Sous Vide Duck Breast

By July 6, 2011

Many users started using Instant Pot in very creative ways. We are pleasantly surprised that Instant Pot’s keep-warm function can be used to do sous vide cooking. Sous vide, French for “under vacuum”, is a method of cooking food sealed in airtight plastic bags in a water bath for a long time at low temperature (54C~80C) to kill harmful bacterias before applying other cooking techniques such as browning or BBQ. Many have done sous vide in simple home-made devices, for example Chef John’s “Food Wishes”.

Maomao Mom created a sous vide recipe for succulent duck breast. Here’s a repost with permission. She also has other recipes on her blog

Sous vide duck breast

by MaomaoMom

Sous vide duck 2 213x300 Sous Vide Duck BreastGoogle “Sous vide” (French for “under vacuum”) and you will find 10 million search results. It involves cooking food in sealed plastic bags in a water bath at lower (50~70C) and constant temperatures for long periods of time. This technique was used by French chefs in the 1960s and 70s. It has become increasingly popular at gourmet restaurants because it yields much higher succulence and avoids overcooking. Even Iron Chefs use this technique on TV shows. There is even an expensive water-oven appliance SousVide Supreme for this purpose.

Since I have an electric pressure cooker with a “keep warm” function which maintains temperature around 65C, I decided to try this technique out. Results are pretty good.

Prepare Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 38+4minutes
Level: medium
Serves: 2 servings


  1. 2 large boneless duck breast halves 480g, skin-on;
  2. 1 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic, ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1/3 teaspoon dry thyme, 1/3 teaspoon peppercorn;
  3. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil;
    Apricot sauce (optional):
  4. 1 large ripe apricot, peeled and cored, mash with 2 tablespoons water
  5. 2 teaspoons sugar.

Sous vide duck 1 Sous Vide Duck Breast


  1. Clean duck breasts then rub on all ingredients 2. Cover and chill in the fridge for 2 hours. Rinse off spices and place duck breasts in a Ziploc bag, remove air and seal it.
  2. Add water in the InstantPot up to 7-cup mark. Leave the lid open, turn on power and press “Keep warm” button. After 20 minutes, place the Ziploc bag in the water bath for 35~40 minutes.
  3. Remove the bag from the water and pat dry duck breasts. Sear skin side of duck breasts in a non-stick frying pan with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil at medium-high heat until golden. Turn over and cook for another 20 seconds.
  4. Slice the cooked duck breasts and serve with apricot sauce.
  5. Apricot sauce: mix ingredients 4 and 5 in a small pot, bring to boil on high heat then simmer 5 minutes at low heat.

Sous vide duck 21 Sous Vide Duck Breast

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5 Responses to “Sous Vide Duck Breast”

  1. Peggy says:

    Does the plastic from the bag infuse into the duck. Aren’t there special bags for this?


  2. John says:

    Hi yes you can, to get the best benefit however you would probably need an probe thermometer – raise the internal temperature to ~65C to be safe but should still be quite tender, in theory holding at 58C for some time is sufficient to kill off pathogens but as this is not a super-accurate method always better to err slightly above.


    Andrea Martin Reply:

    Thanks, John. I saw on a pressure cooker recipe page that some people use the InstantPot Keep Warm mode at 142 degrees F for this with a circulator but they also said that you should check the temp frequently to be sure it’s at temperature. So that’s about 8 C less than what you’re recommending. I agree that it’s better to be safe than sorry. They did mention that it’s best to leave it at 142 F (61 C) for at least 90 minutes and I assume that’s to be sure the bacteria are killed. Just saw that, and I also appreciate your comment. I will be getting a circulator sometime this year but may try it when I’m working at home and can watch and stir it a little. I wonder if raising the temp on saute mode very briefly to 170 and then going back to keep warm mode with the lid on might add enough extra heat to take care of the bacteria concern but that would be trial and error.


  3. Andrea says:

    Can I use this recipe with chicken? Does it thoroughly cook it?


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