Roasted duck breast with plum sauce

Roasted duck breast with plum sauce

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(107 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


  • 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 a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

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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3rd Jun, 2020
My family loved this!
Paulina Tatowicz's picture
Paulina Tatowicz
14th Feb, 2020
Perfect on a Valentines Day ay date dinner. All went fantastic.
Caroline Meehan's picture
Caroline Meehan
11th Feb, 2020
This is so easy to make - I made the sauce the night before but also added 6 frozen, pitted cherries, gave it longer than the 15 mins and it created a delicious, thick, glossy sauce ! Absolutely delicious
Alex Lerner's picture
Alex Lerner
7th Oct, 2019
I don't normally post reviews, but I had to on this one. I made this tonight to go over duck breast and it was lovely.
21st Jun, 2019
THIS RECIPE IS AMAZING! The sauce is to die for. I used a duck leg instead. Would 100% recommend.
Amna Alblooshi's picture
Amna Alblooshi
13th Nov, 2018
This duck recipe is amazing so succulent and tasty .. had to roast it for almost 15 min though using a gas oven (mark 4) to reach the pink desired stage.. didn’t use the plum sauce recipe used my own cranberry sauce recipe which worked perfectly with the duck
29th Oct, 2018
Delicious plum sauce receipe - highly recommend. However 15 mins simmer is rubbish - I've had mine going for almost 2 hours!
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!


14th Dec, 2019
Would it be OK to make the sauce in advance & freeze it?
lulu_grimes's picture
16th Dec, 2019
Hello, Yes you could make the sauce ahead, the plums will break down more if you do this so bear that in mind. I hope this helps.
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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