Tender and Juicy Air Fryer Duck that’s golden crispy on the outside and moist and delicate on the inside. This duck recipe is bursting with flavor and requires minimal effort to cook!
Birds have always been reared and eaten for a long time. However, before chickens became the popular bird for food, the world enjoyed the healthy, delicious, and nutritious meat of the duck.
While the use, consumption, and preparation of duck meat in dishes are predominant in the Chinese culinary circles and cuisines, there is no reason why the western world should be denied the sweet meat of the duck.
Follow our steps and tips as we discuss one of the best ways to prepare and enjoy a juicy duck meat, Air frying.
We will touch on the history of roasting ducks for food, tips for making air fryer ducks, and the best storage and preservation practices for the dish.
Air fryer duck is duck meat roasted or grilled in an air fryer. When done right, with the right ingredient, you will have yourself one of the bird dishes that you have ever enjoyed.
Air Frying Your Duck Meat
Because the technology of air fryers is more recent, there is not a lot to discuss regarding the history of air fryer ducks.
Air fryers came into the market in 2010 when Philips, the popular electronics company, debuted the first commercial air fryer in the market.
This appliance was invented by Fred van der Weij who reached out to Philip after inventing the appliance in 2007. However, the principle upon which air frying works was already in existence as far back as 1904 as seen in an article published in the Technical World Magazine.
The article spoke about an electric air-pressure cooker that reduces the shrinkage of meat in cooking and also retains the most valuable food flavors. There was also an invention that mimics the working principle of the air fryer in 1945.
This invention was made by William L Maxson when he patented the Maxson Whirlwind Oven. Unfortunately, Maxson died in 1947 and his invention didn’t see the light of the day after his death.
On the other hand, people around the world have been enjoying ducks as food since time immemorial. The Chinese were known for eating duck meat due to the popularity of their signature dish Peking Duck (more on that later) which is made from Pekin ducks.
The Chinese enjoyed their duck meat with cucumbers, hoisin sauce, and scallions, all wrapped in a small spring pancake. They also used a bun known as gun bao.
Apart from the Chinese, the Indians also enjoyed duck meat a lot. The duck meat was popular in the Northeastern part of India in the Assamese cuisine.
There is a record of an old Assamese text known as Kamarupa Yatra, that discusses the duck meat, squab, and tortoise meat.
Popular Indian and Assamese cuisine dishes that included duck meat are duck and white gourd, duck with bamboo shoot, and duck and laixak. The Indian locals also enjoyed duck and squab cooked with banana blossom.
The idea of roasted duck started in China in the ancient Chinese empire in the days of the Southern and Northern dynasties.
The roast duck was first prepared for the Emperor of China as mentioned in a cookbook, The Complete Recipes for Dishes and Beverages, written by an inspector of the Imperial Kitchen, Hu Sihui in 1330.
The roast duck came to be known as the Peking Roast Duck during the Ming Dynasty.
Not long after that, a restaurant that specializes in making Peking ducks, Bianyinfang, was established in 1416 in Beijing.
Another restaurant that would specialize in making the Peking duck is Quanjude which started in 1846.
These two restraints would later play host to world leaders and celebrities as they come to China to savor the Peking Duck, a dish that has come to be known as the national symbol of China.
Some of these world leaders include Henry Kissinger, Fidel Castro, Richard Nixon, and Helmut Kohl.
Ingredients for Making Air Fryer Duck
Apart from the obvious ingredients, duck and air fryer, other ingredients go into the air fryer ducks. They include thyme, garlic, olive oil, and salt.
Using olive oil in your air fryer duck is very helpful. It helps to achieve the crispy and light brown texture, while the inside remains soft and juicy.
There are also health benefits associated with the use of olive oil in the air fryer ducks. However, you need to ensure that the olive oil is applied to the duck and not the air fryer basket. This is because of the smoke point of the olive oil.
Using herbs to cook with will add a lot of flavors to your food without adding to add a lot of salt. Both fresh or dried herbs are the quickest way to add texture, and aroma to your dish.
When making this dish, aside from parsley and basil here are a few other herbs to consider:
Sage: Sage has a slight minty taste but is great with poultry. A small amount will go a long way as this herb can also be a litter bitter.
Thyme: Although this herb is most often used to flavor stews and soups, thyme can be used as part of the seasoning base to flavor your duck meat; particularly when making air fryer duck breast.
Rosemary: One of my favorite herbs to cook with. Especially when frying red snapper. This particular herb has a very strong taste, because of the earthy flavor, this herb works well with any dish. It provides a hint of freshness to the meat.
Perfect Duck Temperature
When cooking duck, your meat is safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches 165°F. If you are cooking duck breast only, the temperature should be between 155-160°F.
Tips For Making Duck In The Air Fryer
- Do not overcrowd the air fryer’s basket. It is the most important tip for air frying ducks, especially if you are planning to air fry more than one duck. By overcrowding the basket, the duck will not be able to brown evenly and this means you have to spend more time than necessary air frying the duck
- Flip or turn the ducks over, mid-way during the air frying process, the same way you will if you way using a grill. This will also help ensure that the ducks brown evenly.
- Do not apply oil to the duck while on the air fryer. Apply the oil before putting the duck in the basket. And also, you may want to use an extra virgin olive oil which is known for its low smoke point.
Storage & Reheating of the Air Fryer Duck
You can store any leftover air-fried duck for months using a freezer. However, you need to ensure that you do it right if you don’t want to be left with a soggy mess after months of freezing the ducks.
We recommend you put the duck in an air-tight freezer and remove any liquid in the container or around the duck to prevent any sogginess.
As for reheating, the oven is the ideal place to reheat a leftover, frozen air fried duck. You need to put the duck in a baking pan and braise it with butter.
You can then place it inside the oven and heat the oven to about 180 degrees Celsius for about 5 to 10 minutes.
More Recipes To Enjoy
After trying this air fryer duck recipe, we recommend you try one of these recipes next:
French Cassoulet (With Duck Meat)
Instant Pot Guinness Short Ribs
Air Fryer Whole Chicken Recipe
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Whole Air Fryer Duck
- 1 Whole Duck About 3-4 Pounds
- 1 ½ tsp. Kosher Salt or to taste
- 1 tbsp. Dried Parsley
- 4 tsp. Dried Basil
- 2 tsp. Onion Powder
- 3 tsp. Paprika
- 3 tsp. Cajun Seasoning
- 3 tsp. Garlic Powder
- 2 tsp. Ginger Powder
- 1 tbsp. olive Oil
- Wash and pat dry your duck. Set aside in a large bowl or platter. In a medium size bowl, add the remaining ingredients (seasoning). Mix well. Pour the seasoning base on the duck and apply the rub inside and on top as well as the bottom of the duck. Allow to marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Preheat your air fryer to 325°F. Place the duck in the air fryer basket and pour the leftover seasoning from the marinating bowl onto the bird. Air fryer for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Be sure to rotate the bird midway for even cooking. Your Duck is ready and safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches 165°F with a food thermometer.
How long would the cooking time be for a 7lb duck?
Hi Roxy. It takes about 20 minutes per pound or until the temperature in the thigh reaches 165ºF. In total it will take you about 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours to cook it in the air fryer. This is also depending on your air fryer and how the temperature is regulated. My suggestion is that you check it after 1 hour and 30 minutes and continue cooking if needed.
Be mindful of the temperature as well (depending on your air fryer). If the heat is too close to the meat, it will cook it faster and may cause it to burn. Please check the period periodically to assure that it is being cooked perfectly.
I’ve always been intimidated by making duck but this turned out PERFECT! So juicy with perfectly crispy skin, I will definitely be making this recipe again!
Love duck meat and actually haven’t thought of cooking it in the air fryer so thanks for this recipe, it looks fabulous. Love all the herbs and spices in the rub, too.
Wow, this duck is so crispy on the outside. It looks amazing. I love that it’s not as hard to make as I thought it would be.
This duck was succulent! (Duckulent? I’m sorry.) I’ve made turkey breasts in the air fryer before and they are so juicy and tender, so I knew this would be amazing. And it did not disappoint!
Thank you, Dana
I have never tried making duck myself before, but this looks delicious. And I love that you used the air fryer to make this! 🙂
Thank you, Carrie.