Thanksgiving Traditions: Roasted Duck with Butter


As newlyweds nine years ago, Ben and I were given a whole duck from friends. They had raised and processed pastured duck for the first time and wanted us to try it.

We had never eaten duck before, and to be honest, it sounded pretty intimidating to cook.

I looked up a recipe online, roasted the duck, and we sat down and cautiously took the first bite.


Crispy, salty and spicy skin on top and only juicy dark meat underneath – it was amazing.

Ever since then, I have made roasted ducks for Thanksgiving in place of the traditional turkey. Ben isn’t a fan of turkey since it is usually dry and our family enjoys duck so much that we have made it a family tradition!

You can usually find duck in the grocery stores during the holidays, but I definitely recommend sourcing from a local farmer that has raised the ducks on pasture. I picked up two beautiful 6 lbs ducks today from our friends at Meadow Wood Farm. It’s worth it!

Thanksgiving Roasted Duck

adapted from


One 5-6 lb whole duck

2 tsp salt (we love Redmond Real Salt)

1 tsp black pepper

2 tsp paprika

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

Total cook time: 2 hours


Mix all spices above in a small bowl.

Preheat the oven to 375 and get a roasting pan big enough for the duck to be tucked into.

Rub all of the spices into the skin and place the duck in the roasting pan.

Roast the duck for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, melt the 1/2 cup butter in a saucepan and spoon 1/4 cup of melted butter over the duck. Roast the duck for 45 min.

Spoon the remaining 1/4 cup butter and roast for an additional 15 minutes or until golden brown.

With a meat thermometer, check the internal temperature. The meat is ready to eat when the thick part of the breast or thigh reaches 165F.

We wish you all a wonderful and joyful Thanksgiving holiday!



  1. Janet Gorman says:

    I ate duck only once and it was a greasy, fatty affair. Hence, I never tried to roast it myself. I do however, prefer dark meat. To me, the white / breast meat is too stringy and dry. I often purchase turkey leg and thigh pieces in lieu of the whole bird. Reading your article about your ‘fresh’ duck, I think I’ll purchase a freshly killed/ dressed duck from Meadow Woof Farm. Thanks,

    • Kristen Beichler says:

      Hi Janet, I think you will enjoy it when the duck has been pastured and prepared so they are crispy and juicy. Hope you give it a try!

  2. […] family get-together every year here at the farm. We always roast ducks instead of turkey (here’s Kristen’s recipe) and share a big meal together as a […]

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