Entrees/ Poultry/ Recipes

[Recipe] How to make tender duck confit

Looking for a delicious evening dining in at home? Duck confit is impressive and worth the effort. The best part is that the duck can be cooked hours before serving, giving you time to prepare other dishes.  The skin is then placed on a pan before serving to brown and crisp the skin.

I have made duck confit more than 5 times since this post and I can confidentially say that this recipe creates the most succulent duck that’s tender and packed with flavour from curing it the day before.  I found the oven method of cooking the duck low and low resulted in more tender meat over the stove top. I have tested out several cures, and this one is incredible with the aromatic Chinese 5 spice. I normally make a big batch of the cure and keep it in an air tight jar for future use.

Duck Confit by Mary’s Happy Belly

Where to buy the duck legs and duck fat?

I highly recommend making a trip to King Cole Ducks in Newmarket as they have a huge selection of duck products. Their products can be found at local supermarkets as well. For the duck fat, many grocery stores such as Longos sells it.

For my recipe, 8 of the King Cole Duck legs were purchased from a local butcher. For the remaining 2 legs, I bought an entire duck and sectioned out the legs. Most of the duck fat for my recipe was derived from rendering duck fat from previous whole ducks I had purchased. To render the fat, make sure to remove all the meat from the skin and place the skin on a pan on medium heat. Keep scooping out the fat as it renders and pass it through a sieve to remove any sediments. I know others like to blanch the skin first before placing it on a pan or oven, but I usually skip that step.

Did you know that duck fat can be re-used? Keep it refrigerated


Duck skin cracklings anyone?

Duck confit
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cuisine: French
  • 10 duck legs
  • 12 cups of duck fat
  • Cure:
  • 4 tbsp of fresh thyme leaves
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 cup of kosher salt
  • ¼ cup of (granulated) sugar
  • 2 tbsp of black pepper
  • 2 tbsp of garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp of ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp of Chinese 5 spice powder
  1. Expose the bone near the tip of the duck legs (optional). Cut off excess fat.
  2. Mix all the ingredients in the cure in a blender until the grind is fine.
  3. Rub the cure mixture on the skin and on both sides of the duck legs.
  4. Leave the duck to cure overnight in the fridge or up to 2 days.
  5. On the day of cooking, rinse off the cure, and pat dry the duck legs.
  6. Melt the duck fat in a pan.
  7. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F.
  8. Place the duck legs snug in the roasting pan with the melted duck fat. The fat must cover all the duck legs.
  9. Place the duck in the oven and cook for 2 hours. The meat will become very tender.
  10. Before serving, remove the duck legs from the oil. Add duck fat in a heated pan and brown the skin.

Making the spice blend for curing the duck

There are several ways to serve the duck. For this dish, I skipped the browning part, and ripped the meat into pieces served on top of warm pita bread.


The duck can be served with duck fat potatoes and a rhubarb chutney.

You can also skip the step of exposing the bone (Frenching the bone). Here I served the duck with an apricot chutney, Brussels sprouts and basmati rice.

If you have any questions, comment below or connect with me.

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