Cooking a whole duck is foolproof when you use your slow cooker or Instant Pot. Serve this easy duck recipe at your next holiday gathering or Sunday dinner.
Duck – White or Dark Meat?
Duck is a bird of flight so it’s considered to be poultry or white meat. Having said that, in a lot of ways duck very much resembles red meat. Duck has a darker, red meat-like flesh. It also has a higher fat & cholesterol content compared to other poultry. But duck is poultry so please note that while duck has characteristics of red meat, the USDA recommends cooking whole duck to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F.
Duck, A Fatty Protein
Duck is a fatty meat. When I cook this in the slow cooker, I crumbled up a couple of balls of aluminum foil and put the seasoned duck on top of the foil balls. This allows the grease to drip off the duck while it cooks. This is optional; the duck can go directly in the bottom of the slow cooker and the recipe will come out just fine. The meat will just cook in more duck grease. One thing to note is that a lot of a duck’s fat is actually in the skin. One way to cut back on your fat intake is to remove the skin after it’s done cooking.
Of course you can always use your preferred seasoning for this whole duck recipe. But if you’re looking for homemade seasoning, below is what I used. This is enough for up to a 5 pound duck without having to make any adjustments to the measurements. Anything larger you might want to use more seasonings.
Homemade Seasoning Mix
2 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Slow Cooker vs Instant Pot
You’re seeing it correctly that there’s NO liquid added to the slow cooker when making cooking this duck recipe. With the Instant Pot, you will need 1 cup of water for it to pressurize. With the Instant Pot, you may have to cut the duck up to fit properly. Some Instant Pot duck recipes will tell you to first brown the skin using the saute function. In my version, I do not take the time to do this. If you want to, you absolutely can. I do not do this because I broil the skin afterwards. Regardless of whether you use a slow cooker or pressure cooker, if you want crispy skin on your whole chicken, you will need to remove it from the appliance and broil it in the oven after it’s done cooking.
Broil The Skin
The only downfall of cooking a whole duck in the slow cooker or electric pressure cooker (Instant Pot) is that the duck will have soggy skin. There’s no getting around it. If you want to crisp your duck’s skin, you have will have to remove it from the appliance and place it in your oven under the broiler for a few minutes. This is an optional but recommended step.
Other holiday recipes you might enjoy:
- 3–5 pound whole duck
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 medium-size carrots, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh herbs
- 2 teaspoons oil of your choice
- 1 cup water (for Instant Pot only)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Prepare The Duck:
- If your duck came with a bag of giblets inside the cavity, remove it.
- Rinse & pat the duck dry. Using a knife or fork, pierce the skin of the duck (so the fat will ooze out as it cooks).
- Drizzle the oil evenly all over the duck. Stuff the cavity of the duck with the celery, carrots, onion, and fresh sprigs of herbs.
- In a small bow, mix the rub spices. Season the duck all over with the rub seasonings.
- Proceed to slow cooker or pressure cooker steps.
- Add the seasoned duck to slow cooker.
- Cook HIGH 3-4 hours or LOW 6-8.
- Remove duck from slow cooker and let it rest for an additional 10 minutes before slicing.
- Place the trivet in pressure cooker. Add 1 cup water.
- Place seasoned duck on the trivet.
- Close lid and seal valve. Set high pressure and cook 12 minutes per pound of duck if cut into pieces or 15 minutes per pound if cooking a whole duck. Natural release 15 minutes, quick release remaining pressure.
- Remove duck from pressure cooker and let it rest for an additional 10 minutes before slicing.
Crisp The Skin
- Preheat your broiler to high.
- Carefully remove the turkey from the appliance and place on a baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet the oven & broil for 3-5 minutes or until the skin is crisp to your liking.
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