Thanksgiving Roast Duck with Stuffing

By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, mallard drakes are sporting green heads and storing fat for the migration south. Early October is when to start paying attention to the ducks you harvest and select the best ones for plucking and roasting.

If the breastbone is well-defined, the bird is lean. When you feel plump pockets of fat around the bone, you know the bird is prime for plucking. Quickly check that the bird isn’t badly shot up in the breast. If you are taking the time to pluck birds, be selective to ensure the best quality table fare for a day of giving thanks.

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For the Duck:

  • 2 or 3 whole large ducks, plucked
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped

For the Stuffing:

  • ¾ cup butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • ½ tsp celery salt
  • 6 cups dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup chicken stock


  1. Preheated oven at 350°F.
  2. Start the stuffing by melting ¾ cup butter in a large pot. Add diced onion, sage, poultry seasoning, and celery salt. Over medium heat, cook until onions turn translucent. Add breadcrumbs and stir well. Add the chicken stock, stir, and remove from heat.
  3. Fill the cavity of the ducks with the stuffing and reserve the remainder.
  4. Add the oil to a Dutch oven (or a large oven-safe pot) at medium-high heat. Sear the ducks until brown on all sides.
  5. Melt ¼ cup of butter in a saucepan, and add finely chopped sage, chives, and tarragon. Bring to a simmer then remove from the heat.
  6. Place the ducks breast up in the Dutch oven or roaster and drizzle the butter and herbs over the top. Place extra stuffing around the birds. Put the lid on and place in the preheated oven. Cook for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven and let the ducks rest in the pot with the lid on for another 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the ducks for carving. Place the stuffing from both the duck and the pot in a separate bowl and serve it all with your favourite vegetables and potatoes. Enjoy as you give thanks!



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