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Lunch / Dinner

Sautéed Duck Breasts with Pomegranate Sauce

With so many holiday activities, the dinner routine often takes a backseat. But there’s no reason you can’t enjoy an elegant meal together, especially with these Sautéed Duck Breasts with pomegranate sauce. If you’re nervous about cooking duck, don’t be. The duck found in stores is most likely frozen and perfectly portioned. It’s farm-raised, domesticated, and very mild. And using a dry-heat method of cooking duck allows the fat in the skin to render, so it turns crisp and delicious.


2 servings

Total Time

30 minutes

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Test Kitchen Tip

If all you find is six- to eight-ounce duck breasts, it’s fine to use two breasts instead of four. But keep in mind, you may need to cook them a little longer


For the sauce, heat broth, molasses, vinegar, honey, zest, and thyme in a saucepan over medium-high to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until thick, 5 minutes. Discard thyme, then season sauce with salt and pepper.

For the duck, score the skin by cutting 4–5 shallow incisions, being careful not to cut into the meat. Season duck with salt and pepper, then place, skin sides down, in a cold, dry sauté pan.

Cook duck over medium-high heat until fat renders and skin becomes golden brown and crispy, 810 minutes. Pour off drippings.

Flip duck and cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 125–130°, 35 minutes more. Transfer duck to a cutting board and let rest, uncovered, 3 minutes. Bias-slice duck and serve with sauce and pomegranate arils.


Pomegranate molasses is a reduction of pomegranate juice. It adds intense flavor to the sauce.


To render as much fat as possible, score the skin with four or five incisions before sautéing.

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