Roast Duck

5 from 4 votes
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A simple spiced maple glaze, tender, juicy duck meat, and perfectly roasted skin make this roast duck recipe a new family favorite!

For more great duck dishes, why not learn how to make some Duck a l’Orange? Or learn How To Cook Duck Eggs?

roast duck on a wooden cutting board

Roast Duck

Duck is a bit of scary meat to cook at home for most people. However, with just a little bit of effort and understanding of how to keep moisture inside the bird, you could be enjoying some delicious duck in no time!

This recipe is just for the duck, so feel free to experiment with some different sides like make ahead mashed potatoes or garlic mashed potatoes or go towards Chinese cuisine and serve it with some rolled-up thin pancakes and spring onions for some duck and pancakes!        

ingredients for roast duck

Roast Duck Ingredients

Make sure you look at the recipe card at the very bottom for the exact amounts so that you know exactly what to buy for this recipe.

• Whole duck, about 5lbs

• Salt

• White onion, peeled and sliced into quarters

• Garlic cloves

Maple Glaze

• Maple syrup

• Ground paprika

• Salt & pepper

• Garlic powder

• Onion powder

• Cayenne pepper

raw duck with scored breast fat

How To Make Roast Duck

• Defrost the duck fully

• Remove the giblets, neck, and any extra fat from inside the duck cavity

• Pat completely dry using paper towels

• Without cutting the meat below the fat, use a sharp knife to cut the skin in a diamond pattern  

• Salt the inside of the cavity of the duck, and then stuff with the onion and the garlic

• Truss the legs together using butcher’s twine

• Place the duck breast side down in a large roasting pan

• Roast the duck for 10 minutes at 425 Fahrenheit, and then lower the heat to 350 Fahrenheit

• While cooking, mix the ingredients for the maple glaze together in a small saucepan and heat until it boils

• Remove and leave the sauce to cool slightly

• After cooking the duck for an hour at 350 Fahrenheit, keep brushing it with the maple glaze

• Cook, basting every 10 minutes until the duck is totally cooked

• Keep checking the internal temperature of the duck’s leg until it reads 180 Fahrenheit

• Remove from the oven and tent with foil for 10 minutes before carving and serving warm    

raw duck with maple glaze on top

How To Stop Your Duck Getting Dry

Duck is one of those really incredible meats that is underutilized in most kitchens.

A big part of this is because of how easy it is to accidentally overcook the meat. It seems like no matter what you do; the duck will find a way to make itself turn out dry.

However, there are a few things that any home cook can do to help the meat stay juicy. First of all, make sure not to cut the skin all the way, leaving a gap in the meat. If you do this, steam and valuable moisture will escape, leaving the meat directly underneath it super dry.

The basting technique used in this recipe also helps to keep everything dry as well as richly flavored. Frequently basting not only keeps everything juicy, but the glaze builds up a lacquer, helping to keep residual moisture within the bird.

Finally, make sure that you don’t skip on tenting the duck with foil after taking it out of the oven. You need to let it rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting, as otherwise, all of the juices will run straight out of the meat the moment you cut into it.

The foil covering also helps to keep everything extra moist, which is always an added bonus!

cutting a roast duck with knife and fork

Do You Really Have To Use So Much Sugar In The Glaze?

For a lot of people not used to duck dishes, it might seem strange to use so much sugar in the form of maple syrup in a dinner recipe.

However, there is just something about using sugary glazes and sauces on a duck that goes so well and tastes so amazing. The meat is just crying out for some slightly delicate, sweet sauce. The sweetness helps to compliment the savory qualities of duck meat, which can sometimes border on gaminess.

Without the sweetness, the meat might taste altogether too gamey, almost like deer. Plus, the maple syrup glaze does a fantastic job at helping to keep everything moist – as it cooks, the lacquered effect it leaves on the surface of the duck traps moisture, making for even more delicate meat!

Looking for more delicious Poultry recipes? Try these out:

Chicken Fricassee

Baked Chicken Meatballs

Classic Bisquick™ Chicken Pot Pie

Enjoy! Let me know if you give roast duck a chance!




A simple spiced maple glaze, tender, juicy duck meat and perfectly roasted skin makes this roast duck recipe a new family favorite!
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Roast Duck

A simple spiced maple glaze, tender, juicy duck meat and perfectly roasted skin makes this roast duck recipe a new family favorite!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour 30 minutes
Christmas, Main Course, thanksgiving
American, French
Karlynn Johnston


  • one 4-5 pound whole duck
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 small white onion peeled and sliced into quarters
  • 4 garlic cloves

Maple Glaze

  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper or to taste


  • Completely defrost the duck in the refrigerator if needed.
  • Preheat your oven to 425°F.
  • Remove the giblets, neck and any extra fat from inside the duck cavity. Pat the inside completely dry using paper towels.
  • Without cutting the meat below the fat, use a sharp knife to score the skin of the duck breast in a criss-cross or diamond pattern. You can cut into the fat, but if you cut into the meat it will dry out. This helps release the fat from under the skin which you need to do with duck. Only cut the skin where there is a lot of fat, do not score the legs.
  • Salt the inside of the cavity, then stuff with the onion and the garlic.
  • Truss the legs together.
  • Place the duck breast side up in the rack of a large roasting pan. You can also use a baking sheet with a wire rack in the middle.
  • Roast the duck for 10 minutes at 425°F, then lower the heat to 350°F.
  • While the duck is cooking combine the ingredients for the maple glaze in a small saucepan and heat until it boils. Remove and leave the sauce in the pan to cool slightly.
  • After the first hour at 350 °F, using a basting brush baste the duck with some of the maple glaze. Keep cooking, basting every 10 minutes, until the duck is fully cooked – the internal temperature at the junction of the leg and thigh should be 180°F. This can be around another 30-45 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and tent with foil for 10-15 minutes before carving.

Recipe Notes

  • Don’t skip the tenting with foil as it helps keep the duck juicy!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 83kcal, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 585mg, Potassium: 100mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 17g, Vitamin A: 172IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 38mg, Iron: 1mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

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  1. Heather M says

    The long written portion of your instructions state to put the duck breast side down and the shortened recipe at the end states to put the breast side up. Which is it?

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