Roast Duck

Total Time:
1 hr 35 min
15 min
20 min
1 hr

4 to 6 servings

  • 2 (5 to 5 1/2 pounds each) ducks, innards and wing tips removed
  • 6 quarts chicken broth
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Unwrap the ducks and allow them to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. With a fork, prick the skin without piercing the meat. This will allow the fat to drain off while the ducks cook.

Meanwhile, in a very large stock pot which can hold the 2 ducks, heat the chicken broth with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt until it boils. Add the ducks very carefully and bring the stock back to a boil. If there isn't enough stock to cover the ducks, add the hottest tap water to cover. If the ducks float to the top, place a plate on top to keep them immersed. When the stock comes back to a boil, lower the heat and simmer the ducks in the stock for 45 minutes.

When the ducks are finished simmering, skim off enough duck fat from the top of the stock to pour a film on the bottom of a 14 by 18 by 3-inch roasting pan. This will keep the ducks from sticking when they roast. Carefully take the ducks out of the stock, holding them over the pot to drain. Place them in the roasting pan, pat the skin dry with paper towels, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and the pepper. If you have time, allow the ducks to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow the skin to dry.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. (Be sure your oven is very clean or it will smoke!) Roast the ducks for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow them to rest, covered with aluminum foil, for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

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    55 Reviews
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    Tried last night with three ducks. Used turkey frier to boil, since no other pot would work. Several advantages... much higher heat so boils quickly and heat is outside house. Since I let get to room temperature before putting in oven, think I should have cooked the day before. Served with sauce from Robert Irvine's recipe for duck and berry sauce but used frozen red cherries. Actually pretty easy and delicious.
    good but, you know, hot tap water is not drinkable (?!).
    Great recipe, best duck so far. Easy. Delicious outcome. No need to babysit the oven or worry about under- or over-cooking. Boiling guarantees that it's done, renders fat, and infuses flavors from stock. Roasting for a short time at a high temp guarantees nice skin and color but no over-drying. I scored the skin before boiling AND after drying/before roasting, but some fat remained--a thin flavorful layer under a caramelized skin. The meat was tender and not gamy/chicken-y as usual. Disclosures: I did one duck instead of two (reduced the time slightly on both steps.) I made it with water and aromatics instead of prepared stock. I also threw a glaze on in the last minute--apricot preserves, dried reconstituted cherries, soy sauce, sherry vinegar, garlic, butter. So couldn't tell how crispy the skin was, but it was simply delicious. Not a bite left after Christmas dinner... Thank you, Ina. 
    This was my first time cooking duck and it turned out AWESOME!! This is a no fail recipe if you follow it. Meat was moist, tender and skin crispy! Will do this more often and thank you Ina!!
    What a spectacular method for roasting duck... my family never eats it because its too fatty. Boiling it really drained the excess fat and allowed us to enjoy the crispy skin. However it did need a little kick in the flavor department... Next time I make this I will brush it with a glaze prior to roasting. Love you, Ina! Always use her recipes when you want to wow your guests :)
    I Love this preparation for roasting a duck! It was perfectly crispy and tasty. I made this with just one duck, and didn't reduce the times, but I think next time I will reduce the oven time by about ten minutes, especially with the 20 minutes resting time. Also, I used a can of vegetable stock with chicken stock and after skimming, the stock that was made was delectable!!! We saved it and froze it for making soups this winter.
    has anyone made this recipe with just one duck? do i reduce the cooking time?
    Never cooked duck before. Tried this recipe today. The duck came out brown, crispy and juicy. Didn't have chicken stock so I borrowed Alex day off soy sauce, honey, and green peppercorn recipe to cooked the duck in for 45 mins. Had a 6 pound duck from the Amish market and my oven is not working but my broiler is. So I broiled for the 30 mins and it was cooked and not burnt. Very yummy.
    I have never cooked duck before and saw Ina make this recipe on her show. I used one store bought duck, about 7 pounds. Simmered it for about 45 - 50 minutes. Dried it off and let it sit for about 30 minutes before roasting at 500 for exactly 30 minutes. I was concerned it might not be done because it was a bit larger than the recipe called for. It was perfect! The skin was perfectly browned and crispy. I had family coming, so I had cooked it a few days ahead. Everyone raved about how delicious it was. It could not have been simpler. I will definitely use this recipe again. 
    I put one star as a warning to others, although I'm sure this recipe often works based on all the five star reviews. I am a fairly experienced cook and I followed this recipe very carefully. However, this totally did not work for me. The duck was completely overcooked and the skin was not crispy at all. I only used one 5 lb. duck, and probably should have reduced both the simmering time and oven time slightly. But the reason I suspect it turned out so poorly was that I used a fresh duck from the farmer's market. I'm guessing store bought duck might be more fatty, and thus require such a cooking technique, but perhaps be careful using this technique on a farmers market duck.
    I'm a believer. My brother and daughter are both CIA trained chefs. I got a lot of comments when I told them I was using this recipe to cook the christmas duck. It was THE BEST DUCK we have ever had. I did add apple cider, onions, carrots, celery apples and oranges to the stock. And I let the duck rest 90 minutes because we ran to the drum circle on the beach to drum down the sun. Got home and an hour later we were eating the juiciest, most flavorful, crispy skinned duck I have ever had. I served it with ginger and orange glazed carrots that i finished off with a little of the duck fat. And a pineapple bread pudding that went perfectly with the bird. One of the best dinners I have made and even the picky eaters and my family chefs had to admit it was really very good.
    I have been a duck lover all my life. Ask the kids what dad wants for Christmas? A duck. I have never been so impressed with the ease and tastiness of a recipe as I was with this one. I've been cooking duck for over 40 years and have never run across this method. I am throwing all my other recipes away because none compare. Thank you Ina Garten.
    What a great recipe! I'll never roast duck any other way. Crispy skin and moist, delicious,perfectly cooked meat, just as promised. My husband is a dark meat fan, but usually finds duck too greasy, and he raved about this. It'll be more than just holiday fare on our menu from now on. I love how "unfussy" this recipe is, too. If you're having guests, it's wonderful because there's plenty of time to get other things done without babysitting the stove. I made an orange reduction sauce while duck was boiling, and finished it off with some of the boiling broth while the duck was in the oven, and it was just fantastic. (Although the duck is fine on its doesn't need sauce; I just thought I'd try it. Thank you, Ina! You never let me down.
    I must start by thanking Ina for posting this recipe. The thought of boiling a duck sounded wrong. It turned out we were wrong.
     Tried this recipe last night and it was delicious! I followed the recipe and it turned out perfectly beautiful and crispy.
     As an added treat, cut half an onion (I was cooking for 4 people and sauté it in some of the duck fat (skin just enough to line the pan until the onions are caramelized (brown in color but not burnt. Cut up white potatoes (one for each person - skin on into slices then cut the slices into quarter sections. Add a small amount of stock to the mixture. Sauté the potatoes with the caramelized onions until soft. Then put them in a Pyrex pan with some of the stock and duck fat. Throw in a few sprigs of thyme into the mixture. Roast the potatoes with the duck. Do not add too much stock only about half a cup at the most. Remove the thyme sprigs before serving.
     We also froze the remainder of duck fat and stock.
    This is the only roast duck recipe I have ever made but it will remain the only one I will ever use! You need to let the duck sit at room temp before putting in the oven, the crispy skin adds more flavor and drying out the skin is key to getting that crisp. Such a great and simple recipe, I can't wait to make it again!
    This recipe creates a wonderful, roasted, crispy duck. Really nice and crispy and delicious!! I made one duck in addition to a turkey for Thanksgiving. The compliments were for the duck. It was moist and juicy. No greasy taste. Thank you, Ina for this fabulous recipe.
    I have tended to shy away from duck because I found it greasy, yet dry. This recipe was fantastic! I followed it exactly as written except using only one duck and it came out moist and juicy with very crispy skin and no greasy taste. Served with orange sauce. Will definitely make it again.
    While this was a relatively easy way to cook duck, I will probably not try this again. The skin was definitely crisp and tasty, but I found the duck meat to be bland and overdone. I felt like boiling took the juiciness out of the meat.
    Made for a very good duck. Wish I could get the bottom of the duck as crispy as the top.
    The skin was so yummy! This was my first attempt at roasting a whole duck and found this recipe. I had a small issue fitting the one duck in the pot but it all worked out. Just did the salt and pepper on the outside after letting the duck dry out after being boiled. I didn't use chicken broth, just water and salt to boil the duck in. The duck turned out terrific, I will definitely use this recipe again!
    OK - what did I do wrong here? It was delicious but the skin (well not all of it wasn't particularly crispy. I tried leaving it in for another 15 minutes and putting butter on the skin as another reviewer suggested, but I wouldn't call it crispy. 
    Could it be the oven temp? I've not had other problems but perhaps my oven's 500 isn't another persons 500 degree. 
    Also, the total time isn't accurate. 20 +45 +30+30+20 = 2hrs 25 minutes, and that's always assuming your broth boils from cold in 20 minutes (mine didn't even with a lid on.
    It was so juicey and so yummy A Plus
    Absolutely succulent!!! We loved it! We have only made duck once before, but this recipe made it soooo tasty! We added butter on top during the last 10 minutes to ensure the skin was crunchy and boy was it! We love Barefoot Contessa!!!
    Great recipe, we did not use chicken broth, son is allergic. I just par boiled in plain water, and it was fine. Nice and crispy, just the way duck should be!
    A Keeper! This recipe was the first time I made duck, and I've made it five times since! I had to host a fancy dinner party for 14 community leaders, and I used this recipe! It's so easy, and everyone thinks it is so fancy! I use 'better than bouillon" for the stock. Also, I don't like to wrap it in tin foil; it made the skin soften a bit, and I really love the skin extra crispy!
    I had never made duck before and only had it a few times when I was in Thailand. OMG- this recipe is amazing. Boiling really does eliminate the fattiness issue of the duck. I've made this twice already in 2 weeks- just for myself! Something about kosher salt and freshly ground pepper on the skin of the crispy duck skin...the combination is iMazing! That's how good it is. Thanks Ina! This is the easiest, tastiest recipe I've had in a long time.
    I have never made duck before and was very worried about how it would turn out. All the recipes I found were way more complex than I had time for (marinating overnight etc.) so I was thrilled to find Ina's recipe. The cooking technique worked perfectly! The only thing I changed was I wanted more than just a plain roast. So I brushed on a marinade of soy sauce, chopped garlic and honey before putting it in the oven. It was delicious! My entire family picked the bones clean! Thank you Ina, you have never failed me!
    Outstanding.I love duck and make it a lot, but generally confit. Rendering the fat first is brilliant, saved me from a smoke filled kitchen and greasy roaster! Bonus. Put the carcass back in the stock after dinner and simmered a couple hours which makes a great, rich stock. YUM
    I used this recipe for a Christmas dinner for six adults, and it was incredibly easy even though I had to boil the ducks one at a time. As far as I could tell, the first duck didn't suffer from sitting out even longer than the half-hour sitting time, and maybe even got better. The only thing I would add to the recipe that Ina left out was to make certain that your ducks are breast-side up when you roast them--that might seem obvious to everyone else, but I didn't think about it until they were done roasting! Luckily, they were on the right side, and they were absolutely gorgeous!!! Juicy, succulent, tasty as hell and really cost-effective considering that they require almost no ingredients other than the ducks themselves. My brother had never tasted duck before, and now he's hooked! You should absolutely try this recipe!!!!
    OMG. What a magneficent recipe. I followed Ina's recipe to the letter and the ducks came out perfect. We had this dish for Chrismas eve and everyone from my 12 year old niece to my 78 y/o mother raved about the amazing skin and succulent meat from the duck. I had never prepared duck before and prayed all thru the process that i would have a main course to present to our guests. This is easy and fool-proof. Thanks, Ina!
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