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Easy Instant Pot Duck Confit Recipe

A typical duck confit recipe takes hours to prepare and requires a tub of rendered duck fat. This Instant Pot duck confit recipe is much easier and faster. Plus, the duck legs cook in their own fat, so there’s no need to purchase duck fat separately.

Roasted duck with red cabbage and wine served on a white plate - Duck Confit Recipe.

A Duck Confit Recipe that Doesn’t Take All Day

I love duck confit and I’ve made it the traditional way—covered in duck fat and simmered all day on the stove. I’ve even made it using a slow cooker and olive oil. But now that I’ve discovered this Instant Pot method, I’ll never go back. I’ll also get to eat a lot more of my beloved duck confit.

duck legs seasoned to cure for duck confit.

The Duck Legs Cook in their Own Fat

One of my favorite things about Instant Pot duck confit is that you don’t need to add duck fat. This means you don’t have to buy an expensive tub of the stuff. The fat from the duck legs renders as they cook and the meat ends up cooking in that melted duck fat. It’s genius.

By the way, duck legs are usually quite affordable. I buy them at my local supermarket for around $5 per pound. You can order them online from Maple Leaf Farms.

duck legs seasoned to cure for duck confit, meaty side up.

What Does Confit Mean?

Confit (pronounced con-fee) comes from the French word confire meaning “to preserve.” Confit refers cooking food slowly, usually immersed in fat, in order to preserve it. When confit-ing meat, the meat is generously salted to aid in preservation.

Duck confit is made by curing duck (often a whole duck) in salt and then cooking it slowly in its own rendered fat. The result is very tender meat that is infused with salty, meaty flavor.

Dry Brine the Duck Legs

5 duck confit legs with crispy skin in a ceramic bowl.

Curing or brining the duck legs for at least 24 hours before you cook them is an essential step. The duck legs get generous seasoning with salt and pepper. You can add herbs like bay leaves, thyme sprigs, rosemary sprigs, juniper berries, makrut lime leaves, and/or smashed garlic cloves.

The seasoned duck legs cure in the refrigerator for 24 to 72 hours (the longer the better). This infuses the meat with flavor while also drawing moisture out, which makes the cooked meat incredibly tender.

I sear the duck legs, starting with the skin side down, before pressure cooking until they are golden brown and crisp. This helps them to begin to give up their fat. This also gives the skin that beautiful golden brown hue.

Then they cook in the pressure cooker, with no added liquid, for a total of 60 minutes. The end result is perfection.

You can store the legs in their own fat in the refrigerator. To serve, just scrape off the fat and sear them in a hot skillet to crisp up the skin.

How can you pressure cook them without adding liquid?

I have used this method of making duck confit in the Instant Pot many times and it works perfectly. The duck legs release a fair amount of water as they cook, so you don’t need to add any additional liquid to create the steam or pressure.

If you do get a burn message, it probably means that your duck legs did not have a lot of moisture in them. To fix it, release the pressure, open the pot, and add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water or broth. Seal the pot again and reset to pressure cook.

Roasted chicken with red cabbage and wine on a plate.

How Do You Serve Duck Confit?

My favorite way to serve Insant Pot Duck Confit is to sear it in a cast-iron skillet to crisp up the skin and then top it with a spiced pomegranate glaze.

Duck confit is also delicious added to salads. I like to use crisp greens and a bright vinaigrette for textural and flavor contrast.

You can serve the whole legs warmed in a skillet and drizzled with a wine or fruit-based reduction. For Thanksgiving, I’ve served it this way with Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce or Bourbon Cranberry Sauce and Green Bean Stuffing Casserole on the side.

Or try using it as a filling for enchiladas or tamales, or use it as a topping for this easy homemade pizza with store-bought dough from Jenna at Sip Bite Go.

easy instant pot duck confit

Easy Instant Pot Duck Confit

Robin Donovan
This easy duck confit recipe takes just a couple of hours to prep and cook (plus time to dry brine the duck legs—24 to 72 hours). Serve the duck legs as an entrée or use the meat to make a sauce for pasta, fill tacos or enchiladas, top a steaming bowl of ramen, or add a boost of meaty protein to a salad.
4.70 from 59 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Additional Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Instant Pot Recipes
Cuisine French
Calories 205 kcal


  • 4 to 6 duck legs
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves smashed
  • Sprigs of thyme bay leaves, or other herbs


  • Line a large baking dish with several layers of paper towel. Prick the skin of each of the duck legs in multiple places (being careful not to pierce the meat) to give the fat places to ooze out as it renders. Generously season the duck legs on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the duck legs skin side up on the paper towels in the baking dish and scatter the garlic and any herbs or other seasonings you are using over the top. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 24 to 72 hours.
  • When ready to cook, remove the duck legs from the refrigerator. Heat the Instant Pot using the sauté function (or use a separate skillet. I like to use a very large cast-iron skillet because it allows me to sear all of the duck legs at once). Sear the duck legs, starting with the skin side down, until golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes per side. You may have to do this in multiple batches.
  • Once all of the duck legs have been browned, arrange them in the Instant Pot. I like to stand them up with the bones sticking up. Add the garlic cloves and herbs or spices to the pot if you like. If you used a separate pan to sear the duck legs, make sure to scrape any of the rendered fat from the skillet into the Instant Pot. Cover the Instant Pot, seal the valve, and cook on high pressure for 60 minutes.
  • Let the pressure release naturally.
  • Serve immediately or store, along with the fat, in the refrigerator.



If you do get a burn message, it probably means that your duck legs did not have a lot of moisture in them. To fix it, release the pressure, open the pot, and add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water or broth. Seal the pot again and reset to pressure cook.


Serving: 1Calories: 205kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 25gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 105mgSodium: 199mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
duck confit cooked in the Instant Pot
By on May 30th, 2019


Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 50 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners5 Ingredient Cooking for TwoSushi at HomeThe Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and others. → More about Robin

18 thoughts on “Easy Instant Pot Duck Confit Recipe”

    • I’m sorry you got a burn message. That has never happened to me in the dozens of times I have made this recipe! But I think adding vegetable oil is totally fine! I’m sure it will be just as delicious.

      • That’s great. Thanks for letting me know! It is frustrating that some people get the burn message. I’m glad yours worked after restarting!

    • Hi Elena! I have not tried this recipe with chicken, though I have made confit with chicken legs. I dont’ think chicken has enough fat on it for this to work without adding some fat, though. You could definitely do it, but I would add olive oil or another fat to the pot.

  1. Hi, I seasoned 4 legs, but want to cook two of them later on, so vakkumed them and put to the freezer. Can I put these frozen ones directly to the IP for browning?

    • I don’t know! I have never cooked from frozen so I really can’t say. I would google for the safety of cooking meat that is frozen. Personally I would thaw them in the fridge before cooking.

  2. Well sorry I’ve had to give up after three attempts. Burn message each time even adding into a new pot more rapeseed oil. What I can’t understand, is where the steam is generated as a pre-requisite of pressure cookers. I do envy those that can get this to work.

    • Hi William, I am so sorry this didn’t work for you! The only thing I can think is that some duck legs release more water during cooking than others. I have done this many times and never gotten a burn message, but I have heard from a few others who have had this problem. I would try adding a small amount of water to the pot–1/4 to 1/2 cup–and see if that prevents the burn message.

  3. Hi
    I also got the add water message in my ninja foodie. So I added a 1/4 cup of water and off it went, quite happy.
    Ended up very nice and as I just love confit of duck legs, this could be a weekly excercise for me.

  4. Hi
    Have tried this and have nothing but troubles!! Followed the recipe as your instructions and my pot comes back with the “food burn” Have stopped many times, added oil like some other people have suggested, still come up “food burn” re-started everything again and even turned it down to “LOW Pressure” and still comes up with ” food burn” Almost ready to give up and throw the dinner out. I don’t recommend this and will not make this again. What a waste of time and money!!!

    • I am so sorry this didn’t work for you! I have made it many times exactly as directed as directed with no problems as have many other people. I do recommend in the post and in the recipe adding more liquid such as broth or water if you get a burn notice. Did you try that? Adding 1/2 cup or 1 cup of liquid should solve the issue.

  5. Followed instructions worked perfectly. Everyone loves it and wants more! Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipe!

  6. I cut up a whole duck and cooked it using this method and it came out delicious! I used all the fat, only leaving out the back bone, wing tips and neck, and added about a quarter cup of water before putting the lid on the pot just to be safe. I needed to make confit and all I could find was whole duck, so I gave it a try. I’ll do it again.

  7. I’m looking to make this recipe for Christmas. I usually roast whole ducks in my oven for the holidays and are looking to keep tradition but make it more simple this year. My roasted duck is glazed with a red currant jelly sauce. Your pomegranate glaze is a nice change. Might you share your recipe. Thank you!


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