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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.

I have learnt a awful lot about meat, which I seldom attempted, because it seems to be difficult to make it right. Now I will definitely try.

Lots of good tips and dishes to help me improve my cooking.

I cook at home, but these classes have inspired me to not take the route of "good enough" but to make the best possible food at all times. My family deserves to eat beautiful food.

This Master Class helped me gain confidence in, and elevate my home cooking.


A fellow student

Hi, I'm having an error page that prevents me to watch any more episodes of this class. does anyone have the same issue?

curtis G.

Is it okay to use homemade chicken stock instead of veal for the gastrique?

A fellow student

What's a good way to store rendered fats and is it shelf stable? Thank you!

Chris K.

Maybe I'm just paranoid (or misinformed), but is it ok that he keeps touching the raw duck meat with his hands and then touching everything else, including the endive, without washing his hands?

Michael C.

My question is: Why did chef Keller not season his duck breast with salt? There must be a reason, it's just surprising to me.

A fellow student

If the duck breast was previously frozen is it ok to let it dry for 3 days? Concerned about possible spoilage. And should you salt the skin before drying?

A fellow student

Any seasoning for duck breast? Can I use any other method to dry meat before pan-frying? In case if the fridge doesn't contain the ventilation chamber...

Chell R.

Why does he use stainless/composite metal pans to do this... is there an advantage over nonstick (other that for pan sauces)?

Tom B.

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!