Duck Carnitas #SundaySupper

Duck Carnitas #SundaySupper Guys, I am so excited to share this recipe for you today, I sat with anticipation the two hours it to make it, that’s how thrilled I am about it.  However first things first, happy Cinco de Mayo! Grab your margarita, sit down and enjoy the #SundaySupper fiesta we’ve brought for you today. 

Lately, if I’m going to grab some Mexican food I’ve been all about carnitas, crispy bits of slow cooked pork that simmered away in its own fat for hours on end.  Can anyone really say no to something as delicious sounding as that?  Making carnitas is not only an investment in time though, you also need to pick up enough lard to cover the pork butt. 

Duck Carnitas #SundaySupper One day I thought to myself, why not just make the carnitas with duck? One duck breast usually renders me about a quarter to 1/3 a cup of fat.  I figured if I could the duck in the oven with just a little fat to get it started, enough would melt off into my pan to produce beautiful crisp skin and tender moist meat.  The outcome? Exactly as I expected.  The sound of duck fat bubbling away in my oven was the most pleasant noise in the world as these baked away.  

Duck Carnitas #SundaySupper While I used duck thighs that I picked up at my farmer’s market to make my carnitas, this recipe will also work with duck breast, it just might cook in less time or you can purchase a whole duck and quarter it if you plan on cooking for a crowd. 

Duck Carnitas #SundaySupper
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  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound duck thighs
  • 3 tablespoons duck fat
  • Corn tortillas
  • chopped cilantro, thinly sliced radish and red onions, lime slices (optional)


  1. In a small bowl mix together the ground cumin, chili powder, dried oregano, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
  2. Rub the spice mixture over the duck thigh and place in a ziplock bag to marinate for up to six hours or overnight.
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees.
  4. In a small baking dish - you'll need one that's just large enough for the duck to fit in, place 3 tablespoons of duck fat on the bottom and place in the oven to render if it is in a solid state for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and place the duck in the baking dish and cover tightly with foil.
  6. Bake for an hour and a half to 2 hours or until the skin in crispy and the meat easily pulls away from the bones. Let cool before shredding the meat from the bones. This can be made ahead of time.
  7. To serve:
  8. In a skillet over medium heat, place a tablespoon of duck fat and the shredded meat and duck skin. Heat until crispy about 5 minutes.
  9. Serve on top of a corn tortilla with thinly sliced radish, red onions, chopped cilantro and a lime wedge.
Cuisine: Mexican | Recipe Type: Main Dish


If you like to save your duck fat, you'll need to pass the cooked fat from the carnitas through a sieve multiple times to separate the fat from the spice mixture. I poured the fat into a coffee filter over a sieve and then once more through a sieve. Store in a jar or airtight container in your fridge.

Duck Carnitas #SundaySupper Let’s not forget about the rest of the great recipes this week! We have you covered for all your party needs today!

Cinco de Mayo Appetizers & Sides {Aperitivos}:

Cinco de Mayo Main Dishes {Platos Principales}:

Cinco de Mayo Desserts {Postres}:

Cinco de Mayo Drinks {Bebidas}:

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter today to celebrate Cinco de Mayo! We’ll tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more delicious recipes and food photos.

Do you have your ticket to the Food and Wine Conference yet? If not, there will be a $100 discount available on the full conference pass today if you participate in the #SundaySupper twitter chat from 7 to 8pm Eastern Time, and purchase your ticket during the chat. The discount code is: SundaySupper.  *Note the code is only valid during the chat time frame.


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49 thoughts on “Duck Carnitas #SundaySupper

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  6. Renee

    Absolutely brilliant idea to use duck for carnitas. Just the thought of cooking anything in duck fat makes me smile. Amazing.

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  12. Katie

    Love this spin on carnitas! A restaurant near to my home makes duck nachos, and they surprised me by being so incredibly awesome! making some duck carnitas at home sounds fab!

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  20. Diana @GourmetDrizzles

    This totally makes sense, and I’m soooo glad you thought of it 😉 Can’t wait to give this a try, as I’ve been a bit timid about duck, but in this recipe it sounds like a perfect place to start!

  21. JanetFCTC

    Oh. My. Gosh. I adore both duck and the typical carnitas so for me, this is just a completely brilliant mix of the two. I WILL be trying this.

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    1. Susan

      Don’t be afraid of duck Amy! It’s a lot easier to cook than you think! Plus you get rewarded not only with a delicious meal, but all the duck fat to save and use afterwards. 🙂

  23. Nancy @ gottagetbaked

    Guuuuuurrrrrl, I am picking up what you’re putting down. These carnitas look and sound incredible. I love duck so much and the way you describe it after it’s cooked in your oven “beautiful crisp skin and tender moist meat” is making me ravenous right now. Awesome variation on carnitas, Susan!

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