Cooking duck is easier than you think
Here are several popular cooking techniques for duck. These are general guidelines. For specific dishes, please follow the recipe’s cooking instructions. In addition, we have videos that you can view online to see how you can quickly prepare duck.
For more ideas on how to use duck visit our Ideas and Inspiration page.
- Technique Videos
- Roasting Whole Duck
- Preparing Duck Breast
- Cooking Duck Leg
In these technique videos, Maple Leaf Farms will teach you how to roast a whole duck, properly cut up a whole duck and score a duck breast like a pro.
How to cut up a whole duck
(deboning a duck)
Tips for Roasting Whole Duck
- Roast the duck uncovered on a rack in a shallow roasting pan, breast-side up, or roast on a vertical poultry roaster in a pan. For an un-marinated whole duck, allow 30 minutes per pound in a preheated 350° F oven. For a marinated duck, allow 22 minutes per pound at 375° F. or until internal temperature at the leg joint reaches 175° F.
- A vertical roaster is a perfect way to roast a whole duck. Even the beer can roasters work well with duck.
- When a roasted whole duck has completed cooking, the legs will move easily.
- When roasting a whole duck, place it on a rack in a pan, so the fat can drain freely into the bottom of the pan and duck doesn’t sit in it. Line the pan with aluminum foil before putting the rack in it, and you have a very easy clean-up!
- Roast your whole duck without traditional stuffing. Instead stuff the duck with an onion quartered, an orange quartered, or pieces of celery and carrots. This will keep the duck moist and add delicious flavor. Cook the stuffing in a separate dish.
- For a wonderful barbecued flavor, try grilling outdoors. For a whole raw duck, the best results come from first precooking it in your oven (following the package directions), and for the last 20-30 minutes, finishing it on the grill. This gives the duck a wonderfully crispy skin.
- Maple Leaf Farms fully cooked roast half ducks are great on the grill! Just follow package directions.
Tips for Preparing Duck Breast
The secret to having crispy duck breast skin is to score the skin (being careful not to pierce the meat) and sauté the breast on its skin side over low heat, so the fat has a chance to render (melt) out of the skin. Low and slow is the way to go. Check out our technique video or download our instructions for Scoring & Rendering Duck Breasts (PDF). Please note that cooking time may vary due to the size of the product and oven temps.
Sautéing a duck breast:
- Thaw duck breasts and remove from package. Pat duck breast dry with paper towels.
- Trim skin to the shape of the meat.
- Score skin into 1/4 inch intervals. (Do not cut into breast meat). Rotate breast and score again, making a criss-cross pattern. Season with salt/pepper or preferred seasoning/marinades.
- Preheat griddle to 325 degrees F or nonstick pan to low-medium low.
- Place breast skin-side down for approximately 8-12 minutes or until fat is rendered and skin is crisp and brown. Low and slow is the way to go.
- Turn breast over and cook 1-2 minutes. (Duck breast can be refrigerated at this point, then finished at a later time.)
- Place duck breasts in 350 degree F oven for 5-6 minutes. Let product rest 2-3 minutes before slicing. Final internal temperature should be 165 degrees F.
Grilling a duck breast:
- When grilling boneless duck breasts, you will also achieve the best results by starting the cooking process indoors and later moving them to the grill.
- First, render the fat from underneath the skin in a skillet on the stove (about 10 minutes over medium low heat). Then move the breasts to the grill.
- Place meat side down and grill for 5 minutes. Turn over and finish for 2-3 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing. Internal temperature of the duck breast should be 165 degrees F.
- Note: If you wish to add sauce while grilling, brush it on before placing the duck breast on the grill.
Tips for Cooking Duck LegCheck out our technique video.
- Duck legs require a long, slow cooking method to produce tender succulent meat. Braising, roasting or a combo works best.
- Making duck leg confit is another wonderful way to get tender, fall-off-the-bone meat.
- When you purchase duck legs, they come with the drumstick and thigh together. This is different than chicken, which mainly comes separated between the drumstick and the thigh portion.
- Maple Leaf Farms ready-to-cook duck legs are rich and tender, perfect on their own or in soups, salads, mixed entrées and more.
- Cook duck legs until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees F.