I feel like roast birds really intimidate people. My mother, who is an incredibly accomplished home cook, dreads Thanksgiving every year because it means she has to make a turkey. She won’t even take a bite once we’ve all sat down to eat – just hovers and nervously asked if it turned out ok. It’s always delicious but it’s the intimidation of a whole bird that she just can’t shake.

I get it, roast it too little and you risk giving yourself salmonella, roast it too long and you’re eating dry meat – neither is desirable. Luckily, roast duck defies all normal bird roasting expectations for two reasons.

  1. The thick layer of fat keeps the bird moist throughout roasting
  2. The meat on a duck doesn’t really differ from breast to leg – it’s all pretty dark and holds moisture very well.

The downside to duck is that it’s VERY rich and, therefore, high in calories. So I don’t recommend this as a weekly dinner, but for a treat or special occasion, a roast duck is super impressive and 100% worth it. I use a blood orange glaze here because I find the citrus helps cut the richness – plus the color the glaze adds to the duck is stunning.

Blood Orange Glazed Roast Duck

This roast duck recipe is a lot easier than you think and would be sure to wow any guests! I typically estimate about 1.5 pounds per person as there are a lot of bones on a duck you need to cut around. This way, you also will typically have left overs for a next day stir fry.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Servings 2 people


  • 4 lb whole duck

For Marinade / Sauce

  • 3 large blood oranges juice of all three and zest of one – keep the juiced oranges for stuffing the duck
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp white miso
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup chicken stock

For Stuffing the Bird

  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 large shallot


  • Pat duck dry with paper towels and pull the bag out of the inner cavity. This will contain the neck and typically the heart and liver. I roast the heart with the duck and eat it (honestly it is delicious) but you can also discard
  • Combine all ingredients listed under marinade in a large mixing cup. Whisk to combine and remember to reserve the juiced oranges for later
  • Place duck in a large bowl and pour marinade all over. Make sure to get the duck as fully immersed as you can – you can always add more chicken stock as needed. Also be sure that the duck breasts are place down in the bowl so they soak up the marinade
  • Let duck sit in marinade for at least an hour but can also be overnight or all day if you prepare this in the morning for an evening meal
  • Once ready, place duck in a roasting pan, poke skin all over with the tip of a sharp knife, stuff with the juiced orange remains, shallot, thyme, and garlic
  • Preheat the oven to 300
  • While you wait for the oven, pour the marinade in a sauce pot and bring to a boil – this will make it safe to use as a sauce! The goal is to reduce this by about half
  • Once the oven is ready, place roasting pan with duck inside and cook for about 1-1.5 hours. Use the reduced sauce as a glaze and brush over duck 2-3 times while cooking
  • Note: if your duck skin is not browning – you can turn up the heat to 450 for the last 30 minutes. But be sure to baste more frequently if you do this
  • The duck is done when the legs move easily and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 160°F
  • Let duck rest on your cutting board for about 30 minutes – I like to tent mine with foil so it doesn't get cold when I make this in the winter
Keyword duck, duck recipes, glazed duck, roast duck, roast recipes