Chinese crispy duck with homemade pancakes

Crispy duck

It wasn’t until I moved to the UK that I discovered crispy duck. I can’t remember duck being readily available when I grew up but it could have been something my parents didn’t cook, or eat.

Duck is very common in the UK and crispy duck in the Chinese restaurant is a classic. Shredded crispy duck with hoisin sauce, served with thin pancakes and shredded spring onions and cucumber. The combination is delicious and I knew I wanted to give it a go at home. I did some research and I realized that the final stage of the cooking is deep frying.

Duck meat is very rich and I thought it must be possible to roast the duck in the oven instead and make it slightly healthier. A few experiments and years later I think I have finally got a great recipe to share. It is very simple and just delicious. The duck legs are great on their own and will make a great dish with mash, salad or rice, you will need two legs per person.


I got the duck and realized I had run out of pancakes. I usually stock up but when I de frosted my freezer last time a few things had gone off, pancakes included and I forgot to buy new ones. I didn’t have time to go to the nearest big town, or London to buy some so I thought I would give it a go and make my own. I read various recipes and I came back to one recipe and you can find it here.

I followed it step by step with one exception, I rolled out the dough very thinly and then brushed it with oil instead of brushing the lightly flattened dough balls. I placed one on top of the oiled one and cooked them in the frying pan. As soon as they started to puff up I separated them and placed the cooked pancaked inside a folded tea towel on top of each other to keep them warm until they were all cooked. This was the first time I served food inside a tea towel at a dinner party!


Roasted, crispy duck

preparation time 5 minutes 

cooking time 2 1/2 hours 

oven 150C or 300F

serves 4 as a small dish or 2 as a starter 


  • 2 duck legs
  • 1/2 tbsp Chinese five spice
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3-5 whole twigs of rosemary

Place the rosemary on grease proof paper in a roasting tray. Rinse and pat the duck legs dry. Sprinkle salt and Chinese five spice over them and place them, skin side up on top of the rosemary. Place the duck in the oven and leave them there for 2 1/2 hours.


.Crispy duck


When you are ready to serve, shred the duck legs with two forks.


Shredded crispy duck


It took a lot of self discipline not to just tuck in, I ate a small strand just as a taste control before serving it.


I shredded spring onions and cucumber to go with the duck but I had a half ripe mango and thought this would be nice as well.


shredded spring onion cucumber and mango


Hoisin sauce was the last ingredient and I couldn’t wait to get started.


crispy duck pancake


home made crispy duck pancakes


The crispy duck pancakes were not as pale as they should be but who cares? They were absolutely delicious. The flavor difference compared to store bought pancakes is incredible. They were not difficult to make and I can’t wait to make more and fill them with all sorts. Not to mention making crispy duck again as well.










10 Responses to “Chinese crispy duck with homemade pancakes”
  1. I love how you manage to make it sound so do-able !

    • petra08 says:

      Hi Jo,
      Thank you! If I had an Asian grocery store nearby I would never have even attempted the pancakes I have to admit, but I am glad I did! It was easier than I thought and fresh ones tastes a world better 🙂

  2. kstienemeier says:

    So lovely and simple it is making my belly rumble and my mouth drool.

    • petra08 says:

      hi Karin
      Thank you! It is so easy to make and I should have made my own pancakes sooner! They are delicious and duck always hit the spot! Mango was a nice addition to bring a little sweetness 🙂

  3. Loretta says:

    Whenever I visit my family in England, I always request duck legs. It is not readily available here, and if I do see duck in the supermarket, it is usually a whole frozen one. Like you, my sister does not use too many spices, as the duck imparts a flavor all its own. I like the idea of the chinese five spice. That duck looks fit for a Queen 🙂

    • petra08 says:

      hi Loretta
      I prefer duck legs to breast I have to admit and a little crispy makes it even better! Five spice worked really well, duck has so much flavor it can take some extra spices.
      Have a great week 🙂

  4. Sumith says:

    Love these in the chinese restaurants with pancakes leeks and cucumber!! In restaurants we used to cook duck immersed in its fat in slow oven, and then shread. It used to come out brilliant! Your recipe sounds amazing! Thanks for the share.

    • petra08 says:

      hi Sumith
      I think this is a slightly healthier take on crispy duck, and easier to make at home in the oven.
      Am glad you like it! I will make the pancakes again and might think of other fillings 🙂 Have a lovely week!

  5. Ohmygoodness, this looks delicious! We’ve made duck before but not enjoyed it so much. But these…. Think we will have to try some duck this way!

    • petra08 says:

      Hi Christina
      Thank you! Am so glad you like it. I was very hesitant to making my own pancakes at first but it was so easy. Duck, cooked this way is so good, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, great with crunchy veg and hoisin sauce! 🙂

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