Homemade Peking Crispy Roast Duck

Homemade Peking Crispy Roast Duck Recipe

Peking roast duck sounds complicated to make, but it is not. It just takes time to prep. I usually start preparing the duck early in the morning, then finally roast the duck for dinner. It's always a success. The key to a good Chinese roast duck is to get a crispy skin while keeping the meat moist and sweet. The duck is first brined, them boiled and finally roasted and basted with a dark sweet and salty mixture.

Peking Duck Recipe


Yields: 6

1 whole duck, about 3 1/2 lbs
1 large yellow onion, finely sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 drops red food coloring
2 tsp five spice powder, check the tip section
1 Meyer lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 Tbs papaya seeds
1 1/2 tsp candied ginger, finely chopped, + 2 Tbs for infuser
1 Tbs peppercorns, coarsely crushed
1 Tbs ginger garlic paste
1 Tbs fleur de sel, + 1 tsp
1/3 cup maple syrup, or dark honey
2 Tbs rice vinegar
2 Tbs dark molasse, + extra for the infuser
1 Tbs butter, soft at room temperature
2 tsp soy sauce


First, make sure the skin of the duck is not punctured. Clean the duck throughly. Get rid of the fat chunks near the bottom of the duck. Leave the skin on.

Insert an air pump hose into the neck hole. Close the cavity at the bottom to get the skin to separate from the flesh.

Combine the crushed black pepper and candied ginger in a sauce pan. Add about 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Place some iced water in a bucket. Add the papaya seeds, lemon juice, the ginger/pepper mixture and a few drops of red food coloring in a bucket. Add the duck and fill up the bucket with iced water. Make sure the brine covers the duck. Set aside in a cool area for at least 3 hours. Stir frequently and add ice when necessary. Remove the duck from its liquid. Discard the brine.

In a medium-sized non-stick pan, caramelized the onion for about 10-15 minutes. Drain the oil. Keep the oil aside though.

Fill a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil. Add the caramelized onions. Add the duck. Cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from the stove. Drain and discard the water. Pat dry the duck with paper towels.

In a bowl, add the five spice powder, salt, 1 tablespoon of the onion oil, ginger garlic paste, salt and 4 tablespoons of maple syrup.

Wearing gloves, score the bird using a fork. Spread all the mixture in the cavity and on the outside of the bird. Rub evenly. Place the duck on a vertical stand (without the infuser) and plastic-wrap the duck. Chill in top shelf of the refrigerator for about 4 hours. Remove the duck. Discard the liquid at the bottom of the vertical stand. Wash the stand in soapy water.

Preheat the oven at 350°F.

In a bowl, mix the rest of the maple syrup with rice vinegar and soy sauce. Brush the duck with the vinegar mixture using a silicone brush. Drizzle with a little onion oil, then sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of salt on the bird. Cover just the tip and shoulders with foil so that they don't burn.

Place on the rotisserie of your oven or simply in a roaster. I used a vertical stand with an integrated infuser. Place a little citrus juice and molasse in the cup, stuff it with the remnant quarters of citrus and 2 tablespoons of candied ginger, and then seal the infuser. Place the duck on top and place the whole thing on a tray.

Roast 350°F for 30 min. Then lower the heat to 325°F for another 10 minutes. Remove the foil.

In the microwave, melt some butter and the molasses. Baste the bird with the butter mix using a silicone brush. Increase the temperature to 425°F for 10 min to brown the duck.

Get the bird out of the oven. Cover with foil (don't entirely wrap it, the skin won't be crispy otherwise).

Let the meat rest for a least 10 minutes. Be patient .

The thermometer should register 165°F in the thickest part of the bird or the juice should run clear when you crack around the thighs.

Serve with some homemade banh bao (steamed buns) and garnish with cucumber, green scallions, fresh cilantro and some hoisin sauce.

Bon appétit!


You can add a little Grand-Marnier (orange liqueur) to your glaze to bring out more flavor.

The flatter the onion is, the sweeter it is. I always try to pick flatter-shaped onions at the market.

Chinese five-spice powder: Dry-roast 1/2 stick of Saigonese cinnamon, 1 star anise, 2 cloves, 1/2 teaspoon of fennel seed and 1/4 teaspoon of Sichuan pepper. Then place all the ingredients in a spice grinder until it becomes a fine powder.

I usually extract seeds from a papaya, grind them in a mini food processor then place them in an ice-cube tray then freeze them. Transfer the ice-cubes 3 by 3 into bags that I vacuum-seal and place back in the freezer. I think it's the best way to keep the same flavor without getting freezer burn. I keep them exactly the same way I would do with my extra pesto.

You can make your own ginger garlic paste. It tastes great and is very healthy for you as well. Just clean the ginger and remove any dirt. Peel the ginger root with a paring knife, then finely chop the root. Place the chopped ginger and 5 cloves of garlic in a blender, add about 2 tablespoons (or more) of water for a smooth flow. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator. You can keep this paste for at least a week in the refrigerator.

I had no more dark amber honey in my pantry so I substitute it with maple syrup.

I do not use poultry shears to cut the duck like I do for my roast chicken. I use a cleaver. Be very careful. I usually lay out some newspaper on my deck. Place a large wooden cutting board, then place my bird. Remove the wings and thighs with the poultry shears. Cut the bird in two, lengthwise. Then, make 2-inch cut.

I know it might sound awkward but the bicyle air pump is the best way to inflate the duck and get a clean way to separate the duck's skin from its flesh without getting any tear.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on April 28, 2009.


[-] I love peking duck - Guest-NinetteEnriquen
The last time I made peking duck was a few Thanksgivings ago. I had two ducks strung up on hangers, blowing in the wind from two fans that were drying out the skin. My kids refused to come in the kitchen because it looked like a torture chamber. But the duck was great!

Ninette Enrique Website Link
[ Posted at 4:04 PM on 4/28/09 | Reply ]
Oh my....this is larger than life...licking the screen as we speak.

Peter Website Link
[ Posted at 4:33 PM on 4/28/09 | Reply ]
This looks as good as anything store bought! I'm going to have to try it!

helen Website Link
[ Posted at 6:26 PM on 4/28/09 | Reply ]
[-] It looks so good! - Guest-Jessica
Wow! Your peking duck looks absolutely delicious. I think I am going to have to muster up the courage to make this sometime soon. I'm a little scared but it looks so good that I just have to try.

Jessica Website Link
[ Posted at 6:48 PM on 4/28/09 | Reply ]
Mmm, this duck looks delicious! I've always been intimidated to make duck, but you've shown me that I can do it! I just may have to try it super soon. By the way, I love your blog! And thank you so much for coming over to mine to visit!!

Elyse Website Link
[ Posted at 7:33 PM on 4/28/09 | Reply ]
[-] Nguyen lieu - Guest-Ngoc
Ban co the cho minh ten nguyen lieu bang tieng Viet duoc khong ban? Co nhieu gia vi la qua khong biet mua o Vietnam co khong?
[ Posted at 2:44 AM on 6/27/09 | Reply ]
Hi There

Just wanted to compliment you on the gorgeous food photos here on the blog. Apologies for contacting you through the comments but couldn't spot your email address. We would love to feature some of your photos over on www.foodandfizz.com and hopefully send a little traffic back over this way! Give us a shout if you have any questions and look forward to seeing your pics :)



Ben Website Link
[ Posted at 6:33 AM on 7/7/09 | Reply ]
I like to know what is the reason to use papaya seed when doing peking crispy skin roast duck.
Any tips or info is greatly appreciated.

[ Posted at 5:36 AM on 2/25/10 | Reply ]
[-] peking roast duck - Guest-AncellaSoo
What's fleur de sel? Another thing what's infuser ? Your duck really make me lou hou swue!Thanks for the sharing
[ Posted at 8:09 AM on 6/20/12 | Reply ]
[-] Homemade Peking Crispy Roast Duck - Guest-DidySyarkowi
good morning,
we will in china beijing and shanghai on 19 of november 2013, we will try to eat roasted duck, but can you inform me, because all of us are moeslem, so that we can not eat if the duck itself not to be serve as halal food. can you inform me about this, thak you, I'll waiting your respon asap, best regards, didy syarkowi
[ Posted at 3:34 PM on 10/28/13 | Reply ]

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