Roasted duck breast with plum sauce

Roasted duck breast with plum sauce

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(81 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 15 mins - 20 mins Plus resting


Serves 2
This easy yet impressive recipe makes a stylish main course for a special occasion

Nutrition and extra info


  • kcal904
  • fat64g
  • saturates20g
  • carbs39g
  • sugars38g
  • fibre2g
  • protein44g
  • salt1.05g
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  • 2 duck breasts
  • 1 thyme sprig


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 1 star anise
    Star anise

    Star anise

    star an-eese

    Star anise is one of the central spices in Chinese cooking. It has a strong anise flavour, with…

  • 25g butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

For the plum sauce

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped



    Related to the onion (as opposed to being a younger version of it), shallots grow in clusters at…

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 250g dark red plums, halved, stoned and cut into small wedges



    The juiciest fruit in the stone fruit family, plums come in many different varieties, some sweet…

  • 50g demerara sugar
  • 50ml red wine
  • 300ml beef stock


  1. For the sauce, fry the shallot in the oil for 5 mins or until softened but not coloured. Add the plums and sugar, stirring for a few mins until the sugar has dissolved. Add the red wine and stock, then simmer for about 15 mins, stirring occasionally, until softened and slightly thickened. Keep warm or leave at room temperature for up to a day before reheating to serve.

  2. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/gas 4. Score the skin of the duck breasts with a sharp knife and season well with salt and pepper. Heat a non-stick frying pan and place the duck breasts in, skin-side down. Fry for 6-7 mins, then turn and add the thyme, star anise and butter. Allow this to melt, basting the duck with the juices, then transfer everything to a small roasting tin and finish in the oven for 5-6 mins for pink or 10-12 mins for well done.

  3. When the duck is ready, baste again with the juices, then rest for 5 mins while you finish everything else.

  4. To serve, thinly slice each duck breast on a chopping board. Arrange on each plate along with a spoon of the Creamed potatoes, some of the plum sauce and the Buttered spinach.

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Comments, questions and tips

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19th Apr, 2018
Excellent dish. I cooked the Duck Breast for 6 mins in pan then 6 mins in oven outcome beautiful pink melt in your mouth Gressingham. Plum sauce was beautiful i creamed the potatoes with garlic and herbs and some creme fraiche spinach as recipe. will cook this again its a beautiful dish. Thanks
25th Mar, 2018
I've been looking for duck here in New Zealand but it's hard to find. But finally I've been able to cook this. It is wonderful. We cooked the duck on the bbq so I put the star anise and thyme into the sauce. Highly recommended.
Roz Humphreys's picture
Roz Humphreys
28th Dec, 2017
Great sauce. Really easy and tasty. I wanted it thicker so I just reduced it for longer than stated in the recipe. Served it in a little white jug and then kept the leftovers for 2 days in the fridge. Sauce still lovely but jug slightly stained pink. Cheap jug so doesn’t matter but be careful if using best china!
22nd Oct, 2017
Absolutely delicious, my sauce was not very thick by the time stated, I added a cornflour slurry (1tbsp cornflour, 4tbsp water) to mine to get a glossy, thick sauce. The sauce was very sweet so I used a higher concentrated stock to add salt to balance the sweetness of the Demerara and plums. The duck was delicious and moist. In the picture provided, the duck looks dry and overcooked. Because of this I barely cooked it on the other side (on the hob when you add butter and herbs) and transferred it into the oven asap. After 10 minutes or so, and after allowing the duck breasts to rest, they were a perfect pink. I served with a potato and parsnip mash and grilled asparagus. I would sear the skin-side a couple of minutes longer next time to crisp the skin more, but otherwise a beautiful dish that would impress friends. I would cook again.
29th Sep, 2017
Nice enough but the breast in the photo looks woefully overcooked so use your own judgement with the timings
31st Jul, 2017
Annetta20 was right - sauce is extremely sweet. In my opinion this sauce doesn't need sugar at all - plums are sweet enough. But idea plums+duck+red wine is ok.
28th Jan, 2017
Only got as far as the sauce, was far too sweet, so threw it out Followed the recipe exactly - can only assume the plums were already sweet.
1st Dec, 2016
I prepared the duck and plum sauce for my gourmet group and it was a huge hit! I thought the flavors were spectacular and restaurant-worthy while very easy to make. One of my most impressive dishes! I made the sauce a day in advance (tripled the recipe), did not refrigerate, and reheated just prior to serving on stove top and it was rich and syrupy. For the duck my cooking time in the oven was longer, however. Breasts were nearly 1lb and took the full 11 minutes for rare at 350F. Thank you for such a special dish!
10th Sep, 2016
So simple, hit with the whole family. One little tweak added a little more sugar than stated in the recipe.
17th Apr, 2016
Very good recipe, blitzed the sauce to make it smooth and had the consistency of gravy, served with sweet potatoes and spinach


21st Dec, 2017
Quick question about the star anise. Am I correct in assuming you have to crush it before you cook with it? I've never cooked with it before. Thanks!!!
goodfoodteam's picture
23rd Dec, 2017
Thanks for your question. No you don't need to crush it. It flavours the juices. Take it out before serving.
26th Feb, 2017
I will be cooking this for guests and would like to do as much as possible before they come for pre dinner drinks, then put in oven to warm up ready for main course about 1.5 hours later. Please help me with tips on when to stop cooking and how long to rewarm at what temperature?
goodfoodteam's picture
3rd Mar, 2017
Thanks for your question. We'd suggest getting to the point where you've fried the duck and put it in the roasting tin. You can then cook the duck in the oven while serving the starter. Hope that helps.
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