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Arroz de Pato Recipe – Portuguese Duck Rice

See what it’s like to cook Arroz de Pato, Portugal’s take on Duck Rice. We show you the process for making this Portuguese food favorite and share a tasty Arroz de Pato recipe so you can cook Portuguese duck rice in your own kitchen.

Arroz de Pato on Plate at Lisbon Cooking Academy

Portugal may be famous for savory dishes like Bacalhau a Bras and Caldo Verde as well as for sweet desserts like Pasteis de Nata. However, Arroz de Pato may be the coastal European nation’s greatest contribution to the food world.

In a good Arroz de Pato, duck, rice and a host of aromatic flavor elements share the food stage in beautiful, heavenly unison. The hearty stew featuring savory, shredded duck, chunks of smokey bacon, fatty chouriço and stock-infused rice is Portugal’s answer to global rice dishes like New Orleans Jambalaya, Spanish Paella and Chinese Fried Rice.

The dish, which synthesizes all of its disparate ingredients into a harmonious whole, may even evoke some versions of risotto but without the Italian dish’s starchy sauciness. The starch in Arroz de Pato is more of a polymer-like building block in the dish than the star of the show.

Arroz de Pato was invented in Portugal’s northern city of Braga, but the savory duck and rice concoction is one of the most popular dishes in the entire country. Locals typically eat Arroz de Pato at home on Sundays or for special occasions. The Portuguese food favorite can also be found on restaurant menus throughout the slender Iberian nation.

Discover our favorite Portuguese foods as well as the country’s top food cities and our tip tips for eating in Portugal.

History Of Duck Rice

Arroz de Pato Up Close Lisbon Cooking Academy
Arroz de Pato is one of the most popular Portuguese dishes in Lisbon. Similar to duck and rice dishes in other countries, Arroz de Pato includes chouriço and diced smoked bacon as key ingredients.

Although Portuguese people have been eating rice since Moorish settlers introduced the starchy crop to Portugal more than 1,000 years ago, historians typically attribute duck rice to China. Other countries like Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand also eat versions of duck rice in their local cuisines.

Portuguese people love rice and consume an average of 17 kilograms of the starchy grain each year. They eat rice on its own as well as in savory dishes like Arroz de Bacalhau (cod with rice) and desserts like Arroz Doce (rice pudding). However, Arroz de Pato very well may be the most iconic Portuguese dish featuring rice as a key element.

Discover the best Portuguese desserts and pastries.

Lisbon Cooking Class Experience

Mindi in Apron at Lisbon Cooking Academy
Mindi was ready to cook Arroz de Pato at the Lisbon Cooking Academy.

Since we love eating duck rice and now live in Lisbon, we jumped at the chance to learn to cook an Arroz de Pato recipe from Chef Ana Viçoso at her Lisbon Cooking Academy. The talented and experienced Viçoso teaches locals and tourists how to cook traditional dishes with Portuguese recipes at her bright, clean and modern cooking space at the end of a narrow, azulejo-adorned street in the corner of Lisbon’s Estefania neighborhood.

Pro Tip
Take a cooking class to learn how to make special dishes when you travel. We’ve previously taken cooking classes to learn how to cook Khao Soi in Chiang Mai, Pan Con Tomate in Girona and Moussaka in Athens.

An accomplished chef, Viçoso opened the Lisbon Cooking Academy in Lisbon’s Estefania neighborhood in 2017. Along with Chef Assistant Rita Barbosa, Viçoso runs private cooking classes and workshops at the school. The chefs showed us how to shop, cook and eat this legendary dish.

Market Shopping

More Vegetables at Lisbon Market
The vegetable selection at the Mercado 31 de Janeiro in Lisbon includes all the usual suspects as well as a wide selection of peppers.

Part of the fun of cooking Portuguese food in Lisbon is shopping at the city’s markets. We began our journey by sourcing ingredients at the Mercado 31 de Janeiro at in city’s tony, non-touristic Saldanha neighborhood. Renovated in 2014, this market is just a ten-minute walk from Viçoso’s school.

Inside the rectangular high ceilinged space, dozens of vendors sell fresh seafood, meat, fruits, vegetables, bread, cheese and more. The market is divided into two sections – produce and fish. On the perimeter, visitors can shop for items like Pão (bread) and Queijo (cheese) or at various Talho (butchery) shops.

Ana Vicoso with Oranges in Lisbon Market
Ana Vicoso proudly displayed Portuguese oranges at the Mercado 31 de Janeiro.

Shopping with Chef Viçoso at the Mercado 31 de Janeiro was both fun and educational. During the expedition, she shared tips about seasonal fruits and vegetables like oranges (laranjas) and cilantro (coentro) while introducing us to the market’s best vendors.

We bought a whole duck, expertly butchered, from friendly talho António Matias and a loaf of rustic pão from Jaime Valente Fialho Neves. We also purchased bacon, chouriço and a variety of local produce from additional market vendors.

Though we didn’t buy and fish, we mingled with fishmongers who sold an extraordinary variety of fish including oval Peixe Galo (john dory), large tentacled Polvo (octopus) and inky Choco (cuttlefish). Before leaving, we gazed amazingly at the thin, dark, eel-like, black deep-sea scabbard fish that could only be found in Portugal.

Baker at Lisbon Market
Jaime Valente Fialho Neves sources artisan bread 50 km away from Lisbon and sells it at the city’s Mercado 31 de Janeiro.

Before we knew it, our shopping bags were filled with all the ingredients necessary to cook Arroz de Pato except one – long grain Portuguese rice. No worries, we secured a bag of Agulha (needle) rice at a local grocery store on our way back to the academy.

Pro Tip
Don’t be surprised if a Lisbon market vendor includes complimentary herbs when you shop at a Lisbon market. A produce vendor at Mercado 31 de Janeiro offered us a bunch of cilantro when we purchased carrots, oranges and onions at her stand.

Cooking Arroz De Pato

Ana Vicoso Holds Bacon at Lisbon Cooking Academy
Ana Vicoso brought home the bacon and fried it up in a pan during our private class at the Lisbon Cooking Academy.

Upon returning to the cooking academy, Viçoso put us to work in our temporary role as prep and line cooks. She had us slicing and dicing while she patiently demonstrated the process of preparing Arroz de Pato.

First, we prepared a simple, quick duck stock. After coating a big pot with olive oil, we added two quartered onions, big carrot chunks and orange peel along with half of the quartered duck.

We didn’t stop there and added cured chouriço, hot smoked bacon, leek chunks, water, salt, pepper, cloves, mustard seeds, cilantro, garlic and bay leaves. Once the pot was full, we stepped away and waited for the magic to happen.

While the stock cooked, we enjoyed an aperitivo break. During this break, we sipped crisp Portuguese white wine and nibbled on fresh cottage cheese and other Lisbon food delicacies from the market – olives, beans, bread and olive oil.

Discover our Lisbon food favorites.

Snacks at Lisbon Cooking Academy
Portuguese snacks are the best snacks especially when eaten with a glass of white Portuguese wine.

Back at work and 45 minutes later, Viçoso demonstrated her approach to shredding duck. According to Viçoso it’s important not to overcook the stock or duck would be too rubbery.

Making Arroz de Pato at Lisbon Cooking Academy
Duck is a key component in Arroz de Pato.

We created a refogado, a Portuguese base of flavor similar to the soffritos found in countries like Italy and Spain, by sautéing a range of finely chopped ingredients including garlic, onions, carrot and bay leaf in the bottom in a large, thick-bottomed pot. This refogado would provide the base of flavor to the rice.

No stranger to the kitchen, Daryl had fun while adding additional ingredients and stirring the pot. Within a few minutes, the glistening mixture’s aromas filled the academy’s kitchen.

Daryl Stirs the Pot at Lisbon Cooking Academy
Daryl stirs the pot at the Lisbon Cooking Academy.

Preparing the dish for a final cook in the oven, we added rice along with white wine before artfully arranged sliced choriço and bacon on top. Then we patiently let the mixture bake until it was done.

Future Arroz de Pato at Lisbon Cooking Academy
Unlike duck rice in Asian countries, Arroz de Pato prominently features flavorful pork products like chourico and bacon. These additions add extra flavor to the dish while honoring Portuguese food traditions.

Close to the finish line, we sliced peeled oranges as we watched the timer slowly tick down to zero. Meanwhile, Viçoso assembled an impromptu salad to complete our Portuguese meal.

Arroz de Pato Ready for Oven at Lisbon Cooking Academy
This tray of Arroz de Pato was prepped and ready for the oven.

Before we knew it and just a few hours after we arrived at the Lisbon Cooking Academy, the Arroz de Pato was cooked.

Arroz de Pato out of Oven at Lisbon Cooking Academy
Out of the oven and ready to eat, our Arroz de Pato was a work of culinary art.

We were now ready for the best part of cooking Arroz de Pato…

Eating Arroz De Pato

Arroz de Pato Meal at Lisbon Cooking Academy
Our lunch wouldn’t have been complete without a salad featuring local Portuguese vegetables.

Eating the finished dish was the highlight of our Arroz de Pato cooking experience. Both Viçoso and Barbosa joined us at the table, and we all admired the completed, hot-out-of-the-oven rice casserole.

At Viçoso’s suggestions, we squeezed the accompanying orange slices in order to give an acidic counterpoint to the rich, fatty duck rice and also sprinkled fresh cilantro for extra herbaceousness. We paired our finished Arroz de Pato with red wine to toast the successful cooking venture.

But how did it taste???

Serving Arroz de Pato at Lisbon Cooking Academy
You can make this version of Arroz de Pato at home. The Portuguese duck rice recipe is below.

We could taste the carrot. We could taste the slight smokiness lent to the dish by the bacon and chouriço. We could taste the essence of bay leaf and, of course, we could taste the rich, fatty duck and the memorable savoriness it brought to the rice.

We smiled at each other after tasting the first bite and didn’t stop smiling until the last bites were gone. We all agreed that the Arroz de Pato was a tasty success.

This success went beyond duck rice. Not only did we have a fun day learning about and eating Portuguese cuisine, but we also made two new friends and acquired hands-on knowledge of Portuguese food. We also gained the Arroz de Pato recipe that we’re sharing below.

We’ll surely cook Arroz de Pato in our Lisbon apartment. Then again, we’ll cook this dish wherever we’re hanging our hats. This classic duck rice dish is a keeper!

Video Alert
Watch our YouTube video for more cooking tips and a few laughs.

Recipe FAQs

What is Arroz de Pato?

Arroz de Pato is Portuguese duck rice.

What is duck rice?

With origins in Singapore, duck rice is a dish made with both cooked duck and white rice. The dish is popular around the world in countries including Portugal, Thailand and Vietnam.

Is Arroz de Pato popular in Portugal?

Yes. Arroz de Pato is one of the most popular dishes in Portugal.

What’s in Arroz de Pato?

The Arroz de Pato ingredients include duck, chouico, bacon, bay leaves, garlic cloves, carrots, onions, oranges, leek, white wine, water, black pepper, cloves, mustard seeds, olive oil, thyme, cilantro, parsley and long-grain rice.

Did you make this recipe? If so, please rate it below.

Arroz de Pato out of Oven at Lisbon Cooking Academy
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4.56 from 27 votes

Arroz de Pato Recipe

Arroz de Pato is one of the most popular Portuguese dishes. Learn how to make Portuguese Duck Rice at home regardless of where you live.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Portuguese
Servings: 8
Calories: 935kcal


  • 1 duck (quartered)
  • 2 smoked and cured dry chouriço links (Use the Portuguese version if possible but Spanish chorizo is also fine.)
  • 1 chunk bacon (approx. 4" x 4")
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 carrots (finely diced)
  • 2 onions (minced)
  • 4 oranges
  • 1 leek
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 4 quarts water (use more if necessary to cover the vegetables and duck when making the broth)
  • salt (to taste)
  • black pepper (to taste)
  • 2 whole cloves
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • olive oil (to taste)
  • thyme (2 sprigs or 1/2 tsp of dried thyme)
  • 2 sprins cilantro or parsley
  • 4 cups rice (long-grain)


  • Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit (190° Celsius).
  • In a large stock pot, add the water, salt, pepper, cloves, mustard seeds, zest from 1 of the oranges, thyme and cilantro. Add the unpeeled onions and unpeeled garlic cloves, 2 of the bay leaves, 2 of the carrots, the green leaves from the leek (washed and cut in 1-inch chunks), the chouriço, the bacon and the duck.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and skim the dark foam as it develops on top of the broth. Bring the broth to a medium simmer and cook for 40 to 50 minutes.
  • Remove the duck, chouriço and bacon & place on a sheet tray. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve.
  • Shred the duck once it is cool enough to handle.
  • Cut a ten slices each of chouriço and bacon. Set the slices aside. Finely dice the remaining chouriço and bacon.
  • In a pot, combine the olive oil, the minced onions and garlic, the remaining bay leaf, the leek (the white part cut in thin slices), the diced carrots, and the diced chouriço and bacon. Cook for 5 minutes at medium heat. Add half of the shredded duck and cook for 3 more minutes.
  • Add white wine and let it cook until all the alcohol evaporates.
  • Add the rice and stir everything together until just combined.
  • Add 2 quarts of the duck broth, stir everything until combined. Do not over stir! Check the seasoning and add more salt if necessary.
  • When the rice is almost fully cooked, transfer everything to an ovenproof casserole large enough to hold the mixture, Smooth the rice into an even layer and place the slices of chouriço and bacon on top in a decorative pattern.
  • Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • While the duck rice is cooking, peel and slice the oranges.
  • Serve the cooked duck rice with the sliced oranges and remaining shredded duck.


Estimated Nutrition

Calories: 935kcal | Carbohydrates: 88g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 50g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 109mg | Potassium: 567mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 3258IU | Vitamin C: 43mg | Calcium: 102mg | Iron: 5mg
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About The Authors

About The Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on their website 2foodtrippers. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.

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Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

We thank Chef Ana Viçoso for hosting us at Lisbon Cooking Academy to facilitate this article. You can schedule your own cooking class with talented Chef Anna via the academy’s online booking system.

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Original Publication Date: May 6, 2019

Recipe Rating

Brizida C Woodbury

Thursday 24th of December 2020

love this food and rice and duck yummmy