Air fryer duck breast is a delicious dinner for when you want something a bit different. It cooks in minutes in the air fryer and always comes out succulent and delicious, with perfectly crispy skin.
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How to cook duck breast in an air fryer
Dusk breast is a tasty alternative to steak or grilled chicken breast for when you feel like something different for dinner.
Air frying is a great way to cook duck breast. Because it cooks quickly, it’s a great recipe to make on a weeknight, especially if you’re short on time and looking for a quick and easy dinner. Having another dinner option that feels special but doesn’t take more than 15 minutes of your time is always appreciated!
Scroll down for the printable card for this air fryer duck breast recipe, or read on for all the details!
Duck breast: Choose boneless duck breast. You can use wild duck or farmed duck. Note that the farmed type often gives a fattier duck breast.
Salt and pepper: This recipe uses salt and pepper for a simple seasoning, but you can add other flavors if you like. Some great options are:
- Chinese five-spice
- Rosemary and thyme
Add around ¼ teaspoon per duck breast of any additional seasoning.
Step 1: Prepare the duck breast. Pat the duck breast dry with a paper towel. Then score the duck skin through into the fat. A crosshatch pattern is traditional, or you can use parallel lines which is what you often see in restaurants.
This step is needed to allow the fat to render easily, and to help the skin to get really crispy. You should avoid cutting all the way through into the meat as this can add more moisture to the skin during cooking, preventing it from getting crispy.
Step 2: Season duck breast. Season with salt and pepper. Add any other seasoning that you want in the same way.
Step 3: Air fry duck breast. Place duck breast in the air fryer basket skin-side up, and air fry at 390°F/ 195°C for 5 minutes. When the time is up, turn the temperature down to 320°F/ 160°C, and air fry duck breast for an additional 10-12 minutes.
Starting the cooking at a higher temperature, before reducing the temperature, allows the fat to render more quickly, so that the skin should get crispy before the meat becomes overcooked.
If your air fryer starts smoking during cooking, stop your air fryer, drain the fat out, and resume cooking. You may need to do this more than once depending on how fatty your duck breast is. Note: farmed duck tends to be fattier than wild duck.
When the cooking time is finished, check the internal temperature with an instant read meat thermometer. USDA recommends cooking duck breasts to an internal temperature of 165°F/ 74°C, which will be well done. Some people prefer medium-rare (130°F/ 54°C), medium (140°F/ 60°C), or medium-well done 155°F (68°F).
Step 4: Rest duck breasts. Remove from the air fryer to a plate and cover with aluminum foil for 5-10 minutes.
Serve duck with plum sauce, hoisin sauce, or blackberry sauce. Alternatively, you can whip up some gravy (try: brown gravy made from stock).
Here are some great sides that go with this duck breast recipe:
- Air fryer smashed potatoes. Part cook the potatoes, leaving a cooking time of around 5 minutes. Remove to a bowl and cover while you cook the duck breast. Then place them back in the air fryer to finish cooking while the duck breast rests. You can even pour any melted duck fat from the air fryer pan over them prior to finishing the cooking for an easy version of duck fat potatoes.
- Microwave steamed vegetables
- Instant Pot mashed potato
Air Fryer Duck Breast Recipe Card
How to cook crispy duck breast in an air fryer.
- 2 duck breasts, boneless
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Score the skin of the duck breast with a sharp knife. Ensure you do not cut through to the meat.
- Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper [Note 1].
- Place duck breast in the air fryer basket skin-side up, and air fry at 390°F/ 195°C for 5 minutes.
- When the time is up, turn the temperature down to up to 320°F, 160°C, and air fry duck breast for an additional 10-12 minutes [Note 2].
- Check the internal temperature with an instant read meat thermometer. USDA recommends cooking duck breasts to an internal temperature of 165°F/ 74°C, which will be well done [Note 3].
- Once the duck breast is cooked, remove it from the air fryer and cover with aluminum foil to rest for ten minutes.
- Serve with plum sauce, hoisin sauce or gravy.
- Add ½ teaspoon of other seasoning if you like, try 5-spice or allspice.
- Due to the high fat content of this dish, the air fryer may smoke while cooking. If this happens, note how much cooking time is remaining, stop the air fryer, remove the basket from the air fryer and carefully drain collected fat out of the bottom of the draw. Restart the air fryer for the remaining cooking time.
- Some people prefer medium-rare (130°F/ 54°C), medium (140°F/ 60°C), or medium-well done 155°F (68°F). Though please note USDA recommendation for cooking poultry is 165°F/ 74°C.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 485Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 326mgSodium: 516mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 59g
Nutrition information is an estimate and provided for informational purposes only.
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