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How To Make Peking Duck At Home

Updated on April 2, 2009

Peking Duck

The Chinese People have perfected the art of slow roasting duck, and turned it into a staple of Chinese cuisine.

Fine Chinese Dining

Fine Chinese Dining
Fine Chinese Dining

What is Peking Duck?

Peking Duck, or Beijing Roast Duck is a famous item of Chinese cuisine. This duck dish has been prepared since the Yuan Dynasty, and is now considered one of China's national foods. From my experience, the best is usually found in the finer Chinese restaurants, and it will usually cost you more than a few bucks. However, the expense is well worth it for the skin alone. Words like, delectable and scrumptious come to mind when indulging in this delicacy.

The dish is prized for the thin, crispy skin, with authentic versions of the dish serving mostly the skin and little meat, sliced in front of the diners by the cook. Ducks bred specially for the dish are slaughtered after 65 days and seasoned before being roasted in a closed or hung oven. The meat is often eaten with pancakes, spring onions, and hoisin sauce or sweet noodle sauce. The two most notable restaurants in Beijing which serve this delicacy are Quanjude and Bianyifang, two centuries-old establishments which have become household names in China.

History Of The Imperial Duck - Wikipedia


Duck has been roasted in China since the Southern and Northern Dynasties.Peking Duck was first prepared for the Emperor of China in the Yuan Dynasty. The dish, originally named "Shaoyazi" , was mentioned in the Complete Recipes for Dishes and Beverages manual in 1330 by Hu Sihui, an inspector of the imperial kitchen. In the Ming Dynasty, the Peking Duck was one of the main dishes on imperial court menus. In the same period, the first restaurant specialising in Peking Duck, Bianyifang, was established in the Xianyukou, Qianmen area of Beijing in 1416.

By the Qianlong Period (1736-1796) of the Qing Dynasty, the popularity of the Peking Duck spread to the upper classes, inspiring poetry from poets and scholars who enjoyed the dish. For instance, one of the verses of Duan Zhu Zhi Ci, a collection of Beijing poems was, "Fill your plates with roast duck and suckling pig". In 1864, the Quanjude restaurant was established in Beijing. Yang Quanren, the founder of Quanjude, developed the hung oven to roast ducks. With its innovations and efficient management, the restaurant became well known in China, introducing the Peking Duck to the rest of the world.

By the mid 20th century, the Peking Duck had become a national symbol of China, favoured by tourists and diplomats alike. For example, Henry Kissinger, the Secretary of State of the United States met Premier Zhou Enlai in the Great Hall of the People on July 10, during his first visit to China. After a round of inconclusive talks in the morning, the delegation was served Peking Duck for lunch, which became Kissinger's favourite. The Americans and Chinese issued a joint statement the following day, inviting President Richard Nixon to visit China in 1972. The Peking Duck was hence considered one of the factors behind the rapprochement of the United States to China in the 1970s. Following Zhou's death in 1976, Kissinger paid another visit to Beijing to savour Peking Duck.The Peking Duck, at the Quanjude in particular, has also been a favorite dish for various political leaders ranging from Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro to former German chancellor Helmut Kohl.

A Thing Of Beauty

A Thing Of Beauty
A Thing Of Beauty

Looks Like A Chinese Thanksgiving

Looks Like A Chinese Thanksgiving
Looks Like A Chinese Thanksgiving

The Authentic Way Of Roasting Peking Duck


Fattened ducks are slaughtered, feathered, eviscerated and rinsed thoroughly with water.Air is pumped under the skin through the neck cavity to separate the skin from the fat. The duck is then soaked in boiling water for a short while before it is hung up to dry. While it is hung, the duck is glazed with a layer of maltose syrup, and the innards are rinsed once more with water. Having left to stand for 24 hours,the duck is roasted in an oven until it turns shiny brown.

Peking Duck is traditionally roasted in either a closed oven or hung oven. The closed oven is built of brick and fitted with metal griddles. The oven is preheated by burning Gaoliang wood at the base. The duck is placed in the oven immediately after the fire burns out, allowing the meat to be slowly cooked through the convection of heat within the oven.

The hung oven was developed in the imperial kitchens during the Qing Dynasty and adopted by the Quanjude restaurant chain. It is designed to roast up to 20 ducks at the same time with an open fire fueled by hardwood from peach or pear trees. The ducks are hung on hooks above the fire and roasted at a temperature of 270 °C (525 °F) for 30-40 minutes. While the ducks are cooking, the chef may use a pole to dangle each duck closer to the fire for 30 second intervals.

The Whole Shebang

The Whole Shebang
The Whole Shebang

How To Make Your Own Peking Duck - This is not my recipe. I would lead you astray, then you'd be mad at


Difficulty: Easy


Heat the vinegar, rice wine, honey and ginger in a large, high-sided casserole or Dutch oven over high. When the mixture boils, reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Clean the duck of any extra fat around both ends of the body cavity. Trim away the flap of skin around the neck.


Cut the tips off of the wings and then prick the skin all over with a sharp fork or knife.


Mix together the cornstarch with 1/4 cup water. Stir until any lumps are gone.


Add the cornstarch mixture to the pot and stir to prevent clumping.


When the liquid in the pot thickens to a light syrup consistency, place the duck on its side in the pot. Using a ladle or large spoon, baste the duck with liquid for one minute.


Turn the duck over and ladle the liquid on it for one minute. Remove the pot from the heat and repeat the process of ladling on each side.


Remove the duck from the pot, place on a cookie rack on a sheet pan. Place the sheet pan in a place where you can direct a fan at the duck.


Let the duck dry under the fan for a minimum of three hours and up to eight, turning occasionally to ensure even drying. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.


Wrap the wings in foil and place the duck, breast-side up on a rack in a roasting pan lined with foil. Roast the duck at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes.


Turn the duck breast-side down and roast for another 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and drain the grease from the roasting pan.


Turn the duck again and reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Roast for an hour and then remove the foil from the wing tips.


Raise the oven temperature to 375 F and roast for another 15 minutes. Remove the duck from the oven and allow to cool for seven minutes.


Mix together the hoisin, sugar, 1 tablespoon water and soy sauce. Cut the duck into portions and serve with the pancakes, scallions and hoisin mixture on the side.

Then you sit down and share this with the one's you love!

Just Look At That Skin!!!

Just Look At That Skin!!!
Just Look At That Skin!!!

Recipe - Here is an alternate at home version.

* slice ginger

* 1 scallion, cut into halves

* 3 tablespoons honey

* 1 tablespoon white vinegar

* 1 tablespoon sherry

* 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 3 tablespoons water

* Scallions for garnish


Clean duck. Wipe dry and tie string around neck.

Hang duck in cool, windy place 4 hours.

Fill large wok with water. Bring to boil. Add ginger, scallion, honey, vinegar, and sherry. Bring to boil. Pour in dissolved cornstarch. Stir constantly.

Place duck in large strainer above larger bowl. Scoop boiling mixture all over duck for about 10 minutes.

Hang duck again in cool, windy place for 6 hours until thoroughly dry.

Place duck breast side up on a greased rack in oven preheated to 350 degrees. Set a pan filled with 2 inches of water in bottom of oven.

(This is for drippings). Roast 30 minutes.

Turn duck and roast 30 minutes more. Turn breast side up again. Roast 10 minutes more.

A Meal To Be Shared And Savored

A Meal To Be Shared And Savored
A Meal To Be Shared And Savored

How To Properly Serve


The cooked Peking Duck is traditionally carved in front of the diners and served in three stages. First, the skin is served dipped in sugar and garlic sauce. The meat is then served with steamed pancakes (Chinese: 荷叶饼, 荷葉餅; pinyin: héyè bǐng, literally lotus leaf pancakes), scallions and sweet noodle sauce. Several vegetable dishes are provided to accompany the meat, typically cucumber and carrot sticks. The diners spread sauce, and optionally sugar, over the pancake. The pancake is wrapped around the meat with the vegetables and eaten by hand. The remaining fat, meat and bones may be made into a broth. Otherwise, they are packed up to be taken home by the customers.

I Could Do Without The Neck And Head.

I Could Do Without The Neck And Head.
I Could Do Without The Neck And Head.

Thank You For Visiting My Humble Lens!

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    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 

      4 years ago from United States

      You actually make it sound possible to make this treat at home. I'm not certain I will try this, but I'm very interested in the possibility!

    • Millionairemomma profile image


      7 years ago


    • sushilkin lm profile image

      sushilkin lm 

      8 years ago

      Nice Lens! Thanks for sharing your knowledge!! Visit PRAY FOR JAPAN

    • ssuthep profile image


      9 years ago

      I do love peking duck. That is of course the first dish I order when I am at a Chinese Restaurant. Your recipe looks great. Awesome lens.

    • patinkc profile image


      9 years ago from Midwest

      This lens has made me so hungry!!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens you have here! Roasted peking duck is one of my favourite chinese take-away, sweet and sour pork next and then orange chicken. I haven't tried roasting my own duck yet but I will. Maybe on my birthday.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This is great! Giving me ideas what to eat out tomorrow night. Thanks for sharing, hope 2010 brings you all you wish for. 5***** and Fav!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      This is just too good, left me drooling!

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 

      10 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Fabulous introduction to Peking Duck. Would you believe it - I've never had this great dish. Your lens certainly makes me want to call a local Chinese restaurant and place my order for tomorrow. 5*s and a hearty SquidAngel Blessing! :-)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      hmmmmm! very tasty, have you trid a duck stuffed with lemon grass? or a tamarind leaves, here we do that stuff, as lemon grass are everywhere and tamarind trees are abundant, the natural aroma and flavor of the duck is really preserved. Have You tried it? anyway I had fave you and 5 stars for the yummy pics of duck, hmm

    • debnet profile image


      10 years ago from England

      Super lens! I've never tried Peking Duck but you've certainly made me want to! 5*****

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Mmmmm! This lens made me so hungry.

      i've never had Peking duck before but I am so craving it right now:)

      Awesome lens, 5* :)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Peking Duck is one of my favorites. That crispy skin! Wonderful lens.

    • nekoneko profile image


      10 years ago

      Yum.. ilove seeing the documentary at natinal ur infos too!

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Quick 

      10 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      Welcome to the Asian Foods group.

      This lens is a great addition! What's an Asian Food group without the king of Chinese food?

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Quick 

      10 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      Please add this lens to the Asian Foods group.

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Quick 

      10 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      A favorite dish among my family! Well done lens!

      You're officially blessed!

    • patinkc profile image


      10 years ago from Midwest

      Mmmmm, your photos are making me hungry. I think I'll go to Boling's for lunch tomorrow.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      You have presented the peking duck in all its glory -- what beautiful pictures! I've NEVER prepared this dish although I do love to photograph DUCKS of all kinds. ;)

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      10 years ago from Southampton, UK

      I love Peking Duck too. Haven't had it over here in the USA, but have in plenty of Chinese restaurants in England. Really good, and has all the ingredients I love. 5***** for a very nice lens. I'm posting this to Tagfoot for you.

    • CherylK profile image

      Cheryl Kohan 

      10 years ago from Arizona

      Yum! Sounds terrific. You've done a really nice job on this lens.

    • delia-delia profile image


      10 years ago

      I Loooooove Peking Duck! my mouth was watering when reading this lens and then seeing all those great images....5*


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