Peking Duck

Photo: David Malosh
Prep Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
50 mins

Mu shu pancakes steam quickly; warm eight at a time so they will stay pliable. Set out the duck and all the accompaniments so guests can fill their own pancakes.


  • 2 boneless duck-magret breasts (about 2 pounds; available at, room temperature, halved and patted dry

  • Coarse salt

  • Cabbage leaves or a parchment round with several small perforations, for steaming

  • 16 mushu pancakes (available in the freezer section of Asian groceries) or 8-inch flour tortillas

  • 4 Persian or mini cucumbers, cut on the bias into ¼-inch slices, for serving

  • Baby Bok Choy Slaw, for serving

  • Thinly sliced chile peppers, hoisin and plum sauces, and very thinly sliced scallions, for serving


  1. Score skin side of each duck-breast half in a 1/2-inch crosshatch pattern. Season generously with salt.

  2. Arrange breast halves in a single layer, skin-side down, in a large skillet. Place over medium-high and cook until skin is crisp and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Flip, reduce heat to medium-low, and continue cooking until a thermometer inserted in thickest part registers 135 degrees for medium-rare, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a carving board; let rest 15 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, set a steamer basket (preferably bamboo) lined with cabbage leaves or parchment in a wok or skillet containing 1 inch of simmering water. Place pancakes in basket, cover, and steam until warm and pliable, 3 to 4 minutes.

  4. Thinly slice duck on the bias, against the grain. Serve, with steamed pancakes, cucumbers, slaw, chiles, sauces, and scallions.

Cook's Notes

How to Score a Duck Breast

To render the fat from a duck breast and ensure crisp skin, use a sharp knife to score the fat side of each breast half in a 1/2-inch crosshatch pattern. Be sure to slice entirely through the skin and fat, but don’t penetrate the meat or it may dry out and overcook.

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