duck fat

Duck fat is a very aromatic fat that can be used for many things in the kitchen. The average 2015 sale price online was $25/lb., quite a bit more than butter.

Duck fat can be stored in the freezer for well over a year. Use the fat to make confit or for other cooking. Cookies made with duck fat are delicious.

The gelatin mix makes a good base for soups or sauces.

A. Collecting duck fat

2014-10-10 a.o.

To get duck fat, you don’t have to do anything unusual. Just don’t throw it away!


Pic1: roast drippings
Pic2: fat floats on top
Pic3: cooking duck skin


Pic4: 2015-05-26
Pic5: 2014-07-16
Pic6: 2014-10-10 with orange juice

These are 3 jars with duck fat from different cookings. Depending on how the duck was cooked and what was cooked with it, the stock can have different colors.

When cooking with fat-soluble spices like turmeric or paprika, the fat itself will take on a different color.


B. separating duck fat from stock


Cooking a duck can render as much as a pint of fat, but it is often mixed in with the watery part. To make confit or to freeze the fat for long-term storage, you want pure fat without water.


What you need for cold separation:
  • Duck stock with fat
  • wide-mouth glass jar(s)
  • refrigerator / freezer
What you need for warm separation:
  • Duck stock with fat
  • narrow-opening bottle
  • funnel
  • a large jar, the narrower the opening, the better
  • a larger melt-proof container to place the jar in

Cold separation is easy, but it can take more than 24 hours to refrigerate enough to solidify the fat.


Warm separation is messier, but this method can be useful if you need to separate the fat while it is still liquid. For your safety, wait until the fat is at room temperature.


Pic7: fat on top, gelatin below
Pic8: fat is outside the jar
Pic9: minimal fat left in the jar


C. rendering duck fat


Most of the fat in a duck is in the layer directly under the skin. A skinned duck is quite lean. The easiest way to render duck fat is to skin a duck and cook that skin in its own fat. (Pic6)

If you eat duck only occasionally, cut the skin in small pieces and freeze them until you have enough to make a nice batch.


Pic10: rendering fat
Pic11: making duck cracklings
Pic12: duck cracklings


Wet rendering produces the whitest and cleanest fat.

Dry rendering produces a darker, more aromatic fat.


D. making duck cracklings


The best way to render duck fat is to cook the skin until no more fat is released. This takes it one step further. The duck skin is cooked at higher heat until all moisture has been removed until you have duck cracklings. Duck skin can also be pickled, like pork rinds.



E. using duck fat in the kitchen

various dates

I rescued a Rouen duck from freezer camp today, minus the breast steaks.

Truth be told, Rouens are small and there is not much left to eat after cutting out those steaks. Duck legs are tiny compared to chicken legs, and the wings hardly have any meat on them. But even so, the taste is incredibly rich thanks to the duck fat. I prefer cooking a duck with the skin, even if I don't often eat that skin. Ducks have a lot of fat in and under the skin. That is where most of the duck fat comes from. Too bad there's so little of it in most ducks...  

Pic13: duck fat cookies
Pic14: London Broil seared / pan-fried in duck fat
Pic15: duck fat fries

Duck fat can be used in a lot of recipes instead of butter or oil.




Other uses: