How to Prepare Roast Duck

roast duck served with sides and garnishes
Image by RitaE from Pixabay

The roast duck is simple fare when it is prepared and served using our easy cheerful approach. It makes a great alternative to the roast turkey at Christmas although I suspect it wont for a Thanksgiving celebration. It is more than likely the bird was served up as a meal around any festive time. It is easy to serve up roast duck breasts if a whole bird is too challenging.

A typical side dish will be roast potatoes with loads of rosemary and garlic for flavour.

This version serves 4 people. Preparation time is 15 minutes with a cooking time of around 1½ hours. That means you need to reserve 2 hours for this.

Calories 445 Kcal 22%
Fat 21g 30%
Saturated Fat 6.5g 33%

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  • 1 free-range whole duck, of around 2 to 2.2kg (4½ to 5lb)
  • sea salt for covering the bird skin


  1. Pierce the skin of the duck all over with a knife or skewer.
  2. Place on a rack in the kitchen sink, and pour over 2 full kettles of boiling water. Pat it dry with a kitchen towel and leave it to dry on a plate in the fridge for an hour. This is important because with this type of bird it loosens and releases the subcutaneous fat layer under the skin. You have a roasted crispy but not fatty duck.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200 °C, 180 °C fan, 400 °F, gas 6.
  4. Place the duck on a rack or trivet over a deep roasting tin, as it will release around 300g (10oz) fat into the tin.
  5. Add plenty of sea salt and roast for 90 minutes. Strain off the fat and keep it for your best roast potatoes.
  6. A roast duck is really too difficult to carve up so it needs to be jointed instead. Remove the legs as you would with a chicken. Cut the whole breasts off the bone, which will make the duck go much further. Ease your knife along the breast bone then slice the breast. This will give four good servings of tender meat without too much fat attached.
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