in the opposite direction. As stated above, be careful not to cut through the meat of the duck breast.
An essential part of cooking sous vide is putting ingredients in an air-tight bag or container. The two most common techniques to package your ingredients are vacuum sealing and using the water displacement method.
A vacuum sealer removes all the air and seals the contents of a plastic bag through a vacuum. Ensuring the food is airtight and properly sealed prevents the bag from floating, which can result in uneven cooking.
The displacement method is a technique where you first place your food and marinades in a sous vide bag, submerge the bag in a container of water, and allow the pressure to force all the air out of the bag.
Both of these methods work for this recipe, so use whichever you feel more comfortable with!
Time and Temperature
We found that cooking the duck breast at 56.5C/134F for 2 hours is the perfect combination. Leaving the breast in for 2 hours results in a juicy, succulent bird. Also, cooking it at a temperature of 134F is the sweet spot for that beautiful edge-to-edge medium-rare.
Just make sure you have a reliable sous vide that accurately regulates the temperature of the bath or your results may vary (check out the Anova or Joule). If you want to explore other time and temperature options, check out our cooking guide here.
Can You Sous Vide Frozen Duck Breast?
The quick answer is, absolutely! Cooking frozen foods sous vide is an ultra-convenient, safe way to prepare your protein. Just take the food directly from the fridge, repackage it (unless you know the bag is sous vide safe) and let the sous vide work its magic.
The only thing you’ll need to adjust is the cooking time. If you are cooking frozen duck breast sous vide we recommend adding an additional hour to the cooking time, so three hours total.
Recommended Searing Methods for Duck Breast
Searing is by far the most important step in cooking sous vide. If want your food to look like it is Michelin star quality, you are going to have to get a rich sear on it. Failing to do so will make your dinner guests wonder why they let you cook again.
Searing a duck breast is a little different than most other sous vide proteins. Since there is such a large fat cap, we want to make sure it is properly rendered and as crispy as possible.
If you want an amazing sear, you’ve got to:
- Pat the meat completely dry with a paper towel
- Season generously with salt and pepper
- Start searing the duck breast fat side down on a cold pan or cast iron
- Crank the heat to high and sear the duck breast for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the skin is crispy.
- Flip and sear flesh side for 1 to 2 minutes.
As stated above, we suggest searing duck breasts in a pan or cast iron. This gives the best temperature control and allows the fat to render and become crispy. That being said, grilling the breast or using a searing torch are also effective searing methods.
Sous Vide Machine – This one is obvious. To cook sous vide, you’re going to need a device to precisely regulate the temperature of the bath water. The two best sous vide machines in the game right now are the Anova Precision Cooker and the Breville Joule.
The main difference between the two is that with the Anova you can control the device both manually and with a mobile device, and with the Joule you can only control the device by using your mobile device. Either way, both sous vide machines are top class and you can’t go wrong with either choice.
12-quart Container – Although you can use a basic stockpot for your sous vide cooking needs, I highly recommend buying a large plastic container. They are inexpensive and spacious, so you won’t have to worry about cooking a big roast in a small pot. I recommend a 12 quart Rubbermaid container, as it is BPA free, sturdy, and large enough for just about anything you will be cooking.
Container Lid – If you are going to buy a plastic container, I highly suggest buying a compatible lid for it. When you sous vide for a long duration, the heat of the water causes evaporation. With a lid, it eliminates a majority of the evaporation so you can cook for hours care-free.
Cast Iron Skillet – If you are looking to take your searing game to the next level, we recommend investing in a cast iron skillet. By using a cast iron in this recipe, you’ll achieve a deep sear on the protein. Cast irons are also extremely handy for searing just about any and all sous vide meat. Lodge offers the best quality and price, which is why it is our favorite cast iron brand.
Next Level Sous Vide –Looking to take your sous vide skills to the next level? The Next Level Sous Vide eCookbook will push your culinary boundaries with 65 delicious recipes that are equally approachable and tasty. With pro tips and a detailed explanation of the sous vide process, you will be on your way to maximize your sous vide skills.
Check out our full list of recommended gear here.
Sous Vide Duck with Blackberry Pan Sauce
- 1 - 2 lb duck breast, Moulard
- Salt and pepper to taste
Blackberry Pan Sauce
- 6 oz fresh blackberries
- 1 Tbsp blackberry jelly
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp red wine
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- 1 clove crushed garlic
- 1/2 Tbsp salted butter
Sous Vide Duck Breast
Set sous vide machine to 56.5C/134F.
Score the duck skin then season duck breast lightly with salt. Place meat in sous vide bag and remove the air through a vacuum sealer or the displacement method. Drop the bag in the bath for two hours.
Remove bag from bath. Take duck breast out of the bag, pat dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place duck breast fat side down on a cold pan or cast iron. Crank the heat to high and sear duck breast for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the skin is crispy. Flip and sear flesh side for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from pan, and place on plate to rest for 5 minutes. Once rested, slice, serve, and enjoy!
Blackberry Pan Sauce
Place fresh blackberries and blackberry jelly into a small sauce pan over low heat. Sprinkle white sugar on top, do not stir. Bring to a simmer until sauce begins to form, approximately 10 minutes.
Turn heat to medium and add balsamic vinegar, beef broth, red wine, and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and strain into a mesh sieve into a container. Pour sauce in container back in sauce pan on medium heat and simmer until thickened to your preference. Turn off heat and add 1/2 Tbsp of butter. Gently fold in to sauce until well combined.