Culinary Arts

Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Five-Spice Crispy Duck Recipe With Black Cherry Glaze

Written by MasterClass

Apr 27, 2019 • 4 min read

MasterClass Video Lessons

Gordon Ramsay Teaches Cooking I

Duck has a naturally fatty skin that melts flavor into the meat as it cooks, so always start it with the skin side down. That way the excess fat can render against the hot roasting pan and when you turn the meat it will sear the skinless side in its own flavorful fat. Salting the skin before you start cooking helps to draw out moisture; this results in crispy skin as the fat renders out.

When trimming duck, you can save the bits of fatty skin to top the duck during cooking, or save it to render the fat and use in another dish. Gordon loves to use duck fat when sautéing vegetables—especially mushrooms.

Bringing the duck to temp helps with even cooking because if the center of the piece of meat is at room temperature rather than fridge temperature when you’re ready to cook, it will take less time for the center to reach the desired internal temperature. As the heat works its way from the outside of the meat (the thinnest part) toward the center (the thickest part), both parts will cook at a similar rate, resulting in evenly cooked, juicy meat.

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How Long Should Duck Rest After Cooking?

For this dish, the 8 minutes in the oven equals an 8-minute rest before slicing to plate.
Letting the duck meat rest before slicing is essential so that the juices have time to recirculate into the meat. A good rule to follow is to let the meat rest at least as long as it took to cook in the oven.

How to Serve Roast Duck

Gordon serves this roast duck recipe in a complete dish with caramelized red endive and sautéed spinach. Learn how to make the plated dish and side dishes here.

Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Tips for Prepping, Storing, and Buying Duck

  • If you’re cooking for a large party, the duck breasts can be seared ahead of time to render out the fat. Undercook the meat slightly and finish cooking to medium rare when you’re ready to serve.
  • If you can get a whole duck from your butcher, use within three to five days or freeze for up to six months. Frozen duck breasts from the grocery store are a good substitute but keep in mind that once a protein is frozen and thawed it cannot be re-frozen.

Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Tips for Making the Perfect Cherry Glaze

This preparation favors a cherry glaze instead of the plum sauce that traditionally accompanies roast duck.

  • The black cherry glaze can be made up to five days ahead of time. Store refrigerated in an airtight container.
  • Frozen cherries can be used instead of fresh cherries but keep in mind that frozen cherries hold more water content, so thaw and strain before use.

Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Crispy Five-Spice Duck Recipe With Black Cherry Glaze

Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
45 min

For the duck:

  • 4 9-ounce duck breasts
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • Maldon salt to taste
  • 4 tablespoons five-spice seasoning
  • 16 thyme sprigs
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the glaze:

  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1½ tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 6 ounces chicken stock
  • 1 cup black cherries, pitted and halved

Step 1: For the Duck

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lay the duck breasts skin side down on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to trim off the excess skin so that the remaining skin is the same shape as the breast. Reserve the trimmings for cooking.
  2. Lightly score the skins of the duck breasts using a sharp paring knife to score the skin diagonally ½ to ⅓ inches apart down the skin. Then rotate the breasts 90 degrees and score again intersecting the previous lines to make a crosshatched pattern.
  3. Sprinkle salt and five-spice onto a sheet tray or baking pan. Lay the duck breasts skin side up into the pan. Season heavily with more five-spice and salt and pepper to taste. Rub the duck breasts evenly in the salt and five-spice seasoning and let rest for 2 minutes before searing.
  4. Heat a large cast-iron pan on low for 3 minutes. Lay the duck breasts in, skin side down, and gradually increase the heat to medium. Add the skin trimmings into the pan. Sear skin side down for 3 to 5 minutes or until most of the fat has rendered and the skin is golden brown, flipping the breast over occasionally. Do not cook breasts on high heat or the skin will shrink a tremendous amount and get chewy instead of crispy.
  5. Add the thyme sprigs and garlic cloves and sauté for 1 minute. Set the thyme, garlic, and duck skin trimmings evenly on top of the breasts with the skin side down so the thyme and garlic can absorb into the meat while roasting.
  6. Place in the center rack of oven and roast for 8 to 10 minutes, or until slightly springy when pressed. The internal temperature should reach 135 degrees F for medium rare.
  7. Transfer to a sheet tray or plate to rest 8 to 10 minutes minutes before slicing.

Step 2: For the Glaze

  1. Drain the pan from cooking the duck breasts and add the honey to the pan over medium heat. Caramelize the honey for 2 minutes or until it slightly thickens and begins to darken.
  2. Deglaze the pan with red wine vinegar, shaking the pan frequently so the liquid can constantly coat the pan and receive even heat.
  3. Once the vinegar is almost evaporated and the liquid is a syrupy consistency, add the chicken stock and let the liquid cook down again for 3 to 5 minutes, or until most of the chicken stock has reduced.
  4. Add soy sauce and reduce until thickened again to a syrupy consistency. Add any juices gathered from the resting duck. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  5. Finally, add the cherries and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let the cherries finish cooking in the glaze off the heat.

Learn how to make restaurant recipes at home with Chef Gordon Ramsay here.