If you are looking for something a little bit different to serve on Christmas day or a Sunday Roast, then why not try this Roast Duck? Crispy and tender roasted duck with a little sweetness from the honey and orange and a hint of thyme, that just falls off the bone. The festive season doesn't have to be all about turkey, and your guests might appreciate the change. This post includes our top tips on how to cook duck too.
Most people only eat duck when it is shredded and served with hoisin sauce from their local Chinese takeaway, but it makes such a nice roast dinner alternative and this is one of our favourite duck recipes.
If you have been put off cooking duck, don't be. It's really simple. Roasted duck gets the skin nice and crispy and you can just put it in the oven and forget about it until it needs basting. The honey and orange makes it taste simply amazing. This duck roast is the perfect lazy Sunday meal.
If you are looking for more roast dinner meats to try, why not try our Slow Cooker Roast Beef , Slow Cooker Beef Brisket or Best Roast Chicken recipes?
Why you will love it
- A nice alternative to a Sunday roast - If you are bored of roast chicken and beef, then this roast duck makes a nice change. It's not as difficult to cook as you might think either.
- A new way to try duck - If you have only ever had duck pancakes, then you need to give this a try.
- Great for feeding a crowd - If you are feeding a big family this Christmas, then this duck roast will be perfect for serving up to wow them with.
- Freezes well - If you have leftovers, you can wrap slices of the meat up and keep in the freezer for quick and easy roast dinners.
- Just 5 ingredients - This is so simple to make and you only need 5 ingredients.
- A whole duck - This is a whole duck recipe. You can usually find these in the supermarket around Christmas time (some supermarkets stock it all year round) or you can pick it up from your local butcher.
- An orange - This adds so much freshness to the roast duck, and duck and orange are a classic combination.
- Honey - Not only does this add a lovely sweetness, but it helps the duck skin get lovely and crispy too.
- Thyme - Honey and thyme are a delicious combination, but you could swap it for rosemary if you prefer.
- Sea salt and black pepper
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to roast a duck - Step by step
One: Squeeze a little orange juice inside the duck and then place two orange halves and two sprigs of thyme into the bird's cavity. Season all over with sea salt and black pepper.
Two: Place the duck in a roasting tin and put in a preheated oven at 220°C/430°F/Gas 7. Cook for 20 minutes or until the skin begins to crisp, then reduce the heat to 190°C/370°F/Gas 5.
Three: Cook for a further 40 minutes then remove from the oven. Drizzle the honey over the duck and sprinkle over thyme leaves and put back in the oven.
Four: Baste regularly and check the temperature with a meat thermometer. When the internal temperature reaches 74° the duck is cooked.
Five: Once cooked, remove from the oven and let it rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes before serving.
Honey Roast Duck
Honey and duck are such a delicious combination and you only have to look at a Chinese restaurant menu to see that it is also a classic and traditional combination.
We have kept the flavours simple with this roasted duck recipe and the honey combined with the orange give it just enough sweetness so you notice it, but it's not overpowering. The honey also helps the skin to get nice and crispy too.
Other than some salt and pepper, the only other flavour you will taste on this duck is some thyme, which I always think goes really well with honey.
What to serve with roast duck
This epic honey roast duck is a must when it comes to a Sunday roast dinner. But, what is a Sunday roast without all the sides? And do we have some side dishes for you!? Take a look of some of these that go perfectly with this roasted duck:
- Easy Roast Potatoes
- Roasted Tenderstem Broccoli
- Balsamic and Garlic Roasted Cauliflower
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Easy Cauliflower Cheese
- Air Fryer Parsnips
- Slow Cooker Red Cabbage
- The BEST Creamy Mashed Potatoes
- Mustard and Honey Roasted Parsnips
- Air Fryer Pigs in Blankets
- Vegetable Mash
- Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts
- Garlic and Parsley Roasted Carrots
- Easy Sautéed Cabbage
Yes, if you don't have many guests over and have lots of the meat left over, you can slice it up and wrap it up and it will keep in the freezer for 2 months. It will also keep in the fridge for 2-3 days, perfect for leftover roast sandwiches.
Leftover cooked duck will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store at the bottom of the fridge. To freeze the duck, once cooled fully, wrap tightly in plastic wrap or put in air tight containers and freeze immediately.
Never let duck thaw at room temperature - always defrost in the fridge overnight and use within 2-3 days.
Don't leave anything to chance and get yourself a Thermapen meat thermometer so you can be sure that the meat is cooked to a safe temperature (74°C when it comes to duck and chicken). It gives an accurate reading in just 3 seconds!
Duck is an excellent source of protein and is similar in fat and calorie content to skinless chicken or turkey breast. Duck is also a source of zinc and selenium, which encourage good metabolism. It is also higher in iron than other poultry as duck is a red meat.
We used a 1.3kg duck, which is what the cooking times in this recipe are for. If your duck is bigger or smaller than ours, then you will need to adjust the cooking time.
• If duck isn't your thing, then you could use this same recipe for chicken instead.
• Swap the thyme for rosemary or marjoram if you have some that needs using.
• A couple of cloves of garlic stuffed in to the cavity would add some nice extra flavour.
• Don't waste the juices in the tin after it has finished roasting - use them to make gravy.
• When the duck has finished cooking, it is important to let it rest before carving it, because all the juices will soak into the meat, making it more juicy.
• Don't throw away the carcass, as you can make stock from it. Follow our recipe for Chicken Stock.
More roast recipes
If you’ve tried this Honey Roasted Duck recipe, let us know how you got on in the comments below.
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Honey Roast Duck
- 1.3 kg (3 lb) whole duck
- 1 (1) orange
- 2 tablespoon (2 tablespoon) Honey
- 2 sprig (4 sprig) thyme - whole
- 2 sprig thyme - leaves only
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Squeeze a little orange juice inside the duck and then place two orange halves and two sprigs of thyme into the bird's cavity. Season all over with sea salt and black pepper.1.3 kg whole duck, 1 orange, 2 sprig thyme, Sea salt and black pepper
- Place the duck in a roasting tin and put in a preheated oven at 220°C/430°F/Gas 7. Cook for 20 minutes or until the skin begins to crisp, then reduce the heat to 190°C/370°F/Gas 5.
- Cook for a further 40 minutes then remove from the oven. Drizzle the honey over the duck and sprinkle over the thyme leaves and put back in the oven.2 tablespoon Honey, 2 sprig thyme
- Baste regularly and check the temperature. When the internal temperature reaches 74° the duck is cooked (this should take around a further 20 minutes).
- Once cooked, remove from the oven and let it rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes before serving.
- If duck isn't your thing, then you could use this same recipe for chicken instead.
- Swap the thyme for rosemary if you have some that needs using.
- A couple of cloves of garlic stuffed in to the cavity would add some nice extra flavour.
- Don't waste the juices in the tin after it has finished roasting - use them to make gravy.
- When the duck has finished cooking, it is important to let it rest before carving it, because all the juices will soak into the meat, making it more juicy.
- Don't throw away the carcass, as you can make stock from it. Follow our recipe for Chicken Stock.
Wow, it really is such an easy recipe! I'm sure your guests will be impressed!
Duck is seriously one of my favorite meats ever. I absolute love a good roasted duck. Especially with honey. Yum!
Alina | Cooking Journey Blog
The combination of orange and honey with duck is just perfect to serve for a little bit fancier, but truly comforting Christmas dinner :)
Love the oranges and thyme in there... adds so much flavor! and that skin....OMG, beautiful!
The duck turned out perfect. Everyone loved it. Great tips on the temps. It made everything very easy. Much appreciated.
So crispy and full of flavor! Love the fresh orange!
I love duck and your skin looks perfectly crispy!
This duck recipe looks amazing! This would be great for smaller holiday gatherings for sure.
This is a good reminder to make duck. I love it too and haven't made it in years. You're right, that makes is even more special. This recipe sounds so good -- I always think duck need something sweet and honey is lovely.
That looks for perfect a holiday feast. I love the honey and orange.
Wow! That duck is cooked perfectly. I would never have thought to make duck on Christmas, but now I am seriously thinking about it. I am going to pin this for later.
Not so many good recipes out there for duck! Thanks so much for sharing.
I have never cooked or eaten Duck before. You make it look so pretty and easy.
I can't wait to make this for Christmas - thank you!!
Thank you so much for the detailed information about cooking the roast duck. I am used to turkey (which is a bit dry) or chicken and occasional lamb which I love. But I must admit I never really thought about roast duck with all the ingredients you mentioned.
If I don't try it for Christmas I will try it for Easter.
It certainly looks very appetising.
This is one of my favorite meals but haven't had it in a while! Gotta make it this Holiday season! :)
Lisa | Garlic & Zest
I've never roasted a whole duck before -- usually we just do duck breast, but this sounds like a real winer. Love the glaze, too!
I have never had duck before and looking at this which is so incredible and perfect I just want to dive right in. Bravo and I need to get a duck soon!
I love duck a lot more than turkey, although I haven't roasted one for a while. Good idea for Christmas! Love the addition of honey!
I have never attempted a duck before, but this post has given me confidence. Good to know how easy it is. Beautiful pictures too.