How to Make French Cinnamon Honey Seared Duck

honey glazed duck breast

Huw Jones / Getty Images

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 2 to 4 servings

Duck is a favorite meat in France and in some areas such as the south-west and Alsace, it is commonly eaten though it is no coincidence these are areas where duck liver (foie gras) is produced. The breasts of ducks prepared for duck liver will always be much larger and tastier. So no surprise they are popular in these regions. 

This tempting honey cinnamon lacquered duck breast recipe is fantastically easy to prepare and creates such a beautiful showpiece entrée for guests. 

Serve the duck with honey glaze beside colorful steamed vegetables and a creamy gratin to create a full, special occasion meal.

In France, the breast of the duck is called the magret, and you will often see it referred to this way in both restaurants and in the butchers (boucherie). The legs and thighs are known as the cuisses


  • 2 magret duck breasts
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Garnish: chopped nuts

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Cut small slits in the skin side of the duck breast, without slicing all the way into the flesh. Opening up the fat on the breast this way helps to release the fat during cooking and also helps to crispen up the skin.

  3. Season the duck on both sides with the salt and pepper.

  4. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat and sear the duck breasts, skin-side down, for 7 minutes, reducing the heat to medium-low after 3 minutes.

  5. Flip the duck breasts over and cook them for an additional 4 to 5 minutes.

  6. Transfer them to a plate and cover it with foil to retain warmth.

  7. Pour the rendered duck fat into a clean container and save it for other culinary uses.

  8. Turn the heat up to medium and deglaze the skillet with the honey and balsamic vinegar, scraping up the browned bits as the sauce cooks.

  9. Simmer the honey vinegar glaze for two to three minutes, until it turns slightly thick. Season it with just a dash of salt and the ground cinnamon.

  10. Return the duck breasts to the pan, turning them a few times to coat them evenly with the honey glaze.

  11. Carve them and serve them immediately, garnished with a drizzle of extra glaze and the chopped nuts, if desired.

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