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How to Cook Duck Legs and Duck Leg Recipes

Gordon loves cooking and experimenting with food. He loves making new dishes, particularly with unusual or underused ingredients.

Casseroled duck leg with plum sauce, roast potatoes and vegetables

Casseroled duck leg with plum sauce, roast potatoes and vegetables

Duck legs may not know the widespread popularity of chicken legs but this does not mean they are not at least as tasty and very nearly as adaptable in terms of the different ways in which they can be prepared and cooked. While most people may simply roast a duck leg in a similar fashion to the first recipe featured on this page - or slow poach it in duck or goose fat to form duck confit - there are many more ways in which these delicious food items can successfully be served up. It is important to know only in advance that in most similar recipes, duck legs do take that bit longer to cook than chicken legs.

Fresh duck legs

Fresh duck legs

Roast Duck Leg with Cranberry Sauce

Oven roasted duck leg with duck fat roasted potatoes and cranberry sauce

Oven roasted duck leg with duck fat roasted potatoes and cranberry sauce

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 1 hour 45 min

Ready in: 2 hours

Yields: One serving

Ingredients

  • 1 duck leg portion
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 baby new potatoes (or as required)
  • 4 ounces trimmed green beans
  • Cranberry sauce to serve
  1. Start your oven preheating to 350F/180C.
  2. Carefully prick the skin of the duck leg with a sharp skewer or a fork, ensuring you do not damage the flesh. Season the duck leg with salt and pepper.
  3. Sit the duck leg skin side up on a wire rack in a baking tray and cook in the oven for one and a half hours.
  4. When the duck leg is in the oven, add the unpeeled potatoes to a pot of cold, salted water, bring the water to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are just softened. This will take twenty-five to thirty minutes. Drain, return to the pot and leave to cool completely.
  5. Just before the duck leg is due to be removed from the oven, carefully peel the potatoes with your fingers.
  6. Take the duck leg from the oven and set aside to rest. At the potatoes to the fat in the tray and carefully shake to evenly coat. Turn the oven temperature up to 450F/220C and roast for fifteen minutes.
  7. The green beans should be blanched in boiling, slightly salted water for two or three minutes before being drained.
  8. Lift the potatoes with a slotted spoon to a plate covered with kitchen paper to briefly drain.
  9. Plate up the meal ingredients, adding a spoonful of cranberry sauce immediately before service.

Roast Duck Leg and Duck Egg Omelette

Roast duck leg meat contained in a fluffy duck egg omelette

Roast duck leg meat contained in a fluffy duck egg omelette

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min*

Cook time: 5 min*

Ready in: 10 min*

Yields: One serving

*Does not include duck leg roasting times

Ingredients

  • Half the meat from one roast duck leg, shredded
  • 1 medium mushroom, sliced
  • 3 duck eggs
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 2 inch piece of cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • Generous handful of peashoots
  1. Start by preparing your salad as the omelette will require your full attention while it cooks. Simply add the peashoots, tomato and cucumber to a bowl, season with salt and pepper and toss lightly with your hand.
  2. Break the duck eggs in to a separate bowl and beat with a fork just until combined.
  3. Heat some oil in a small omelette pan and pour in the eggs. Work them gently with a spatula just until they begin to set then leave them alone to cook for a minute or two but do keep watching their progress.
  4. When the eggs are just set and no more, season with salt and pepper. Scatter the mushroom slices and duck meat over one half of the omelette and carefully fold the empty half over the top.
  5. Lift the omelette to a plate with a spatula and arrange the salad alongside to serve.

Important: Please note the instruction that the omelette should be completely set before the duck meat and mushrooms are added. This is because duck eggs - unlike chicken eggs - must never at any time be consumed at all underdone.

Roast Duck Leg and Mushroom Pie

Duck leg meat and mushroom pie served with chips and cauliflower

Duck leg meat and mushroom pie served with chips and cauliflower

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min*

Cook time: 30 min*

Ready in: 45 min*

Yields: One serving

*Does not include duck leg roasting or chip preparation times

  • Meat from one roast duck leg, torn in to medium sized pieces
  • 1 medium mushroom, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon frozen peas, cooked and cooled
  • 1 tablespoon sweetcorn
  • 3 tablespoons duck stock (see further down this page for recipe)
  • 4 ounces puff pastry
  • Beaten egg for glazing
  • ½ head cauliflower, broken in to florets
  • Homemade chips to serve
  1. Mix the duck leg meat, mushroom slices, peas and sweetcorn together carefully by hand. Lay them in a suitable ovenproof pie dish.
  2. Spoon in enough cold duck stock to approximately half cover the solids. Don't add warm stock, or too much, or it will make your pastry soggy.
  3. Roll out your pastry on a floured surface until it is just slightly larger than the dish. Trim it to size and tuck it gently around the filling. Glaze with beaten egg and cut a steam vent or two in the centre.
  4. Put the pie dish on a baking tray (to contain any potential spills) and in to your oven, preheated to 400F/200C for about half an hour until the pastry is beautifully crisp and golden.
  5. Take the pie from the oven and set aside to rest while you simmer the cauliflower in salted water for eight to ten minutes and finish prearing your chips.
  6. Lay the pie in its cooking dish on a plate (be careful - it will still be very hot!) and finish presenting with the chips and cauliflower.

How to Poach Duck Legs and Make Duck Stock

Poached duck legs

Poached duck legs

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 2 hours

Ready in: 2 hours 15 min

Yields: 2 poached duck legs and approx. 3 pints of duck stock

Ingredients

  • 2 duck legs
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 celery sticks, washed, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 large carrot, washed, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 pints cold water
  1. Lay the duck legs skin sides up in a large stock or soup pot.
  2. Add all the seasonings and vegetables and pour in the cold water.
  3. Put the pot on to a high heat until the water just starts to simmer. Reduce the heat to achieve a low simmer and cover the pot. Continue to simmer for half an hour.
  4. After half an hour, simply turn off the heat under the pot and leave for a further one and a half hours.
  5. The duck legs will complete cooling in the residual heat and after one and a half hours will also have cooled considerably. Lift them from the water with a large slotted spoon to a deep plate or bowl.
  6. Use the slotted spoon also to remove and discard the vegetable and herb pieces from the stock.
  7. Suspend a large sieve over a large bowl and line with a sheet or two of kitchen paper. Carefully pour the liquid content of the pot through the sieve, which will catch any remaining small pieces of solids. The kitchen paper serves to capture most of the grease and fat.
  8. The beautifully clear duck stock/broth is then available to be used as required.

Duck Leg Soup Chinese Style

Duck leg soup with Chinese vegetables

Duck leg soup with Chinese vegetables

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 10 min

Ready in: 15 min

Yields: 2 to 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pints fresh duck stock or broth
  • Meat from one poached duck leg, shredded
  • 1 small can (10 ounces) water chestnuts and bamboo shoots in water, drained
  • 2 tablespoons sweetcorn
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Add the stock to a pot and put on a medium heat.
  2. Add the vegetable ingredients to the stock, stir well and bring to a simmer.
  3. When the combination is gently simmering, add the duck meat and continue to simmer for a further two to three minutes to heat through. Taste and season as required.
  4. Ladle in to soup bowls and serve immediately.

Poached Duck Leg and Clementine Salad with Port and Stilton

Simple poached duck leg salad with Stilton cheese, oatcakes and a glass of ruby port

Simple poached duck leg salad with Stilton cheese, oatcakes and a glass of ruby port

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: n/a

Ready in: 5 min

Yields: One serving

  • Handful of fresh peashoots
  • 1 small clementine orange, peeled and segmented
  • 3 oatcakes
  • 2 ounce wedge Stilton cheese
  • Meat plucked from one duck leg
  • 1 small glass of port
  1. Lay the peashoots on a plate and the clementine segments on top at regular intervals.
  2. Arrange the oatcakes and Stilton beside the salad.
  3. Scatter the duck leg meat over the salad and serve with the glass of port.
  1. Lay the duck leg skin side down on a chopping board on a clear and steady surface.
  2. Find the thigh bone with the fingers of your weaker hand and, holding the leg steady, cut through the flesh along the length of the bone. Carefully makes slits either side of the bone, gently freeing more and more of it from the flesh.
  3. When the bone is attached to the flesh along only what is the underside, sit your knife aside. Hold the thigh portion of the leg in one hand and the drumstick part in the other. Bend in the opposite of the natural direction to pop the bones at the ball joint.
  4. Lay the leg back down as before and lift the thigh bone to an upright position. Steady the bone at the very top and begin making short scraping motions down the attached side with your knife until the bone is finally free.
  5. The bone is removed from the drumstick portion in the same way, without the need for popping bones apart.
  6. When the bones are both free, you will see white, stringy parts on the flesh side of the leg meat. These are tendons and will be ve