How to cook duck

Duck has a more gamey flavour than other poultry and can be a different addition to a Sunday dinner or paired with hoisin sauce for a take on Chinese flavours. Cooking duck is relatively simple, whether in a standalone dish or for a roast dinner, here are some tips.

When cooking duck, bear in mind quite a large percentage of a duck is fat, and what looks like a large bird will be considerably skinnier when cooked.

However, this means duck breasts are easier to portion accurately.

Duck breast is often served ‘pink’ or ‘rare’ but the Food Standards Agency advises cooking duck, like chicken, until it is no longer pink, for safety.

Below are two recipes for duck dishes, one roast and another for hoisin duck noodles.

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How to roast duck

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark six

2. Prick the skin of the duck with a toothpick or metal skewer and season all over with salt

3. Place on a baking tray and roast for 20 minutes, then add 20 minutes per 500g (for example, a two-kilogram duck would take one hour 40 minutes)

4. Remove the duck from the oven and cover with foil. Rest for at least 20 minutes before serving

For an extra crispy skin, pour a kettle of boiling water over the duck and then leave to dry for an hour before cooking.

If you are accompanying your duck with vegetables, cook the duck on a wire rack and place the vegetables on the shelf below.

Then, duck fat will drip on to the vegetables and give extra flavour.

Serve your roast duck with vegetables, roast potatoes and red wine gravy for the perfect pairing.

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How to make hoisin duck and noodles

Recipe courtesy of BBC Good Food


  • 4 skin-on duck breasts
  • 4 nests wholewheat egg noodles
  • 1 courgette (cut into thick half slices)
  • 1 cucumber (de-seeded & ribboned)
  • 4 spring onions (chopped at an angle)
  • 100g chestnut mushrooms (cut into thick slices)
  • Chinese Five spice
  • Low salt soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Course ground black pepper
  • Sesame seeds (optional)


Pre-heat oven to 160C or gas mark three.

1. Score the skin on the duck breasts around one centimetre apart diagonally. In a large deep pan, at a medium-high heat lay the duck skin-side down (no oil required) and fry for one to two mins until skin is golden & bubbling. Turn the duck over to flesh side and sear for one minute.

2. Once the duck flesh has browned a little, take the pan off the heat and put in the oven (uncovered) for 10 to 12 mins, with the duck remaining skin-side up. Once cooked, remove pan from oven and rest duck while you cook the vegetables & noodles.

3. Heat the olive oil in a Wok and add the courgette. Season with salt and coarse black pepper and cook until starting to soften.

4. Add the mushrooms, a few generous shakes of Chinese five spice and a splash of soy sauce. Stir to coat and cook through for a couple of minutes.

5. In a small saucepan, add the noodles and pour over boiling water to cover. Put on a medium/low heat and simmer until cooked through – this should take around five mins depending on the packet instructions.

6. Once noodles are cooked, drain off and lift a bunch out at a time to cut four to five-inch strands into the wok with the vegetables. Add more Chinese five-spice and soy sauce and mix well.

7. Once the duck has rested, pour two tablespoons of hoisin sauce over each duck breast, and turn on a low heat on the hob. Allow duck oils to heat back up, and rotate the breasts around the pan until all are covered in the sauce.

8. Distribute noodles and veg onto pre-warmed plates (or large bowls) and drizzle with remaining hoisin sauce to your liking. Place the duck breasts on top. Add spring onions as a garnish on top. You can also sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds if you fancy.

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