How to Cook Duck Legs: A Comprehensive Guide

Duck is a delicious and versatile protein that can be cooked in an array of flavorful dishes. One cut of duck that is particularly popular among chefs and home cooks alike is the duck leg. With the right techniques and ingredients, cooking duck legs can be a breeze – and the results will be mouthwatering.

The Basics of Cooking Duck Legs

Before diving into specific recipes, it’s important to understand the basics of cooking duck legs. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Choose the Right Duck Legs

When selecting duck legs, look for plump, evenly sized cuts. Fresh, high-quality duck legs will have a firm texture and a bright, pinkish-red hue. Avoid any legs that look discolored, have a pungent odor, or feel slimy.

Prep the Duck Legs

Before cooking, rinse the duck legs under cold water and gently pat dry with paper towels. For extra flavor, marinate the duck legs in a mixture of herbs, spices, and citrus for a few hours or overnight.

Cooking Methods

Duck legs can be cooked in a variety of ways, including roasting, braising, and grilling. Each method offers a unique flavor and texture profile. Choose the method that best suits your taste preferences and cooking abilities.

Serving Suggestions

Duck legs pair well with a variety of sides and sauces. Some popular accompaniments include roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, and berry compote.

Roasted Duck Legs Recipe

If you’re looking for a simple and delicious way to enjoy duck legs, try this roasted duck legs recipe. It’s easy to make and can be customized with your favorite herbs and spices.


  • 4 duck legs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Place the duck legs in a roasting pan.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and thyme. Rub the mixture all over the duck legs.
  4. Roast the duck legs in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  5. Remove the duck legs from the oven and let them rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Braised Duck Legs Recipe

If you’re in the mood for something a bit more indulgent, try this braised duck legs recipe. The wine and herb sauce adds a rich, complex flavor to the dish.


  • 4 duck legs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 2 teaspoons rosemary
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a Dutch oven or large oven-safe pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic and sauté until soft and golden brown.
  3. Add the duck legs to the pot and brown on all sides.
  4. Pour in the red wine, chicken broth, tomato paste, thyme, and rosemary. Bring to a simmer.
  5. Cover the pot with a lid and transfer to the preheated oven. Cook for 2-3 hours, or until the duck legs are tender and falling off the bone.
  6. Remove from the oven and serve hot, garnished with fresh herbs if desired.

Final Thoughts

Cooking duck legs may initially seem intimidating, but with the right techniques and ingredients, it can be a breeze. Remember to choose high-quality duck legs, prep them thoroughly, and choose the cooking method that best suits your preferences. With these tips and recipes, you’ll be able to cook delicious and flavorful duck legs every time.


Can I cook duck legs on the grill?

Absolutely! Grilling is a great way to cook duck legs, as it imparts a smoky flavor and crispy skin. To grill duck legs, marinate them in your desired seasoning and cook over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes on each side.

How do I know when duck legs are fully cooked?

The internal temperature of fully cooked duck legs should reach 165°F. You can use a meat thermometer to ensure that the duck legs are cooked to the proper temperature.

What sides pair well with duck legs?

Duck legs pair well with a variety of sides, including roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, and berry compote. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also pair duck legs with more exotic sides like braised red cabbage or sweet potato puree.