Simple Peking Duck

I love Peking Duck, but I always thought it was very difficult to make at home. I could hardly believe it when I saw the very simple recipe described by Stéphane on his blog My French Heaven. He just boils the whole duck with some honey and soy sauce, allows it to dry in the refrigerator and then roasts it for 1.5 hours at 250C/480F. I tried this and the result was quite good! Thanks Stéphane!

Peking Duck is one of my favorite Chinese dishes. You eat pieces of crispy skin with some cucumber and scallions with a sauce, rolled up in a pancake. In the West it is served a lot with Hoisin sauce, which is not the authentic sauce to use, but I tried the authentic sauce as well and liked Hoisin better. I did make the pancakes from scratch, but I couldn’t get the ingredients to make hoisin from scratch so I just bought a jar instead.


For 2 servings

1 peking duck (about 1.3 kg or 3 lbs) (it is not a problem if it is not yet completely defrosted)

60 ml (1/4 cup) honey

60 ml (1/4 cup) soy sauce

60 ml (1/4 cup) shaohsing cooking wine

1 tsp five-spice powder

For serving the duck

8 peking duck pancakes

1/2 cucumber, seeded and cut into strips

4 scallions/green onions, cut into strips

hoisin sauce


Fill a large stock pot with about 4 liters (4 quarts) of water. Put it on high heat to bring it to a boil. Add 60 ml soy sauce.

Add 60 ml shaohsing cooking wine.

Add 60 ml honey (it helps to submerge the measuring cup in the water that is by now getting warm to get the honey off of the measuring cup).

Add 1 tsp five-spice powder.

Add the duck as soon as the water boils.

Lower the heat and cook the duck for 10 minutes.

Put the duck on a rack (I found my rack for oranges to be very suitable) and let it cool to room temperature.

Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 24 hours or up to 4 days. The longer it dries, the more crispy the skin will become.

The next day (or several days later), preheat the oven to 250C/480F and put the duck on a wire rack.

Roast the duck for 1.5 hours at 250C/480F.

Turn the duck every 20-25 minutes while it is roasting.

Keep roasting until it is a deep golden brown on all sides. This may take up to 2 hours.

Warm up the pancakes in a steamer or wrapped in a damp cloth in the microwave oven and prepare the cucumber and scallions.

Cut the skin off the duck with just a bit of meat underneath.

Serve the duck skin with the pancakes, hoisin sauce, cucumber, and scallions.

Everyone can make his or her own pancake. First spread some hoisin sauce on a pancake.

Then add some duck, cucumber and scallions.

Roll up and enjoy! Peking duck is best eaten by hand.

Since peking duck is all about the skin, a large part of the duck will be left. I used this to make a famous Tuscan pasta dish: Pappardelle all’Anatra.

Wine pairing

As with many Asian food, Peking duck goes well with a gewurztraminer. It could also work with rosé, but only if the rosé is full-bodied and not too dry.

15 thoughts on “Simple Peking Duck

  1. I’ve shied away from even thinking about making Peking duck at home once I saw how complicated the preparation was. You, Stefan, have re-opened that door. This is certainly an easier approach and the duck in your photos looks incredible. Nicely done!


  2. Proper duck. I’d be interested to know how many hits you get for this post over the coming months – I’m a stats man when it comes to blogging (Its just interesting I suppose) and Crispy Peking Duck gets the most hits on my blog. Now I’m wondering whether you would get more hits if you put the words ‘crispy’ or ‘hoisin’ in the title of the blog – whether that increases the number of hits you get (Sorry i know that isn’t relevant in terms of the actual post but like I wrote I’m just interested)


  3. Wow, Stefan! What a simple recipe. I’ve always heard that Peking duck is one of those foreign delicacies to by bought not made, but you’ve really opened my eyes. Your duck turned out beautifully with the perfect amount of color. Nice job!


  4. Hmmmm…Simple and Peking Duck are 2 things I hardly ever associate together, unless it’s to drop by the local Asian market and buy it already cooked. I’ve never thought about making given it is a rather time consuming, complex endeavor. This is pretty sweet. The color is wonderful and it looks nice and crispy. How did this stand up flavor-wise to the traditional method?


  5. Just found this simplified but actually very correct recipe, thank you very much. Do you know that the Chinese saves the water they poach the duck in, and reuses it for generations. They call call it Old Man Water or in english, Master Stock.
    It can be kept in the fridge, but must then be boiled once a week, or it can simply be frozen and defrosted when needed.
    Chinese cooks “owns” their own stock and take it from job to job.
    You can now poach any meat in it, chicken is especially good, and the stock just get better and better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Leif, yes I knew about master stock. Unfortunately my refrigerator and freezer are too small as it is, so no room for a project like that. But it sure is a great concept.


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