Peking duck

Peking duck

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(5 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 1 hr, 50 mins plus overnight chilling

More effort

Serves 4

A classic recipe for honeyed Peking duck, serve with Chinese pancakes, spring onions and hoisin sauce for a mouthwatering main course

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal842
  • fat70g
  • saturates21g
  • carbs14g
  • sugars13g
  • fibre0g
  • protein38g
  • salt2.5g
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  • 1.6-1.8kg duck, fresh or thawed thoroughly if frozen



    Rich and full of flavour, duck meat is extremely nutritious, with high levels of protein, B…

For the honey syrup mixture

  • juice of 1 lemon



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 3 tbsp clear honey
  • 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 150ml Shaohsing rice wine or dry Sherry

To serve

  • 20 shop-bought Chinese pancakes
  • spring onions, sliced into matchsticks
    Spring onions

    Spring onion

    sp-ring un-yun

    Also known as scallions or green onions, spring onions are in fact very young onions, harvested…

  • hoisin sauce


  1. Place all the honey syrup ingredients in a large pan with 1.2 litres water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 20 mins.

  2. Meanwhile, rinse the duck well, blot it completely dry with kitchen paper, then put it on a rack in a roasting tin. Using a ladle, pour the syrup over the duck several times until the skin is completely coated on all sides. Leave the duck to dry out, uncovered, in the fridge overnight. When the duck has dried, the skin should feel like parchment paper.

  3. Heat oven to 240C/220C fan/gas 9. Sit the duck breast-side up on the rack in the roasting tin. Add 150ml water to the tin to prevent the fat from spattering, then roast in the oven for 15 mins. Reduce the heat to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and continue to roast for 1 hr 10 mins.

  4. Remove the duck from the oven and let it sit for at least 10 mins before you carve it. Using a cleaver or a sharp knife, cut the skin and meat into pieces and arrange them on a warm serving platter. Or, if you prefer, shred the meat using two forks.

  5. Serve at once with the pancakes, spring onions and a bowl of hoisin sauce.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Erika Pan's picture
Erika Pan
23rd Nov, 2019
This was my first time cooking duck, and it turned out perfectly! I did add a little 5 Spice Powder to the sauce that I scalded it with. I also scalded it 3 times instead of once, with the liquid, because I wanted to make sure that it was fully scalded. I probably didn't need to. It was relatively easy to cook the duck, just time consuming. My husband is from China, and he thought that it was delicious and traditional. I saved the fat, and rendered it to use for cooking in the future. It has less flavor than butter.
7th Feb, 2016
This was a disaster! Is the recipe correct? The honey syrup was not a syrup, just a thin liquid-should it be 1.2 litres of water?? What do you do with the lemon-juice it, slice it, put it in whole?? Followed the recipe exactly but the "syrup" left no flavour at all and was a complete waste of time, the duck was just brown and slightly burnt but not cooked through completely. Thank goodness for hoisin sauce otherwise this would have been a tasteless dish.Would not recommend or make again.
goodfoodteam's picture
9th Feb, 2016
Hi cookerystuff, thanks for getting in touch and so sorry to hear you did not have success with this recipe. There was an error in the ingredients list - thanks for spotting that and we have now corrected it to say "juice of 1 lemon". The method above is correct and as cliffsun91 says below, the syrup is more to scald the skin to help it crisp up later and does not form the sauce. Apologies that this wasn't clear.  We do hope you'll be tempted to try one of our other recipes in the future. 
8th Feb, 2016
Juice of one lemon implies that lemon juice is required, the quantity being roughly the amount of juice one lemon produces. However in this old youtube video of Ken Hom ( you'll see he puts in slices of lemon. The 'syrup' is not meant to be a syrup, but more of a liquid (hot) used to briefly scald the skin of the duck so that when you hang it or leave it in the fridge to dry out, the skin gets nice and dry. Then when you roast it the skin will become nice and crispy like you see on typical roast ducks. I haven't personally tried this but I've done it on a Goose before and it has worked well. It's a standard technique for making chinese style roast duck (all chinese restaurants do this).
5th Dec, 2018
Surely, the quantity of rice wine is wrong? Rice wine should be measured in ml as it is liquid. And the amount, even if the whole amount - 150g - was measured out on a digital scale, it seems like a very large amount considering that the other ingredients are literally measured in terms of tablespoons or a lemon? Can BBCGoodFood please check!
goodfoodteam's picture
21st Jan, 2019
Thanks for your question. It should read ml which we have now amended and it is the correct amount. Apologies for the confusion.
Maggs1953's picture
3rd Feb, 2017
Can you cook the duck with the syrup at the bottom of the roasting tin?
Erika Pan's picture
Erika Pan
23rd Nov, 2019
No need. The duck is really flavorful already. I personally couldn't get the pancakes and spring onions, or a rack to set the duck on, so I ended up setting the duck on cut up potatoes, carrots and a large onion.
goodfoodteam's picture
7th Feb, 2017
We'd suggest cleaning the tin out before cooking as this will be easier than after its cooked.
Erika Pan's picture
Erika Pan
23rd Nov, 2019
I cooked it for 15 minutes in my electric oven at 460°F and then 1 hour 10 minutes at 360°F. My duck was just over 5 pounds.
12th May, 2017
If you must use this recipe. Simply poor the boiling hot honey syrup over the duck then discard the liquid and put the whole duck with no liquid in the fridge open to dry overnight. I also suggest to get a more richer flavour only use 500ml of water to make the honey syrup
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