Can You Eat Duck Medium Rare? (It’s Different From Chicken!)


Do you like your duck meat cooked medium-rare or well done? Whatever your choices may be, it is good to find out if it is safe to eat or not. So, Can you cook duck medium rare?

Short answer: Yes, it is fine to eat duck meat medium-rare. Just like red meats, you can choose either well-done or medium-rare when it comes to duck. Thus, you can have some tinge of pink on your duck meat.

Whatever your choices may be, it is a brilliant idea to find out if it is safe to eat or not.

This article will focus on finding out if the duck is safe to cook in medium-rare. We will be discussing these main points:

  • How is duck meat different from other poultry?
  • Why can you eat duck medium-rare?
  • Is it safe to eat duck medium-rare?
  • Methods on how to cook duck properly

How Is Duck Meat Different From Other Poultry?

Scientifically speaking, duck is considered white meat as its myoglobin content and classification is similar to poultry.

Unlike chicken meat, the inner part of the duck meat is darker in color.

That is because it contains a higher percentage of myoglobin and iron.

Hence, in the culinary world, duck meat is kinda treated as red meat.

image of Eat Duck Medium-Rare

Why Can You Eat Duck Medium-Rare?

Meat from duck, unlike chicken, is safe to eat in medium-rare, as it has a texture that is similar to red meat.

Yes, you can bring on the pinkness!

Unlike chicken and turkey, the method of cooking red meat is generally different from white meat poultry.

Food preppers claim that if you cook duck meat to full doneness may dry out. Thus, they would prefer to cook it medium-rare.

Moreover, the good news is that they do not contain Salmonella – a type of bacteria that can cause food-related illness. (*)

Apparently, salmonella is mostly found inside the intestinal tract of a chicken.

There are no other birds that have this harmful microorganism unless cross-contamination happens.

How? It can happen when chicken feces come in contact with duck meat.

As a result, your duck meat becomes a carrier of Salmonella.

Fun fact: A perfectly prepared duck meat is moist and juicy inside with crunchy skin.

Is It Safe To Eat Duck Medium Rare?

Duck is best when you eat it in medium-rare.

Again, the duck meat may dry out if you overcook it.

The USDA recommends that it is safe to eat duck meat at medium-rare doneness as long as you cook it the right way. (*)

All you need to make sure is that you reach the right temperature to make it safer for consumption.

Hence, you’d see many restaurants serving meat dishes, in general, have a kitchen thermometer around.

This is to objectively ensure that the internal temperature reaches the recommended standard.

Internal Temperature Recommendation for Duck Meat

According to the USDA, well-done duck meat must be cooked from 160°F up to 170°F.

If you are aiming for medium-rare, you may need to cook it to 135°F or 140°F.

That way, you can achieve that pinkness and the pleasantly juicy and tender meat you prefer to have.

Warning: Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and immuno-compromised individuals must be cautious when eating a medium-rare red meat such as a duck. 

How To Check the Doneness Of Duck Meat Without A Meat Thermometer?

It’s easy. Just do the finger test (palm test), fist test, and face taste!

Methods On How To Cook Duck Meat

Again, it is best that you should have a meat thermometer around if you want to cook a medium-rare duck dish.

Note that you should aim at 135°F or 140°F for medium-rare doneness.


One of the easiest ways of cooking duck meat is roasting it in the oven. 

Here are the easy steps to do it:

  1. Clean the whole duck in running water. If you soak the meat in boiling water before seasoning or marinating, it will keep the skin tighter.
  2. Preheat your oven to 425ºF, then season it with salt, pepper, and other herbs of your choice. You can prepare your own marinate as you wish. Marinating the duck meat overnight inside the fridge is good for its taste.
  3. Before putting it inside the oven, brush the pan and the skin with butter.
  4. Set the time for about 50 minutes. Or, as soon as the internal temperature of the meat teaches 135°F or 140°F for medium-rare doneness.
  5. Make sure to baste the skin with its dripping regularly to avoid drying.


Nothing can beat a fried duck!

However, this method of cooking requires a lot of patience and time.

Plus, this method must be done under slow fire.

  1. Season the duck meat with salt, pepper, or herbs.
  2. Put the duck on the pan without any grease. Allow the fat to melt slowly until the skin becomes golden brown for 30 to 40 minutes.
  3. Flip the duck and fry it again for 5 to 10 minutes according to your liking.


Who does not want a barbecue on the dinner table?

It may not be a common way of cooking duck meat, but you’ll still get a tasty and juicy dish in the end.

We recommend you explore this method!

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Marinate the meat in a barbecue sauce overnight for a tasty result.
  2. Prepare your barbecue grill. Whether it is charcoal or an electric griller, it doesn’t matter.
  3. Place the meat directly onto the griller, skin side down. Flip the meat several times for at least 30 minutes to ensure that the inside is cooked.
  4. You can check the inside of the duck to achieve medium-rare or pink meat.
  5. The last step is to wrap it with a foil to let the steam tenderize the meat.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can you eat duck meat rare?

You may eat duck meat rare but you need to be cautious.

According to the Food Standards Agency, it is best to cook any food thoroughly to avoid the risk of food-borne illnesses.

2. Why can you eat duck medium-rare but not chicken?

Chicken products are potential carriers of Salmonella.

Particularly, salmonella is found inside the intestine of chickens.

On the other hand, ducks do not typically carry salmonella but cross-contamination can happen.

3. Can you get sick from an undercooked duck?

The idea of undercooking it is different from medium-rare cooking.

Any undercooked food can lead to food poisoning.

Chefs, nutritionists, and other health professionals recommend cooking it at the recommended internal temperature.

Note that undercooked meat has very shiny flesh with the presence of blood inside.

So, if you see this state of duck meat served to you, refuse it.

You can either request the restaurant to recook the duck meat or get them to serve a new one.

4. Does duck take longer to cook than chicken?

Duck meat has tighter muscles fibers than chicken or other poultry.

Therefore, it takes longer to cook duck meat than chicken meat.

Take Away

There is no doubt that meat from duck is delicious or far tastier than chicken meat.

Consuming duck meat at home is not a problem as long as you cook it at the recommended internal temperature.

Even if you do not have a kitchen thermometer at home, you can still cook duck meat to your desired doneness.

Just be very mindful of the cooking time and do the finger test, the fist test, or the face taste.

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