Learn how long to cook duck leg in air fryer! This air fryer duck legs recipe with a sweet and spicy orange sauce is easy and delicious. You can roast crispy duck legs in air fryer that are low carb, keto, and gluten free. Save money by making your own roast duck legs that will rival what you get at a fancy restaurant.
You’re in for a treat, because we’re talking about how to air fry duck legs today. Cooking duck legs in an air fryer is much easier than you might think.
You don’t need a marinade for this duck leg air fryer recipe, so there’s no planning ahead. Just put some oil and seasoning on the duck legs, and you’re good to go.
While it cooks, we can whip up an easy orange glaze. So yummy!
The duck legs you need for this recipe are actually duck drumsticks. They are bone-in and skin-on, so they’re going to cook up extra tender and juicy. You can also get slightly larger duck leg quarters, which are the duck thighs with the duck drumsticks attached.
Find tips on where to buy duck legs below. I’ll also cover how to air fry whole duck, duck breast, and duck wings if you can’t find duck legs in the stores.
- ⭐ Duck Legs Air Fryer Benefits
- 🥘 Air Fryer Duck Legs Ingredients
- 🔪 How to Cook Duck in an Air Fryer
- ⏲️ Cooking Time and Temperature
- ❓ Can you eat duck medium-rare?
- 🌡️ How to Reheat Duck in Air Fryer
- 😋 What to serve with duck?
- 📋Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
- 💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- 👨🏾🍳 Other Air Fryer Poultry Recipes
- The Disclaimer…
- 📖 Recipe
⭐ Duck Legs Air Fryer Benefits
Why make air fryer duck legs? Here are a few reasons to try this recipe:
- Protein: Duck is not considered a lean protein because it’s relatively high fat. That said, you still get a lot of high-quality protein when you eat duck.
- Essential vitamins and minerals: Duck legs are rich in zinc and phosphorus, and they provide some iron as well (per Cronometer). Duck is also packed with an assortment of B vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. It’s also a good source of choline (a nutrient sometimes grouped with B-complex vitamins).
- Low carb, keto, gluten free: If you skip the orange sauce in this recipe, air fried duck legs are naturally keto, sugar free, low carb, and GF friendly.
- Quick and easy: You can air fry duck legs in only 10-15 minutes! No marinade is needed for this simple recipe.
- Delicious: IDK about you, but the main reason I eat duck is that it tastes good. The spicy sweet glaze really takes things over the top.
🥘 Air Fryer Duck Legs Ingredients
Here’s what you need to air fry duck legs:
- Fresh duck legs
- Cooking oil spray
- Salt and pepper
- Orange marmalade
- BBQ sauce
- Orange juice (fresh squeezed)
- Red pepper flakes (optional, for spicy heat)
Find specific quantities of all ingredients in the recipe card at the bottom of the post!
I’m using duck legs for this recipe that are bone-in, skin-on and about 10 ounces each (283 grams). If your duck legs are a different size, this will impact the cooking time.
Duck can be tough to find in US supermarkets. Aldi, Costco, and other stores may occasionally sell duck, particularly around the holiday season.
You can make the orange glaze added sugar free by using sugar free BBQ sauce, sugar free marmalade, and sugar free ketchup. The glaze will of course still contain natural sugar from the orange juice, tomatoes in the ketchup, etc.
For a low carb option, I recommend flavoring the duck legs a different way. Season with ginger and garlic, or try a little of my sugar free teriyaki sauce.
🔪 How to Cook Duck in an Air Fryer
Preheat the air fryer to 400F (200C). Pat the duck legs dry with paper towels.
Mist the duck legs with cooking oil spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the duck legs on a hot air fryer tray (or in the hot air fryer basket).
I developed this recipe with a 10-Quart Kalorik Digital Air Fryer Oven. You can make air fryer duck legs in a Ninja Foodi, Philips, Nuwave, Pampered Chef, Actifry, Instant Pot Vortex, Cosori, Breville, or another air fryer. If you have a small air fryer basket, may need to cook one duck leg at a time.
Keep in mind that some air fryer brands cook more quickly than others. Always check the food early the first time you try a new air fryer recipe.
Also, some air fryers smoke more than others when cooking fatty meats. Placing a slice of bread or a little water in the drip pan of your air fryer may help prevent smoking.
⏲️ Cooking Time and Temperature
How long to air fry duck legs? What temperature do you cook duck legs?
Air fry duck legs for a total of 10-15 minutes in an air fryer preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200C). Ten minutes should get you medium-rare duck, but be sure to read the next section for food safety tips!
I didn’t flip the duck legs, but you can if they’re looking a little dry. The duck legs should end up a little bit crispy on the edges of the skin. Let the duck rest for 5-10 minutes while you make the orange glaze.
The duck fat that collects in the drip pan after cooking can be used for roasting veggies. Don’t throw it out!
To make the orange glaze, whisk together the marmalade, barbecue sauce, ketchup, orange juice, and red pepper flakes. Put the mixture in a small pot and bring it to a simmer on the stove for 5-10 minutes over medium heat. Brush the warm glaze over the cooked duck legs with a silicone pastry brush.
I sprinkled the duck legs with sesame seeds in some of the photos. This garnish is optional.
❓ Can you eat duck medium-rare?
According to the USDA, you should not eat duck to medium-rare for food safety reasons. Duck should be cooked to a safe minimum internal temp of 165F (74C). This is well-done, though the duck may still be a little pink when cooked.
Though considered a “white meat,” the muscles of game birds, such as ducks, contain more myoglobin than chicken and turkeys. Duck meat is dark as a result, and duck legs are more similar in texture to a steak than to chicken legs.
You should eat duck legs by cutting slices with a knife, just as you would a steak. It’s not really the right texture to pick up and munch on as you would a chicken drumstick.
I don’t recommend cooking a steak to 165F, because the meat is tough if overcooked. Unfortunately, duck meat behaves in a similar fashion, which is why people prefer to consume it medium-rare. However, since duck is poultry, the safe cooking temp is high to reduce the risk of Salmonella (USDA).
Duck cooked to well-done is tough and overcooked in my book. That said, I want you to have the information you need to make an educated decision and stay safe.
There is a lot of misinformation on this topic online. Backyard poultry, including ducks, may carry Salmonella (CDC). This is NOT an issue restricted to factory farmed poultry.
In at least one study, duck meat had an even higher rate of Salmonella contamination than chicken (source). Don’t assume undercooked duck cannot make you sick.
If you are pregnant or immunocompromised, I do recommend cooking all poultry, including duck, to 165F. Use a meat thermometer to check the temp. If you’re a healthy foodie and willing to take a little risk, enjoying medium-rare duck may make sense for you.
🌡️ How to Reheat Duck in Air Fryer
It’s best to enjoy duck legs fresh, and only make what you’ll eat. Leftover duck legs can be kept in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. You can reheat duck legs in the microwave on high for 1-2 minutes.
Duck legs freeze well. However, the duck skin will lose any crispiness it has.
😋 What to serve with duck?
Wondering what to eat with duck? Here are some side dishes to go with duck legs:
- Air Fryer Baby Potatoes (Try making them with duck fat!)
- Frozen Green Beans (Air Fryer)
- Regular rice or Costco Cauliflower Rice
📋Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
One serving of air fryer duck legs has 481 calories, 38.3 grams net carbs, and 25.7 grams protein. This is for one glazed duck leg with a 6-ounce edible portion of meat and skin (170 grams). The exact nutrition information for your entrée depends on the ingredients in the glaze (e.g., sugar free?).
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). Duck is a fatty meat that is relatively high in calories for a poultry option.
Due to its high price and limited availability, I typically only enjoy duck on holidays or other special occasions. It’s not the sort of food that people tend to regularly overeat.
When I'm enjoying duck as a holiday food, I have whatever delicious sides I wish with it! It’s what you’re doing consistently that matters for weight loss and weight maintenance, not one food or one meal.
For everyday meals, I like to balance the rich and heavy duck with lighter sides. Non-starchy veggies, such as roasted asparagus and fresh garden salads, go wonderfully with duck.
If you have a weight loss goal, one tip you’ll often see is to remove the skin from poultry. It's true that removing the skin from duck will make it lower fat and lower calorie. However, it feels wasteful to discard the tasty duck skin (plus it has that nice glaze on it).
Another general weight loss tip is to have smaller portions of energy dense foods. That would mean splitting each duck leg into multiple servings. I feel that would make the serving sizes too small (and the plating wouldn’t look as nice).
If you (like me) don’t like the solutions for making the duck portion of the meal lighter, focus on the sides. If you know that your entrée will be high fat and high calorie, you can make the sides lighter. Likewise, if the main dish is low calorie and low fat, you could serve more hearty sides.
There are many ways to fit favorite food indulgences into an overall healthy diet. Enjoy the roasted duck legs!
Air fry duck breast (with skin on) for 10-15 minutes at 400F (200C). Duck breast should be cooked to an internal temp of 165F (74C), but it can get tough at this temperature. Add an additional 5 minutes of cooking time if the duck breasts are thick.
You can air fry whole duck using the rotisserie spit of an air fryer. Simply follow the recipe for air fryer rotisserie chicken, but substitute duck for the chicken. If you don’t have an air fryer spit, cook duck using this Ninja Foodi whole chicken recipe instead.
Place duck wings in the air fryer in a single layer and mist with cooking spray. Air fry duck wings for 25 minutes at 375F (190C), flipping every 10 minutes.
Confit is a cooking method where the food is slowly cooked over a long time period, not the best for the air fryer. That said, you can crisp duck confit in the air fryer that was already precooked. Here’s a video recipe for air fryer duck leg confit that looks amazing.
For the best results and crispy skin, thaw frozen duck in the refrigerator for 2-3 days before cooking. The cooking time for frozen duck may be up to 50% longer than for fresh duck.
There are several reasons duck costs more than chicken in the US. Ducks take longer to grow and they’re more expensive to process. Ducks may also cost more to raise (though that can depend on a variety of factors).
👨🏾🍳 Other Air Fryer Poultry Recipes
Looking for air fryer recipes using chicken? Here are some ideas:
You may also want to check out the entire collection of Air Fryer Recipes while you’re here!
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
Air Fryer Duck Legs Recipe
- 2 count duck legs 20 ounces/567 grams total (bone-in, skin-on)
- cooking oil spray of choice
- salt and pepper
For the glaze:
- ¼ cup orange marmalade
- 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce
- 1 tablespoon orange juice, freshly squeezed
- ½ tablespoon no added sugar ketchup
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Preheat the air fryer to 400°F (200°C). Pat the duck legs dry with paper towels.
- Mist the duck legs with cooking oil spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the duck legs on a hot air fryer tray (or in the hot air fryer basket).
- Air fry duck legs for a total of 10-15 minutes in an air fryer preheated to 400°F (200°C). Use the top rack if you have an air fryer oven. Ten minutes got me medium-rare duck (but be sure to read the article above for food safety tips). The minimum safe internal temperature for duck is 165°F (74°C), which is well done.
- Let the duck rest for 5-10 minutes while you make the orange glaze.
- To make the glaze, whisk together the marmalade, barbecue sauce, juice, ketchup, and red pepper flakes. Put the mixture in a small pot and bring it to a simmer on the stove for 5-10 minutes over medium heat.
- Brush the warm glaze over the cooked duck legs with a silicone pastry brush. Enjoy, keeping in mind that the texture of cooked duck is more like red meat than chicken.