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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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Easy Instant Pot Duck Confit
- 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.