Crisp Roast Duck

recipe image

A whole roasted duck doesn’t have to be fussy. With just a few hours’ roasting and hardly any work at all, you can have a juicy bird with crisp skin—the best of both textures. This duck is delicious with the plum applesauce.


4 servings


(5- to 6-lb) Long Island duck (also known as Pekin)


cups boiling-hot water


tablespoon kosher salt


teaspoon black pepper

Step 1

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.

Step 2

If necessary, cut off wing tips with poultry shears or a sharp knife. Remove and discard excess fat from body cavity and neck, then rinse duck inside and out. Prick skin all over with a sharp fork. Fold neck skin under body, then put duck, breast side up, on a rack in a 13- by 9- by 3-inch roasting pan and pour boiling-hot water over duck (to tighten skin). Cool duck, then pour out any water from cavity into pan. Pat duck dry inside and out, reserving water in pan, then rub duck inside and out with kosher salt and pepper.

Step 3

Roast duck, breast side up, 45 minutes, then remove from oven. Turn duck over using 2 wooden spoons, and roast 45 minutes more. Turn duck over again (breast side up), tilting duck to drain any liquid from cavity into pan. Continue to roast duck until skin is brown and crisp, about 45 minutes more (total roasting time: about 2¼ hours). Tilt duck to drain any more liquid from cavity into pan. Transfer duck to a cutting board and let stand 15 minutes before carving. Discard liquid in roasting pan.

How would you rate Crisp Roast Duck?

  • This recipe SUCKS DUCK BALLS. I followed it to a tee and my duck burned before it was halfway through the time the recipe calls for. DO NOT USE THIS RECIPE. Unless you’re rolling in cash and love wasting ducks lives by burning them to inedibility.

  • My oven heated to 425° which was amazing since it doesn’t like to be told what to do.
    I felt confident with the timing because my oven was cooperating. At the second 45 minutes the duck temped at 190°.
    I’m very disappointed. Duck is expensive.
    NOW I read through the reviews and see the comments about the time/temperature. Argh.

  • I have finally found the definitive recipe for crispy-skinned, delicious duck!! For years, I have tried to roast duck with that perfect, crispy skin and the results have previously been mediocre, at best. Not so this time! The skin was crisped to perfection and the meat was perfectly cooked. My husband raved over this and so did I. Thank you for the best duck recipe ever.

  • Duck is delicious, but the timing on this recipe is *way* WAY off. I’d read the reviews that suggested shorter cooking times, so was prepared with a meat thermometer. After cooking for 45 min @425, we put it back in for 25 min @400 — and then it was somewhat *overdone*. In other words, we cut ->->->45 min! off the recommended time and still ended up with an imperfect 6-pd bird.
    This is a very expensive (this being quarantine, we mail-ordered our duck from a farm in New Jersey) way to learn to cook.

  • Excellent way to cook whole duck – the whole family LOVES it! And its great way to reserve the fat to use for other cooking (like roasting potatoes) and to save the bones for bone broth too. I think the recipe says to cook it too long as I’ve cooked mine much less and it’s more moist and not as dry. Definitely worth trying!

  • My first time cooking duck, and it came out great. I’m knocking a star off because the cooking time as listed in the recipe was far too long. I had a 5.5 lb duck, smack in the middle of the range in the recipe, but I was watching it thinking, “No way is this going to be good after 2+ hours of cooking.” So I cooked the first round 40 min, second round 25, and final breast-up round about 20. My family raved, and this is pretty simple, so I will definitely make it again, but just wanted to warn others about cooking times. Use your thermometer.

  • I never attempted to cook duck before, and I am very pleased with the results from this recipe. I did cook it less time as my duck was 4 pounds, and we still all thought it would be terribly dried out – but it wasn’t! Very moist, crispy skin, tasty even without a sauce. I will make it again.
    The only issue I had is that I did not serve the duck right away (although we sampled a bit right out of the oven. By the time I did serve it the skin was no longer crispy. Doo last but a bit of a let down. Next time I will time it better and serve it hot out of the oven for the crispy effect!

  • Great recipe and easy to prepare! This is the best duck I’ve ever eaten! The meat was perfectly cooked, tender and moist and the skin was crispy. I followed the recipe exactly as it was. Thank you!

  • I followed the recipe exactly and it came out perfect! Nice and crispy skin and delicious moist meat. We loved it and I can’t wait to make it for company!

  • This recipe worked PERFECTLY on a 6lb Peking duck. Never through the drippings away. I made duck gravy & some in dog food for a treat.

  • I’ve used this recipe three times now, and I finally realize that the duck meat is completely overcooked and dry. The skin is nice and crisp, but what’s the point of there is no juice left in the duck??

  • “Discard liquid in roasting pan”? NEVER! Duck fat is great for cooking! I reserve the fat in the pan, as well as render the excess fat removed from the cavity. It can be poured into an airtight container and kept in the freezer. Save that duck fat!

  • I made this tonight for our supper. I am very impressed. Mine was not dry or over cooked. The skin was crispy and delicious. I seasoned as directed in the recipe and left the water I soaked the duck in the bottom of my roaster pan and placed my duck on the roasting rack. I use this recipe from now on. My family didn’t use any sauce on it. Thsnks for this awesome recipe

  • I have made this a couple of times in the past as a friend gave me this recipe. Way too long in the oven and what a pain to do all that flipping. I now cook duck on my grill in the beer can chicken style using my Weber poultry infuser roaster. The meat is moist, skin is crisp and all that beautiful duck fat is captured in the pan. Just google Weber poultry infuser. You’ll wonder how you ever roasted poultry without it.

  • Only a complete fool would cook a duck for “total roasting time: about 2 1/4 hours” at 425 degrees unless they prefer dried out, overcooked nasty meat. Do not listen to the author of this terrible advice.

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