Crispy Roast Duck With Cherry Sauce: How to Make It

by Ella

When it comes to indulging in a luxurious and flavorful culinary experience, few dishes rival the sheer delight of crispy roast duck drizzled with a luscious cherry sauce. This harmonious fusion of succulent duck meat and the sweet-tart allure of cherries creates an unforgettable symphony of tastes and textures that tantalize the senses. In this comprehensive guide, we embark on a gastronomic journey to master the art of creating the perfect crispy roast duck with cherry sauce, from selecting the finest ingredients to executing the cooking process with finesse and flair.

Crispy roast duck with cherry sauce

Crispy roast duck with cherry sauce is a delightful and flavorful dish that combines the rich and succulent taste of roast duck with the sweet and tangy notes of cherry sauce. Here's a basic recipe to get you started:
Prep Time10 minutes
Active Time2 hours
Course: Main Course
Yield: 4
Cost: $5


  • 1 oven
  • 1 Sharp knife


  • 1 whole duck (about 4-5 pounds)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon five-spice powder (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger minced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cherries pitted
  • 1/2 cup chicken or duck broth
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional, for thickening)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Wash and thoroughly dry the duck, both inside and out. Trim any excess fat. Season the inside of the duck with salt, pepper, minced garlic, and ginger. You can also rub the five-spice powder over the duck's skin for added flavor.
  • Use a sharp knife to score the duck's skin, being careful not to cut into the meat. This helps render the fat and ensures a crispy skin.
  • Place the duck on a roasting rack inside a roasting pan. Roast in the preheated oven for about 2 to 2.5 hours, or until the duck's skin is golden brown and crispy, and the internal temperature reaches at least 165°F (74°C).
  • While the duck is roasting, prepare the cherry sauce. In a saucepan, combine the cherries, chicken or duck broth, red wine, balsamic vinegar, and honey. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat.
  • If you'd like a thicker sauce, mix the cornstarch with a small amount of water to create a slurry. Stir the slurry into the cherry mixture and continue to simmer until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Once the duck is fully cooked, remove it from the oven and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes before carving.
  • Carve the duck into serving portions and arrange them on a serving platter. Drizzle some of the cherry sauce over the duck pieces, reserving some for serving on the side.
  • Serve the crispy roast duck with the cherry sauce on the side and your choice of side dishes, such as roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, or a fresh salad.

The Foundation – Selecting Premium Ingredients

Creating an exceptional dish begins with sourcing the finest ingredients, as quality lays the groundwork for an outstanding culinary creation. When crafting crispy roast duck with cherry sauce, pay meticulous attention to the following components:


1. Choosing the Duck

Opt for a high-quality whole duck, preferably fresh, and preferably sourced from a reputable butcher or specialty market. Look for a plump bird with firm, evenly colored skin. A duck weighing around 4-5 pounds is ideal for this recipe, ensuring a good balance of meat and fat.


2. Selecting Cherries

The success of the cherry sauce hinges on the quality of cherries used. Opt for fresh, ripe cherries when in season, or high-quality frozen cherries if fresh ones are unavailable. Tart cherries, such as Montmorency, add depth to the sauce’s flavor profile.


Pairing Suggestions

The symphony of flavors created by the crispy roast duck with delectable cherry sauce is a culinary masterpiece that deserves to be accompanied by carefully chosen pairings. Elevating the dining experience further, thoughtful pairing suggestions enhance the enjoyment of the dish and create a harmonious balance of tastes.


Wine Pairings

1. Pinot Noir: A classic choice, the delicate and fruity notes of Pinot Noir complement the rich duck meat and the sweet-tart cherry sauce. Its subtle earthiness and balanced acidity provide a perfect counterpoint to the dish’s flavors.

2. Merlot: The soft, velvety texture of Merlot harmonizes with the succulent duck, while its plum and berry undertones complement the sweetness of the cherry sauce.

3. Syrah/Shiraz: With its robust character and dark fruit flavors, Syrah or Shiraz offers a bold pairing that can stand up to the richness of the duck and the depth of the cherry sauce.

4. Zinfandel: For those who appreciate a touch of spice, Zinfandel’s peppery and berry-driven profile complements the dish’s complexities and adds an intriguing layer of flavor.

Side Dish Accompaniments

1. Roasted Root Vegetables: The natural sweetness of roasted root vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes, echoes the flavors of the cherry sauce and creates a well-rounded and satisfying meal.

2. Creamy Polenta: Silky and comforting, creamy polenta provides a neutral canvas that allows the duck and cherry sauce to shine, while adding a delightful contrast in texture.

3. Wild Rice Pilaf: The nutty and slightly chewy texture of wild rice pairs exquisitely with the duck’s crispy skin and tender meat, creating a delightful interplay of textures.

4. Brussels Sprouts with Bacon: The savory richness of bacon complements the duck’s flavors, while the Brussels sprouts contribute a hint of bitterness that balances the dish’s sweetness.

FAQs About Crispy Roast Duck with Cherry Sauce

Q1. Can I use frozen cherries for the cherry sauce?

Absolutely! If fresh cherries are not in season or available, high-quality frozen cherries can be a suitable alternative for crafting the cherry sauce. Just be sure to thaw them before use and consider adjusting the cooking time slightly to accommodate any extra moisture released during the thawing process.

Q2. How do I ensure the duck’s skin becomes crispy?

To achieve that coveted crispy skin, pricking the duck’s skin with a fork or a sharp knife before roasting is essential. This allows the fat to render and escape, resulting in crispy and golden skin. Additionally, roasting the duck at a relatively high temperature and basting it with its rendered fat or a mixture of broth and wine helps promote the crisping process.

Q3. Can I use a different type of wine for the cherry sauce?

Certainly! While red wine complements the flavors of the dish, you can experiment with different types of wine to suit your preferences. Consider using a dry white wine for a lighter sauce or a sweet wine to enhance the cherry’s natural sweetness. Keep in mind that the choice of wine will influence the sauce’s overall flavor profile.

Q4. How do I know when the duck is fully cooked?

The duck is considered fully cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the thigh. To ensure accuracy, use a meat thermometer to monitor the temperature. Additionally, the skin should be golden brown and crispy, and the juices running clear when the duck is pierced.

Q5. Can I make the cherry sauce in advance?

Absolutely! The cherry sauce can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to a few days. Reheat it gently on the stovetop before serving, adding a splash of water or broth if needed to achieve the desired consistency.

Q6. What other herbs can I use to season the duck?

While thyme and rosemary are classic choices, you can experiment with a variety of herbs to suit your taste preferences. Sage, oregano, or marjoram can also lend unique flavors to the dish. Just be mindful of the herbs’ intensity and adjust the quantities accordingly.

Q7. Can I use duck fat for sautéing the aromatics in the cherry sauce?

Certainly! Using duck fat to sauté the aromatics in the cherry sauce adds an extra layer of flavor and enhances the overall richness of the dish. If you have duck fat on hand from the roasting process, it’s a wonderful way to infuse even more duck essence into the sauce.

Q8. What can I do with leftover duck and cherry sauce?

Leftover duck can be used in a variety of creative ways. Shred the meat and use it in salads, sandwiches, or wraps. The cherry sauce can be drizzled over other proteins like grilled chicken or pork, or used as a condiment for charcuterie boards. Get imaginative and transform the leftovers into new culinary delights!

Q9. How do I prevent the cherry sauce from being too runny?

To achieve the desired consistency, consider using a slurry of cornstarch or arrowroot mixed with a small amount of cold water. Gradually whisk the slurry into the simmering sauce and allow it to thicken. Start with a small amount and add more as needed to avoid over-thickening. Remember, the sauce will continue to thicken slightly as it cools.


In the realm of gastronomy, few experiences match the pleasure of savoring a meticulously prepared dish that harmoniously marries diverse flavors and textures. Crafting crispy roast duck with cherry sauce is a culinary triumph that requires attention to detail, a touch of artistry, and a passion for excellence. From the careful selection of premium ingredients to the precise execution of cooking techniques, this culinary endeavor promises to deliver an unforgettable dining experience that tantalizes the palate and warms the soul.



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