Duck confit is duck meat that you slow-cook in its own fat. But first we apply a dry cure of the meat. The process is age-old as it was one of the ways to store the duck meat without refrigeration for months. The salt from the brine and the slow cook would kill the bacteria. Then the duck fat would exclude the air from spoiling the meat upon storage. Generally duck legs are used as the tendons will become soft and jelly due to the slow cook process. When preparing a meal, the legs can be simply eaten after heating, or the skin can be crisped in a frying pan or in the oven. The taste is generally considered great and the meat is experienced as soft.

The art of making duck confit

The advantage of making your own duck confit is that you can reduce the salt level in your curing mixture, so that the meat does not become so salty. After all, you can store the duck confit in the fridge for a considerable amount of time. Most commercially purchased duck confits are too salty in my opinion.

Here we use a dry cure of equal parts of salt and sugar with spices and herbs.  The curing in salt and sugar extracts water and partially salts and sweetens  the meat somewhat.  You can purchase duck fat or  make it yourself. The fat will be able to partially penetrate the meat during the slow cook. Do not exceed 93 C, and cover the cooking tray or pot, otherwise the meat loses its moisture. Usually 6 hrs is sufficiently long to do the job. Or do it overnight. At the endpoint, the meat should virtually fall from the bone. The actual requirement is that the meat in the bone should register at least 57 C for safety. But for the meat to fall off the bone you need the time. A longer slow cook even at about 65 C will also do the trick.

In general, also pork confit and chicken confit are made, usually both by slow cooking in lard.

Special equipment

oven or grill oven

Duck confit

Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 1 day 4 hours
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine French
Servings 3


  • oven


for the dry cure

  • 3 duck legs with thigh
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 juniper berries
  • 2 star anice
  • 1 tsp anice seeds or fennel seeds
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 squeeze of the pepper mill

for the slow cook and serving

  • 1 pint (450 ml) duck fat


dry curing

  • Mix the salt, sugar and the dry herbs together. tear up the bay leaves
  • Rub in the duck legs with the mixture
  • Place the legs snug next to each other in an inert container with a lid or cover and place in the fridge
  • Dry cure for around a day. Change once the position of the duck legs, so all sides get well exposed to the curing mixture. You will see moist is drawn out from the duck.
  • After a day wipe off the curing mixture from the legs, but do not rinse.
  • Dry the legs with a paper towel

slow cooking and serving

  • Melt the duck fat
  • Place the duck legs snug in a high walled container
  • Pour the duck fat over the legs; the legs must be submersed.
  • Cover the container loosely (not tight) with a lid or foil
  • Place in an over with temperature of around 80 C
  • Let it slow cook for 5-8 hours
  • Check if the meat is thoroughly cooked (it should almost fall off the bone). Then stop
  • Let the container cool down and refrigerate the entire container. Alternatively vacuum seal the legs and store in the fridge (4 weeks) or freezer (months).
  • To serve, take out one or more legs, wait until it is unfrozen, remove excess fat and then crisp up the skin in a pre-heated oven at 390 F (200 C) for 15-20 minutes


Method: slow cooking
Food allergy & intolerance information: none
Keyword confit, dry cure, duck, duck fat


While the curing and the slow cooking take their time, you can do multiple legs (and wings!) at the same time, so it is not so laborious. When you have this duck confit in your fridge or freezer, the serving of the duck confit, by crisping the skin up in oven  or pan, will result in a label for a quick meal.  So always good to have these in your ‘refrigerated’ pantry!

I usually slaughter myself the ducks I buy. their legs are usually not more than 200 g. But ducks and ducks are very different in leg and breast size. So if you buy very large legs, you may need to do the dry curing a bit longer.

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