Grandma’s Roasted Duck

Total Time

Prep: 10 min. Roast: 1-3/4 hours + standing


4 servings

Updated: Jun. 27, 2023
When I was growing up, my grandma always served roast duck for the holidays, and for other family events throughout the year. I always thought it was better than turkey! —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
Grandma's Roasted Duck Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 1 domestic duck (4 to 5 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Pierce duck skin all over with a fork. Mix remaining ingredients; rub over outside of duck. Place duck on rack in a shallow roasting pan; add 1 inch of water.
  2. Roast duck, uncovered, until a thermometer inserted in thigh reads 180°, 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Remove from oven; let stand 15 minutes before carving. If desired, skim fat and thicken pan drippings for gravy. Serve with duck.

Roast Duck Tips

Where can you purchase duck to make this recipe?

A little planning is important when making roast duck. Call your local butcher to be sure they have a domestic duck in stock, or place a special order. Most large supermarkets carry frozen, whole ducks, but then time is needed to safely thaw in the refrigerator.

How do you know if the duck is cooked properly?

Cook a whole duck for 15 to 20 minutes per pound. The duck is done when a thermometer placed in the thickest part of the thigh reads 180 degrees, or in the breast, 165 degrees for medium and 180 degrees for well done. (If desired, the breast can be consumed while still pink, as long as the temperature is at least 165 degrees.) For best results, don’t forget to let the duck rest 15 minutes before carving. Serve with cranberry wild rice or roasted root vegetables and it’s a hearty, comforting meal!

What can you do with the skimmed duck fat from the roast duck?

When it’s time to clean up, don’t discard the drippings. Strain the drippings through a coffee filter or fine mesh sieve and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. It also freezes beautifully and can be stored in a tightly covered container for up to 3 months. You can use the stored duck fat as you would butter or bacon fat for sauteing vegetables and pan-frying steak. Or, try mixing it with fresh minced herbs and rubbing on the outside of a chicken before roasting. Making hashbrowns or roasting potatoes in leftover duck fat always yields golden brown, crisp and rich results!

Catherine Ward, Taste of Home Prep Kitchen Manager

Nutrition Facts

6 ounces cooked duck: 649 calories, 51g fat (18g saturated fat), 152mg cholesterol, 550mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 0 fiber), 34g protein.