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How to Cook a Whole Duck – Beginner to Advanced Methods

How to Cook a Whole Duck – Beginner to Advanced Methods

Last Updated on 10th March 2022 by

Duck can be a challenging meat to cook, not just in the cooking part of the process but in preparing and cutting the bird. It seems like everyone has a different way to cook duck, and it can get confusing trying to figure out which method to use.

I’ll break down how to cook a whole duck in oven and slow cooker methods so that you don’t have any serious problems. I will also offer some troubleshooting help so that if you do run into an issue, you will already know how to handle it. Are you ready to cook duck like a pro? Let’s get started!

How to Cook Whole Duck – Simple Method

Start by preheating the oven to 450 degrees. To prepare the duck for cooking, you will need to cut off any extra fat, most of which will be on the duck cavity.

You should also take out the giblets and the neck from the cavity. Whole duck will typically have these parts to remove, but when learning how to cook whole duck, keep in mind that some sources may package their ducks differently.

Prepare a roasting pan with a rack inside it and place your duck on the rack.
The duck should be placed with the wings facing up and the breast facing down in a roasting pan.

Then, fill the pan with water until the water comes just beneath the rack. Brush down the duck with soy sauce and pepper to help give the duck a uniform, brown hue.

One issue you run into with cooking duck in the oven is that the color isn’t always even. Brushing with soy sauce can solve that problem.

Roast the duck for 30 minutes without opening the oven or interfering with the duck at all. With a sharp knife, make small pricks across the duck’s back. Then, turn the bird over to where it’s resting on its back and brush with the soy sauce and pepper once more.

After the duck has roasted for 30 minutes, the juice may start to spatter. If that happens, you can add some more water to the pan. Make sure none of it gets onto the duck, though.

Roast for an additional 20 minutes and then use the knife to prick the duck’s breast in a number of places. Brush once more and then roast for additional 10 minutes. Then, check to see if the duck is brown all over. If not, brush one more time and roast for an extra 5 or 10 minutes.

How Long to Cook a Whole Duck?

It should take about an hour for your duck to roast at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

It may take another five or 10 minutes on top of that, but you can tell if the duck is done cooking by checking the internal temperature and looking at whether it’s brown over.

If the duck is fully cooked, it should be under 55 degrees Fahrenheit when you poke an instant read thermometer into the thigh.

Be sure your duck rests for five minutes before you carve it and serve it.

How to Carve a Duck

Carving the duck can be a little tricky, as there is a little more involved to the carving process than there would be if you were carving chicken. You want to take off to rest house first goal which you do by cutting on both sides of the rib cage.

Then, remove the legs by cutting close to the bird. From there, you can pick off the rest of the duck meat from what’s left. If you’re going to cook whole duck, you want to carve it when it’s finished.

Knowing the best way to carve the duck and get the pieces you want will keep all the pieces looking appealing.

How to Cook Whole Duck in Slow Cooker

You can also an entire duck into a slow cooker and heat it that way. Start by seasoning the duck, mixing some seasoning salt and poultry seasoning together. Put plenty of seasoning across the dusk’s outer surface and then put a rack into the slow cooker.

Mix poultry seasoning and seasoned salt together. For reference’s sake, I am using a 6-qart slow cooker for this recipe.

If a rack isn’t available for your slow cooker, you can wrap foil into a few balls and place that at the base of the slow cooker. These will keep the duck from touching the bottom.

The duck should be placed into the slow cooker with the breast side facing down. Then, cook the duck on low heat for about 7 hours, give or take an hour. The duck is finished when it has an internal temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to Cook a Whole Duck without Skin

Sometimes, duck will be sold without the skin attached. Let’s talk about how you will cook a whole duck that way.

You can marinate the duck first, if you want, covering it with marinade and wrapping the sauced duck with plastic wrap. Then, place it in the fridge for a few hours to marinate.

When the duck is ready, you can prepare a large frying pan by heating it on medium.

Once it is warm, you can add the duck to the pan, with no oil at all. Cook the duck on one side for three minutes, then flip and cook it on the other side for an additional three minutes.

Check the internal temperature to see if it is done and cook longer if needed.

How to Cook a Whole Peking Duck

Peking duck is an Asian delicacy that is cooked differently from what I have detailed above. You’ll need to use soy sauce and various spices and seasonings unique to Peking duck.

Steam the duck in a large wok for an hour, making sure it has enough water as it steams. Then, roast it in an oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Be sure to prick it all over with a fork or knife before roasting.

Mix up your Peking duck sauces while it is cooking and brush the duck with your sauce after it comes out of the oven. Roast for an additional 5 minutes.


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I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!


Tuesday 19th of September 2023

Your article gave me a lot of inspiration, I hope you can explain your point of view in more detail, because I have some doubts, thank you.