Culinary Arts

Pan Roasting: Duck Breast

Thomas Keller

Lesson time 20:56 min

Chef Keller teaches you his pan-roasting technique for Pekin duck breast, including how to render the fat for a crispy skin and how to achieve the perfect medium-rare finish. Then learn how to make a honey-orange gastrique sauce for a sweet and sour finish.

Thomas Keller
Teaches Cooking Techniques II: Meats, Stocks, and Sauces
Chef Thomas Keller returns with a second MasterClass to teach the essential techniques for cooking meats and making stocks and sauces.
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Improve your skills in the kitchen

As a follow-up to his first MasterClass, Chef Thomas Keller devotes his second cooking class to beef, duck, chicken, pork, and veal, and the techniques he uses to prepare them. Learn to sauté, pan and oven roast, braise, fry, and grill, and how to select the best cut of meat for each technique with confidence. Then, learn to make the stocks and sauces that are essentials in Chef Keller’s restaurant kitchens.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

This class made me more comfortable when creating sauces and I can't tell you how awesome that is for me! I can't wait to try some of these techniques out.

Great improvement in my stock and sauces. I had many questions answered. Thank You. I love Thomas Keller's style.

Chef Keller's Meat Masterclass has been tremendously helpful in expanding my understanding of how to prepare and make meat, stocks and sauces. He is very precise and detail orientated which makes it very easy to follow and try to execute yourself.

Learnt a lot including techniques, patience and emphasis on details.


A fellow student

Second time around on this dish and still awesomely delicious! A note: my pan was too hot and I ended up cooking the skin too quickly while the breast was still a bit underdone. I realized the problem and adjusted the heat but I didn't catch the mistake early enough to completely remedy the matter. I chose to "save the skin" and "kiss" the breast meat a bit longer. All in all, it worked out fine with the meat only modestly rarer than desired. What I learned: 1) watch the pan heat, Chef cautions on this point but I still had the flame a bit too high; and 2)slightly undercooked isn't really noticeable if the skin is perfectly cooked because texture difference between the meat texture and the skin texture hides a lot of mistakes!


Turned out quite well for a first try! Very delicious combination of flavors, and finished plate looks very impressive without being overly complicated. As others mentioned, the sauce was a bit sweet for some. Perhaps more stock/lemon next time? Also, I just didn't have time to leave the duck drying for 3 days, and instead only about 3 hours. Skin was still incredibly crispy! Thanks, Chef!

A fellow student

Wow! I studied this lesson over several viewings and readings (and re-readings) of the notes. I followed his process exactly for both the breasts and the endive (I chose to not use the sauce) and the results were incredible. My wife absolutely loved it, as did I! I noted some things that were commented upon by Chef Keller. I barely trimmed the skin around the breast but even so the breast plumped up a bit upon cooking. No matter, being aware in advance that this was a possibility I was able to handle the cooking anyway. Thank-you, Chef. It is really fun to have the technique knowledge to handle preparations like this duck breast,


I pay extra attention to how he plates. It's not just for looks - there is an important taste element I think. Simple and elegant. Notice he only puts the sauce around the edges of the vegetable side. This would keep the duck crispy, but there is plenty to dip into. Also, the texture of he sauce is beautiful. It spoons out and flows, but doesn't pour and spread out too much. Simple, simple. One beautiful vegetable. Sort of like your grandmother telling you to take off all your jewelry and wear just one good piece at a time.

Sally T.

Can't believe I waiting this long in life to have duck. Truly delicious dish. Our store sells conveniently sized 8 oz. frozen duck breasts and one served my husband and me perfectly (well priced at $8 too). Veal bones are hard to come by and very pricey so have never made veal stock but I did have some frozen commercially made veal demi-glace in the freezer so I thinned that down. Otherwise, made exactly as shown on video and I think it came out restaurant quality. Served with Chef Puck's roasted carrots, sautéed zucchini and fresh corn niblets and Chef Kellers favorite potato puree. The duck went a few degrees over the desired temperature but still very flavorful, tender and juicy.

Jorge S.

Great lesson. When and how do you season (salt) the duck breast? Before you put it in the fridge? Or before it goes to the pan?

Ben M.

Made it tonight and it was delicious. Definitely need your own veal stock...I was out and used store bought and it lacked the gelatin and showed when it was reduced. Delicious though.


Is that just me or the sauce was a bit too sweet? The duck turned out great!


Great advice about the duck tasting a bit "livery" when cooked medium or well done. I made that mistake last Christmas and was not sure how to solve it. Thanks!


You make it look so easy...will go shopping soon for duck. Yes save that duck fat.