A Unique Twist for Thanksgiving: Serving Roast Duck Instead of Turkey

Thanksgiving is a time-honored tradition in America, with the turkey taking center stage at the dinner table. However, there’s no rule that says you can’t shake things up a bit. If you’re considering serving roast duck instead of turkey this Thanksgiving, you might be wondering if it would be seen as an insult or a delightful surprise. Let’s explore this unique twist to the traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Why Consider Roast Duck for Thanksgiving?

Roast duck is a delicious alternative to turkey. It’s smaller in size, making it a great option for smaller gatherings. Duck meat is rich, flavorful, and moist, which can be a welcome change from the often drier turkey. Additionally, it’s a common centerpiece in many global cuisines, adding a touch of international flair to your Thanksgiving meal.

Will Guests Be Offended?

Thanksgiving is about gratitude, family, and togetherness. While turkey is traditional, the holiday is more about the sentiment than the specific menu. Most guests will likely appreciate the effort and creativity you’ve put into preparing a special meal. However, if you’re concerned about straying too far from tradition, you could consider serving both turkey and duck.

How to Prepare a Roast Duck

Roasting a duck is not much different from roasting a turkey. Here’s a simple recipe:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Prick the duck’s skin all over to help render out the fat.
  • Season the duck inside and out with salt, pepper, and your choice of herbs and spices.
  • Place the duck on a rack in a roasting pan and roast for about 2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
  • Let the duck rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Pairing Sides with Roast Duck

Many traditional Thanksgiving sides pair well with roast duck. Consider serving mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, and stuffing. For a twist, try sides that complement duck’s rich flavor, like roasted root vegetables, braised red cabbage, or a tart fruit sauce.


Thanksgiving is a time for traditions, but it’s also a time for making new ones. Serving roast duck instead of turkey can be a unique and delicious twist to your Thanksgiving meal. As long as you prepare it with love and serve it with gratitude, it’s sure to be a hit with your guests.