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Balsamic and Honey Glazed Duck Breast

Balsamic and honey glazed duck breast with walnuts, cabbage and apple is a perfect fancy dinner that is remarkably quick and easy to make.

When I say quick, this dish will go from your fridge to your table in under 30 minutes and it tastes fantastic.

Balsamic and honey glazed duck breast with cabbage, apple and walnuts.

Pan Fried/Seared Glazed Duck Breast

Having recipes that look great, sound impressive and taste million dollars but are easy is the thing all cooks really yearn for. This balsamic and honey-glazed duck breast ticks all of those boxes!

Duck recipes are so often the ones I fall back on when I am looking for tasty, impressive and fast. It has amazing flavour, always looks great and it is really versatile.

Most importantly it always feels like a bit of a treat but cooks in no time at all.

I’ve got everything from a duck ragu to a duck salad salad with roasted radish and asparagus and an Indian duck curry to a duck burger.

This duck breast is all done and dusted in around 25 minutes. Pretty quick for a European-style meal rather than a stir-fry.

Close-up overhead balsamic and honey glazed duck breast with cabbage and walnuts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you have two methods of cooking the duck?

I originally published this recipe in 2016 and back then I used to always cook duck breast using the hot pan method.

In recent years I have moved to exclusively cooking duck using the cold pan method because I find that it renders the fat from the duck a little better. It is the same method that I use to cook the duck for my duck a l’orange recipe.

I have left both methods in place here because it is a popular recipe and wanted to leave the original in place.

What temperature should I cook duck to if I wanted it cooked differently?

I am not a cook who scoffs at how people like to have their meat cooked. It is your dinner and you should have it just as you like it, below are the temperatures to remove the duck from the pan for different levels of “doneness”.

  • Rare: Remove at 45°C (113°F) & rest to reach 52°C (125°F).
  • Medium Rare:  Remove at 50°C (122°F) & rest to reach 57°C (135°F).
  • Medium:  Remove at 55°C (125°F) & rest to reach 62°C (144°F).
  • Well Done:  Remove at 60°C (140°F) & rest to reach 67°C (153°F).

Do I have to use a meat thermometer?

No, you can eyeball the cooking of the meat if you like, but I swear by using a meat thermometer and wouldn’t be without mine.

An Important Note!

Do not throw away the duck fat, strain it and put it in the fridge. It is superb at cooking everything from roast potatoes to toad in the hole!

Close-up balsamic and honey glazed duck breast with cabbage and walnuts.

Serving Suggestions

This balsamic and honey glazed duck breast is designed to be a light but complete meal, perfect for adding a starter or a dessert… or even both!

However, you could cook the duck on its own and serve it with countless different options.

Potatoes are always a solid option and everything from mashed potato to fondant potatoes work exceptionally well.

Seeing as I have mentioned mash, this is also really good with celeriac mash too!

If you wanted to stick with something similar to the cabbage how about my braised cavolo nero with shallots and peas?

Simpler greens that work exceptionally well with this dish, everything from my favourite roasted tenderstem broccoli to some air-fried garlic asparagus or braised chicory are all wonderful additions.

Overhead pan fried balsamic and honey glazed duck breast with cabbage and walnuts.

Equipment Used

I only mention brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But, if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Hob/stovetop.
  • 28cm or 11″ frying pan (not nonstick) if you are using the cold pan method, use the same size pan, but use nonstick if you are using the hot pan method.
  • 30cm or 12″ frying pan with a lid.
  • Chopping board.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Kitchen tongs.
  • Quick read mead thermometer, not essential but recommended!
  • A combination of weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
Pan fried balsamic and honey glazed duck breast with cabbage, apples and walnuts.
Yield: 2 Servings

Balsamic and Honey Glazed Duck Breast Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Balsamic and Honey Glazed Duck Breast with walnuts, cabbage and apple is the perfect date night dinner, fancy enough to impress but simple enough so that you don't spend all night at the cooker.


  • 2 Duck Breasts
  • 50g (¼ Cup) Shelled Walnuts
  • ½ Small (250g Shredded Weight) Savoy Cabbage
  • 40g (2 Tbsp) Honey
  • 4 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 30g (2 Tbsp) Butter
  • 1 Granny Smiths Apple
  • ¾ Tsp Salt
  • ¼ Tsp Pepper


  1. Trim up the duck breasts and then score the skin in a cross-hatch pattern (roughly 1cm or ½" diamonds) being careful to only score the skin and not to cut through the flesh. Then thoroughly dry the skin.
  2. Remove the tough heart from the cabbage, then finely shred the leaves.
  3. Core the apple, peel it and then cut the flesh into a 5-6mm (¼") dice. Place the diced apple into some acidulated water to prevent it from going brown.
  4. Heat a 30cm or 12" frying pan over a high heat, add the butter and half of the balsamic vinegar, then swirl to combine.
  5. Add the cabbage and a quarter teaspoon of salt, toss to combine, add a lid and cook over a low heat whilst you cook the duck.
  6. Season the duck with salt and pepper.

Cold Pan Duck Breast Cooking Method:

  1. Place the duck skin side down in a cold 28cm or 11" frying pan on the hob (do not use a nonstick pan) then turn on the heat to a low-medium temperature.
  2. Allow the duck to cook for 8-10 minutes pushing down occasionally to prevent curling at the corners and when the skin is crispy and golden flip over and cook for another 5-6 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches the required level of "doneness". I am for 50°C or 122°F for a nice medium rare duck breast. See my Frequently Asked Questions section for temperatures for other levels of "doneness".
  3. Remove the duck from the pan and allow it to rest whilst you finish the dish.

Hot Pan Duck Breast Cooking Method:

  1. Heat a 28cm or 11" nonstick pan over a medium-high heat and when it is hot add the duck breast skin side down, and cook it for 5 minutes, do not mess with the duck during this time.
  2. After 5 minutes flip over the duck and allow to cook for a further 5-6 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches the desired temperature.
  3. Remove the duck from the pan and allow it to rest whilst you finish the dish.

Hot Pan Duck Breast Cooking Method:

  1. Whilst the duck is resting add the apple to the cabbage stir have a taste and add more salt as required, return the list and cook on a medium-low heat until the duck is ready.
  2. Drain off most of the fat from the duck pan and then add the honey and remaining balsamic vinegar and bubble up to form a syrup.
  3. Throw in the walnuts, toss to coat and remove from the heat.
  4. Roll the duck breasts around in the glaze before carving and serving on the cabbage.


This recipe features two methods of cooking duck breast, a cold pan and a hot pan method, you can choose which ever you prefer.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 729Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 353mgSodium: 442mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 3gSugar: 33gProtein: 60g

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!


Friday 12th of January 2024

This duck, cabbage, and apples recipe is EXCELLENT! Served with simple buttered noodles with a touch of ground cardomom. Yum!

Brian Jones

Sunday 21st of January 2024

Glad you enjoyed it Wendy, thanks for taking the time to write to me and let me know :)

Sara-Jayne Nixon

Tuesday 2nd of January 2024

This duck was absolutely beautiful! My other half said it’s the best duck I’ve ever cooked. The cabbage was very apply though so tasted like apple pie filling 😅 not to our personal taste but would probably be lovely without the apple in it. Thanks for a lovely and easy to follow recipe x

Brian Jones

Sunday 21st of January 2024

So glad you liked it, we all like different flavours and that is perfectly ok :)

Gina Strauch

Sunday 1st of January 2023

I made this last night for New Year's Eve, using regular "new england" ball cabbage and it was truly outstanding, coming together quickly and plating attractively. I saved the drained duck fat to make the cabbage and glaze tomorrow as a side with venison.

Excellent with a sparkling Riesling for the holiday, but a burgundy would have been a good choice too.

I used the cold pan start for the duck.

Many thanks, Brian, I have made a number of recipes from your site now, and all have been keepers. Happy new year.

Brian Jones

Monday 2nd of January 2023

Glad you enjoyed it Gina... I haven't made this in an age, I must put that right, it is a delicious and simple little dish!

Happy Bew Year to you and yours too :)



Friday 10th of June 2022

Absolutely astounding. The kids love it. When having it on my own I catch myself talking aloud saying “man this is good.”

I add a bit of butter to the honey balsamic mix all at one. The dish is amazing with dauphinois potatoes. You can search a recipe out but I used 300ml dbl cream and about 200 milk and parmagianno regianno (at Lidl). An amazing side dish.

I start duck from a cold pan to let skin carmelizebin it’s own fat for 3 and 1/2 min, turn over and 3and 1/2 before resting which produces pink in middle. It’s not streaming blood like a steak as it has rested and then cooked some in the glaze. It’s simply how I think duck should be. Thanks Brian

Brian Jones

Monday 11th of July 2022

You are welcome :)

This recipe is one of the earliest on my site and I have taken to the cold pan method of cooking duck in recent years too. I just have not updated this recipe yet, but I am sure that I will eventually.

Glad you liked this, it is one of my favourite recipes.



Saturday 10th of February 2018

Oh Brian, you’ve hit me hard with this dish. I absolutely love duck and this recipe sounds absolutely amazing quick to make and contains my favourite ingredients. What a beautiful combination. I have to say I really love your recipes and now I’m saving your website and add it to my reading list. ???

Brian Jones

Saturday 10th of February 2018

Thank you so much Ramona, you are far too kind... I love duck, in fact I have another recipe I have been working on going under the camera tomorrow with a great 'sardine sauce' and chicory, sounds odd but it is incredible. Should be hitting you up in a couple of weeks :)

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