Duck is a nutritious and tasty food used in many cuisines around the world. Duck can be baked, grilled, fried, boiled, minced, added to soups, salads, turned into a meat pie or meatballs. Duck has plenty of protein, Omega-3, Omega-6 fatty acids, A, B, E, PP vitamins, and minerals, including manganese, potassium, zinc, iron, and iodine. If you have never tried duck and are wondering what it tastes like, check out our duck taste ultimate guide.
What does duck taste like? Duck meat has a rich, fatty, gamey taste similar to beefsteak and lamb rather than to chicken and turkey. Duck has a juicy, fatty texture that, when cooked properly, melts in your mouth. Duck meat is delicate, juicy, and moist, thanks to its thick fatty skin. Duck meat has savory and sweet notes.
Duck Taste 101 – All You Need to Know
Even though duck is poultry, it is very often compared to red meat in terms of taste and texture. Duck meat tastes different from the chicken as it is much juicier and fattier than plain, almost tasteless chicken.
How would you describe the taste of duck? Duck taste is described as “more flavorful than chicken,” “less dry with more fat,” “easy to chew when cooked properly,” “better when cooked as a whole,” “crispy on the outside, succulent on the inside.” Duck tastes similar to red meat like beef or lamb and is more flavorful than chicken and turkey.
Both wild and farmed ducks can be eaten. Male ducks are always bigger than females (male ducks weigh up to 4 kg, while female – up to 2.5 kg), and farmed ducks are always bigger and fattier than wild ducks. Duck meat taste depends not only on whether the duck is wild or domesticated but also on the duck’s age. Young ducks have a much tender texture and are cooked faster, while old ducks tend to be chewy and take longer to prepare.
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Young domesticated male ducks taste the best – they have the most delicate and fatty sweet and gamey meat that melts in your mouth when cooked properly.
Of course, duck meat’s taste also depends on how fresh it is. Fresh or defrosted duck should be cooked within 3 days, but frozen duck can last up to 3 months. We recommend always buying fresh duck, preferably from a local market, and cooking it right away. Defrosted duck does not taste as good – it becomes chewier and tougher and loses some of the vitamins and nutrients.
Does duck taste gamey? Duck meat has a rich gamey taste that disappears when cooked properly. Once cooked, duck meat becomes juicy, fatty, savory, and sweet with hints of creaminess.
Duck meat indeed has a pleasant gamey taste that is almost unnoticeable when cooked properly. Even though duck has a rich taste, it still acquires the flavor of the ingredients it is cooked with. If the duck is cooked in orange or plum juice, it will be more sweet and juicy, and if the duck is stewed in cream sauce, it will be buttery and creamy.
Does duck taste fishy? Properly cooked duck meat should not have a fish taste. Instead, duck meat should have a sweet and savory flavor with buttery notes and a juicy, succulent texture on the inside. If duck meat tastes fishy, it has probably gone bad due to improper storage, so it must be thrown away.
Some complain that duck meat has a strong fishy taste and smell. It can happen if you eat wild ducks that were feeding on frogs, mollusks, and small fish. Sometimes, wild ducks also eat worms, algae, and small crustaceans. If you buy farmed ducks that were feeding on grains, grass, and seeds. Obviously, a duck’s diet impacts the flavor of the meat, so we recommend opting for domesticated ducks. Moreover, domesticated ducks are bigger in size and have a fattier texture and a sweeter flavor.
Ducks vs. Beef and Chicken
If you have never tried duck meat, you might be wondering what it is similar to. Most people think that duck meat is most similar to chicken, while some compare the taste to beef. So, which opinion is true?
Does duck taste like beef? Duck meat tastes similar to red meat and is often compared to beef steaks since both duck and beef are juicy, fatty, and delicate. Duck meat is very fibrous but tender when cooked in a sauce or with fruits. Duck, just like beef, becomes rubbery and chewy when overcooked.
Does duck taste like chicken? Duck tastes quite different from chicken. Duck meat is fatty, juicy, succulent on the inside, and crispy on the outside when cooked according to the recipe. At the same time, chicken is more dry, lean, and tasteless. Duck meat has a more pronounced flavor profile and is compared to red meat.
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That said, duck meat is more comparable to beef and lamb than chicken. Chicken is much dryer and plainer than a juicy and gamey duck. However, it all depends on the recipe – properly cooked chicken in a creamy sauce will be juicy on the inside and crunchy on the outside, while overcooked beef can be tough, dry, and rubbery.
What to Serve With Duck?
Thanks to the duck’s versatile flavor profile and delicate texture, it can be boiled, steamed, minced, grilled, pan-fried, stewed, added to soups, salads, omelets, meat pies, and turned into meatballs. Duck goes well with most vegetables, some fruit, sauces, and even other meat (sausage, ham, pheasant). Duck meat can even go well with seafood (shrimp work the best)! Let’s see how you can use duck’s unique rich flavor in cooking below.
What does duck go well with? Duck is rich and fatty and goes well with vegetables (mashed potatoes, mashed pumpkin, creamed spinach, glazed carrots, roasted Brussels sprouts and mushrooms, caramelized onions), fruits (orange, peach, plums, strawberries), fried eggs, French fries, and sauces (orange, plum, cherry sauce).
Here are some of the most popular duck recipes you will love:
- Roast duck with figs
- Duck tacos
- Duck borscht with fermented tomato sauce
- Roast duck with shallots
- Roast duck with chestnut stuffing
- Duck, sausage, and shrimp gumbo
- Duck breast with three red fruits (plums, strawberries, and raspberries)
- Pan-fried duck with blueberry sauce
- Duck with honey, soy sauce, and ginger
- Duck and yellow rice
- Grilled duck with Chinese pickled radishes
- Salt duck with mashed potatoes, spinach, and bacon
- Duck and pineapple red curry
- Spiced duck salad
- Duck and watermelon noodle salad
- BBQ chili duck breast and pineapple salad
- Crispy duck and baked apples
What fruit does duck go with? Duck goes well with oranges, apples, plums, strawberries, peach, passion fruit, and raspberries. The sweet and sour taste of the fruit makes duck meat even juicier and sweet, giving it an umami flavor. Make sure the fruits you use are fresh and ripe.
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What vegetables go well with duck? Duck goes well with Brussels sprouts, creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, fried mushrooms, arugula, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, bell pepper, grilled asparagus, green peas, carrot, roasted beets, celery, courgette. Add your favorite spices to duck and vegetables to make them more flavorful and juicy.
As you can see, the duck goes well with almost anything, from fruits and vegetables to other meat and even seafood. If you buy fresh, high-quality farmed turkey, you will enjoy its delicate, juicy texture, succulent on the inside and crispy on the outside. Whatever cuisine you like, you can always fit duck meat in it!
To Sum Up: Why Do Ducks Taste Good?
Why do ducks taste good? Duck meat tastes good thanks to its fatty skin that makes the meat tender, juicy, crispy on the outside, and succulent on the inside. Duck meat also has creamy and buttery notes and melts in your mouth. Duck meat also contains a lot of protein that, together with the fat, keeps you full for longer.
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Now that you know what duck meat tastes like, it is time to go to the local market or a shop and buy this delicious and juicy meat. If you like chicken but think it is too dry, duck meat is your best go-to. If you buy fresh, high-quality farmed duck meat and cook it in sauce, you will enjoy the most delicious and juicy meat with plenty of health benefits.
Duck Taste FAQ
What does duck sauce taste like?
Duck sauce has a rich sweet, fruity, and sour flavor with pronounced notes of sugar and spice since it is made of fruits (plums, pineapples, apricots, and peach) with sugar, ginger, chili, and vinegar. Duck sauce is a great condiment used for dipping egg rolls and noodles.
What does duck fat taste like?
Duck fat has a rich, slightly sweet taste and a subtle creamy aroma. Duck fat is delicious and is used for roasting potatoes and French fries, searing meat, poultry, and seafood (scallops, shrimp), croquettes, and pie crusts. Duck fat makes the food juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside.
What does duck breast taste like?
Duck breast has a rich, juicy flavor with sweet and savory notes. Duck breast is less fatty than other duck parts (legs, liver) but is still much juicier and more flavorful than plain chicken breast. Duck breast has a tender texture but can be chewy when undercooked or overcooked.