This Cantonese roast duck recipe produces the lustrous, reddish-brown-skinned bird seen in the windows of many Asian stores.
Roast Duck Cantonese Style

Cantonese Roast Duck Recipe

Cantonese duck, unlike Peking duck, which is generally chopped and served with Mandarin pancakes, is usually served whole, like a roasted chicken, and is noted for its excellent meat and bones. The meat of Cantonese ducks is luscious and tasty because it is filled with aromatics and marinades.

Preparing and roasting Cantonese roast duck takes a few hours but can be completed in a day, so plan accordingly. The crackling crisp skin is the result of air-drying the duck before roasting. The marinade that is put into the cavity and sewed in with a needle and string to prevent leakage is responsible for the moist and juicy meat.

This recipe uses yellow bean sauce, a savory fermented preparation made out of yellow soybeans, which is available at online retailers or specialized Asian markets. Make sure to clear a large space in the fridge as the air-drying requires the duck to be refrigerated for four hours. Although the recipe may appear difficult at first, it is a straightforward process when broken down into sections. Once the duck has been air-dried, it takes less than one hour to roast.

Prep: 1 Day

Cook: 60 Mins

Resting Time: 15 Mins

Servings: 4 to 6 servings


  • 2 kg Duckling 

To make the marinade

  • 5 garlic cloves
  • two parts Ginger, finely grated
  • Brown Sugar (25 g)
  • 3 teaspoons Hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp dry sherry or Chinese rice wine
  • 1 tbsp. Dark Soy Sauce
  • 3 pods of Star Anise

To make the Glaze

  • 150 mL of Runny Honey
  • 150 mL of Golden Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • Optional: a few drops of red food coloring
  • 250 mL hot water


  1. Take your duck with you. Remove any organs and wing tips, then thoroughly wash and drain.

  2. Place the duck in a big heavy-duty food-safe plastic bag with all of the marinade ingredients. Place in the bottom of your fridge after sealing and shaking. If possible, leave overnight and flip over a couple of times.

  3. Remove from the bag, blot out any excess marinade, and lay on a rack at the bottom of the sink, then carefully pour over a pot of freshly heated water. Allow to dry for a few minutes.

  4. Allow to dry after brushing with the glaze. Then repeat two or three times more to get a lovely even color on the duck.

  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C/Gas Mark 5

  6. Wrap the wings in foil to prevent them from burning and set them breast side down in an ovenproof baking tray. Place the baking tray in the oven.

  7. After an hour, take the duck from the oven. Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C/Gas Mark 7.

  8. Remove the foil carefully and return to the oven for another fifteen minutes, or until the potatoes are a deep brown color and crisp.

  9. Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes before slicing. Garnish with cilantro and serve with hoisin sauce.

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