Roasted Chinese Duck

I love turkey, but I know that there those of you out there who do not. Whenever I hear someone tell me that they don’t eat turkey on Thanksgiving, I feel kind of bad for them. The most fun part of Thanksgiving is carving the bird! That’s why I wanted to make this duck, to show you that you can still make a big, plump, delicious bird for your Thanksgiving meal without having to use turkey or chicken. Roasted duck is one of my all-time favorite things. I love the sweet, crispy skin and the tender, dark meat, combined with a tasty dipping sauce and, preferably, some scallion pancakes. When Kramer and I first moved to New York, we went crazy eating all of the amazing Chinese food that the city has to offer, and nothing worked up an appetite like walking through Chinatown, gazing at all of the mouthwatering looking ducks in countless restaurant windows. The key to making this duck extra delicious is letting it sit in the fridge or out in the open for at least 3 hours or so, to get the skin nice and dry. I assume that the duck would still be delicious without this step, but I would recommend setting aside a few extra hours to make this duck the best that it can be. If you or someone you love isn’t a turkey fan, switch things up a bit this year with some roasted Chinese duck!

Roasted Chinese Duck
Your ingredients.

Roasted Chinese Duck
Mince your garlic.

Roasted Chinese Duck
And your ginger.

Roasted Chinese Duck
And your pepper.

Roasted Chinese Duck
Combine them in a food processor or blender with your other ingredients and pulse until combined.

Roasted Chinese DuckRoasted Chinese Duck
Combine your other spices and set aside.

Roasted Chinese Duck
Cook the sauce until reduced, then set aside to cool.

Roasted Chinese Duck
Boil your whole duck for a few minutes.

Roasted Chinese Duck
Then remove it and discard the water.

Roasted Chinese Duck
Fill the duck with your sauce.

Roasted Chinese Duck
Then you will need to seal the duck up, either with a skewer or twine.

Roasted Chinese Duck
I used twine.

Roasted Chinese Duck
Rub your chicken with your spices and coat in a layer of honey. Doesn’t this little duck look like he’s saluting you? He’s ready to get crispy.

Roasted Chinese Duck
Roast your duck until golden and crispy.

Roasted Chinese Duck
I served a simple fruit salad on the side of Asian pears and apples.

Roasted Chinese Duck
Simply peel and slice your fruit.

Roasted Chinese Duck
And toss it in honey and lime juice. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Roasted Chinese Duck
Look at that delicious duck.

Roasted Chinese DuckRoasted Chinese Duck
Remove the sauce from the inside and cook again until reduced.

Roasted Chinese Duck
Now just slice your duck and enjoy.

Roasted Chinese DuckRoasted Chinese DuckRoasted Chinese DuckRoasted Chinese Duck

Roasted Chinese Duck
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
For the Duck:
  • 1 duck, about 5-6 pounds
  • 3 teaspoons Chinese 5-Spice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons honey
For the Cavity:
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 2-inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 1 large jalapeno pepper, minced (if you can find a hot Asian pepper, use that instead, but I had jalapeno, so I used that)
  • 2 tablespoons peach jam or orange marmalade
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
For the Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
  1. Remove any gizzards and other pieces from the inside of the duck. Using the largest pot that you have, bring a pot of water to a boil. Place the duck in the water, submerging it as much as possible (I had to flip mine because the pot I used didn't end up being big enough). Allow the duck to boil for 4-5 minutes, then remove it from the water and place on a clean cutting board. Discard the water.
  2. Now, get your cavity filling ready. Mince the garlic, ginger, and jalapeno pepper, and add to a food processor or blender (or a mortar and pestle if you don't have one of these). Add in the jam, sugar, cider vinegar, coriander, paprika, and salt. Pulse until the mixture is mostly smooth, then add to a pot, add in 2 tablespoons of water, and cook over medium heat for 5-8 minutes, until slightly reduced. Remove the pot from the heat and set aside to cool.
  3. Rub your duck all over with the combined Chinese 5-Spice, salt, and red pepper flakes. Fill the duck with the garlic and ginger mixture, then close up the cavity however is easiest for you - I used twine and sealed the duck by cutting a small hole in the skin and threading it through. It doesn't have to be pretty! You just want it closed so that as much flavor as possible penetrates the duck. Place the duck in a roasting pan or on a baking sheet with a cooling rack on top, then brush with the 2 tablespoons of honey (you can use more honey, if you like). Now, this is a KEY step, so please do not skip it: place the duck in your refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours. This is done so that the skin becomes as dry as possible, therefore as crispy as possible. If you can hang it from somewhere in your home overnight, that is even better, but I didn't have a place to do this in my apartment, so in the fridge it went. You can leave it in there as long as overnight, too - I left mine in there for about 6 hours, then let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before putting it in the oven.
  4. When the duck is ready, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Place the duck breast side up on the middle rack, and roast for 1 hour and 30 minutes or so, until the duck is crispy and the meat is cooked. You can put the duck under the broiler for 5 minutes, too, if you like, when it is done, just to give it that extra crispy skin.
  5. When the duck is ready, cover it and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes before you slice it. While it rests, make your dipping sauce. Remove the contents of the duck's cavity by picking it up and emptying it into a medium sized pot. Add in the sauce ingredients (sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and cornstarch mixed with water) and bring to a boil. Taste, adjust seasonings as necessary, and serve alongside your roasted duck. May I suggest serving this duck with some scallion pancakes?


32 Responses

  1. Yum! I’ve had duck on a few occasions, though never made myself. It’s got great flavor to it!

  2. Mom says:

    Its all about the skin!

  3. Rhonda says:

    That skin looks so fabulous!

  4. I cannot even quantify how good this looks. I CANNOT EVEN.

    I’m going to feel a little guilty roasting a duckie, but uh. I’m just going to have to deal. Thanks for this!

  5. Meshelly9 says:

    *drool* the skin looks particularly yummy. Brings back childhood memories of my Mom making duck l’orange for dinner, she only did it once, but wow was it the best thing ever! I think I was around 7 yrs old :)
    Why do you boil it for a few minutes?

    I will try this recipe!!

  6. Anthony says:

    I love duck. Still haven’t forgiven Trader Joe’s for discontinuing its frozen duck breast.

    This looks delicious, btw! :)

  7. Ben says:

    I gotta give you props for even trying to tackle this one. Especially when there are so many Chinese places in the city where you can get a great roast duck for cheap!

  8. wu says:

    Why name it Chinese Duck? It’ s definetily not Chinese style

    • Sydney says:

      From what I read, it’s definitely the Chinese method for roasting a duck (marinade inside, honey outside, allowing it to sit to dry out to get crispy skin, etc.) However, I didn’t have any Chinese peppers (so I subbed jalapeno) and I don’t have the proper oven that is traditionally used, so I did what I could with what I had! I think if you tasted it, you’d be pleased with my Americanized Chinese duck :)

  9. Deborah Dowd says:

    I wish I could be there!!! What an incredible meal. The duck looks delectable!

  10. Stephen says:

    Can’t wait to try this! What is the purpose of the boiling, render fat out?

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  17. Jenny says:

    Thanks for this recipe, I found it on pinterest, cooked it last night, was yummy! I substituted the jam/ marmalade with half and orange squeezed, that sauce as dipping sauce…. oh man, my guests actually licked the bowl!! Thanks again

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