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Slow Roast Duck Legs with Balsamic Vinegar Gravy

Slow roast duck legs, with perfectly golden crispy skin, soft and moist meat and a delicious and simple silky balsamic gravy.

This dish takes around 3 hours to cook, but you only spend 10-15 miuntes or so at the stove, the rest of the time is all yours!

Balsamic gravy being poured over a slow roast duck leg.

Slow-Cooked Duck Legs

If you have spent any time here you will know that duck is an ingredient that I adore cooking with.

Whether it is my whole roast duck, classic duck with orange sauce or even my Indian duck curry they are among my personal favourite recipes.

Slow-cooking duck helps render out all that white fat and it does not matter whether it is duck breast like in my Thai duck curry or the legs like my hoisin duck legs!

It is such a simple way of cooking too, a nice low oven, season the duck legs then roast them for two and a half hours. Then turn up the heat to get some colour and get the gravy rocking and rolling.

Oh and what a gravy it is, again it sticks with the simple approach, chicken stock, balsamic vinegar and honey.

This is reduced down in the oven and all you have to do is thicken with cornflour (cornstarch in the US). I use a very similar approach in my roasted chicken leg and chicory recipe.

This dish is perfect dinner party food, it can be scaled up for as many people as you like and so long as your oven is big enough, there are no timing changes.

Overhead slow roast duck leg with balsamic gravy, cabbage and roast potatoes.

Frequently Asked Questions.

Will this method work with chicken legs?

No, chicken has nowhere near enough fat to cope with this type of cooking. Treat yourself to some duck legs, you will love this!

How long will the skin stay crispy?

The skin will remain nice and crispy for around 15-20 minutes. It will then start to go kinda chewy, which I secretly love!

Can I cook this recipe for more people?

Yes! In fact, this recipe is perfect for scaling both up and down. You do not need to alter the cooking time at all.

One thing you must do though is to make sure you do not overcrowd your roasting tin. Leave a good two fingers space between each duck leg.

Also if you are cooking lots a good hint is to place the duck legs on a wire rack so that they do not get submerged in fat.

Is the rendered fat good for keeping?

Oh yes! This is perfect for passing through a fine sieve or cheesecloth and used in cooking at a later date. Store in an air-tight jar in the fridge and use at your leisure.

If kept properly it will last up to 6 months, but good luck resisting for that long!

Slow roast duck leg with balsamic gravy, cabbage and roast potatoes.

Serving Suggestions.

Cooking for two means that often times a large roasted dinner is a bit of overkill.

These slow roast duck legs are absolutely perfect for turning into a smaller roast dinner.

This time round I made some crushed roast potatoes. I popped them in the oven for the final 30 minutes of cooking at the lower temperature and the 30 minutes at a high temperature. Make sure to parboil them first!

I also made some savoy cabbage with bacon, although I dropped the Crème Fraiche and cooked it in white wine rather than stock.

They would be awesome with red cabbage, roasted parsnips, garlic green beans, I’d even serve them with Yorkshire puddings!

Essentially anything you would have with your trad Sunday lunch.

Slow roast duck legs served on cabbage with roast potatoes and balsamic gravy.

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Oven.
  • Roasting tin or baking dish, choose one that is just a little larger than duck legs.
  • Mixing bowl.
  • Measuring jug, cups and or spoons.
  • Kitchen tongs for serving.
  • Fine mesh sieve or cheese cloth, to strain the duck fat so that it can be stored.
Slow roast duck legs served on cabbage with roast potatoes and balsamic gravy.
Yield: 2 Servings

Slow Roast Duck Legs Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes

Many people consider duck intimidating to cook with, but these foolproof slow roasted duck legs prove differently. The perfect small-scale roast for two people or easily scaled for a dozen providing your oven is big enough.


  • 2 Duck legs
  • 1 Tsp Coarse Sea Salt
  • ½ Black Pepper
  • 250ml (1 Cup) Chicken Stock
  • 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • ½ Tbsp Honey
  • ½ Tbsp Cornflour (Cornstarch)


  1. Heat your oven to 130°C or 265°F.
  2. Dry the duck legs as well as you can then rub them all over with the sea salt and black pepper.
  3. Place the duck in a roasting tine or baking dish that is just a little larger than the duck legs and cook them for 2½ hours basting the duck legs with the fat that is rendered from it 2 or 3 times through the cooking process.
  4. Mix together the chicken stock, balsamic vinegar and honey.
  5. After 2½ hours turn the oven to fan mode at 200°C or 400°F.
  6. Remove the duck pan and drain all but a scant covering of oil from the duck roasting pan.
  7. Pour in the chicken stock mix and return to the oven.
  8. Cook for a final 30 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and set aside the duck legs.
  10. Mix the cornstarch with a tablespoon of the cooking liquid, then stir it back through the liquid to thicken for a minute or so.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 274Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 1440mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 0gSugar: 9gProtein: 28g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Eve Cook

Wednesday 28th of February 2024

Second time I’ve made your recipe, so delicious. I added champ (mashed potato and spring onions) made a lovely change from usual mash. Next time I’m going to do the tamarind duck. Thank you

Brian Jones

Sunday 17th of March 2024

Glad you enjoy this Eve, the champ sounds like a lovely addition.


Wednesday 28th of February 2024

Made these tonight and they were so good. I paired mine with some delicious rich and creamy puy lentils and some roasted Brussels sprouts. Really delicious. Thanks.

Brian Jones

Sunday 17th of March 2024

Glad that you enjoyed them Lee, thanks for taking the time to write to me :)


Friday 22nd of December 2023

Hi Brian,

Can I use a mix of duck legs and breasts in this recipe?



Sunday 24th of December 2023

@Brian Jones, Thanks Brian! We don’t really eat pink meat (I know all chefs say it’s how you’re supposed to cook beef and game and duck breast, etc. but we just like our meat cooked through and still tender). I usually cook breasts and legs separate, but this time I try to simplify it as I’m cooking quite a large amount. I’ll give it a try 😊 Merry Christmas!

Brian Jones

Saturday 23rd of December 2023

I prefer my duck breasts cooked oink with a nice crispy skin and that certainly wouldn't happen if you were to cook them this way. The breasts would be cooked all of the way through and be a bit too tough for my liking.

You could get the legs in the oven, then start of the breasts in a pan on the stove top, (using the method that I do for my duck in orange sauce) and then transfer them to the oven for the final 5-7 minutes. That way you'll get nice and juicy duck breast that will compliment the duck legs nicely.

Enjoy and have a merry Christmas.



Saturday 25th of March 2023

I’ve cooked duck legs like this many times; it’s an excellent method.

An alternative set of sides that I might humbly suggest but do work rather well are roast or sautéed potatoes, wilted spinach seasoned with nutmeg etc., sour cream and a hot salsa made by reducing two large seeded, skinned and chopped tomatoes with finely diced and softened shallots and garlic, adding a little sugar, a dash of red wine, a teaspoon of chipotle smoked chilli paste (or more if you like extra heat) until thickened and some tomato purée at the end to add a bit more body if needed.


Sunday 5th of March 2023

Looking forward to making it this afternoon. Is the initial oven temperature fan assisted as well?


Sunday 5th of March 2023

@Brian Jones, thank you. 😊 😊

Brian Jones

Sunday 5th of March 2023

No, the initial oven mode is conventional... enjoy :)


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