4 Ways to Cook a Duck

Table of contents:

4 Ways to Cook a Duck
4 Ways to Cook a Duck

Duck has a strong flavor, stronger than other poultry. This is because duck meat contains more fat. Duck meat is usually reserved for special occasions, but it is quite simple to prepare and provides a versatile base for many dishes. Read here for information on choosing duck meat and roasting a whole duck, frying breasts and roasting thighs.


Roasted Whole Duck

  • a whole duck
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Water

Fried Duck Breasts

  • breasts with skin
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Roasted Duck Thighs

  • Duck thighs with skin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 onions, cut into cubes
  • 3 carrots, cut into cubes
  • 3 celery stalks, cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups of chicken stock


Method 1 of 4: Select the Duck Meat

Cook a Duck Step 1

Step 1. See how many people you will serve

A standard adult serving is 150g.

Cook a Duck Step 2

Step 2. Look for duck meat that has a high quality rating

Cook a Duck Step 3

Step 3. Select your preferred cut

A whole duck with skin is the most popular and commonly found option. However, you can have the minced, boneless meat and the layer of fat and skin removed by a butcher.

Method 2 of 4: Roasted Whole Duck

Cook a Duck Step 4

Step 1. Place the duck on a cutting board

Cut off the wing tips. Remove any excess fat from the neck and body cavity.

Cook a Duck Step 5

Step 2. Wash the duck inside and out with cold water

Dry with a paper towel.

Cook a Duck Step 6

Step 3. Pierce the skin and thick layer of fat

Use a knife or a skewer and drill holes at 2, 5 cm intervals. Be careful to pierce the skin and fat underneath, but not the flesh. You will feel resistance when you reach the layer of meat. You can skip this step if you purchased the duck meat with the skin and fat layer removed.

Cook a Duck Step 7

Step 4. Place the prepared duck breast side up on a rack inside a roasting pan

The duck will not cook properly if it is not in a container where the layer of fat can run off the meat.

Cook a Duck Step 8

Step 5. Pour 2-3 cups of boiling water over the duck

Let the water settle to the bottom of the pan. The boiling water will start to melt away the fat layer and help the skin to become crispy when baking.

Cook a Duck Step 9

Step 6. Rub salt and pepper inside and outside the duck

Cook a Duck Step 10

Step 7. Open the preheated oven and place the duck and baking sheet

Do not cover the duck.

Cook a Duck Step 11

Step 8. Bake for about 3 hours, turning every 30 minutes

Cook a Duck Step 12

Step 9. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and see if the duck is well cooked

  • Insert a cooking thermometer into the thickest part of the duck's meat, breast or thigh. Make sure the thermometer is not touching any bone. A fully cooked duck should have an internal temperature of 74 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • See if the duck's skin is crispy and the layer of fat has completely melted and drained from the duck. If so, your duck has finished cooking. If not, put it in the oven to bake a little longer. Bake for another 10 minutes.
Cook a Duck Step 13

Step 10. Transfer the duck to a cutting board

Let it sit for 15 minutes before cutting.

Method 3 of 4: Fried Duck Breast

Cook a Duck Step 14

Step 1. Remove the breasts from the fridge

Wash them in cold water and dry with a paper towel. Use a knife to mark the skin in a checkered pattern on both sides.

Hatching will help the skin to become crispy. Avoid cutting meat

Cook a Duck Step 15

Step 2. Salt the breasts on both sides

Place them on a plate and let them reach room temperature.

Cook a Duck Step 16

Step 3. Scrape moisture from breasts

Use the blunt side of a knife to scrape away the moisture that has emerged from the salty breasts. Too much moisture prevents the skin from becoming crunchy.

Cook a Duck Step 17

Step 4. Heat an iron skillet or non-stick skillet over medium heat

Place the breasts in the pan with the skin side down. Fry for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on breast size.

Cook a Duck Step 18

Step 5. Turn the breasts to the other side with a pair of tweezers

Fry for another 3-5 minutes.

After you turn the breasts, salt the now exposed skin. This will help the skin become even crispier and tastier

Cook a Duck Step 19

Step 6. Set the breasts aside to fry the edges

Place the breasts against each other so the edges can fry for about a minute on each side.

Cook a Duck Step 20

Step 7. Remove the breasts from the pan

Place them on a cutting board and let them rest for 5 minutes before cutting to serve.

Method 4 of 4: Roasted Duck Thighs

Cook a Duck Step 21

Step 1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius

Cook a Duck Step 22

Step 2. Heat a cast iron or other ovenable skillet over medium heat

Place your thighs in the pan with the skin side down. Sprinkle the thighs with salt and pepper and let them fry until the skin turns brown, about 3 minutes. Turn the thighs over with tongs and fry on the meat side for another minute. Put them on a plate.

Cook a Duck Step 23

Step 3. Place the fat from the skillet in a container

Add 2 tablespoons of the fat back to the skillet, keeping it over medium heat.

Cook a Duck Step 24

Step 4. Add the vegetables to the skillet

Saute them until the onions are translucent (ie for about 5 minutes).

Cook a Duck Step 25

Step 5. Place thighs back in skillet

Cook a Duck Step 26

Step 6. Place the chicken stock in the pan with the legs and vegetables

Cook a Duck Step 27

Step 7. Put the skillet in the oven

Bake for 30 minutes. Lower heat to 180 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for another 30 minutes.

Cook a Duck Step 28

Step 8. Remove the skillet from the oven

The thighs are ready when the meat is tender and the liquid around it is halved.


  • If you have to continue roasting the duck so that the skin is crispy and the fat melts, look in the oven constantly. Meat can easily burn when browned.
  • Save the duck fat to use for frying potatoes or other vegetables. It gives a rich, healthy flavor to any fried dish.


  • The oven and meat will be very hot while roasting. Wear suitable gloves to avoid burns.
  • Raw meat should not exceed 7 degrees Fahrenheit until preparation and cooking to maintain freshness and prevent bacterial growth.

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