Easy Duck Confit


A quick and easy method for making duck confit (2 hours versus 2 days).

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Please welcome guest contributor Hank Shaw of Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook as he shares his method for making a quick and easy duck confit. So outrageously good! ~Elise

Duck or goose confit (con-fee) is one of the most luxurious of foods in French cuisine.

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Gently cured duck legs bathed in their own fat and slowly cooked to falling-off-the-bone perfection. Then the skin is crisped in a pan or oven, giving you the sinful combination of silky meat and crackling skin.

It’ll roll your eyes back it’s so good.

Real confit takes more than a day to make. But I have a work-around that takes just a little more than two hours, and is nearly as good. And it’s easy – I mean super easy.

packaged duck legs for making duck confit

Get yourself duck legs. Goose legs work fine, but they are hard to find not already attached to a goose; you can buy duck legs separate from the duck.

You will want at least one per person, but two per person is better. You may have to have your butcher order them. Specialty grocers may have them fresh or frozen.

Easy Duck Confit Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 45 minutes


  • Duck legs (at least one per person)
  • Salt


1 Pat the duck legs dry with paper towels.

pat duck legs all over with paper towels

2 Prick the skin of the duck all over: Find a needle or a very pointy knife and prick the skin of the duck all over. Focus on the skin that covers fat. Do your best to avoid piercing the meat itself by pricking the skin at an angle over the drumstick and the center of the thigh.

prick the duck skin all over with a needle or sharp knife

You are doing this to give the fat that lies under the skin a place to seep out. If you don’t do this, it will be far more difficult to get crispy skin.

3 Salt the duck legs and let rest at room temp: Salt your duck legs well, more than you think you ought to, actually. Let them rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour. Don’t worry, they’ll be fine.

Sprinkle the duck legs with salt

4 Put the duck legs in a small casserole, skin side up. How small? You want it just big enough to hold the legs. Put a thin sheen of oil or melted duck fat on the bottom of the casserole, then place the duck legs in close together but not overlapping.

place prepped duck legs in casserole to make duck confit

5 Slowly heat the duck in the oven: Put the casserole in the oven and heat it to 300°F (150°C); if you have a digital oven, you could even go down to 285°F (140°C). Do not preheat the oven. You want to cook the duck as gently as possible.

Walk away and watch football, go shopping, read a book or something. How long? Every duck has a different level of fat, so I can’t tell you exactly. But it will be at least 90 minutes, and two hours is better. After 90 minutes, check the duck: It should be partly submerged in melted fat and the skin should be getting crispy.

6 Turn up the oven heat to brown the skin: When the skin is starting to look crispy, turn up the heat to 375°F (190°C). Check after 15 minutes. You’re looking for a light golden brown. If you missed some spots with the needle and there are places where the skin won’t crisp that’s OK—better that than burnt skin elsewhere.

7 Let cool and strain the fat: Remove from the oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes before eating. Save the accumulated fat for cooking vegetables, other meats or for keeping your skin shiny. I strain the fat through cheesecloth, but you really only need to do this if you are saving the fat for several weeks or months; strained, it will keep for 6 months tightly covered in the fridge. Well wrapped, the duck meat itself will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

What to do with your lovely duck legs? Why eat them. You can just gnaw on the legs and let the luscious fat dribble down your chin, or pick off the skin and eat it—it is hard to re-crisp it later—and then strip the meat from the bones and use it in a salad, with beans or rice, or in with pasta.

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Duck confit with Brussels sprouts from The Paupered Chef

Duck confit poached in olive oil from Michael Ruhlman

Hank Shaw

A former restaurant cook and journalist, Hank Shaw is the author of three wild game cookbooks as well as the James Beard Award-winning wild foods website Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. His latest cookbook is Buck, Buck, Moose, a guide to working with venison. He hunts, fishes, forages and cooks near Sacramento, CA.

More from Hank

84 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. ElegantLady

    Simply, Fantastic!!! I made this recipe exactly as described and the results were like a Five-Star restaurant meal. Skin was free of all fat, amazingly crispy and crackling. The second time, I added two cloves of garlic, with skin on, to flavor the duck fat, which I use to saute vegetables. I served the beautifully cooked duck legs with roasted potatoes, string beans and garnished with warm cherry tomatoes. Meal was truly tasty and presentation … Impressive!


  2. Audra

    I’ve never made duck before so I wasn’t sure how to cook it. This recipe was so easy and the results were delicious! I mean seriously, the salty greasy skin was amazing with the perfectly cooked meat.


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  3. Sarah

    Easy to make and yummy. I used Chinese roasted duck and it was even easier.


  4. Venus

    Hi, do you put a lid on the casserole during baking of the duck?

    Show Replies (1)
  5. Kim

    This recipe is amazing! Simple, yet very impressive. So far I have only made this for 2, but now I plan to make it for 6 people. Should I only have 2 legs per casserole dish? Or can I put all 6 in a larger dish? Was thinking of buying a disposable aluminum foil baking pan, but am also wondering if that is too lightweight? Thank you!


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Easy Duck Confit