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Air Fried Smokey Citrus Duck

Food really is the way into someone’s heart. That’s why we’re sharing this easy, hands off, air fried smokey citrus duck recipe with you this Valentine’s Day!

Air Fried Smokey Citrus Duck on celeriac mash

Sticky, tart, and sweet are the best words to describe this decadent duck dish. The citrus zing of the orange glaze cuts through the richness of the duck, while the celeriac mash delivers earthy tones. Recreate this sophisticated duck à l’orange inspired meal for your Valentine, without getting too technical. 

Get a head start

You can prepare the duck ahead of time, and simply finish off when your guest arrives. By seasoning and leaving your duck in the fridge you can deepen those tangy flavours without lifting a finger. Simply cook in your air fryer or oven an hour before serving for a tantalizing meal! If you want to prep ahead, then follow steps 1-5 below; and 20 minutes before you want to serve continue from steps 6-8.

How do I cook duck?


Often when people see duck recipes they get intimidated and shy away. You can use an oven or an air fryer in this recipe – We promise, it is simple and delicious! 

First off, it’s important understand what piece of duck you are going to cook. The breasts can tend to be more more technical to cook perfectly, while the legs are a more forgiving cut, best suited for gentle low and slow cook times. In our recipe we show you how to cook beautiful duck legs. When your duck leg is perfectly cooked, the meat will be tender, and shred easily with a fork. 


Air Fried Smokey Citrus Duck on celeriac mash

What if I don’t have time for the sides?

You can always purchase your veggies or sides ready made from the store. All you’ll need to do is plate up your ready-to-go sides with the duck and voila, your meal is ready. If you aren’t much of a celeriac or cabbage fan, then you can always try other side. We suggest something that is earthy to really compliment the duck, but the choice is yours. Have a look at more sides and salads recipes on our website to impress your date.

As always, if you try this recipe let us know how it goes! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag your photo #theculinarycartel on Instagram so we can see what you come up with. Watch our full Instagram video here. Happy cooking! 

Air Fried Smokey Citrus Duck on celeriac mash

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this gluten-free?

This dish is gluten free! Enjoy!

How do I know my duck is cooked through?

The duck will be perfectly cooked when the meat is soft, and easily shredded with a fork. 

What do I do with the left over fat?

You can discard the fat, however it’s very important you don’t pour the it straight down your drain. You will block your drainage systems, and no one has time to do that on date night. Throw away in the trash, alternatively use the duck fat as an oil replacement in another dish – yum!

Air Fried Smokey Citrus Duck on celeriac mash
Air Fried Smokey Citrus Duck on celeriac mash
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Air Fried Smokey Citrus Duck on celeriac mash

Air Fried Smokey Citrus Duck

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  • Author: Jess Bunn
  • Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Food really is the way into someone’s heart. That’s why we’re sharing this easy, hands-off, air-fried smokey citrus duck recipe with you this Valentine’s Day!



For the duck

  • 2 Duck legs
  • 100ml Chicken Stock* a knorr stock pot, or fresh chicken stock from the supermarket will work better here than stock powder


    • 1 tsp Sugar
    • 1.5 tsp Ground sea salt
    • 1 tsp Orange zest


    • 20g Brown sugar
    • Juice of half orange (50ml)
    • 1/21 tsp Chipotle paste or Chiu chow chilli oil

Celeriac mash

    • Half a celeriac (approximately 400g)
    • 1 Tbsp / 15g Butter


  • 1/4 Savoy cabbage (approximately 200g)
  • oil, salt and pepper as needed

The Celeriac mash and sauteed greens can be replaced with your favourite mash and greens, or for convinience, replaced with a shop-bought alternative. 


  1. Start by marinating the duck. Combine the sugar, salt, and zest and rub it into the skin and meat. Place the duck into a snug dish, a suitable size for your air fryer or oven. Ideally pop the duck into the fridge to really let the flavours develop (1-3 hours) or simply proceed to the next step.
  2. Pour the chicken stock around the duck legs to partially submerge them. The stock should be about half way up the legs. Add a little more/less stock as needed depending on the size of your baking dish.
    Air fry*: Cook on 165°C for 1 hour and 15 minutes. There is no need to preheat. Add more water as needed to keep 1cm of liquid in your roasting dish. This will prevent the duck drying out
    *This was tested in the instant vortex plus clear cook. In this mid range, powerful model, this duck took the time listed. In other models, time may vary slightly, but simply cook until the duck is nice and tender, and easily shredded with a knife and fork.
    Oven: Heat the oven to 170°C. Once hot, add the duck and cook for 1 hour 25 minutes, or until the duck meat is soft and tender. Add more water as needed to keep 1cm of liquid in your roasting dish. This will prevent the duck drying out
  3. While the duck cooks make the sides and glaze. Start by peeling the celeriac, then chop into 1 inch chunks. Cover with salted water and boil until very soft and easily pierced with a knife. Once soft, blend with a stick blender with a little butter, and season to taste. Set aside until needed.
  4. Thinly slice the cabbage, then fry in a little oil on a medium-high heat until cooked through and bright green. Season to taste then set aside.
  5. Make the glaze by combining the orange juice, sugar and chipotle (add more or less chipotle according to your heat preference). Microwave for 2 minutes on high in a large bowl to dissolve the sugar and reduce the liquid.
    The hard part is done, settle down with a glass of wine and relax. These steps can be done in advance of your date’s arrival and the elements are all heated up ready for serving. When you are ready to serve, you can move on to the next steps.
  6. Remove the duck from the air fryer/oven. Spoon the glaze over the skin, then pop back into the oven or air fryer for 2 minutes. Repeat this step with the remaining glaze, and cook for 2 minutes more.
  7. Pour the pan juices from the duck into a glass jug, then spoon off the excess fat.
    Chefs tip: use a stick blender to blend the sauce, making it smooth and emulsified.
  8. Warm the sides, then plate up. Spoon the celeriac mash onto the plate, and top with warm sauteed cabbage and the glazed duck. Spoon the sauce around the plate and serve.


Cheats tip: Replace the mash and greens for shop bought to make this dish even easier!

  • Prep Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Category: Mains
  • Method: Air fryer
  • Cuisine: Mains
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