Roasted Duck with Blackberry Balsamic Reduction Sauce

December 20, 2019 (Last Updated: January 4, 2021)

This crispy roasted duck with blackberry balsamic reduction sauce is such an easy (and fancy) roasted duck recipe! If you’re a little intimidated about how to roast a perfect duck, you’ll be very pleasantly surprised to find it takes only a few simple steps and just a few flavorful ingredients.

No boiling, no complicated trussing, no tools you don’t already have in your kitchen. I’ll also show you how to cut it perfectly!

A roasted duck on a plate, garnished with thyme, on a lace tablecloth.

I made this roasted duck for my family Christmas dinner this year. I’ve never served duck before for a large crowd and wasn’t exactly sure how much I would need for 9 people. I decided to make 3 ducks and figured I’d make a few filling appetizers, and a thick butternut squash soup so folks wouldn’t be too ravenous for duck.

I had about half a duck left over in the end, which was perfect. I’ll have duck hash for breakfast until the new year! I served it with my favorite Anjou pear, mushroom and red onion stuffing and sesame ginger french beans!

And for dessert, oh my, I served my white chocolate cheesecake mousse with raspberry-rosemary compote. I definitely made sure to have my coffee station set up so folks wouldn’t get too sleepy driving home after such a rich dinner!

Genevieve Morrison adjusting place settings with a Christmas tree in the background.

A fork holding a slice of duck meat with blackberry sauce.

A Few Tips!

1. Make sure your duck is thawed and cooked within 3-4 days of thawing

If you buy your duck frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator for 3 days before roasting. Duck often comes in a vacuum-sealed package and I’ve read that it will be fine to cook for up to 14 days if kept in that package. This was not the case for me.

I ordered a duck that was completely frozen, then thawed, and I waited about 6 days to make it. It was already beginning to spoil when I opened it, so I’d err on the safe side and not thaw until 3-4 days before you intend to roast and serve it.

2. Do not wash the duck

Don’t listen to your grandma! Never wash poultry. It doesn’t clean it, it doesn’t remove any bacteria, but what it WILL do is spread that bacteria all over your sink and countertops. Roasting it will kill off any salmonella bacteria as long as it’s thoroughly cooked (a meat thermometer reading 165 F. (73 C.) or higher).

3. Save the fat for other recipes or throw it away

Never pour fat down your drain. Not only will it clog your drains, it’s terrible for your city’s waste management systems and in some places, it’s actually illegal. Pour the fat into a container and place it in the refrigerator.

If you want to properly discard it, wait about 5 hours for it to harden and then scoop it into the garbage. You can also save duck fat to use instead of butter in so many recipes! It has a low smoke point and adds an incredible, rich flavor to roasted vegetables!

4. Check your duck’s internal temperature after 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Although this recipe calls for allowing the duck to cook for 2 hours and 20 minutes, some ducks may have less fat than the one I used in this recipe, which may effect how quickly your duck cooks. If your duck is starting to reach (or has already reached) 165 F.  (73 C.) after 1 hour and 40 minutesspeed up the brushing process, and only do 1 brush of balsamic, orange juice and honey and bake for 10-20 minutes, watching carefully to make sure it doesn’t over-cook.

A cooked duck on a baking grate.

A Few Common Questions:

1. How long does the duck take to roast?

A 5 pound Peking duck will take 2 hours and 20 minutes to roast, total.

  • 1 hour to roast breast-side up
  • 40 minutes to roast breast-side down
  • 20 minutes to roast breast-side up and brushed with a balsamic / orange juice mixture
  • 20 minutes with a balsamic / honey mixture

2. How many people will 1 duck serve?

It will serve about 3-4 people, provided it’s not the only thing for dinner. Duck is more rich than chicken or turkey, so a little goes a longer way than other poultry, but if you want to be sure no one leaves hungry, I’d serve it with a soup and a few sides.

3. What kind of roasting pan should I use to roast duck?

You want to use a somewhat deep roasting pan with a grate or slatted baking sheet that will lift the duck away from its dripping fat. A roasting duck can produce about 16-24 oz. of fat! It’s a lot, so you want to be sure your pan can collect it all, and you have something to keep the duck lifted away from it.

4. What do I need to make this recipe?

For the duck:

  • somewhat deep roasting pan with a grate or slatted baking sheet
  • cutting board and large, sharp knife
  • basting brush
  • bakers string
  • small bowl

For the blackberry & balsamic sauce:

  • a sauce pan
  • potato masher
  • small mesh strainer (if you want to remove blackberry seeds)

Blackberry Balsamic Reduction Sauce  – Step by Step

2 numbered images showing how to make blackberry sauce.

1. In a sauce pan, add 6 oz. blackberries, ¼ cup orange juice, 2 tbsp. of sugar and 2 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar. Use a potato masher to break apart the berries, and give it a little stir. Turn heat to low and simmer for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until nicely reduced.

2. You don’t have to remove the seeds, but if you want a perfectly smooth, seedless sauce, simply push it through a small mesh strainer. Place it in a container and refrigerate until your duck is ready to serve.

Roasted Duck – Step by Step

A collage of 4 numbered images showing how to prep duck for roasting.

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. (176 C.)Remove your duck from its packaging and remove the neck and giblets that are tucked inside the cavity. The giblets are usually tucked pretty far back, so make sure you find and remove it. Either discard or use in another recipe.

2. Use a sharp knife to score the duck fat, making a criss-cross pattern across the breast. You don’t want to cut into the meat, just the fat, which will be about half an inch to an inch thick. You’ll also want to slice and poke the fatty flapping skin around the cavity to allow for better fat draining.

3. Mix 3 tbsp. kosher salt and ½ tsp. smoked Spanish paprika in a bowl, then give the entire duck a luxurious massage with it. Make sure to cover the every inch, including the underside and inside the cavity.

4. Inside the cavity, stuff half an orange, sliced in 2 wedges, a few sprigs of rosemary and 6-8 garlic cloves also sliced in half. You don’t need to remove the skins, as these aromatics will be discarded with the bones.

A collage of 4 numbered images showing how to roast duck.

5. Tuck the flapping skin in a bit to hold everything in, and tie the legs together with bakers string.

6. Place the duck breast-side up on your baking pan. For easy cleanup, you might want to line your baking pan with tin-foil first. Place duck on the lowest rack and set a timer for 1 hour.

7. After an hour, remove the pan and carefully flip the duck over. Place back in the oven for 40 minutes.

8. Flip the duck back to breast-side up. Check your duck’s internal temperature. If it is approaching (or has reached) 165 F. (73 C.) skip this step, and go to step 9. If it is still approaching cooked temperature,  In a small bowl, mix 1 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar and 1 tbsp. of orange juice. Brush the duck all over with the mixture. Place duck back in the oven for 20 minutes.

2 numbered images showing how to brush duck.

9. Remove the duck and, in a small bowl, mix 1 tbsp. of honey,  1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar and 1 tbsp. orange juice. Brush the duck all over with the mixture. Place duck back in the oven for 20 minutes.

10. Remove your duck. Make sure it’s completely done by using a meat thermometer in the breast and thigh. It should read at least 165 F. (73 C.) degrees. Allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes before cutting it.

How to Cut Roasted Duck – Step by Step

Again, make sure to wait at least 15 minutes after your duck is roasted before cutting or it will simply be too hot. The skin will also become more firm as it cools and adhere to the meat better.

A collage of 4 numbered images showing how to slice duck meat.

1. With a sharp knife, remove the wings. There won’t be a lot of meat on the wings, so I usually just snack on these while I work on the rest of the duck 😉

2. Remove the drum-stick legs by slicing them away, and cutting into the leg socket and twisting until it comes loose. You can remove the meat from the drum sticks or simply serve them whole.

3. Slice the breast meat. There is a breast bone and you want to slice down the center, then slip your knife down the side of the breast bone, slicing as close to the bone as possible on each side.

4. You’ll have 2 nice pieces just like this that can be sliced into about 6-7 pieces each.

There are a few other nooks and crannies where you’ll find meat, so simply turn it over and inspect around where the wings were. You’ll find some pockets there, as well as around where the legs were.

A plate with beans, duck and stuffing.

I hope you and your guests love this duck as much as I do! And for more inspiration, follow me on INSTAGRAM @shekeepsalovelyhome, on PINTEREST and FACEBOOK! And if you ever make any of my tasty drinks or treats, take a picture and tag me. I want to see!A book cover with a title that says “Elegant Appetizers,” beside a title that says “Don’t forget your free ebook! Subscribe.”

A cooked duck on a baking grate.
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4.45 from 18 votes

Roasted Duck with Blackberry & Balsamic Reduction Sauce

This crispy roasted duck with blackberry & balsamic reduction sauce is such an easy (and fancy) roasted duck recipe!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 20 mins
Resting Time15 mins
Total Time2 hrs 40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: International
Keyword: roasted duck
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 663kcal

Equipment

  • somewhat deep roasting pan with a grate or slatted baking sheet
  • cutting board and large, sharp knife
  • basting brush
  • bakers string
  • Small bowl
  • sauce pan
  • potato masher
  • small mesh strainer (if you want to remove blackberry seeds)

Ingredients

For the Duck

  • 5 pound peking duck - thawed
  • 2

    tbsp. kosher salt
  • ½

    tsp. smoked Spanish Paprika
  • ½

    orange - sliced in half
  • 8 garlic cloves - sliced in half
  • rosemary - a few sprigs
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. orange juice

For the Blackberry Balsamic Reduction Sauce

  • 6 oz. blackberries
  • ¼ 

    cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Instructions

Blackberry Balsamic Reduction Sauce

  • In a sauce pan, add 6 oz. blackberries, ¼ cup orange juice, 2 tbsp. of sugar and 2 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar. Use a potato masher to break apart the berries, and give it a little stir. Turn heat to low and simmer for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until nicely reduced.
  • You don’t have to remove the seeds, but if you want a perfectly smooth, seedless sauce, simply push it through a small mesh strainer. Place it in a container and refrigerate until your duck is ready to serve.

Roasted Duck

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. (176 C.). Remove your duck from its packaging and remove the neck and giblets that are tucked inside the cavity. Either discard or use in another recipe.
  • Use a sharp knife to score the duck fat, making a criss-cross pattern across the breast. You don’t want to cut into the meat, just the fat, which will be about half an inch to an inch thick. You’ll also want to slice and poke the fatty flapping skin around the cavity to allow for better fat draining.
  • Mix 3 tbsp. kosher salt and ½ tsp. smoked Spanish paprika in a bowl, then give the entire duck a luxurious massage with it. Make sure to cover the every inch, including the underside and inside the cavity.
  • Inside the cavity, stuff half an orange (sliced in 2 wedges), a few sprigs of rosemary and 6-8 garlic cloves also sliced in half. You don’t need to remove the skins, as these aromatics will be discarded with the bones.
  • Tuck the flapping skin in a bit to hold everything in, and tie the legs together with bakers string.
  • Place the duck breast-side up on your baking pan. Place duck on the lowest rack and set a timer for 1 hour.
  • After an hour, remove the pan and carefully flip the duck over. Place back in the oven for 40 minutes.
  • Flip the duck back to breast-side up. Check your duck's internal temperature. If it is approaching (or has reached) 165 F. (73 C.) skip this step, and go to the next. If it is still approaching cooked temperature, in a small bowl, mix 1 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar and 1 tbsp. of orange juice. Brush the duck all over with the mixture. Place duck back in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the duck and, in a small bowl, mix 1 tbsp. of honey,  1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar and 1 tbsp. orange juice. Brush the duck all over with the mixture. Place duck back in the oven for 20 minutes
  • Remove your duck. Make sure it’s completely done by using a meat thermometer in the breast and thigh. It should read at least 165 F. (73 C.) degrees. Allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes before cutting it. 

Notes

1. Make sure your duck is thawed and cooked within 3-4 days of thawing.
If you buy your duck frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator for 3 days before roasting. Duck often comes in a vacuum-sealed package and I’ve read that it will be fine to cook for up to 14 days if kept in that package. This was not the case for me. I ordered a duck that was completely frozen, then thawed, and I waited about 6 days to make it. It was already beginning to spoil when I opened it, so I’d err on the safe side and not thaw until 3-4 days before you intend to roast and serve it.
2. Do not wash your duck.
Never wash poultry. It doesn’t clean it, it doesn’t remove any bacteria, but what it WILL do is spread that bacteria all over your sink and countertops. Roasting it will kill off any salmonella bacteria as long as it’s thoroughly cooked (a meat thermometer reading 165 F. (73 C.) or higher). 
3. Use a roasting pan that's deep enough to hold 16-24 oz. of fat.
You want to use a somewhat deep roasting pan with a grate or slatted baking sheet that will lift the duck away from its dripping fat. 
4. Save the fat for other recipes or throw it away.
Pour the fat into a container and place it in the refrigerator. If you want to properly discard it, wait about 5 hours for it to harden and then scoop it into the garbage. You can also save duck fat to use instead of butter in so many recipes! 

Nutrition

Serving: 275grams | Calories: 663kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 118mg | Sodium: 925mg | Potassium: 527mg | Fiber: 2.6g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 19IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 14mg

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5 Comments

  • Reply
    Hema
    November 10, 2020 at 2:44 pm

    5 stars
    Thanks Guys, Your Recipe Was Too Fantastic. Me and My Family Loved it. I Will Share your Rrecipe with my friends. Hope they will love it too.

    • Reply
      Vicki
      December 27, 2020 at 6:12 am

      5 stars
      I made this duck recipe for Christmas day dinner, 2020 it was so moist and delicious! Thank you for the detailed techniques. I will definitely make again. God bless you!

      • Reply
        Genevieve Morrison
        December 27, 2020 at 3:56 pm

        Thank you! So happy you enjoyed it! I made that duck for Thanksgiving this year since I only had 3 other folks to feed. It’s my favorite duck recipe!

      • Reply
        Jennifer Serrano
        January 1, 2021 at 1:41 am

        5 stars
        This is a really great and detailed recipe. Made it for dinner tonight! Absolutely love the blackberry balsamic reduction sauce. The only problem I ran into was my 5lb duck (rohan) cooked too quickly (pretty much done at an hour and 40 minutes). I also noted that the fat didn’t render all the way while cooking. Not sure where I went wrong. Your insight would be helpful.

        Overall, this will be my go to recipe for holiday duck dinners. 😋

        • Reply
          Genevieve Morrison
          January 1, 2021 at 2:10 am

          Hummm… It’s tricky to know exactly why it cooked so quickly, but perhaps the fact that the duck had little fat might be the answer why it cooked so quickly. Perhaps it was just a very lean duck. I’m sure you did everything perfectly correct, though. I might make a note in the recipe, to check the duck‘s internal temperature after an hour and a half. It may be that the amount of fat your duck has will effect cook time. I’m glad to hear it turned out well, though! And so happy you liked the sauce, too!!

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