Herb Roasted Duck
Published Nov 02, 2023
Updated Nov 15, 2023
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If you are looking for a duck recipe that yields a really tasty duck without any added sugar or sweetener, make this ultra-easy Herb Roasted Duck. It is garlicky, herby, and flavorful to the bone. It doesn’t require scoring the flesh in a crisscross pattern or boiling the duck first.
This roast duck is the perfect main dish for holiday gatherings and special dinners. For serving inspiration, check out this guide on What To Serve With Roast Duck.
After picking up some ducks from Aldi’s, I started experimenting to create a roast duck recipe my family would actually love. I’m very happy with the results. This herb roasted duck is seasoned to the bone, juice, incredibly flavorful, and a recipe to make over and over again.
This is the perfect roast for Sunday supper, dinner, entertaining, or the holidays. Duck meat is dark, really flavorful on its own without much seasoning and this duck is not really gamey. It is the perfect canvas for herbs and spices and can be enjoyed with sides like Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes and Garlic Butter Green Beans.
Table of Contents
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Got some duck from the grocery store but don’t know what to do with it? You’ll love this easy recipe that shows you how to roast duck with a few herbs and spices. You’ll love this recipe for the following reasons:
- It is quick! With a prep time of only 10 minutes, you’ll have the duck roasting in the oven so you can free up time to do other things.
- It is insanely tasty! With just 2 herbs and 2 dried spices, you get really flavorful and juicy dark meat. This tastes way better than chicken! According to my 10-year-old daughter, it is 5 times more flavorful than chicken.
- It is great for the holidays! Not a fan of turkey? Try duck instead. Duck on its own has a really good flavor and when seasoned well, it makes an unforgettable meal.
- It is low-carb friendly! Just add your favorite vegetables! I served it with creamy brussels sprouts and it made such a soul-satisfying meal! We’ve had it with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli as well. So good!
Ingredients For Herb Roasted Duck
Here is everything you need to make savory Herb Roasted Duck. You might already have the herbs and spices in your pantry.
Here are some notes on key ingredients:
- Duck: I used a duck that was almost 6 pounds. Always estimate about one pound of duck per person. An almost 6-pound duck feeds my family of 7 just fine.
- Chicken bouillon powder: A tasty seasoning that elevates the taste of meats, soups, stews, and more. I often use the Knorr brand.
- Stuffing ingredients: Onion quarters, rosemary sprigs, and lemon slices make a great stuffing that imbues flavor into the meat and keeps it juicy as it cooks. If you choose not to stuff your duck, you’ll have to reduce the cooking time.
See the recipe card below with a detailed list of ingredients and instructions.
Best Herbs For Roast Duck
Many herbs go well with duck including:
- Herb de Provence
When using strong herbs like rosemary or oregano, be careful not to add too much as they could make the taste of the duck overwhelming. A little but does the trick.
How To Roast Duck
The best way to roast duck in my opinion is with herbs and spices. Here is your step-by-step guide for making Herb Roasted Duck.
Thaw and prep the duck: Thaw the duck in the fridge for 2-3 days. Bring to room temperature 1 hour before cooking. Remove excess fat from the cavity of the duck and trim the neck.
Preheat oven and prepare pan: Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil. Add an oven-safe rack on top.
Make cuts on the duck: Make little slits over the duck breast with a small knife. These small cuts will help the fat to render as the duck cooks.
Season the duck: Drizzle olive oil over the bird then mix the herbs, spices, and seasoning and rub all over, including the cavity. Stuff the cavity with onions, rosemary sprigs, and lemon slices.
Tie with twine and tuck wings: Tie the duck legs with butcher twine and tuck the wings underneath the bird.
Roast: Roast in a 400-degree oven until it registers an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
Rest and carve: Let the duck rest covered for about 15 minutes so the juices can redistribute before carving and serving.
Always let roast duck rest for at least 10 minutes before serving so the juices can get back into the meat, yielding juicy duck. Never ever cut roast duck as soon as it comes out of the oven. If you do do, the juices will run out, resulting in dry meat.
Duck Cooking Guide + Internal Temperature
While testing this recipe, I found that a good rule was to roast duck for about 20 minutes per pound of duck. So a 5-pound duck will cook in about 100 minutes which is 1 hour 40 minutes.
Now the time might be more or less depending on other factors like whether the duck is stuffed and the oven temperature. If you cook at a high temperature like I do, you can cook the duck for a shorter time. You’ll still get juicy meat.
Herb roasted duck should register an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for the meat to be considered safe to eat. A digital meat thermometer (linked below) makes it easy to determine the internal temperature of the bird.
Adapt the seasoning for this whole roast duck and use it on duck legs or duck breasts. Season the duck part you choose and roast in the oven until done.
Duck Recipe FAQs
Ducks go great with several seasonings including garlic, onion, ginger, and herbs like thyme and rosemary. You could also use seasoning blends such as Chinese 5 spice powder and Italian seasoning on duck.
Sometimes duck is boiled before roasting to firm up the skin so the duck can be easily scored so the fat renders out as it cooks. This step can be skipped and you’ll still get juicy flavorful duck.
Pekin duck is a popular choice for roasting as it has a mild flavor that soaks up seasonings really well.
These tools help facilitate the roasting of ducks. These are all tools that I use and love. These can also be used in the kitchen with several other recipes:
- Baking sheet with rack: This baking sheet and rack set is ideal as it allows the fat to drip into the pan as the bird roasts.
- Butcher’s twine: Makes tying the duck legs easier for even cooking.
- Digital meat thermometer: Helps you determine if the duck has reached the right internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
If you make this recipe please leave a star rating below. Your rating helps others find the recipe plus I love hearing from you! Thank you!
Herb Roasted Duck
- 5-6 pounds duck mine was 5.90 pounds
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme*
- 1 teaspoon fresh minced rosemary
- 2 sprigs Rosemary for stuffing cavity
- 1 lemon, sliced into rounds for stuffing cavity
- 1 medium onion, cut into quarters for stuffing cavity
- First keep frozen duck to thaw in the fridge for 2-3 days. Then bring the duck to room temperature for 1 hour before cooking. Rinse the duck in and out with cool water then pat dry in and out with paper towels.
- Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and place an oven-safe rack on top. Preheat oven to 400℉.
- Remove excess fat from the duck cavity. Trim the duck neck and reserve for stock. Use a small knife to poke small holes all over the duck breasts.
- Drizzle the olive oil all over the duck and rub the oil on the bird to ensure it coats the bird. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, pepper, chicken bouillon powder, onion powder, garlic powder, dried thyme, and fresh rosemary. Sprinkle the seasoning all over the duck and rub it on the skin of the duck and in the cavity of the duck. Stuff the cavity first with the onion quarters then add the fresh sprigs of rosemary and lemon slices. Tie the duck legs with kitchen twine and tuck the wings under the bird.
- Transfer the duck onto the rack on the foil-lined sheet pan. Then place in the preheated oven to roast for 1 hour 30 minutes until it registers an internal temperature of 165℉ (about 74℃) on an instant-read meat thermometer. Rotate the pan halfway through cooking. After the 1st hour, loosely cover the duck with aluminum foil so it doesn't over-brown. If you don't have a meat thermometer, make a small cut on a duck breast. If the juices run clear then the duck is ready.
- Once the duck is done, remove from the oven and cover with aluminum foil then let it rest covered for 10 to 15 minutes so the juices can redistribute. Cut the butcher's twine and discard. Carve and serve.