My Grandma’s Roasted Duck

If you’d ask me what’s my favorite dish. I would answer in a heartbeat – My grandma’s roasted duck, of course! I know that duck is not a typical food here in the US. People rarely cook it at home, and only occasionally order it in their favorite restaurant. For me, it’s an entirely different story. I grew up in Ukraine, and roasted duсk was one of the centerpieces of our holiday table. We had it for Christmas, birthdays, and family gatherings. My grandma was always in charge of it, and she truly mastered that dish to perfection. She roasts it in a dutch oven with apples, herbs, and garlic until the skin gets golden brown and the meat becomes incredibly tender and flavorful. We usually have it with roasted or mashed potato and a couple of simple salads.

Since my husband and I moved to the US, we’ve tasted duck in dozens of restaurants, but it was never quite as good as the one my grandma makes. So I started to make it at home, and guess what< It became my signature dish as well. I might experiment with garnishes and side dishes, but I still use my grandma’s basic recipe because nothing makes me happier than these beloved flavors from my childhood. I even decided to put together a menu with my favorite family dishes and make a pop-up dinner in San Francisco on June 16th. It will be a tribute to all women in my family who always been exceptional home cooks fierce and adventurous.

So here I’m, sharing this simple and rustic Roasted Duck recipe that my granny created decades ago, hoping to encourage you to give it a try.

My Grandma's Roasted Duck

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 2 hrs
Serves: 4-6


  • 1 5- to 6-pound organic Maskovy duck
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole mixed peppercorns
  • 1 large orange, zested and cut into 6 wedges
  • 1 small bunch of sage
  • 2 big green apples, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 2 big sweet potatoes - cut into thick wedges, optional


  1. Rinse duck and pat dry. Remove neck and giblets and save for another purpose. Trim excess fat from cavity and tail area. Prick duck skin all over with the tip of sharp paring knife, making sure not to penetrate the meat.
  2. In a heavy granite mortar mix the salt, peppercorns, orange zest, and sage. Pound with a pestle until all spices are crushed, and the mixture is well combined.
  3. Rub the duck with the aromatic mixture, don't forget about the cavity, then stuff it with the orange wedges. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or better overnight. When ready to cook, remove the duck from the fridge and bring it to room temperature.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350F. Lay the bottom of a heavy dutch oven with apple slices and sweet potato wedges. Place the duck in the dutch oven and cover with a lid. Roast the duck for 1 hr 40 min. Then increase the temperature to 400F remove the lid and roast for another 30-35 minutes until the bird is golden brown.
  5. Transfer the duck to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve the duck and serve with the roasted apples.

Additional Info

Serve it with some roasted carrots and creamy polenta.

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