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Roasted Duck Breast with Ginger-Rum Sauce

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If you are looking for new ideas to serve for a special occasion you should make our recipe for roasted duck breast with ginger-rum sauce.  Duck breast is a rich, dark meat and is often served with a sweet fruit sauce to balance out the richness of the meat. Our ginger-rum sauce pairs beautifully with this tender, juicy duck breast.

Roasted Duck Breast with Ginger-Rum Sauce

Ducks spend a lot of time in cold water. They stay insulated with a thick layer of fat just beneath the skin to keep them warm.  The ducks we using in this recipe are White Peking domesticated ducks and do not have that wild, gamey taste that wild ducks will have.  

If you want a wild duck I guess you will have to go hunting.  My one and only experience with wild duck was that it tasted ‘fishy’ since that was their diet.

Duck breast is found on high-end restaurant menus along with high-end prices of $25 and up, per serving.  But….you can create this tender, rich, delicacy in your own kitchen at a very reasonable price.

You can find whole ducks, duck breasts and duck legs in the frozen meat section of most grocery stores.  We bought these two six-ounce each, individually packaged duck breast for less than $7 each and we splurged on a $15 bottle of good Syrah wine to boot!

Ginger Rum Sauce

The ginger-rum sauce is savory-sweet with a little garlic, fresh ginger, ginger preserves and a touch of golden rum.   All the alcohol in the rum gets boiled out as the mixture reduces to a slightly thick syrup. 

A small amount of cream added to the sauce gives it a smooth consistency.   Because the ginger-rum sauce will take longer to cook than the roasted duck breast we prepared it first and kept it covered on a back burner to stay warm. 

You could actually make the sauce in advance. Just refrigerate it, then do a re-heat just before the duck is ready to serve.

Preparing the duck breast:

Cooking a duck breast is not any more challenging than cooking a steak.  Just to look at the uncooked underside of a duck breast it even looks like a steak.  And, like a good steak, duck breast is best cooked to a rosy pink.   It can be a challenge though to achieve that perfectly crisp, golden skin without over-cooking the lean breast meat.

Roasted Duck Breast with Ginger-Rum Sauce

How to get crisp skin:

The key to getting the skin nice and crisp is to first score the skin with a sharp knife so the fat is released during searing and crisps up quickly.   It is surprising how much fat will bubble up and that fat has a lot of flavor. 

Save the rendered fat left in the skillet and use it wherever you would use bacon drippings.  The grocery stores actually sell small tubs of duck fat. It’s priceless! 

Roasted Duck Breast with Ginger-Rum Sauce

After the duck breasts are brown and crispy, drain the fat off and flip the breasts over. Next, transfer the skillet to the hot, preheated oven.  

We roasted the duck breasts to a medium-rare at 135°F on an instant-read thermometer.   The duck breasts were transferred to a cutting board and covered with foil for a five-minute rest before slicing it and serving.  

You can refer to our duck temperature chart to find your desired doneness level.

Duck Temperature Chart

Desired DonenessTemperature
Very rare to rare128°F to 132°F
Medium-rare135°F to 138°F
Medium140°F to 144°F
Well-done155°F and up
Duck Doneness Chart

For the best results, use an instant-read meat thermometer  and check the meat intermittently or use a leave-in meat thermometer  so you don’t have to open the oven frequently. The above links are affiliate links from ThermoWorks  . They make the best thermometers we have ever used and we highly recommend them.

To serve these delicacies, we spooned a puddle of the ginger-rum sauce on two plates and added one sliced duck breast to each plate.

We served this roasted duck breast with fresh asparagus and red quinoa.  And a glass of Syrah wine.  Yum….:)

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Roasted Duck Breast with Ginger-Rum Sauce

Roasted Duck Breast with Ginger-Rum Sauce

Roasted duck breast with ginger-rum sauce. The breast is tender and juicy while the sweet-savory sauce pairs well with the rich duck breast.
5 from 23 votes
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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 343kcal
Author: Pat Nyswonger



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves grated or minced
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup ginger preserves
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup rum * See Notes
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper


  • 2 duck breasts of 6 oz. each
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


For the Ginger-Rum Sauce:

  • In a small saucepan set over medium heat, add the olive oil and when it is warm add the garlic and ginger and cook until the garlic is fragrant but not brown, about 30 seconds. 
  • Add the chicken stock, rum and ginger preserves, bring to a boil stirring to melt the preserves. Lower the heat to medium low and cook, reducing the sauce to a thick sauce, about 20-25 minutes. Stir in the cream and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and reserve while preparing the duck breast.

For the Roasted Duck Breasts:

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F
  • Score the skin on each duck breast, diagonally, turn and slice again in a crisscross pattern. Sprinkle each breast on the skin side with salt and pepper, rubbing gently, working the salt into the cuts. Sprinkle the underside with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a cast iron skillet or other heavy oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the duck breasts, skin side down. Cook until the skin is well browned and the fat has rendered, about 5 minutes. You will see a lot of fat bubbling out around the breasts. Pour off the fat, flip the breasts to skin side up and transfer to the middle of the oven. Roast the duck breast until they have reached an internal temperature of 135°F on an instant read thermometer, about 8 minutes. *(See Notes)
  • Remove the skillet from the oven and transfer the duck breasts to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for 5-minutes, then slice diagonally.
  • To serve, spoon a puddle of the sauce onto each of two warm plates and arrange the slices of one duck breast on each plate.


  1. I used the golden, light colored rum for this sauce, the dark-colored rum can be substituted. This will make approximately one cup of sauce. Nutritional Values for 1/4 cup – 183 cals, 6g fat
  2. The USDA recommends cooking duck breasts to an internal temperature of 170°F to ensure that any harmful bacteria are killed, but since we prefer the meat medium-rare, we cook it to only 135°F. To our taste, that yields the perfect degree of doneness.


Serving: 1breast | Calories: 343kcal | Protein: 41.6g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 4.9g | Cholesterol: 231mg | Sodium: 143mg

Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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Recipe Rating


Saturday 19th of October 2019

That was an amazing meal. Was thinking a lemon ginger sauce to complement my crispy duck breasts but the rum ginger took it to another level. Absolutely Devine, I served with smooth mashed potatoes and buttered greens. Thank you, will definitely be doing this again. X

Pat Nyswonger

Saturday 19th of October 2019

Hi, Jilly....I am so pleased you enjoyed this fine dinner. The mashed potatoes and buttered greens sounds delicious! Thanks for your feedback and great review! We love hearing back from our readers. ❤️

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