Grilled Duck With Cherry Sauce

The rich flavor of tender duck meat with a crisp skin calls my name every time I see it listed on a restaurant menu. When it is paired with a sweet and savory fruit sauce, it is irresistible. With summer in full swing and sweet red cherries in all the markets, I couldn’t resist making Grilled Duck With Cherry Sauce. I like to simplify meals during summer at the lake and this meal is quick and easy to prepare.

Grilled Duck With Sweet Cherry Sauce
Grilled Duck With Sweet Cherry Sauce

I buy products and meats in New Hampshire that I can’t find at the small market near our cottage in Maine.  I load coolers and take them up at the beginning of summer to stock my freezer. For this meal I used vacuum packaged and frozen confit of duck leg, from a New England company called D’Artagnan. It is fully cooked and just needs to be heated on the grill or in a hot pan to get the skin crispy. It is a quick and easy way to prepare a dinner that you would find in a French restaurant.

Sweet Red Cherries
Sweet Red Cherries

You will need two cups of pitted cherries for this recipe so I suggest buying a pound of cherries. No…I take that back, buy two pounds. The cherries are so sweet and delicious that you will be popping a lot of them in your mouth while you are pitting them for the sauce. If you have any left, put them in a bowl and set them out on your counter. I think you will probably start humming “Life is just a bowl of cherries” as your bowl empties.

Grilled Duck With Cherry Sauce

Cherry Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 c. finely diced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 c. pitted red cherries
  •  1/2 bottle of red wine (I used a Zinfandel)
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp. each salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder
  • 1 sprig each of fresh rosemary and thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch mixed with enough water to make a slurry

Add butter, onion and garlic to a pot and sauté until soft and translucent. Add all the remaining ingredients except the cornstarch and let simmer until cherries are soft but not mushy. Remove a few cherries for each serving to be used for garnish and continue to cook the cherry sauce until the cherries have broken down. Add a little water, if sauce gets too thick. Pour the cherries and sauce through a sieve. Press on the cherries with the back of a spoon to force the meat of the cherries through and leaving behind the skins and herbs to be discarded.  Return the sauce to the pan. Whisk in the cornstarch slurry and let the sauce simmer until it turns clear and thickens to the proper consistency.

Grilled Duck

1 confit of duck leg* per person, thawed if frozen, Place skin side down on grill until skin crisps, turn and grill for an additional minute or two until heated through.

*You can make this dish with fresh duck breasts. Score the skin, place skin side down on a hot grill, and cook for 6 to 10 minutes until the skin is golden and crispy. (Watch for flair ups and move to a cooler section of the grill, if necessary.) Turn and cook for a few more minutes until the internal temperature reaches 130 for medium rare. Let duck rest for five minutes before serving.


The grilled duck’s rich flavor paired beautifully with the savory cherry sauce . I served the duck alongside parsley potatoes and an arugula salad which I thought was a nice combination of flavors. The sauce would also be wonderful with goose, pork or venison.

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180 thoughts on “Grilled Duck With Cherry Sauce

  1. I love duck, but I can only find it frozen here. I make it every year for Christmas though, it has such a nice rich flavor! I love that your recipes uses cherries, I bet the combination was delicious 🙂

    1. Hi Ann, I can’t fresh duck in Maine, either. With cherries being seasonal, you could make this sauce with frozen cherries for your Christmas duck. You are right, the combination of flavors were delicious…thank you!

  2. Karen, it sounds so delicous and so perfectly chosen for the cherry season we are enjoying now. I wish I still had some of my sour cherries brought from Hungary… They would make a perfect company for a duck leg.
    I prepare duck confit regularly (it keeps for quite a long time under its fat in the fridge) but I must say that good quality canned duck confit available in all the French supermarkets is surprisingly good as a quick & easy meal you did with the vacuum packed duck.

    1. Thank you Sissi, for your nice compliment. Confit of duck is so good…the meat is incredibly tender and moist. I travel down to a specialty store in Massachusetts for my duck and it is worth the drive. I used to have several sour cherry trees in our orchard and agree with you that they would be good in this sauce too.

  3. Karen, cooking and baking with seasonal berries is the most wonderful way to make use of the fruits that are in season, that is the way we should cook and bake. So, of course, I LOVE this recipe of yours with those lovely ruby red sweet cherries and that fantastic confit of duck from that wonderful company D’Artagnan. (even I have heard about their wonderful wares).
    Have a great Monday, dear friend, and keep these wonderful summertime recipes coming!

    1. Hi Andrea, I’m glad that you enjoyed the recipe. This is one of my favorite ways of using sweet cherries. Yes, D’Artagnan is a terrific source for many items. I drive to a specialty store about thirty minutes away from our home in New Hampshire to get their several of their products but I could also order online. Nice that you have heard of them in Germany. Thank you as always for your comments and wishes…I hope you have a lovely week.

  4. You are so lucky to have a good supplier for duck. We fell in love with duck when we lived in the UK, but find it a great challenge to locate it here. I can just taste this.

    1. Hi Karen, I’m glad you like the recipe…thank you for your compliment. You are right, good duck is hard to find. I’m lucky that there is a specialty food store where I can buy it but it is a drive. I just looked at D’Artagnan’s web sight and they would be a good source as they ship their products within the US.

  5. Karen, we are thinking alike! I made Duck Confit en Cassoulet for dinner the other night. I baked that duck for 10 hours though! I just love duck and in South Texas it is not easy to get and almost always is frozen and has been for some time! I love your Cherry Sauce!

    1. Yummy, Tin Man…I love cassoulet. It is a dish I enjoy when we are in France. I’m glad that you like the cherry sauce…it is delicious.

  6. I’ve been hoarding a couple of cups of duck fat for doing a confit. Hopefully with the fat from my second and third duck, I’ll have enough. This sounds like an amazingly rich dish and the flavours in the cherry sauce are so complex.

    1. Hi Boleyn, I’m glad that you like the recipe. You are right, it does have great flavor. I know when you have enough duck fat to make your confit that it will be terrific.

  7. Oh my, this dish is a thing of beauty! The cherry sauce looks so luscious, and I can imagine how well it combines with the richness of the duck meat.

  8. Beautiful – confit if duck is such a great dish and then you go and take it to a whole other level! When we head to the UK for a few weeks mid August we’ll stop in France before we get on the ferry and do some shopping for things like this!

    1. Hi Tanya…thank you for your lovely compliment. The tenderness of the confit duck combined with the sauce was delicious. I can just imagine what my car would look like if I could bring back French foods. 🙂

    1. Hi Maureen, If you father-in-law enjoys duck, I think he would really enjoy this dish. I’m glad I could supply you with the recipe. 🙂

  9. We’re not really big fans of duck, but if this plate showed up in front of me, I believe I’d gobble it down. The sauce sounds delicious and will be saved for pork or chicken.

    1. Hi Larry, If not cooked properly, duck can sometimes to tough or dry but I do think you would like this dish. This savory sauce would be delicious on both pork and chicken. Actually, it would probably be good topping pound cake. 🙂

  10. What find that duck confit is! Must check to see if it is available in my area. This sure is easy and elegant entertaining at its best. I would probably need to buy 3 pounds of cherries to end up with 2 cups of pitted.

    1. Hi Norma, I just found your comment. It was nine pages back on my comments…don’t know how that happened. Knowing where you live and all the wonderful ingredients readily available to you, I don’t think you would have any trouble finding the duck confit. You aren’t the only one that thinks 3 pounds of cherries would be necessary in this recipe. It seems we all love sweet cherries. Thank you for your nice compliment and sorry it took so long to get back to you. 🙂

  11. This post make me craving even more for dark cherry…
    we used to import this product to Indonesia from Japan
    ever since the Nuclear Incident, all fresh fruit produc are banned from japan until this days…

    1. Thank you Pamela, for your kind words. I’m glad that you enjoy the looks of the meals I prepare. This is such an easy dish to prepare but it would be nice to serve for a special dinner.

  12. This looks gorgeous and perfectly timed! I just had a delicious duck with cherry sauce at our lodge last night and made a note to recreate it when I get home.

    1. Thank you Lynda, for your nice compliment. I’m glad that my duck with cherry sauce post was timely for you…I think you would enjoy it.

  13. I’ve bought things from D’Artagnan before – their things are incredibly good and of quite high quality. And this recipe looks incredibly good, and of quite high quality! I love duck too, and it pairs so well with fruit. I haven’t used it with cherries in ages – I need to. But are you sure you didn’t mean that we need to buy 3 pounds of cherries? 😉 Good recipe – thanks.

    1. Thank you John, for your nice compliment…I’m glad that you like the recipe. Perhaps I was wrong about the amount of cherries…they are so tempting to just pop in your mouth. 🙂 Since it is hard to find some ingredients in our rural area, I’m happy that I can get D’Artagnan products if I drive down to Massachusetts…it is worth the hour journey.

    1. Thank you Rosemary, for your nice compliment. The duck was as good as it looks. Hopefully, you will get time to prepare your magret with cherry sauce before long.

    1. Thank you Amy, I’m glad that you like the recipe and want to prepare it. I think you will enjoy it as much as my husband and I did. 🙂

  14. I think the many comments above cover what I had wanted to say … brava Karen! As Pamela says, above, your meals have a very special feel about them! I seem to remember having eaten duck in a similar way in Budapest (many years ago) … it might not have been cherries but it was definitely a red berry sauce … deeeelicious!

  15. I love rich wine sauces with a lot of depth like yours… I want to eat my screen! hahaah. That shot looks great. I need to make some duck confit at home. I love doing that. Although D’artagnan which I’ve never had bought anything from, sounds like a really good high end store which deliver everywhere in the us… I’ve always been curious about them.

    1. Hi Paul, I’m glad that you enjoyed the post and photos. The cherry wine reduction sauce was delicious and would be terrific on other meats.

    1. Thank you Fae, for your lovely compliment…this dish does make a pretty presentation. The duck braised with plums and onions sounds terrific.

  16. The cherry sauce over the duck looks so deliciousl. I am looking at all the ingredients of your sauce and I would say. . . very flavorful. Have a good week, Karen! 🙂

  17. That sauce sounds wonderful – we’re doing lots of fruit sauces these days to replace the ketchup that the grandkids want to dip everything in. They’re loving it, and so are we 🙂

    1. Hi Darryl, I have to agree with you about duck. The fresh cherry sauce added lots of flavor to this dish…I’m glad you like it.

    1. Hi Celia, I’m glad that the recipe has given you inspiration. I think that the savory cherry sauce compliments the duck well.

    1. Hi Jenna, I do hope you try the cherry sauce. It was delicious and would be terrific on other dishes besides the duck. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Thank you Lizzy, for your nice compliment. The cherries were so nice…I couldn’t pass them up in the market. They made a delicious sauce for the duck. I’m glad you like the recipe.

  18. I’m not sure. But I think that duck confit may be my favorite meat. Even better than bacon. 🙂 And you’ve managed to elevate it with your lovely sauce!

    1. Hi Michelle, I’m with you about loving duck confit…it is so moist, tender and flavorful. The cherry sauce did go very will with the dish.

  19. What a great find Karen, making your own confit of duck is cumbersome and time consuming; it’s lovely that you have a trusted source for this gourmet dish. I love the cherry sauce paired with the duck, such a perfect flavour combination and it’s darn pretty too — a lovely summer meal.

    1. Hi Eva, I’m happy that you liked this dish. I bought duck confit, duck fat, and veal demi glace on my last shopping trip for my freezer. Summer is all about easy living so I like to use shortcuts when I can find good products. 🙂

  20. Absolutely love that cherry sauce recipe and shall look for alternate uses for it: perhaps with pork, even kangaroo? Duck is not very popular here except amongst those of European heritage methinks: perhaps specialist firms I do not know would present such a confit? Your dish looks absolutely delightful tho’. In my case may try it with duck breasts Our cherry season far, far away over the horizon of course 🙂 !

    1. Hi Eha, I’m glad that you like the cherry sauce recipe. I think it would be good on lots of meats…never had kangaroo though. 🙂 The sauce could be made with frozen cherries but I’ve never tried it.

  21. Oh you had me at duck! I love the stuff – my dad loved duck at Thanksgiving and I made it for him every year until he passed. That’s where I learned to love eating it! Your cherry sauce sounds a bit like the cherry glaze he loved to have on his. I’m going to try this and see if I can’t make a little of yours and a little of his and enjoy it all to myself! 🙂

    1. Hi Kelli, I’m glad to know that you enjoy duck like I do. I like your idea of taking a little of my recipe and a little of your dad’s recipe…I’m sure the end result will be delicious.

    1. Hi Lisa, I’m happy that you like the recipe. I think my little ceramic container is cute as well…it sits by my lemonade jar in my kitchen. 🙂

  22. Such a wonderful dinner! I’ll be looking for that duck around here. Yes and you’re so right about the cherries, I can eat my weight in them and often they never find their way into the recipes they were planned for! 🙂

    1. Hi Chris, It is nice to know that I’m not the only one who keeps eating the cherries when they should be going in a recipe. 🙂 I’m happy that you enjoyed the post…I thought is was a delicious dinner.

    1. Thank you Juliana, for your nice compliment. The cherry sauce goes terrific with duck but would also go well with pork. I hope you have a nice week too. 🙂

    1. Hi Charlie, I’m glad to know that you agree about cherries and duck going being such a good match. The way the year is flying by, it will be cherry season in your area before you know it. 🙂

  23. I’ve been going to a restaurant since they opened in 1974 and their signature dish is duck and cherry pie. You would love it. Great recipe Karen 🙂

    1. Hi Tandy, What an interesting sounding dish, I’m sure I would like it. Thank you for your nice compliment…I’m glad you like the recipe.

    1. Hi Anne, I’m glad to know you are another duck lover. Fruit sauces go very well with the rich flavor of duck. You are right…a pinot would go very well with this meal. 🙂

  24. A wonderful recipe, Karen. The sweet and savory combination must be delicious. It certainly looks appetizing. Just this weekend, a neighbor saw me with a few quarts of tart cherries and asked if I was planning to use them “to make gravy.” Though I had pies and cherry liqueur in mind, I gave her a quart. She believes they help ease the pain of her arthritis. Besides, it was 1 less quart to pit later that afternoon. 😉

    1. Thank you John, for your nice compliment. I think the sauce went well with the flavor of the duck. How nice to share your cherries with your neighbor. There is evidence that cherries help with inflammation and arthritis so I’m sure she appreciated the cherries.

    1. I appreciate your nice compliment, Sam. I’m glad to know that you and Meakin enjoy duck like I do. Cherries seem to do a disappearing act in a lot of homes…yes, buy extra. 🙂

  25. Hi Karen, How lovely to see this post on duck & cherries! It especially looks delicious! Your yellow ceramic cherry bowl made me smile. I love little things like that! 🙂

    1. Hi Dana, I’m happy that you enjoyed with post…the duck was very good. I’m glad you like my little yellow container. 🙂

  26. As much as I like duck, I’ve never cooked it, maybe because its not something I commonly find at the grocery. Hannafords does have it here so maybe I should give it a go. The other night I had a grilled duck PB & J sandwich just to try something new, and it was incredible.

    1. Hi Lulu, It seems that we all like duck but most of us tend to have it in restaurants. It appears duck is being used in lots of different ways…your sandwich sounds like it would be good. 🙂

    1. Hi Jeannee, I’m glad you like the recipe. As for flair ups on the grill, I keep a section cool so that I can move meats for a few minutes if that happens. You just can’t walk away from a grill if you are cooking a fatty piece of meat. 🙂

  27. Oh now you’ve got my stomach rumbling for this. I never pass up duck when I see it on a menu but I haven’t been able to find it in any markets nearby (plus my husband is not that big a fan of duck for some reason). And those cherries! How perfect with the duck but as you say, it’s best to have a ‘few’ spare cherries handy.

    1. Hi Diane, My husband and I both love duck but I know some people don’t care for it. I believe the cherry sauce would go very well with other poultry or pork. And yes…buy spare cherries. 🙂

    1. Hi Karen, Thank you for stopping by to visit my blog…it is always nice to meet another Karen. Thank you for your nice compliment and I hope you will enjoy the recipe. 🙂

  28. I really must share this recipe with a few good friends, Karen. I am a little unsure of my feelings about it. I think it’s that I haven’t had the best experiences in restaurants with duck. I’ve never cooked it myself. But i have friends who rave about their love of duck and serve it for special occasions. I love the sauce you’ve prepared. Maybe I can share the recipe and have them serve it to me. 🙂 This does look gorgeous!

    1. Thank you Debra, I’m glad that you like the looks of this dish and I like your thinking. If you are hesitant about cooking duck, I hope one of your friends that cook it often will prepare it for you. Some restaurants either overcook it and it becomes dry or they don’t cook it properly and it is served with soft fatty skin.

  29. I can never resist duck on a menu either. It’s one of my favorite dishes – especially when prepared with a fruit sauce. This looks delicious Karen!

    1. Hi Kristy, I’m happy that you enjoy duck as much as I do. I think you would enjoy this recipe. Thank you for your compliment.

    1. Hi Leslie, I’m happy to know that you enjoy my blog and were kind enough to pass on an award. Thank you…I appreciate the thought and your kind words.

  30. This sounds so delicious. Cherries are in season, but no duck breast to be found. I’ll be on the lookout. I went to dinner with a friend of a friend that ordered ribbed pork loin with cherry sauce. It smelled so delicious that had she been my close friend I would have made her give me a bite.

    1. Hi Madonna, I’m glad that you like the recipe. The cherry sauce would be terrific on pork and much easier to find at the markets.

  31. Duck *any* way makes me happy and this sounds great! Wonder how it would be with mango… we have lots of those around here right now. Hmmm…. Mmmmm!

  32. Mm, cherries go really well with duck and game don’t they?! My mother used to make roasted quails or sometimes pigeon with cherry sauce. It’s a perfect marriage, though I think I’d have a seriously problem stopping myself from eating all those cherries :D.

    1. Hi Charles, It really is hard to not eat all the fresh cherries before you get the sauce made so I always buy extra. 🙂 I’m glad you agree about cherry sauce going very well with game birds and meats such as venison. Thank you for you comment as always.

  33. I only recently discovered that duck can be truly delicious. Of course it was prepared at a restaurant. At home, I don’t think I would know where to begin…..unless it was in some way prepackaged as you suggest! So I looked up D’Artagnan and think it could be a wonderful resource. Thanks for the tip, and your beautiful cherry-sauced inspiration!

    1. Hi Lisa, I’m happy to know that my recipe has intrigued you. I’ve liked the D’Artagnan products that I have purchased…very good quality.

  34. I don’t know where the combination of duck and cherries originated but it is definitely a match made in heaven. I absolutely love this cherry sauce! This is a keeper. Need to add duck and cherry to my grocery list. I doubt I’ll find a cooked duck, but Bobby doesn’t mind grilling them for us. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Hi MJ, I agree with you about cherries and duck going so well together. Since you have the availability of fresh duck, it will be perfect for this recipe. Enjoy!

    1. Thank you Lorraine, for your nice compliment. I have to agree with you about the terrific flavor combination of duck with cherries.

  35. What a beautiful dish, so sumptuous. I have heard only good things about the products from D’Artagnan. And your advice is spot on about purchasing two pounds of cherries!

    1. Hi Adri, I’ve used several of D’Artagnan products over the years and I’m always pleased with them. Thank you for your lovely compliment. I’m glad that you like this dish and agree about the cherries. 🙂

    1. Hi Pumpkin, I do think you husband would enjoy this sauce. My husband and I both enjoy it. Thank you for the pin, I appreciate that. 🙂

    1. Hi Ducky, The sweet cherries have really been nice this year. I’m glad you like the recipe for the cherry sauce…it goes very well with the duck and would also be delicious on other meats. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Thank you Kay, for your kind words about my sauce recipes. I believe sauces can take a nice dish and turn it into something special.

  36. Karen, your recipes are seriously so enticing! I love cherries, they’re in abundance here in the Okanagan Valley (I’m on a little mini-vacation with my parents) and I’m just thinking about how to get my hands on some duck!! I’m definitely going to spoil myself with this dish! Soon! xx

    1. Thank you Barbara, I appreciate you lovely compliment. I’m happy to know that you enjoy my recipes. I hope you are enjoying your mini vacation. If you aren’t able to find duck and have fresh cherries, I believe the sauce would be very good with pork.

  37. You don’t know how much I appreciate this recipe. I made a duck breast with cherry sauce a few years ago and didn’t save the recipe. I’ve looked at a couple recipes but didn’t like the sound of the similarity of what I made. I’ve pinned this. Sounds like what I’m looking for.

    1. Hi Lea Ann, I’m happy that I could provide you with a cherry sauce that sounds good to you. My husband and I both love it and have made it several times. Thank you for the pin…I appreciate it. Hope you enjoy the sauce. 🙂

  38. Oh my goodness, Karen, I haven’t finished my first cup of coffee and I’m ready to dive into that beautiful meal. Reading about duck takes me back to the beautiful food markets in France that stock the most amazing fresh duck breasts. Nothing like that available where I live unfortunately. I hadn’t thought of mail order. I’ll look into it. That is one gorgeous meal.

    1. Hi Cathy, I totally agree with you. The markets in France have such wonderful fresh duck breasts. Living in a rural area, I’m happy that I have a nice source for duck. I’ve been very happy with the D’Artganan products that I have tried.

  39. With blogging so much recently I’m only now catching up on my favourite blogs! Anyway, I’ve only ever cooked a cherry sauce for chicken, years ago. So delicious. With duck, which I love, this has to be special!

    1. Hi Johnny, I’m always happy when you have time to stop by for a visit and enjoy your comments. The cherry sauce was delicious…thanks.

    1. Hi Paula, Duck breasts aren’t readily available for me either. I’m glad that you like the cherry sauce. It is delicious and would be a nice topping on other meats.

  40. I have the same love affair with duck, Karen! If I see it on a menu it usually ends up on my plate. This recipe would be worth the effort going a little out of the way to find good duck breasts.

  41. Me ha dado nostalgia este plato de pato lo añoro mucho mama´ lo preparaba muy parecido y realmente es un lujo aquí comer pato,hugs,hugs.

    1. Rosita, estoy feliz de que esta receta me trajo recuerdos de su cocina madre. Estoy seguro de que el pato que se preparaba para usted estaba delicioso. Thank you for your nice comment, I’m happy that this recipe brought back memories of your mother’s cooking.

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