Duck de Marietta (The Best Slow Roast Duck)

The duck is stuffed with citrus, then slow cooked until the meat is falling off the bones and the skin perfectly crisped. A restaurant recipe that requires minimal effort and yields the best results.

The Best Slow Roast Duck (A recipe from a chef) - The duck is stuffed with citrus, then slow cooked until the meat is falling off the bones and the skin perfectly crisped. |

Having grown up in Beijing, I have a special attachment to duck. We’re spoiled by ubiquitous perfectly roasted Peking duck, a luxurious yet affordable dining choice that we enjoy a few times a year. I can finish half a duck myself. I enjoy eating the duck skin by itself with a bit of sauce (without the meat and without the pancake). In my world, it tastes way better than crispy bacon.

Since moving to the US, I’ve been craving duck.

The first time I dealt with a whole duck, I slow cooked it Mediterranean style. I quartered the duck, placed it on a bed of vegetables and herbs, and slow cooked it until tender. Right before serving, I crisped up the skin by heating the duck pieces under the broiler. It generated nearly duck-confit texture.

It was almost perfect, but my friend and reader Saint Phlip told me there was a better way (you might recognize her name from her famous Chicken à la Benson).

The best slow roast duck

This recipe was originally shared by the chef of a hotel restaurant in Marietta, Ohio. According to Saint Phlip, it’s the tastiest duck she’s ever tried.

To cook the duck, you stuff it with several citrus fruits, then roast it at a very low temperature (95 to 120 C / 200 to 250 F). It requires a long, slow roast. But you don’t need to do anything during the roasting. No flipping, no touching.

The Best Slow Roast Duck (A recipe from a chef) - The duck is stuffed with citrus, then slow cooked until the meat is falling off the bones and the skin perfectly crisped. | omnivorescookbook.comThe Best Slow Roast Duck (A recipe from a chef) - The duck is stuffed with citrus, then slow cooked until the meat is falling off the bones and the skin perfectly crisped. |

When you’ve almost forgotten the duck, 5 hours later, you will suddenly smell a wonderful aroma coming from the kitchen. That’s when you know the duck is getting good.

The next 2 hours will be the most difficult. Your room will be filled with the wonderful roasting fragrance that reminds you of a steak house. You’ll start to check on the duck every 10 minutes, wondering why it’s still not ready. DO NOT pull out the duck now. Be patient!

When you start to worry that you’ve roasted it for too long and suspect the duck meat has lost its moisture, your dinner is ready.

You will be amazed when try to move the duck onto a carving board. You might accidentally crack the skin apart or pull a leg off. I know it’s cliche to say this, but the duck is literally fall-off-the-bone tender (as proof of my words, see the picture below). You might end up serving a “pulled duck”, since it’s nearly impossible to keep the whole thing intact. Restrain yourself from snacking on the crispy skin. You might finish the whole thing before you have a chance to serve your guests.

The Best Slow Roast Duck (A recipe from a chef) - The duck is stuffed with citrus, then slow cooked until the meat is falling off the bones and the skin perfectly crisped. |

Cooking notes

Don’t be scared away by the long cooking time of this recipe, because:

  • The active prep time is 10 minutes. And you’ll need another 10 minutes to cook the sauce and serve the duck. In total, there’s only 20 minutes of active cooking time.
  • You can cook the duck one day or several days ahead, freeze the duck, and serve it later.
  • If you’re serving the duck for a party, you can start roasting it in the morning, then heat it up before dinner.

Compared to roasting a perfect chicken, roasting the best duck is much easier. And it is definitely more festive.

There are a few good ways to serve the duck. In the recipe below, I introduce the original sauce recipe – a delightful and sweet sauce made from white wine and fruit preserves.

For those who miss a perfectly roasted Peking duck from back home, cook duck pancakes, and serve everything with chopped green onions and cucumbers. I guarantee you the dish will taste just like home.

For those who enjoy a savory sauce, head over to the Mediterranean duck recipe and cook the olive sauce.

The Best Slow Roast Duck (A recipe from a chef) - The duck is stuffed with citrus, then slow cooked until the meat is falling off the bones and the skin perfectly crisped. |

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5.0 from 9 reviews
Duck de Marietta (The Best Slow Roast Duck)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Unknown
Serves: 4
  • 1 (2.5 kg / 5 to 6 pound) whole duck (I used D'Artagnan Rohan Duck)
  • 5 to 6 mixed citrus fruits (blood orange, lemon, and/or mandarin), peels removed
  • Sea salt
Sauce (*see footnote)
  • 4 tablespoons jam of your choice (blueberry, apricot, etc.)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons potato starch (or cornstarch)
  1. Adjust oven rack to the lower third. Preheat oven to 120 C (250 degrees F). Line a baking pan with aluminium foil (for easy cleanup) and top with a V-rack.
  2. Prepare a plate. Transfer the giblets from the duck to the plate. Use a pair of poultry shears to remove the duck neck and trim the neck skin. Do not trim any skin from the bottom of the duck, because it will keep the meat moist during roasting. Save the duck neck for making sauce or stock. Save the giblets for cooking or making stock.
  3. Place duck on a working surface or a cutting board. Stuff citrus inside of the duck, using as many fruits as you can. Use a few toothpicks to seal the bottom of the duck, to secure the fruits inside.
  4. Use a sharp paring knife to score the duck breast, about 1 cm (⅓ inch) apart. This will help the duck render fat faster and create a crispy skin. If you’re not familiar with this process, I suggest you start slow. The thickness of duck skin is not consistent. You need to avoid slicing through the meat, which will cause the duck to lose moisture. Gently press the knife. You might need to slice a few times to get the cut just right. (*see footnote 1)
  5. Rub both sides of the duck with plenty of sea salt. Place duck on the V-rack, breast side up.
  6. Bake until the skin turns golden brown, 6 to 7 hours (depending on the thickness of the duck skin). You do not need to flip the duck or monitor the process.
  7. (Optional) When most of the duck fat has rendered and the skin has become thin (usually 6 hours to 6.5 hours), turn up the heat of the oven to 260 degrees C (500 F) to brown the duck for another 5 to 10 minutes. This method works better when you choose a duck breed with thinner skin (or a duck that was air-chill processed). The skin will crisp up nicely and the meat will remain more juicy.
  8. Remove the duck from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes. Do NOT cover the duck with foil. This step further crisps up the skin. The stuffing will keep the duck meat hot.
  9. Transfer the duck onto a large cutting board. Carefully remove the citrus fruits (they will be very hot!) from the duck with a fork or a pair of tongs, and discard them.
  10. To carve the duck beautifully, you can refer to this video. Alternatively, you can simply pull the meat apart by hand.
  11. Transfer the rendered duck fat into a small bowl. When it has cooled off, cover with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge. Save for later use.
Option 1 - Fruity sauce
  1. While resting the duck, cook the fruit sauce.
  2. Dissolve potato starch in a few tablespoons of the white wine.
  3. Heat the rest of the white wine in a small saucepan until warm. Add jam of your choice. Stir and mix so that the jam incorporates with the wine. When the liquid comes to a simmer, taste it and adjust the flavor by adding more wine or jam. Remove the pan from the stove.
  4. Stir the potato starch slurry again to let it fully dissolve in the wine. Slowly pour it into the sauce, stirring at the same time. Add enough slurry to get the sauce to the desired thickness.
  5. Pour a few spoonfuls of the sauce onto a serving plate. Place the carved the duck onto the sauce. Serve warm with extra sauce on the side.
Option 2 - Peking duck
  1. Cook duck pancakes (or use store-bought ones). Steam to heat them up while resting the duck.
  2. Serve duck and pancakes with hoisin sauce, sliced green onion, and sliced cucumber.
  1. If you’re not serving the duck right away, wrap the meat in aluminum foil and let it cool down to room temperature. Move it to a ziplock bag, press out as much air as possible, and store it in the fridge for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to a month.
  2. To reheat, place the duck, skin side up, on a roasting pan. Transfer into the oven and preheat to 260 degrees C (500 F). Bake until the duck heats up and the skin turns crispy, 10 to 15 minutes.
(Optional) Giblets
  1. Cut duck giblets (liver, heart, and gizzard) into even-sized chunks and combine with a spoonful of Chinese distilled liquor (白酒, bai jiu), vodka, or Shaoxing wine in a small bowl. Add a teaspoon of cornstarch and season with salt. Mix well. Marinate for 5 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet. Gently cook the giblets over medium low heat until cooked through and the surface browned.
  3. Season with black pepper and serve warm.
1. Many recipes suggest puncturing the duck meat with a sharp knife or fork. I personally do not like that method so much. It is slower and the duck won’t look so pretty compared to one with scored skin.

This is a festive dish, so we’re not going to count calories here 🙂


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Meet Maggie

Hi I'm Maggie Zhu! Welcome to my site about modern Chinese cooking - including street food, family recipes, and restaurant dishes. I take a less labor-intensive approach while maintaining the taste and look of the dish. I am originally from Beijing, and now cook from my Austin, Texas kitchen.

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32 thoughts on “Duck de Marietta (The Best Slow Roast Duck)

  1. Nancy | Plus Ate Six

    Wow Maggie your recipes never fail to grab my attention. This is going on my list for Christmas – I know it’s a while away (!) but this would be perfect for entertaining. No fuss, maximum flavour.

  2. Nick

    Tried this for Thanksgiving and LOVED it! I’ve done some very intense duck recipes in the past, and this one is simple, yet the best of them all. It’s also very easy to adjust to personal taste.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Nick, I’m so happy to hear you like this recipe! It’s one of my favorites. Me too, I think it is really simple and produces very nice result. I stopped looking for new duck recipes after learning about this one lol Thanks for leaving a comment. Have a great day 🙂

    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Emma, sorry for replying this so late. I was trying to find a way to answer your question, but I couldn’t get a chance to cook another duck so far.
      I do not have a perfect answer to this question because young ducklings were the only birds I’ve been dealing so far. From my experience, I would say you adjust the recipe by raising the cooking temperature to 300 F and adjust cooking time along the cooking. A bigger bird requires longer time to roast, and timing can be tricky if you’re cooking for a party. Cooking at 250F requires too many hours, so I’m not sure that’s practical. If cook at 300, you will still have enough time to get the duck crisp up while the meat stays tender. The roasting time is rather forgiven, and you can easily keep the duck warm with lowest setting if you finish the cooking earlier.
      No matter which recipe you decide to use in the end, I hope your holiday dinner turns out great!

      1. Emma Kershaw

        Thanks I was planning on putting it in the oven overnight on the 24th so as to leave the oven free to cook other things on the 25th, then popping it back in the oven half an hour before serving to reheat and crisp up. Hopefully that will work?!

  3. Laura Boros


    I am planning on making this awesome looking recipe for New Years Eve. If I roast it the day
    before and store in plastic bag in fridge is it best to bring it to room temperature before reheating?

    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Laura, sorry I got back late again. We usually don’t bring it to room temperature before reheating. And yes, placing the duck on a rack over a roasting pan will keep the bottom part crispy.
      I hope your dish turned out well. Happy New Year!

  4. philip morse

    I enjoyed this immensely, but found that 250 F only required about 4 hours. Next time I’ll try 200F ( oven temps may vary)
    I stopped when the internal temp was 172F. Fruit sauce was apricot jam with whole cherries…Yum

    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Philip, glad to hear you enjoyed the duck. Yes I found out the cooking time varies a lot depending on the oven.
      Your version of fruit sauce sounds so yummy! I’ll definitely try it out next time when I get some cherries.
      Happy New Year!

  5. Duane Fisher

    This was the first time I cooked duck. There are so many intimidating recipes out there. This was simple and perfect with moist meat and crispy skin. I cooked at 200F convection oven for 6.5 hours, then 450 for 15 minutes, but finished under the broiler. Only note: I think I had a thick skinned or fatty duck. The slashes in the skin did not work. I eventually had to pierce it all over at about 5 hours.
    Thank you Maggie!

    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Duane, I’m glad you like the recipe! Yes I’ve also noticed that the result can be different if using a fattier duck. It’s a great idea to pierce the skin during the cooking. I found out pierce raw skin can be trick and you might accidentally damage the meat. Anyhow, glad the recipe worked for you. It’s my favorite duck recipe too 🙂

      1. Duane Fisher

        Piercing the skin after it has been in the oven was very easy. Easier than piercing the raw skin.

  6. DJ

    Just tried this slow cook technique and the duck and the breast came out tender! So easy just leave it in the oven and wait till dinner time. It’s like a dry confit. The skin is crispy when it comes out of the oven but like any other roasts, cripiness don’t like. But I think this recipe will freeze well (like a confit), can just thaw and finish by browning the skin on the stove before serving.

    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi DJ, I’m glad to hear the recipe worked for you! Yes the duck freezes well. I’ve tried it a few times. The skin will crisp up nicely once you reheat them in the oven. Next time if you want to freeze the duck, wrap them tightly with aluminum foil and seal them in plastic bags, so they will stay juicy and won’t get freezer burn 🙂

  7. Elishia Jackson

    Hi Maggie, so looking forward to trying this recipe soon! Thank you for sharing 🙂 I noticed that in one of your photos you wrapped the tops of wings and legs with aluminium foil. Is this a necessary step and if so do you keep it on for the whole time? Many thanks, Elishia

    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Elishia, sorry for replying this so late. To answer your question, yes I do wrap the wings and leg tips with foil whenever I bake a chicken or a duck, just to keep the parts from burning. You don’t have to do this if you’re not intend to eat that part. And yes I do keep it on the whole time, because the parts will turn out crispy due to the long cooking time.

  8. Geir

    Hi Maggie, thanks for a great recipe! I cooked a 2.5 kg duck for 5 1/2 h on 100° C, then 1 1/2 h on 110° C and finished off with 15 min on 230° C. The only other small modifications I made was to put a whole topped off garlic in with the citrus fruits and to add some paprika and black pepper along with the salt on the outside. Very easy and simple to cook and fabulous result. I worried that the initial temp had been too low and that I might have left it too long at 230 at the end, but the bird turned out very tender and tasty. It’s been ages since I roasted a whole duck, will definitely repeat this more often.

    My supermarket bought duck, surprisingly tasty and luckily entirely free of the slight stench so common in much mass produced poultry, unfortunately came without neck and giblets, so there wasn’t much to make a sauce from. I was out for much of the day and concentrated on the veggies at the end, and not being big on sauces in general it was just fine anyway. I used a little of the broth/rendered fat, as is, like a minimalist gravy. It was tasty and less fatty than imagined and very good. I made steamed Brussels sprouts, sauteed at the and with butter, mini red onions and a few fresh dates; plus grated kohlrabi and bottle neck squash baked with olive oil, with pumkin seeds, feta cheese and chopped pomelo slices added at the end. A fine meal, more festive than planned.
    A 2004 Ghemme (Cantalupo Breclemae) was a superb pairing.

    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Geir, thank you so much for the detailed feedback! I’m glad to hear the recipe worked out for you, and you enjoyed the dish 🙂
      As for the gravy issue, you could try out the fruit sauce if you do not mind a sweet sauce. I always like to serve my duck with something sweet and citrus. The white wine (or sparkling wine) and jam method is my go-to sauce for most of my duck dishes.
      Your side dishes sound like a feast! We love brussels sprouts too but always bake them. I’ll need to try out your method soon. It sounds SO GOOD!
      I’ll try to use this recipe to make a Cantonese roast duck soon. Hopefully it will turn out as well.
      Have a great weekend Geir, and happy cooking!

  9. Moira Alfers

    You know I’ve never actually tried duck but by God this has inspired me! To the Asian grocery store I go!

    1. Maggie Post author

      You need to try this one out Moira! It is by far my favorite whole duck recipe because the result is spot on every single time.
      Happy cooking and let me know how the dish turns out 🙂

  10. Pam

    Hi Maggie My husband and I just finished our wonderful duck dinner. Even though I’m 67 I was afraid to ruin a nice duck. Your post gave me the confidence, it was laid out so well. I simply followed your instructions, and my duck was outstanding. I’m not afraid anymore. Thanks so much for teaching me how to roast a duck. Pam

  11. Vera

    Wow, amazing! Made duck for the first time today and followed this recipe. It was super easy and delicious – everyone LOVED it. Thank you!

  12. Karla

    Hi, I bought a duck yesterday, having no idea how I was going to cook it! And here I am 🙂
    Just a quick question though, the duck is only 1.7kg….should I cook on a lower temperature or cook reduce time?

    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Karla, I think you can lower the cooking temperature to 200F. I’m not sure exactly the hours it takes to roast the duck though (it also depend on the real temperature of your oven). You should keep an eye on the duck after 4 hours, check on it every 30 minutes or so without open the oven. I think it can takes anytime between 5 to 6 hours. The recipe is rather forgiven so it’s unlikely you’ll overcook it.
      Happy cooking and hope the duck turns out great! 🙂