Cooking duck breast in the air fryer takes no more than 20-25 minutes and requires very few ingredients. It’s also extremely simple. You can marinate the meat before cooking, if required, or simply season it with salt and pepper.
Though duck breast may conjure up images of fancy dishes in French restaurants and the hours of prep work that goes with these, cooking duck breast perfectly is possible within the comfort of home, with nothing more than your air fryer and a few everyday ingredients.
An air fryer in the equation also means that cooks of any level can attempt this, and more importantly, pull it off like a pro, from the beautifully crispy skin to the melt-in-the-mouth meat!
Here’s everything you’ll need to cook the perfect air fryer duck breast.
From ingredients to helpful tips, here’s a step-by-step guide to cooking duck breast in the air fryer.
- Boneless Duck Breast: I prefer using farmed duck breast because it’s got more fat, giving you better flavour and crispier skin, but wild duck breast works just as well. If you can get your hands on fresh meat, nothing like it; if not, frozen duck breast from your local supermarket will also do.
- Seasoning: Depending on how much time you have and what your preferences are, your seasoning can be as simple as salt and pepper or a little more complex, such as allspice, Chinese five spice, thyme and rosemary, and parsley. You can use a quarter teaspoon of these, along with salt and pepper.
- Marinade: Again, depending on how much time you have, you can marinate your duck breasts. Marinating enhances flavour beautifully, so I always try to squeeze in a quick marinade—30 minutes or even simply brushing the marinade on just before cooking the meat can work wonders.
My go-to marinade is half a teaspoon each of balsamic vinegar and French mustard, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, a teaspoon of dried garlic, and two teaspoons of honey. A combination of salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce is also quite delicious.
Air Fryer Duck Breast Recipe
- Boneless Duck Breast
- ⅛ Allspice
- ⅛ Chinese five spice
- ⅛ Thyme
- ⅛ Rosemary
- ⅛ Parsley
- ½ teaspoon Balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon French mustard
- 1 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Dried garlic
- 2 tablespoons Honey
- A combination of salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce
- Start by rinsing your duck breasts under running cold water and patting them dry with paper towels. Drying the meat before cooking is important for the skin to perfectly crisp up; moisture can hamper this.
- Once you’ve patted the meat dry, score the skin and the fat underneath (take care to avoid cutting the meat) with a very sharp knife. Ideally, you want to create a diamond pattern across the skin, but if that’s beyond your skill level (as it is with me), parallel lines work just fine.
- If you’re using a marinade, now’s the time to let your duck breast sit in it. If you’re not using a marinade, season the meat with salt, pepper, and a quarter teaspoon of whatever other seasoning you’re using.
- If your air fryer starts smoking while the meat is cooking, switch off the machine, drain out the fat, and continue cooking. If the meat has a lot of fat, you may have to do this as often as is required.
- Don’t overcrowd the air fryer; cook two breasts, maximum, at a time.
- An internal temperature of 74℃ will give you a well-done breast, but if you prefer your meat medium rare, look for an internal temperature of 54℃. For medium and medium well done, pull the breasts out at 60℃ and 68℃, respectively.
- Plum, hoisin, and blackberry sauce pair beautifully with duck breast.
- Remember—perfectly scored skin and getting the skin as dry as possible (including defrosting thoroughly, if you’re using frozen meat) are key to gorgeous, crispy duck skin.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do We Cook The Meat At Two Different Temperatures?
The difference between temperatures will let the fat render quickly and the skin crisp up without overcooking the meat.
Why Do We Score the Skin?
Scoring will help the skin crisp up well by letting the fat render better. The reason we don’t cut into the meat while scoring is that this can bring in extra moisture and prevent the skin from crisping up well.
How Long To Marinate The Meat?
30 minutes is a good period, but if you can afford to let the meat sit longer (between 2 hours and overnight), nothing like it.
How To Cook Duck Breast In An Air Fryer: Conclusion
As you can see, cooking duck breast in the air fryer is ridiculously easy and with this method, you’re assured of delicious, succulent meat with perfectly crisped-up skin every single time.
The next time you want a break from your regular dinner options, try this air fryer duck breast recipe (though it may just end up becoming a regular, too, if you’re anything like me!).