This is my easy method for oven roasted Peking duck with crispy skin and juicy, fall-apart meat. Served up with a spicy plum sauce. There won't be a shred left!
Personally the duck course is usually my favourite when we go out for Chinese. We all fight over the last bits of meat and wonder why we only ordered a quarter or a half of duck between us (even though we know full well that we haven't even got to the main course yet).
So today I'm presenting my own version of Peking duck. A whole duck for a fraction of the price it costs in a Chinese restaurant, and less squabbling because we all get a nice big portion!
I had a hard time photographing this one without pinching a piece, and then another, and then another. You get the picture.
We made this recently as part of a homemade Chinese banquet for New Year (our favourite way to bring in the New Year these days is to cook up a big feast and consume it all in our PJs). Also considering making it again for Chinese New Year on the 25th of Jan!
Ingredients for the best homemade duck and spicy plum sauce:
For the sauce we need: nice ripe plums, red onion, garlic, ginger, honey, rice vinegar, soy sauce and a little oil. We're also adding 4 tbsp of sriracha, which will mean the sauce will taste very hot when you first taste it, but the heat does mellow after an hour or so. You can reduce or leave out the sriracha if you don't want any heat in it.
For the duck we simply need a nice juicy duck and some salt and pepper.
The spicy plum sauce is made by frying up red onion, garlic and ginger until the onion is soft. Then add in 8 chopped plums (we want plenty of sauce right!), honey , soy sauce, rice vinegar and sriracha.
Simmer the mixture for 20 minutes, then blend with a stick blender (be careful it doesn't splash) and the sauce is done! You can leave it too cool and serve it cool, or reheat later if you like.
Want to know how to get that skin so crispy?
Starting by patting the skin dry with kitchen paper.
You'll also need a roasting tin with a wire rack above it. Placing the duck on the rack will allow the excess fat to drain off - of which there'll be quite a lot. The trick for getting the crispy skin is to score the fat (not the flesh) lightly all over the breast-side of the bird, then just season it and put it in the oven as it is.
The duck takes 3 hours and 40 minutes to cook, and during this time, you'll turn it over every hour. This will help to allow the juices to distribute so that all of the meat is moist and succulent. It'll also help ensure all of the skin is cooked crisply and evenly.
In the last ten minutes, take the duck out of the oven, turn it breast-side up again and brush some of the plum-sriracha sauce on it. Then put back in the oven for a final 10 minutes. This will give the skin a lovely dark, caramelised glaze to it that tastes amazing too!
Rest the duck for about 10 minutes, then shred the meat with two forks and serve with pancakes, strips of spring onion (scallions), cucumber and plenty more of that spicy plum sauce.
It's supposed to serve 6 as part of a larger meal with rice etc, but I will happily serve this to our little family of four as a main course.
That sauce will taste pretty hot at first, but it does mellow - my 9 year old and 13 year old love it.
How does this cooking method compare to traditional Peking duck?
The preparation of traditional Peking duck is a lengthy process, involving pumping air under the skin of the plucked duck to separate the skin from the flesh, then plunging in boiling water and hanging to dry. The duck is then glazed, left to dry for a day or more and then roasted. The whole process can take a few days, and that's how the skin is so super crispy.
Of course it's very difficult to complete many of those steps at home, so my recipe involves long slow cooking of the duck, whilst turning several times in the oven to redistribute the fat. This help to ensure lovely juicy meat and crisp skin. The duck is then glazed in my homemade plum sauce and cooked for a final 10 minutes for extra flavour that that rich dark colour.
Can I use shop bought plum or hoisin sauce instead of making my own?
Absolutely! If you don't want to make your own sauce, you can use shop-bought (mix with a little sriracha if you like it a little spicy)
What do you serve crispy duck with?
Crispy duck wouldn't be complete without Chinese pancakes (available at most larger supermarkets), strips of cucumber and spring onions (scallions) and the all important plum sauce!
Fancy making a Chinese banquet? How about serving your duck with these Chinese dishes:
Check out my video of how to make this crispy duck and plum sauce recipe.
The Pulled Crispy Duck with Plum Sriracha Sauce Recipe:
Pulled Duck with Plum Sriracha Sauce
- 1 duck - approx. 2.4kg in weight. Innards removed.
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Plum Sriracha sauce:
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 red onion - peeled and chopped
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 600 g ripe plums - de-stoned and cut into small (1 cm pieces) - no need to take the skin off
- 6 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 4 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp Chinese rice vinegar - if you don't have any you can use white wine vinegar
- 4 tbsp sriracha
- Preheat the oven to 150C/300F. Take a large roasting tin and place a wire rack inside.
- Pat the duck down with some kitchen paper to ensure the skin is dry.
- Score the skin of the duck in a criss-cross pattern (breast side) with a sharp knife. Be sure not to pierce the flesh.
- Place the duck - breast side up - on the rack in the roasting tin.
- Season with salt and pepper, and place in the oven for 3 hours 30 minutes. Turn the duck over every hour (I use a clean kitchen towel in each hand to turn the duck over).
- Whilst the duck is in the oven, make the plum sriracha sauce.
- Heat the oil in a medium sized sauce pan.
- Add the onion and cook on low-medium for 5 mins - until the onion is soft. Give it a stir every minute or so.
- Add in the ginger and garlic and cook for a further minute.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients, turn up the heat and bring to a gentle bubble. Turn the heat back down to medium and allow everything to bubble gently for 20 minutes. Give it a stir every so often.
- After 20 minutes, turn off the heat and blend the mixture in the pan using a hand blender. I like to give it just a few pulses so the sauce still has some texture. Leave to one side.
- After the duck has cooked for 3 hours 50 minutes, take it out of the oven and turn the oven temperature up to 190C/375F.
- Turn the duck so that it's breast-side-up again and brush 2 tbsps of the plum sriracha sauce all over the top of the duck (including the legs).
- Place back in the oven for 10 minutes until the glaze has gone dark brown and caramelised.
- Take the duck out of the oven. Leave to rest for 10 minutes, then place on a large plate and shred all the meat using two forks.
- Serve immediately with some of the plum sriracha sauce. I also like to serve it will some rice and greens.
Can I make it ahead?It tastes better when cooked and served straight away, but you could cook the duck, then shred the meat off, cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat, wrapped in foil in the oven for approx 15-20 minutes at 180C/350f - until piping hot throughout. Unfortunately the skin won't be as crispy, but reheating in the foil should keep the duck pretty moist.
Can I freeze it?Yes, you can cook the duck, then shred the meat off, cool, cover and freeze. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat, wrapped in foil in the oven for approx 15-20 minutes at 180C/350f - until piping hot throughout. As per above, the skin won't be as crispy, but reheating in the foil should keep the duck pretty moist.
Save the duck fat!!Save the rendered duck fat for making delicious roast potatoes! . Nutritional information is per serving (note, I haven't factored in the fat that is released when the duck is cooking, so it may be fewer calories and less fat altogether).
This post was first published in November 2014. Updated in January 2020 with new photos, video and tips.
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