One Potato, Two Potato, Part 2: Duck Fat Hash Browns

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What’s the best thing about making duck for dinner? The leftover duck fat. At least, so says The Mouse.

What’s even better? Using that fat to fry potatoes. Mmmm, mmm, mmm. Right now, I’m not sure you could convince me there’s a more delicious thing on the planet.

So, last week, I made a couple of duck breasts glazed with a raspberry and blood-orange pan sauce (recipe forthcoming).

The skin was crispy, the sauce was juicy and fragrant, the meat was succulent (and cooked to about medium…not rare, like many do).

The whole thing was super yummy, but I’m embarrassed to say that I was almost more excited about what was left in the pan: spoonfuls of gloriously rich duck fat.

Duck fat provides an excellent flavor base for lots of things.

Hands down, though, my all-time favorite thing to do with it is use it to fry potatoes. (If you ever get to Portland, Maine, stop in to Duck Fat, one of my folks’ favorite restaurants, and you’ll see what I mean.)

Oh simple potato, you don’t know what you’ve got coming!

Like the first part of my “One Potato, Two-Potato” series, Cognac-Laced Potato Cream Soup, this is definitely a once-in-a-while treat. (Diet food, it’s not.)

If you don’t have any duck fat on hand, bacon fat would work really well in this recipe, too.

Wait, wait…where do I get the duck fat?

To state the obvious, ducks are really fatty birds. When you cook a duck, typically a recipe will instruct you to prick the duck’s skin all over, to make the fat render more readily.

As the duck cooks, it will let off copious amounts of the stuff. Simply skim that fat off and save it in a jar in the fridge. (Strain it through some cheesecloth, if you like, to remove any little browned bits.) This is mine:

If you don’t have the time, patience, or inclination to cook a duck, the good folks at D’Artagnan sell a 7-oz. tub of duck fat for $3.99.

But, isn’t duck fat bad for you?

Well, that’s up to you.

According to D’Artagnan, duck fat is low in saturated fat and has a good mix of poly and monosaturated fats. That makes it more similar to olive oil than to butter.

Of course, all that said, it is still fat.

Duck Fat Hash Browns

1 1/2 cups potato, cut into small dice
1/2 small onion, cut into small dice
1 1/2 tsp. duck fat
1 sprig of thyme
kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper

Serves 1 as a large side, or 2 for a smaller portion

Duck Fat Hash Browns: Prep your veggies

Cut your potatoes and onions into a small-ish dice, like this (for scale, that’s the tip of my 10-inch chef’s knife):

Duck Fat Hash Browns: Fry the veggies

Measure out your duck fat and put it in a non-stick pan on top of the stove.

Set the heat to medium-high to melt the fat.

Toss in the diced potato and onion.

Sprinkle on some fresh thyme, kosher salt, and pepper to taste. I deliberately didn’t use any garlic so as to not obscure the flavor of the duck fat.

Stir to coat them well with duck fat. Fry over medium-high heat for a few minutes�without stirring�until they’re golden brown on the bottom, like this:

When the bottoms are browned, stir them around.

Continue to fry them like this, stirring occasionally, until they’re the same golden brown on all sides.

You want them to go from looking like this:

To looking like this:

Duck Fat Hash Browns: Serve & enjoy!

When the hash browns are golden brown on all sides, give one a taste. It should be cooked through. If it’s not, drop the heat a bit and continue to fry, stirring occasionally, until they’re soft throughout.

Serve and enjoy!


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Copyright 2008-2009 The Hungry Mouse�/Jessica B. Konopa. All rights reserved.

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie works as an advertising copywriter in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.


  1. The potatoes sure do look great but duck fat....hmmm...I don't know how good that tastes so I will take your word on it. No gallons of duck fat being sold around here and I'm too lazy to cook duck. ~Foong~
  2. This sounds so yummy. Yes- ducks are certainly fatty. I have the butcher cut them in half and the prick the skin and cook them side down for a bit.So it drains some of the fat.I use to stuff them with bread hoping that would absorb the fat but didn't like the results so much. I will have to try this! Great job.
  3. I haven't worked with solid fat like this before but I keep hearing how good this duck fat thing is. And since duck fat has only half the saturated fat of butter, this ain't too bad at all.... Perhaps if I see it around in the store I'll pick it up although I believe it's far from common to find it!
  4. Thanks, guys! :D Bunny--Great tip to have your butcher chop your duck in half! That can be tricky. (Though, if you wanted to do it at home, try using kitchen shears instead of a big knife. More control and you *should* be able to get through the carcass with 'em.) Yeah, I'll bet the bread stuffing was a little too fatty. Let me see if I can figure out a way to make a stuffed duck for you that doesn't get icky on the inside. Nick--Oh, definitely track some down if you can! Though, I've never been able to find it in my regular supermarket here in Boston (why I usually have to get it by cooking duck...which is not exactly a huge punishment.) ;) A place like Whole Foods might have it, though I haven't checked. +Jessie
  5. It's funny you posted this today. I was watching Bourdain's No Reservations Monday night and he was eating at a place here in Chicago called Hot Doug's where they cook hand cut french fries in duck fat. I had never heard of this before but got really really excited about it, as you can well imagine. I just love the idea of potatoes and duck fat!
  6. I would just like to say that I stuffed the duck with oranges and lemons and the end result was beautiful. It gave a delicious aroma and taste as well as moistening the inside cavity. Well worth a try