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Roasted Duck

This roasted duck recipe is caramelized and crispy on the outside yet tender and juicy on the inside. It’s a gloriously tasty dish that guarantees to be the star of your dinner table!

Plated leg quarter of the duck with roasted carrots and potatoes on a plate with the duck in the background

Have you slow roasted duck before? If not, you don’t know what you are missing!! I would never make duck in a different way.

Before I started cooking duck, I used to think it was hard. But it isn’t. And through trial and error, I figured out that the best way to make duck is to slow roast it because that keeps the meat so moist, even the breast meat.

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This is such a great meal to serve at the holidays or a special occasion. I have served this duck on both Thanksgiving and New Year’s eve and we have enjoyed the meal each time we’ve had it. It’s a great alternative to serve instead of turkey.

And if you serve this to your guests at a party? They are going to be so impressed while they enjoy this fabulous meal.

And if you have any leftover duck, you can make curry duck.

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Helpful tips

  • If you can, buy an organic duck. I get mine at Whole Foods. I love it because they source it from farms that don’t use any antibiotics in the poultry.
  • It used to be that you were supposed to wash poultry before cooking it but now they say not to wash it. You should just drain it once you take it out of the package, then pat it dry, inside and out with paper towels.
  • Always wash citrus before you cook with it, juice it or use it for garnish in cocktails. Here’s how: either use a vegetable wash or squirt unscented natural hand soap in your hand and rub the orange with the soap. Rinse well under cold water.
  • I always use a good roasting pan with the V rack insert, that way the heat can circulate around the duck.
  • I use a wooden skewer to hold the skin together while the duck is roasting. To make sure the skewer doesn’t burn and catch fire, soak it for an hour before starting the recipe.
  • You need to cut slits in the skin because duck is a fatty bird and it helps to release the duck fat and allows the skin to crisp up.
  • Take a sharp small knife, lift the skin of the duck and cut slits in it without piercing the flesh of the duck. Cut slits on all sides of the duck about an inch apart, including the wings, legs and back.
  • Some people cut the skin in a diamond pattern but I find that the risk is greater to cut into the flesh accidentally. And as you can see, the skin on my duck is quite crispy and browned.
  • Each time you flip the duck to cook it evenly, use wooden spoons because you do not want to pierce the flesh while it is cooking.
  • After the bird is done, there will be excess fat in the bottom of the roasting pan. You can either toss it, or use it to sauté potatoes or vegetables like carrots as a side dish.
A white plate with a duck leg and thigh along with carrots and potatoes
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

How to make Roasted Duck

Pre-pre-step

Soak a wooden skewer for an hour before starting the recipe.

Pre-step

Get out a large roasting pan.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step one

Gather the ingredients – duck, orange wedges, a head of garlic and kosher salt. (A)

Step two

Pinch the skin between your thumb and pointer finger and lift the skin, take a sharp knife and pierce the skin. Be very careful that you just pierce the skin and not the flesh. (B)

Left - Raw duck on a blue platter with salt and orange wedges. Right - a male hand cutting slits in the skin of the duck

You want to do that all over the skin. (C)

Step three

Cut off the top of the garlic.

Sprinkle kosher salt inside the cavity and on both sides of the duck. Place orange wedges and garlic cloves inside the cavity of the duck. (D)

Left - duck with the slits in the skin. Right - duck is salted and garlic and orange slices stuffed in the bird

Step four

Place the duck breast side up in the V rack insert in the baking pan.

Take a wooden skewer and run it through the skin on both sides of the cavity, sealing the orange and garlic inside. Also take some butcher’s twine and bind the duck legs together. (E)

It’s okay if the skin around the skewer relaxes somewhat as it cooks. The orange and garlic will stay inside.

Step five

Place the pan in the oven and bake for 1 hour. (F)

Left - duck trussed up in the baking pan. Right - duck after being cooked an hour

Step six

Take two wooden spoons and flip the duck so the breast is face down and bake for another hour. (G)

Step seven

Flip the duck again so the breast is face up and bake for another hour. (H)

Left - duck flipped on breast and cooked longer. Right - Duck completely cooked still in the baking pan

Step eight

While the duck is roasting that last hour, gather the sauce ingredients – Cointreau, orange juice, garlic paste, maple syrup and soy sauce.

Cointreau, orange juice, garlic paste, maple syrup and soy sauce for the basting sauce for the duck

Step nine

In a small bowl, add all the above ingredients and whisk until combined.

Step ten

After the hour is up, don’t flip the bird. Brush on the orange sauce and bake for 30 minutes.

Step eleven

Pull the pan out and don’t flip the bird again. Baste more orange sauce over the duck and bake for another 30 minutes.

Step twelve

Once it’s done, open the cavity and take out the orange wedges and throw them away. You can save the garlic and squeeze some on bread and toast it.

Duck straight out of the oven and on a blue platter with steam rising off it

Look at how crispy the skin is!

Let the duck rest for 15 minutes before cutting it up.

I serve the meat with a salad, roasted potatoes, and carrots.

Pour on some orange sauce.

Close up of the duck leg quarter on the plate with carrots and potatoes. There is gravy and a duck on a platter in the background

And dig in. Mmmm, it was so delicious.

I hope you enjoyed this slow roasted duck recipe.

Other recipes to serve for Sunday dinner

And as always, may all your dishes be delish!

If you’ve tried this or any other recipe on the blog, I’d love the hear what you thought about it in the comments below.  I love hearing from you!  You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST  to see more of my delicious food and delightful cocktails!

Plated leg quarter of the duck with roasted carrots and potatoes on a plate with the duck in the background - square

Roasted Duck

This roasted duck recipe is caramelized and crispy on the outside yet tender and juicy on the inside. It’s a gloriously tasty dish that guarantees to be the star of your dinner table!
4.89 from 26 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Poultry
Keyword: roasted duck
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Servings: 3 cups
Calories: 375kcal

Ingredients

  • 5 pound organic duck giblets removed, fat trimmed, washed and dried inside and out
  • 1 orange cut into wedges
  • 1 head of garlic top cut off
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons kosher salt

Sauce

  • 2 ounces Cointreau or triple sec
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons garlic paste or 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice

Instructions

Make it

  • Preheat oven to 325
  • Pinch the skin of the duck and stick a knife into it without cutting into the meat, making shallow cuts an inch or two apart from each other.  Make sure to do around the thigh and back as well
    5 pound organic duck
  • Salt the inside of the duck and stuff the cavity with the head of garlic and as many orange wedges you can fit
    1 orange, 2 – 3 tablespoons kosher salt, 1 head of garlic
  • Place duck in the pan breast side up and set timer to an hour
  • Using wooden spoons, carefully flip the duck onto the breast and place in the oven for another hour
  • Flip duck on its back again and set the timer for another hour
  • Time to make the sauce. Place the Cointreau, soy sauce, maple syrup, orange juice and garlic paste in a mixing bowl and whisk the ingredients together
    2 ounces Cointreau, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 2 teaspoons garlic paste, 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • After the third hour, don’t flip the duck anymore, but brush some sauce over the breast and set the duck in the oven for 1/2 hour
  • Brush more sauce over the breast and cook for another 1/2 hour
  • Take the duck out of the pan, remove the orange wedges and throw them away. Either use the garlic on some bread or if it has dried out, throw it away
  • Let the duck rest for 15 minutes before cutting into it
  • Plate a piece of duck with a vegetable and some potatoes or rice
  • Eat
  • Smile
  • Enjoy
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Notes

Helpful tips
  • If you can, buy an organic duck. I get mine at Whole Foods. I love it because they source it from farms that don’t use any antibiotics in the poultry.
  • It used to be that you were supposed to wash poultry before cooking it but now they say not to wash it. You should just drain it once you take it out of the package, then pat it dry, inside and out with paper towels.
  • Always wash citrus before you cook with it, juice it or use it for garnish in cocktails. Here’s how: either use a vegetable wash or squirt unscented natural hand soap in your hand and rub the orange with the soap. Rinse well under cold water.
  • I always use a good roasting pan with the V rack insert, that way the heat can circulate around the duck.
  • I use a wooden skewer to hold the skin together while the duck is roasting. To make sure the skewer doesn’t burn and catch fire, soak it for an hour before starting the recipe.
  • You need to cut slits in the skin because duck is a fatty bird and it helps to release the duck fat and allows the skin to crisp up.
  • Take a sharp small knife, lift the skin of the duck and cut slits in it without piercing the flesh of the duck. Cut slits on all sides of the duck about an inch apart, including the wings, legs and back.
  • Some people cut the skin in a diamond pattern but I find that the risk is greater to cut into the flesh accidentally. And as you can see, the skin on my duck is quite crispy and browned.
  • Each time you flip the duck to cook it evenly, use wooden spoons because you do not want to pierce the flesh while it is cooking.
  • After the bird is done, there will be excess fat in the bottom of the roasting pan. You can either toss it, or use it to sauté potatoes or vegetables like carrots as a side dish.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 375kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 100g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Cholesterol: 287mg | Sodium: 359mg | Potassium: 849mg | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 650IU | Vitamin C: 15.3mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 9.3mg
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Originally published February of 2018.

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From lighting up stages with her BA in theater to food journalist, Elaine Benoit's journey is a testament to passion's transformative power. As the CEO of Dishes Delish, she offers a blend of healthy, comforting recipes and exquisitely crafted cocktails. Beyond the kitchen, Elaine voiced her culinary adventures on her podcast, "Dishing," and co-owns Food Blogger Help, extending her expertise to guide budding food bloggers to success. Whether it's for a heartwarming dish or insights into food blogging, Elaine's diverse experiences make her a beacon in the culinary digital landscape.

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66 Comments

  1. My uncle used to hunt ducks when I was a kid and that was the only time I ever tried them. I’m a vegetarian now, but you can bet that I will find something to put the sauce on to! It sounds amazing!

  2. Thank you for the complete step by step on this. I’ve been wanting to try roasting a duck, but have been a little intimidated. Great post!

  3. I love duck, and the flavours you have going on here are amazing! Slow roasting is the way to go for sure! Will be adding this to my Sunday dinner menu!

  4. I roast a whole chicken several times a month and I’ve always wanted to try duck, but I was so scared of screwing it up. This is the perfect tutorial – lots of little tricks I wouldn’t have known. Thank you!

  5. You know, whenever I go out to dinner, if duck is on the menu, that is what I order. I am finally getting hubby to try it….I know I will eventually get him to like it. This looks amazing and so tasty.

    1. Thanks so much Gloria!! I appreciate it! It is so yummy and I bet if you slipped it in a dish, he would agree. 🙂

  6. I haven’t eaten duck meat in ages. I love all the citrus notes in this one. I completely agree with tossing the oranges, but I was thinking that those garlic cloves that were steaming inside of the duck would taste delicious squeezed onto some crusty bread. This recipe looks so good, and I really love the flavors in your glaze. I’m definitely picking up a duck the next time I go to the store.

    1. Thanks Patti!! Long ago, I did taste the garlic from the cavity and found it absorbed the salt, which is why I toss it. But yes, garlic on crusty bread is the best!! I hope you enjoy it when you make it!

  7. Oh my gosh! It’s been way too long since I’ve roasted a duck! That skin looks amazing! I also love keeping the fat for roasted potatoes later! Yum!

  8. This duck recipe looks absolutely juicy and yummy! A bit of inspiration to take a little more time to prepare that special family meal. Thanks!

    1. Thanks so much! It seems to make a difference slow roasting it. I used to roast it in less time and I prefer it this way!

  9. I’m drooling just looking at your pictures Lainey, we love duck and I always slow roast it too but your sauce looks so good, I absolutely must make it next time!

  10. Beautiful photos and styling, the lighting is exquisite, it fits the dish very well. What a great meal to severe at a fancy dinner with friends!

  11. Your slow roasted duck recipe has me drooling. The citrus and maple syrup glaze really makes this a unique and one of a kind dish.

  12. You clever girl, Cointreau with duck! You couldn’t have found a more attractive combination than this. This is St Valentine fall in love again. You explained it so beautifully that I am now going to buy my duck and a bottle of Cointreau.

  13. I think duck is so undervalued here in our culture where is seems chicken is most prevalent. Where my daughter lives in Hanoi it is everywhere. Duck is roasted on the street and in most markets. I can’t wait to try this with that sauce!

    1. Thanks so much Analida! I agree, I may actually prefer it over chicken, but it’s harder to find year round where I live.

  14. I’ve never roasted duck at home before. Love that you used Cointreau with this – such a good flavor combo!

  15. You’ve convinced me — I have to make duck. It’s just the two of us, just like you, but I know we’d enjoy it. I remember we had it years and years ago and it was delicious. Every time I mention duck to Hubby he turns up his nose and says it’s too greasy. I don’t know where he got all the experience. The last time he had duck was at the same time I did and we both loved it. Men can be stubborn. I’ll just go shopping without him and get one. Yours looks delicious.

    1. Haha Marisa, that’s so funny! It must be a memory for him because I think that’s what most people think when they think of duck! (I used think in that sentence 3 times.) That’s why you poke the skin to let all that fat dribble out!! I saved the breasts and made a curry which I’ll be blogging about real soon!

  16. My mouth is watering! Our New Year’s tradition growing up was “cannibal sandwiches” (steak tartar). I loved them! I love duck, and this looks like a really nice way to cook it. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Oh yes! My fiancee loooves roasted ducks and I promised him to make it for a long time) I guess the time came and I will definitely try your recipe!)

  18. This duck is SO succulent and flavorful. It also gives me a nostalgic feeling for the good times and meals we had at Wakefield’s Duck Walk restaurant when it was in business. I miss that place! You’re a champion for cooking duck.

  19. I wish people would STOP rating this recipe on how the recipe looks, and base their rating on having ACTUALLY cooked it! ugh!! Rating the recipe on how it looks, is not helpful at all!!

  20. This is such an elegant meal that’s perfect for the holidays when you are looking for something other than turkey or ham.

  21. My dad recently requested roasted duck and so I made this delicious recipe. He really enjoyed the orange and Cointreau sauce. Thanks

  22. I haven’t made roasted duck in years and now I think I’ll have to make it this week! I can already taste all the wonderful flavors! My husband will be excited for this dish.

  23. I was looking for a recipe for a more intimate dinner and this one was perfect. The duck meat is moist and the skin is crispy – my mouth is watering again just thinking about it! And the sauce!!! Cointreau really makes it stand out. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it Cindy! We love roast duck and hubby and I draw straws on who gets the crispiest skin 🙂

  24. Worked! By that I mean, the duck wasn’t tough and chewy and the fat cooked down well. I am now confident in preparing duck. Thank you for having this figured out!

    1. You’re welcome. I’m so glad that you liked it. I love duck and can’t wait to cook it again. Probably for New Years Eve this year. Yum. Thanks so much for letting me know, Stephansuch!

  25. The duck is in the oven and I need confirmation on the total cooking time. It looks like 3 hours total but depending on how you read it, it says you cook another 1 hour (at 1/2 hour intervals) with the sauce brushed on. That would be a total of 4 hours, help please!?

  26. I cooked exactly the recipient and I ended up with burnt duck !!! Ughhh what did I do wrong?

    1. Oh my, how horrible, Diane. I’m not sure what you did wrong. Did you have the temperatures correct? It’s a long roast so not sure what it could be other than the temperature being too high?

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