Our 24 All-Time Favorite Duck Recipes

Duck is a bird so rich and flavorful that it toes the line between poultry and red meat. The leaner breasts, particularly magret de canard, which are taken from prized birds raised for foie gras, once seared to a crisp and rosy medium-rare, can go head to head with the finest steaks. Duck legs, on the other hand, require little more than time and their fat own to transform into tender and silky confit or carnitas.

With a melting point well below body human temperature, duck fat is a seductive substitute for butter, shortening, and oil in bread and pastry, and even the organ meats find themselves sharing a place of honor in the kitchen and the charcuterie.

Roast Duck with Figs

Roast Duck with Figs
Rich, fatty duck gets a double dose of sweetness from port wine and jammy figs. Get the recipe for Roast Duck with Figs »Matt Taylor-Gross

Skillet-Cooked Duck Breast with Beets and Watercress

Skillet-Cooked Duck Breast with Beets and Watercress
The earthiness of beets pairs well with duck, which chef Gavin Kaysen likes to grill, but a skillet works just as well at home. The black rice is an incredible dish simply on its own. Get the recipe for Skillet-Cooked Duck Breast with Beets and Watercress »Ariana Lindquist

Pork and Duck Sausage

Pork and Duck Sausage
Most sausage recipes call for a meat mixture that is about 30 percent fat—using too much can yield a link that is more greasy than luxurious. Here, Russell Moore of Camino in Oakland, California, combines pork belly with rich duck liver and skinless duck breast—fatty duck skin is too tough—for a perfectly tender sausage. Get the recipe for Pork and Duck Sausage »Joseph De Leo

Duck Pâté en Croûte

Pate En Croute
Pâté is a labor of love, but it's worth every step, especially when you bake it in flaky homemade pastry dough and top it with a flavorful gelée. Here, being careful to keep the ingredients cold during the process, and taking the same care when folding and filling the dough, yields a pâté that everyone will write home about. Get the recipe for Duck Pâté en Croûte »Matt Taylor-Gross

Birch Syrup and Soy Sauce-Glazed Roast Duck

syrup wine roast duck
Amy Thielen's take on traditional teriyaki uses a bit of birch syrup in addition to mirin (sweet rice wine). Compared with maple syrup, birch is more feral—darker, less sweet, and more acidic—and she prefers it for cooking. It also doesn't hurt that she can harvest it at home: Every spring she taps the silver birch trees in her yard and boils down the syrup over a wood fire. You can find birch syrup online, or use maple. (If doing so, omit the teaspoon of sugar.) Get the recipe for Birch Syrup and Soy Sauce-Glazed Roast Duck »Matt Taylor-Gross

Dominique Ansel's Cassoulet

plate of duck leg confit with sausage and crusty bread
Made with confit duck legs, pork belly, and two kinds of sausage, this meaty, resplendently rich cassoulet is worth treasuring all winter. Get the recipe for Dominique Ansel's Cassoulet »Matt Taylor-Gross

Duck-Fat Shortbread Cookies

Duck-Fat Shortbread Cookies
Duck fat doesn't behave exactly like butter—it's nearly liquid at room temperature and, like lard or shortening, contains no extra water, which minimizes gluten development when it's added to pastry doughs. But there is a magic substitution that works in most simple baked goods like shortbread cookies, breakfast cakes, and biscuits. Replace 50 percent of the butter in a classic recipe with duck fat (or less if you prefer just a touch of the gamy flavor). Get the recipe for Duck-Fat Shortbread Cookies »Matt Taylor-Gross

Tacos de Carnitas de Pato (Braised Duck Tacos)

Tacos de Carnitas de Pato (Braised Duck Tacos)
Slowly braised duck infused with the aroma of Mexican cinnamon and orange is shredded and pan-fried until crisp in this recipe from chef Roberto Santibanez. Get the recipe for Tacos de Carnitas de Pato »Helen Rosner

Duck and Andouille Gumbo

Duck and Andouille Gumbo
This stew uses rendered duck fat in the roux instead of butter and quartered ducks in lieu of the classic chicken. Get the recipe for Duck and Andouille Gumbo »Christina Holmes

Fire-Roasted Duck and Pheasant with Red Currant Jelly

fire-roasted duck and pheasant with red currant jelly
Fred Morin and Dave McMillan of Joe Beef in Montreal cook a mix of birds over flames and embers, using hooks and chains to suspend and rotate them (different-size birds will cook at different speeds). "The spin, the way the fat drips down, all combines to make a wonderfully burnished bird," says McMillan. Ambitious home cooks can hang birds using twine or wire over a backyard fire, or simply roast birds on a rack set in a roasting pan in the (indoor) oven. Get the recipe for Fire-Roasted Duck and Pheasant with Red Currant Jelly »Christina Holmes

Duck Borscht with Fermented Tomato Sauce

Duck Borscht with Fermented Tomato Sauce
This soup combines a whole duck, beet greens, and cabbage in a fizzy fermented tomato sauce—a wonderful alternative when fresh tomatoes aren't in season. Get the recipe for Duck Borscht with Fermented Tomato Sauce »Justin Walker

Hearty Vegetable Stew with Duck Confit and Cabbage (Garbure Gasconne)

Hearty Vegetable Stew with Duck Confit and Cabbage (Garbure Gasconne)
Traveling through the lower reaches of Gascony, you will be offered a steaming bowl of garbure to begin almost every lunch and dinner. Warming, hearty, and satisfying with large chunks of sweet winter roots, cabbages, and onion, garbure is the way the French balance the heavier meat and starch courses inevitably to follow. Locals here typically enrich the broth by stirring it with a leg of duck confit, then adding the shredded meat at the end, or with the addition of a few chunks of ham. Or both: I loved a version I was served in a cafe in Salies-de-Béarn with a crispy garnish of thinly sliced Jambon de Bayonne on top. Get the recipe for Hearty Vegetable Stew with Duck Confit and Cabbage (Garbure Gasconne) »Anna Williams

Gascon Sourdough Cornbread (Pain de Méture)

Gascon Sourdough Cornbread (Pain de Méture)
Corn is prevalent in Gascony, France, where it's used to feed the region's famous foie gras ducks. It's also the star of this pain de méture, a Gascon cornbread made with sourdough and baked in a cast iron pan. This cabbage-leaf-lined version from New York-based baker Kamel Saci was tested by Saveur contributor Kate Hill, a cook and cooking instructor in the region, who loves the crispy bits of cabbage that sear around the bread's edges. Get the recipe for Gascon Sourdough Cornbread (Pain de Méture) »Anna Williams

Gascon-Style Duck Confit (Confit de Canard)

duck confit
Confit, from the French verb confire, to preserve, is a traditional means of cooking meat slowly in its own fat. Although you may not have access to a whole foie gras duck for rendering, you can create a deeply flavorful confit with good-quality duck pieces and rendered fat bought from a trusted butcher. Adjust the salt and cooking time to reflect the size of the duck parts, using an amount of coarse sea salt equal to 3 percent of the duck legs' weight to cure them—about 1 tablespoon of salt per pound. Get the recipe for Gascon-Style Duck Confit (Confit de Canard) »Anna Williams

Roast Duck with Shallots and Concord Grapes

winemakers duck
I borrowed this method and these ingredients from a classic chicken recipe often made during the wine harvest with big bunches of red wine grapes. As the bird steams and braises in a terra-cotta roaster or Dutch oven, it releases its own fat and juices that make a rich sauce with the roasted grapes and shallots. Because it's made in one pot and results in tender, juicy meat every time, this is a perfect duck dish for beginners. Choose the darkest, plumpest grapes you can find such as Concord or muscat. Serve with crusty bread, la cruchade, or creamy potato purée. Get the recipe for Roast Duck with Shallots and Concord Grapes »Anna Williams

Gascon Duck-Fat Polenta with Duck-Skin Fritons (La Cruchade)

Gascon Duck-Fat Polenta with Duck-Skin Fritons (La Cruchade)
Gascony's love affair with corn dates back to the 15th century, when it was introduced from the New World by Christopher Columbus and his Basque crew shortly after their return to Spain. Corn thrived in a narrow belt along the 45th parallel, which bisects the heart of southwestern France. Old Gascon recipes still rely on cornmeal for desserts like millassou, which is baked and topped with sugar or honey; and for cruchade, a starchy, savory underpinning for duck or other meats. The polenta-like porridge is often enriched with caramelized fat drippings from making confit. Left to cool completely, cruchade can be cut into thick strips for frying, but since I'm an impatient cook, I ladle a soft, golden pudding-like version onto a serving platter and garnish with fritons, crisped bits of duck skin. Get the recipe for Gascon Duck-Fat Polenta with Duck-Skin Fritons (La Cruchade) »Anna Williams
Escarole with Confit Duck Gizzards, Comté, and Walnuts

Escarole with Confit Duck Gizzards, Comté, and Walnuts

Winemakers Alice and Olivier de Moor use confit duck gizzards in this simple winter salad, but confit duck legs make a fine substitute. Get the recipe for Escarole with Confit Duck Gizzards, Comté, and Walnuts »William Hereford
Duck Liver Mousse with Cipolline Onions and Mushrooms

Duck Liver Mousse with Cipolline Onions and Mushrooms

In this creamy, refined version of liver and onions, from Toronto's The Black Hoof restaurant, ethereal duck liver mousse pairs with caramelized cipolline onions and mushrooms. Get the recipe for Duck Liver Mousse with Cipolline Onions and Mushrooms »Saveur

Sichuan Tea-Smoked Duck

Sichuan Tea-Smoked Duck
Traditionally prepared with a whole duck, this updated stir-fry lends duck breasts a gentle, caramelized smokiness. Get the recipe for Sichuan Tea-Smoked Duck »Penny De Los Santos

Crispy Duck Breasts with Glazed Carrots

Crispy Duck Breasts with Glazed Carrots
Test kitchen director Farideh Sadeghin learned the technique for this wonderfully crisp duck with soy glaze while working in the kitchen at Huka Lodge in Taupo, New Zealand. Get the recipe for Crispy Duck Breasts with Glazed Carrots »Penny De Los Santos

Bebek Betutu (Balinese Roast Duck)

Balinese Roast Duck
In Bali, this aromatic chile and garlic stuffed duck is wrapped in coconut tree bark and steamed. We found it bakes beautifully rubbed in coconut oil and covered in aluminum foil. Get the recipe for Bebek Betutu (Balinese Roast Duck) »Penny de Los Santos

Duck a l'Orange

Duck a l'Orange
The recipe for this classic French dish is based on one in James Peterson's Glorious French Food. Get the recipe for Duck a l'Orange »Todd Coleman

Smoked Duck Gumbo

Smoked Duck Gumbo
Prejean's restaurant in Lafayette, Louisiana, dishes up this rich gumbo chock full of smoked duck and andouille sausage. Get the recipe for Smoked Duck Gumbo »Chris Granger

Duck Rillettes

Duck Rillettes
Duck legs are dry-brined and braised in an aromatic stock, then shredded and mixed with armagnac and spices and sealed into a serving dish with duck fat, making a delectable spread for a toasted baguette. Get the recipe for Duck Rillettes »Helen Rosner