13 Delicious Duck Recipes

Duck with orange
Duck with orange - Susan Olayinka/Tasting Table

Duck may not be an ingredient you use every day, but this meaty and flavorful protein should definitely be on your list of things to cook at home. Sure, it's an ingredient spotted on fancy French restaurant menus or served as the pièce de résistance at a Chinatown hotspot, but it's also worth trying to make it in your home kitchen. And with the right recipe and some knowledge of how to cook duck, we can assure you it's not as formidable of a protein as it sounds.

If you love chicken thighs, dark meat on Thanksgiving, and gamey proteins, you'll love duck. Because ducks fly (unlike chickens and turkeys), their muscles need more oxygen. This is delivered via red blood cells, which is why all duck meat — including the breast — is dark. The consistency is lean, while the thick layer of fat under the skin that helps keep the ducks afloat also promotes moisture and flavor. Besides that, the meat is also versatile because you can cook it in so many different ways and contrast it with fruit-based sauces or sides. If you're ready to bring some duck to your table, try one of these delicious recipes to make it happen.

Read more: 12 Different Ways To Cook Chicken

Crispy Roast Duck

Crispy roast duck with pears
Crispy roast duck with pears - Ausrine Zygaityte/Tasting Table

Roasting a whole duck is the perfect way to ensure everyone gets a bite of the crispy, delectable skin. In this recipe, the duck is slow-roasted to render the fat and keep the meat moist. Toward the end of cooking, a lemon and honey glaze is added to brighten the flavor and give the skin a deep, burnished color.

Duck pairs beautifully with pears and figs, which have a concentrated flavor after they're baked. Since there are already potatoes and shallots also in the pan, all you need is a simple green salad to round out this recipe.

Recipe: Crispy Roast Duck

Duck Confit

Pot of duck confit
Pot of duck confit - Lizzie Munro/Tasting Table

In the kitchen, duck fat is gold — and nothing celebrates it quite like duck confit. Salt-curing the duck legs draws out moisture and seasons the meat. Then a long and slow cook submerged in duck fat transforms it into succulent, tender meat that's ready to be served however you see fit.

Store your duck confit submerged in the strained fat to preserve it. When you're ready to eat, use a bit of the fat to sear your portion and create crispy bits for textural contrast.

Recipe: Duck Confit

Duck Breast

Seared duck breast in a pan
Seared duck breast in a pan - Tasting Table

Although poultry is rarely cooked medium-rare, it's the best approach to take with duck breast. This keeps the meat tender and flavorful without drying it out and will give you a perfectly pink and juicy center.

Start your duck breast by scoring the skin and placing it skin-side down in a cold pan. As the pan heats to medium, it will slowly render out the thick layer of fat — giving you crispy skin, tender fat, and juicy meat that cooks gently.

Recipe: Duck Breast


Cassoulet with duck and sausage
Cassoulet with duck and sausage - Rachel Vanni/Tasting Table

Nothing says "comfort food" quite like cassoulet, a garlicky French stew that combines duck confit, white beans, and sausage under a breadcrumb crust. Great cassoulet takes time — we're talking three days to prep, confit the duck, and finally stew it with the sausage and beans — so get started on Friday afternoon for an epic Sunday supper. Open a grenache, syrah, and mourvèdre blend from the Languedoc region, slice a baguette, and mix up a light salad full of fresh herbs to cut through the richness of the dish.

Recipe: Cassoulet

Seared Duck Breast With Wheat Berries And Endive

Duck breast with wheat berries and endive
Duck breast with wheat berries and endive - Lizzie Munro/Tasting Table

For a fancy presentation, opt for duck breast over the whole bird. In this recipe, the breast is scored to let the fat render and make the skin nice and crispy while maintaining the shape of the breast. Don't forget to let the meat rest after cooking, just like you would a steak. This is the perfect dish for date night at home when paired with tender wheat berries and a crisp endive salad.

Recipe: Seared Duck Breast with Wheat Berries and Endive

Honey-Lacquered Duck Breast

Honey-lacquered duck breast with thyme
Honey-lacquered duck breast with thyme - Susan Olayinka/Tasting Table

This recipe turns to honey, orange, and brown sugar to create a sweet and citrusy sauce to contrast the duck's rich flavor. This recipe's flavors are reminiscent of duck a l'orange, but it uses duck breast instead of a whole bird to cut down the cooking time and ensure a shatteringly crisp skin.

The sauce is sweet, so lean into savory sides to balance it out. Pair this recipe with nutty wild rice and green beans almondine for a simple and hearty dinner that's quick enough for weeknight cooking.

Recipe: Honey-Lacquered Duck Breast

Quick & Easy Instant Pot Cassoulet (Duck & White Bean Stew)

Duck cassoulet with beans and sausage
Duck cassoulet with beans and sausage - Michelle Sun/Tasting Table

Traditional cassoulet takes three days to cook, but with a little bit of kitchen magic, you can have this indulgent French dish on your table in an hour. If you don't have leftover duck confit in your fridge, seek out confit duck legs where you'd buy fresh duck — like a specialty butcher or reputable online retailer — and let someone else do the work for you. Then, let an Instant Pot turn hours of cooking into a quick and easy (and, may we say, weeknight-worthy) cooking project. Toast some breadcrumbs with butter and garlic for a garnish that is reminiscent of the classic dish.

Recipe: Quick & Easy Instant Pot Cassoulet (Duck & White Bean Stew)

Best Duck Confit Tacos

Duck confit tacos with jalapeño
Duck confit tacos with jalapeño - Ksenia Prints/Tasting Table

Whether you choose to confit duck legs yourself or purchase duck confit, this fall-off-the-bone meat can be served in a plethora of ways. One favorite is to transform this French classic into a bright and fresh taco.

Cilantro, shredded cabbage, and a jalapeño cranberry salsa cut through the rich duck, while a hint of lime ties everything together. Don't forget to warm your tortillas before assembling so they're pliable, yet sturdy enough to hold your fillings.

Recipe: Best Duck Confit Tacos

Duck Breast With Apricot Chutney

Duck breast with apricots and cherries
Duck breast with apricots and cherries - Leah Maroney/Tasting Table

The key to this flavorful duck breast recipe is to allow the skin to render slowly and to give it enough time to rest while you turn your attention to the sauce. You'll be shocked by how easy the super-quick chutney is to make. Dried cherries and apricots, paired with Chinese five-spice, are the sweet and savory combination your dinner menu has been missing.

Recipe: Duck Breast with Apricot Chutney

Duck Poutine

Duck poutine with cheese curds
Duck poutine with cheese curds - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Poutine, Canada's iconic combination of fries, cheese curds, and gravy, can't possibly get any better ... or can it? Well, if you add rich and tender braised duck breast, it can.

Start by searing the duck breast and using the rendered fat to coat the fries. Then, braise the breast until it's shreddable — and don't forget to use the crazy-flavorful braising liquid as the base of your gravy. Dig in while it's hot for the perfect combination of crispy, tender, and gooey.

Recipe: Duck Poutine

Instant Pot Duck A l'Orange

Instant pot duck a l'orange
Instant pot duck a l'orange - Ksenia Prints/Tasting Table

The perfect duck is soft and tender, but if it isn't cooked properly, the results can be tough and gamey. Thankfully, the Instant Pot is designed to help you avoid that (and make it all hands-off). This duck a l'orange pairs classic French flavors with a quick and easy cooking method.

A sweet and tangy orange sauce is made using the duck drippings and then poured over the succulent meat. Serve it with a grain salad loaded with dried fruit for a hearty and satisfying dinner.

Recipe: Instant Pot Duck A l'Orange

Sweet And Spicy Five-Spice Duck Legs

Duck legs with orange and cranberries
Duck legs with orange and cranberries - Ksenia Prints/Tasting Table

Duck and Chinese five-spice are a match made in heaven. The meat is rich, a little gamey, and savory. This recipe's ideal Chinese five-spice powder has bright, warming notes of cinnamon, clove, fennel, star anise, and ginger. Together, they result in a cozy and super comforting main course. The spice is introduced in a marinade alongside cranberries and fresh orange for a bit of acidity. Pair the protein with a side of fried rice to soak up all the delicious sauce.

Recipe: Sweet and Spicy Five-Spice Duck Legs

Duck-Fat Chex Mix

Chex mix with pretzels
Chex mix with pretzels - Tasting Table

If you've made duck confit or seared duck breast, you might be lucky enough to have some leftover duck fat. And we'd argue there's nothing better to do with it than add it to the most epic Chex Mix you've ever had. Substitute the fat for the melted butter in your Chex Mix recipe for a dose of umami. We recommend complementing it with fresh herbs like rosemary to enhance the savory flavor.

Recipe: Duck-Fat Chex Mix

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