How to Make Duck Prosciutto at Home

Duck prosciutto, also known as duck ham, is a delicious dry-cured meat made by dry-curing a duck’s breast. This Italian-style delicacy has been enjoyed for centuries and has gained popularity among food enthusiasts worldwide. Duck prosciutto is a perfect addition to a charcuterie board, and it can be used in a variety of dishes to add a unique and savory flavor.

To make duck prosciutto, the breast of a duck is coated in a mixture of salt, sugar, and herbs and then hung to dry for several weeks. During this time, moisture is drawn out of the meat, resulting in rich and flavorful meat that is similar in texture to traditional pork prosciutto. The process of making duck prosciutto requires a bit of patience, but the result is well worth the wait. In this article, we will take a closer look at duck prosciutto, including its history, how it is made, and some of the delicious ways to enjoy it.

The History of Duck Prosciutto

The history of this dry-cured meat can be traced back to Italy, where the process of curing meat has been a part of the country’s culinary traditions for centuries. The word “prosciutto” comes from the Latin word “perexsuctum,” which means “thoroughly dried.” While pork is the most commonly used meat for making prosciutto, the duck has been used as an alternative in some regions of Italy, particularly in the northern region of Lombardy.

The tradition of curing duck meat in Lombardy can be traced back to the 15th century when it was common to preserve meat for consumption during the long winter months. The process of making duck prosciutto was initially developed as a way to utilize the entire duck, as cured duck breast was often discarded or used for other purposes. Over time, the curing process evolved to incorporate various herbs and spices, resulting in the unique flavor profile of duck prosciutto that we know today.

Today, duck prosciutto is enjoyed not only in Italy but in many other parts of the world, including France, Spain, and the United States. While it remains a specialty item that is often found in gourmet shops and high-end restaurants, it has become increasingly popular among food enthusiasts who enjoy experimenting with new and unique culinary experiences.

The Salt Curing 

Salt curing is a crucial step in the process of making duck prosciutto. It involves coating the breast of a duck with a mixture of salt, sugar, and spices and then allowing it to rest in a cool, dry place for several days to several weeks, depending on the size of the breast. The salt helps to draw out the moisture from the meat, which not only helps to preserve it but also intensifies the flavor.

During the salt curing process, the cured duck breast is coated thoroughly in the salt and spice mixture and placed in a container, which is then covered and refrigerated. The salt mixture helps to extract moisture from the meat, creating an inhospitable environment for bacteria and other microorganisms that can spoil the meat. The cured duck breast is left in the salt cure for several days, during which time it absorbs the flavors of the salt and spices.

After the salt curing process is complete, the duck breast is rinsed thoroughly to remove any excess salt and then hung to dry in a cool, dry place. The drying process can take several weeks, during which time the meat will continue to lose moisture and develop a rich, savory flavor. Once the duck prosciutto has been dried to the desired texture, it is ready to be sliced thinly and enjoyed on its own or as a component in various dishes.

Duck Prosciutto Recipe

Here is a simple duck prosciutto you can make at home:


  • One duck breast, skin-on
  • One cup of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • One tablespoon of black peppercorns, crushed
  • One tablespoon of juniper berries, crushed
  • Two sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Two bay leaves


  • Mix the salt, sugar, peppercorns, juniper berries, thyme, and bay leaves in a bowl.
  • Place the duck breast in a container that is just big enough to hold it. Pour the salt mixture over IT and use your hands to coat it thoroughly on all sides.
  • Cover the container and refrigerate for 24-48 hours, depending on the size of the duck breast. The longer you leave it in the salt cure, the saltier and firmer the meat will become.
  • After the salt curing period is over, remove the duck breast from the salt cure and rinse it under cold running water. Pat it dry with paper towels.
  • Use a piece of kitchen twine to tie a loop around the top of the duck breast, and hang it in a cool, dry place for several weeks until it is firm to the touch and has a rich, savory aroma.
  • Once the duck prosciutto is ready, remove it from the hanging loop and slice it thinly using a sharp knife.
  • Serve the duck prosciutto on its own as an appetizer, or use it to add flavor to various dishes.

Note: Be sure to use high-quality ingredients and follow proper food safety protocols when making duck prosciutto at home.

What Pairs the Best With This Dry-Cured Meat

Duck prosciutto is a rich and savory meat that pairs well with a variety of beverages. One of the most popular drinks to pair it with is red wine, particularly those with medium to full-bodied flavors. Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon are all excellent choices that can complement the bold flavors of duck prosciutto.

For those who prefer white wine, a dry Riesling or Chardonnay can also be a good option. These wines have enough acidity to cut through the meat’s richness without overpowering its delicate flavors.

In addition to wine, beer can also be an excellent option for pairing with duck prosciutto. Belgian-style ales, such as Dubbel and Tripel, have fruity and spicy notes that can complement the earthy flavors of the meat. A dry, crisp cider can also be a refreshing choice that can balance the salty and sweet flavors of the prosciutto.

Finally, non-alcoholic beverages, such as sparkling water or light tea, can also be a great choice to pair with this dry-cured meat. These drinks can cleanse the palate between bites and help to highlight the subtle flavors of the meat. Ultimately, the best drink will depend on personal taste preferences and the specific flavor profile of the prosciutto being served.

Come, Visit Us

If you’re looking to try duck prosciutto for yourself, consider visiting Beauty and the Butcher restaurant. Our expert chefs use only the highest quality ingredients and traditional techniques to craft delicious and unforgettable dishes, including our signature duck prosciutto. Come and experience the ultimate culinary delight at Beauty and the Butcher, where exceptional taste and quality are always on the menu.