Try this French classic, then check out our coq au vin, chicken chasseur and more French recipes.


  • 6 duck legs
  • a few sprigs thyme
  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
  • 1 jar duck or goose fat, approx 300g


  • 3 tbsp rock salt
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves


  • STEP 1

    Put the duck legs in a dish flesh-side up. Mix all the cure ingredients together.

  • STEP 2

    Sprinkle the cure evenly over the flesh then cover with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight. The next day, heat the oven to 140C/120C/gas 1. Take the legs from the cure, rinse under cold running water and pat dry with kitchen paper.

  • STEP 3

    Put skin-side up in a baking dish or tin that they fit quite snugly and tuck the thyme and garlic under and around the legs.

  • STEP 4

    Gently heat the duck fat until pourable (you can do this in the container on low in a microwave, or sit the container in a small pan of hot water) and pour over the duck.

  • STEP 5

    Cover the dish tightly with foil then put in the oven and cook for 3 hours.

  • STEP 6

    Take the duck from the oven and allow the fat to cool a little.

  • STEP 7

    Lift the duck legs carefully out of the fat. You can finish the duck off in the oven now or store it and cook it later (following step 8, below).

  • STEP 8

    Strain the cooking liquid through a fine sieve. Leave the fat to settle then pour the fat away from any duck juices. Put the legs into a clean container and pour over the strained fat to cover. The covered duck can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 weeks, or in the freezer for 2 months.

  • STEP 9

    When you want to eat the duck, heat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Scrape off the excess fat if you’ve been storing the confit, put the duck on a roasting tray skin-side up, and cook for about 30 minutes until golden and crisp (you will need to add 5-10 minutes if cooking from chilled).


Janine Ratcliffe Portrait
Janine RatcliffeFood director

Comments, questions and tips

Rate this recipe

What is your star rating out of 5?

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Overall rating