Create An Amazon Wedding Registry!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Crispy Roast Duck with Curry-Honey Glaze

I'm sharing with you one of my most treasured recipes, which I developed over the years utilizing Julia Child's method for a crispy duck and James Beard's fabulous curry-honey glaze. Their recipes are timeless!

You'll find this duck moist inside with a crispy exterior which has one of the best glazes you'll ever find. (I feel it's the best!) This duck will curl your, really it will...because you'll have your head in the oven so often!  But it's worth it, as turning the duck frequently is critical to achieving the crispy exterior.

                                      Not Just for Special Occasions!

One duck serves 2-4 people


For the Duck
  • one 4 1/2 - 5 1/2 lb duck - preferably under 6 mos. old (Shoot, I have no idea how old the last duck was that I bought, I can only tell you that it was fantastic!)
  • peeled small onion inserted with two clove stems
  • salt*
  • lemon juice*
  • pepper*

For the Glaze, mix together:
  • 4 TB honey
  • 1 1/2 TB curry powder


Thawing:  If frozen, thaw the duck in the refrigerator two days before cooking or unwrap and set in a sink filled with cold water to which you've added ice cubes. Change the water periodically.

Remove as soon as possible any giblets--checking both ends of the duck. (Maybe you can use the giblets in another recipe such as a soup--I just toss them.)

Prep for Roasting:  Pull out all the loose fat from the cavity of the duck and around the inside of the neck.  To make carving easier, cut out the wishbone from the inside neck cavity.  Chop the lower part of the wings off at the elbows (it's only bone).  Be sure the fat glands on the back and at the base of the tail have been removed; dig out any yellow residue remaining and rub the area with salt and lemon juice*.

Dry the duck thoroughly and season the cavity with salt and pepper*.  Place the onion with the cloves in the cavity.  Truss the duck with the wings and legs close to the body and the cavity closed.

Using a sharp paring knife, prick the skin at 1/2" intervals along the thighs, the back and the lower part of the breast.  If you are not ready to cook immediately, wrap and refrigerate the duck, then let it come to room temperature before roasting.

Roasting:  (Allow approximately 1/2 hr., plus or minus, per lb. to roast.)  Preheat the oven to 450º.  Set the duck breast side up on a rack in an uncovered roasting pan.  Leaving the duck in the oven, after 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 350º.  Then turn the duck from one side to the other every 15 minutes.

After the duck has roasted for 55 minutes, remove it from the oven and brush well with some of the curry and honey glaze mixture. Return the duck to the oven and continue turning it every 15 minutes, adding the glaze each time until it is all used.  Keep roasting and turning the duck every 15 minutes until done. 

To tell when the duck is done, prick the thickest part of the drumstick deeply with a fork...the juices should run faintly rosy to clear in color; and when the duck is drained, the last drops of juice from the vent should run faintly rosy to clear yellow in color. Also, the temperature should register 180º at the thigh joint and the legs should move freely.

                                                You Deserve it!

When ready to serve:  Remove and discard the onion.  Cut the duck into halves or quarters with poultry shears. (This is another recipe I just use my beloved surgery scissors!).

Serve with yellow or long grain and wild rice, chutney and a nice salad.  You'll feel so gratified as you watch your guests "tear into it"!  So wonderful! Enjoy!

Printable Recipe


  1. Thanks for sharing! Looks great! I wonder if this would work for wild duck?

  2. @Dulce Dough - This is a good question...I'm providing a link which should give a good basis for cooking wild duck (a bird of a different kind!):

    You might try using the linked method for wild duck and adding the curry-honey glaze before you put it in the oven; as it appears, per this link, the wild ducks are much smaller and cook in very little time.

    Let me know if you try this. Thanks!

  3. @Dulce Dough - Since I posted the above reply, I've spoke to a "hunter" who says ducks can vary in weight (the above referenced link is in regard to the smaller teal ducks). So I furthered researched and found a couple of additional insightful links: and

    A bird's diet can impact the flavor; and before cooking, the layer of fat needs to be determined, as some birds are leaner than others. I would say if the bird has a good amount of fat, the method in my recipe of piercing the skin and frequent turning would be good to drain the fat.
    Also, the length of cooking time (obviously based on the weight and desired degree of doneness) would determine when to baste with the glaze.

    I hope this information is helpful.

  4. Thank you so much Bonnie! My husband and my boys are hunters and I am not very good with cooking their game. I will pass this info on to my husband because he usually does the cooking (and eating) of the ducks.

  5. You got a really useful blog I have been here reading for about an hour. I am a newbie and your success is very much an inspiration for me.
    eat in

  6. @Danial123 - Thanks for your encouraging comments. I'm glad you like my site!