How to Defrost a Duck

Dry the skin after thawing so it browns evenly during cooking.
Dry the skin after thawing so it browns evenly during cooking. (Image: bozhdb/iStock/Getty Images)

Since fresh duck is not readily available everywhere, some duck lovers must rely on frozen birds. Poultry must be cooked thoroughly -- a tough task when your duck meat is frozen. The first step in frozen duck preparation is defrosting. You need to have time for thawing and allow the duck ample time to come to room temperature.

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Refrigerator Thawing

Place the frozen duck in a shallow dish lined with several layers of paper towels. Place the duck in the refrigerator.

Check the water level in the dish every five or six hours. Drain the dish and change the paper towels when you see water pooling.

Thaw the duck in the refrigerator until defrosted in the center, about 1 to 2 days. Unwrap the duck after defrosting and pat with dry outside and inside the cavity before cooking.

Cold-Water Thawing

Fill a sink nearly full with cold water. Place frozen duck in the water; keep the duck in its packaging.

Set a timer for 30 minutes, allowing the duck to rest in the water for the full time. Remove the still-frozen bird.

Drain and refill the sink with cold water and replace the duck. Set your timer again for 30 minutes. Do this until the duck is fully defrosted, about 4 to 6 hours.


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