Succulent Roast Goose

Roasting a goose makes any holiday feast merrier. Not only because it’s not the same old turkey or beef roast, but because goose meat is intensely meaty and flavorful and cloaked in a layer of unbelievably rich, crispy skin.

As an extra bonus, a goose also leaves behind a gift: lots of delicious goose fat. You’re likely to run out of the fat before you run out of ways to use it. Roast or sauté vegetables, pan-sear seafood, fry chicken, make duck or goose confit or chicken liver pate…the possibilities are endless. Rendered goose fat keeps for months in the refrigerator and up to a year in a good freezer.

Rendering the goose fat is an extra step in the cooking process, but an easy one. And after that, cooking a goose isn’t much different than cooking a turkey; in fact, it’s easier without all that dry white breast meat to worry about. Geese have dark meat throughout because they use their breast muscles regularly for flight. A goose is the perfect bird for real meat lovers. Close your eyes while eating roasted goose breast and you might just think you’re eating steak.

If cooking a goose seems daunting, don’t worry, it’s not. This recipe might look long, but only because it’s filled with lots of helpful tips. The process itself couldn’t be easier: season the goose, steam the goose in a roasting pan, roast the goose for several hours, then enjoy the feast.

Servings:  Eight to Ten

Time in the Kitchen: Very little prep involved, mostly cooking time: One hour for steaming plus two to three hours for roasting (plus two full days beforehand to defrost a frozen goose in the refrigerator).


  • 1 goose (12-14 pounds) wing tips cut off and neck and giblets and excess fat taken out of the cavity (5 to 6 kg)
  • 3 teaspoons salt (15 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper (5 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon allspice (5 ml)
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 8 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 pounds of carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces (900 g)
  • 1 bunch of celery (about ten stalks) cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 pounds parsnips, cut into 1-inch pieces (680 g)


Allow two full days in the refrigerator for defrosting the bird if frozen.

Gently pull the skin away from the bird and prick the skin with a fork or skewer all over, being careful not to prick the meat. This helps the fat drain so the skin becomes crispier.

Mix together salt and pepper and allspice. Rub all over the bird then squeeze juice from the lemon all over the bird. Place the used lemon and the thyme in the cavity.

Add six cups of water and the neck and giblets to a deep roasting pan. Set the goose (on a rack) in the roasting pan, breast side up.

Cover the entire pan tightly with foil and set over two burners on the stove.

Bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium to keep the water at a simmer for one hour. This will steam the goose and render fat from the skin. Check the pan near the end of the hour to make sure all the water hasn’t evaporated; if the water level is getting low, just add another cup of water.

Uncover and remove the roasting pan from heat. Lift the goose and rack out of the roasting pan. Take out the neck and giblets (eat or discard). Pour the liquid in the pan through a fine mesh strainer into a heatproof bowl or measuring cup. As it cools, the pure fat will rise to the top. Skim or pour it off and save for future use. You should get several cups of fat.

**Optional: For upping the odds of crispy skin, the steamed goose can be refrigerated, uncovered, on the roasting pan rack overnight. Bring the bird to room temperature again before putting in the oven.

Preheat oven to 350 ºF (176 ºC).

The vegetables can be cooked in the roasting pan with one cup of water or stock under the goose to save oven space, or be placed in their own pan and lightly coated with rendered goose fat. Keep in mind that if the veggies are in the roasting pan under the goose they’ll be hard to stir and won’t cook as evenly.

Take the lemon and thyme out of the goose. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Place the goose on the rack, still breast side up, in the roasting pan.

Roast for one hour, uncovered. If the skin has browned to your liking, flip the bird over. If not, continue to roast breast-side up for another half hour. Then, flip the bird over so it’s breast-side down.

Roast thirty minutes longer, or until the internal temperature deep in the thigh is 175 to 180 ºF. (79 to 82 ºC)

Transfer goose to a cutting board; let rest twenty minutes before cutting. After being eaten, the carcass can be used to make stock.

Healthy Sauces, Dressings & Toppings Coming Soon!

The printing job for this book is about complete. I’m really happy with how it has turned out, and I’m sure you’ll love it. In case you missed the announcement last month, this new cookbook is all about turning ho-hum meals into Primal masterpieces with delicious and nutritious sauces, dressings, marinades, condiments, and other toppings. It includes over 120 easy-to-prepare recipes inspired by traditional and contemporary cuisine from around the world. From the staples (ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, mayonnaise) to the innovative (Blueberry Chutney, Coconut Cilantro Pesto, Avocado Lime Dressing), every recipe will enhance the nutritional value of your meal, using only Primal-approved ingredients. That means no gluten, grains, legumes, added sugar, or unhealthy oils. The recipes we developed for this cookbook have already changed the way I prepare my Primal meals. I can’t wait for it to do the same for you.

If you’re a long-time Mark’s Daily Apple reader, you know that I always do something special for devoted readers when I release a new book. Primal Blueprint Healthy Sauces, Dressings & Toppings drops on December 5th, and this book release will be no different. In fact, it will be bigger than ever…

Starting December 5th, I’ll be offering prizes with a total value of over 1 million dollars to people that buy one or more copies (it will make the perfect holiday gift!) of the book during the first week it is available. So mark your calendar and be ready to jump on this special offer while it lasts.

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40 thoughts on “Succulent Roast Goose”

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  1. Wow, that looks so good. I have never had goose before, I wonder if I can convince my family to cook one for Thanksgiving. You do a good job of making it sound as delicious as it looks. Do you have a paleo gravy recipe to go with it?

  2. We always have roast goose for Christmas. Sauerkraut stuffing for goose:
    several cups of sauerkraut
    1 lb pork breakfast sausage
    1 onion, diced
    1 apple, cut up small
    Cook the sausage, breaking up into small pieces. Reserve the meat and cook the onion in the fat. When the onion is partially cooked, add the apple. Stir the sausage and sauerkraut into the cooked onion and apple and use the mixture to stuff the goose.

  3. I love the sauerkraut stuffing idea, but Im afraid my kids wouldn’t eat it. Does anyone have a good Primal stuffing idea for a Thanksgiving turkey?

    1. When I ate reduced carb I would replace half the stuffing mix with cooked parsnips. I’m thinking of using the sauerkraut stuffing in my turkey this year. I think a good primal stuffing could be made with onions, parsnips, mushrooms, and sausage, but my kids don’t like mushrooms.

  4. We have goose for Christmas most years (in fact, I bought ours today!), and I usually stuff the cavity with tart apples and onion, and roast quartered apples alongside the bird for the last hour. I use the giblets to make a delicious gravy to serve with the bird – put them in a separate saucepan, add some peppercorns, half an onion and cover with water. Cook for about an hour to an hour and a half, then strain the stock (the dogs usually enjoy the giblets as a Christmas treat). I then use the stock to augment the meat juices once I’ve drained the fat, then add some salt, pepper and red wine, reduce and you’ve got a heavenly gravy.

    1. My mom, who grew up thinking goose should always be served on Dec. 25, does a stuffing with apples and raisins, and I don’t know what else. It’s a little sweet, but delicious…sorry I don’t have the recipe, but apparently a very traditional north German stuffing.

  5. “goose is the perfect bird for real meat lovers. Close your eyes while eating roasted goose breast and you might just think you’re eating steak.” That sold me right there. Only problem with waking up and reading this is I’m starving and defiantly don’t have a goose handy!

  6. I roasted a goose about 5 years ago. So good. and I still have some goose fat. It is amazing… be prepared for a lot of fat.
    I cooked it the same way here… steamed then roasted.
    Hmm, christmas this year might be goosey!

  7. Mmmmm
    I remember Christmas goose at Grandma’s, greasy faced kids gnawing bones and everything swimming in goose gravy. And I remember a spoonful of goose grease to keep the doctor away. The older I get, the more things Grandma was right about.

    1. Well in culinary terms, it’s more valuable than gold itself. A tub of duck or goose fat is like a connoisseur’s dream. Also, duck/goose fat is really good but a little high in PUFA’s.

      1. Yeah, PUFA is what I meant. (Sorry, I can’t help but look at the chemical side of things as well, not only their culinary merits.)

    1. Sure, but do it in style: with bow and arrow. A mace is valid (substitute with a sledgehammer) if you do not mind the mess 🙂

  8. Oh, the memories. My dad was a farmer at heart; he had a regular job but we raised geese to sell at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I think we sold as many as 90 one year (it’s a lot of work getting them ready – some fun catching them when you’re little, but it gets old fast). Of course our holiday meals were roast goose, and it’s every bit as good as described.

  9. We were so Lucky today. My mum made us some DELICIOUS goose, for no real occasion, just One family cometoghether. Mmmmhhnom* mums the best cook and although she doesnt follow the PB she gets my point and trys to make it fit for everybody :* Try this out! Whats rotkraut in English? It goes so good with the taste of goose. bon appetite

  10. I don’t even know where to buy a goose, but I have seen duck at the grocery store. Can I substitute duck in this recipe? Thanks!

  11. Searched high and low today after reading about getting my “goose cooked!” No luck anywhere – none of the stores had goose (or even a duck for that matter) available for purchase for the holidays. Nothing but turkeys, turkeys and more turkeys – so much for life in the big city——-

    Looks like we need to buy online or else bring ’em down when they’re migrating – if we’re lucky enough to catch them flying overhead!

    1. Depending on where you are, might be worth checking on craigslist. The first couple of years we did goose, that’s what we did.

    2. You can find frozen organically raised geese at Whole Foods.

  12. Just finished butchering this year’s geese… embdens for roasting and gray toulouses for goose sausages and foie gras. Definitely one of my favorite meats.

  13. FWIW I saw duck at Costco this week!

    We tried grilling goose a few years ago and almost burned the garage down (it worked for turkey so why not goose?). Maybe it’s time to try goose again.

  14. Aluminum foil can leach in the food when heated,so should be used only for storing food and never for cooking.
    I just thought I should share this info

  15. How timely! I just bought a goose t’other day (my husband was making a batch of duck sausage and I thought I could get away with buying a goose for the project instead– well, not so! the man is particular) So then I planned to fix the thing for T-giving, but turning to the internet, found the whole process a bit intimidating. Cups of fat! Kitchen fires! Rubbery meat!

    I’m thinking of putting mine out on the outdoor smoker, though. ‘cept then the fat will be all smoky: don’t know whether I like that idea or not. hmmm

  16. In a previous profession, I was a master butcher and around thanksgiving/ christmas Geese/ Duck etc. was always highly sought after – One of my favourite tips was to hold back the goose / duck fat for cooking the roast potatoes in …. delicious !!! try it

  17. We are having goose this Christmas and I was looking for a primal recipe.

    Great timing as usual.


  18. I absolutely love roast duck, but haven’t ventured to try goose yet, but perhaps it’s time to put it on the menu this christmas. For something sweeter I’m trying Lada Fleischman’s new book on Paleo Baking for Christmas. Has anyone tried it yet?

  19. I had never before had goose, so we made this recipe at my in-laws for our Christmas Eve meal. It’s definitely very dark and tasty and yields a huge amount of fat.

    And while it’s not Primal, roasting some potatoes in that fat is something everyone should try once. I’m sure it has the same magical effect on any vegetable!

  20. I had a young free range goose 13 lbs and did not have all the fat you talked about .
    It DID turn out delicious, though, following these instructions!!! The gravy was amazing. Having chestnuts as a side added a really nice flavor.

  21. Mark, This recipe is everything you said it would be and more. I think it is one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had. We raised 4 pastured geese this year and used your method for the first one tonight. Fabulous! Thank you.

  22. Ah, I was hoping to find a good Paleo/Primal method for cooking a goose! I found one at my local health food store while I was looking for a duck or turkey to cook up for Christmas. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  23. We do a goose every year for Christmas, and I typically make my stuffing out of dates, chestnuts, cranberries, onions, and apples. Good stuff!

  24. The goose was way too overcooked waiting for the thigh meat to reach 170F. Since it was my first time with a goose, I followed the recipe. Fortunately the dark meat is juicy, but I if I ever spend this much $ on a bird again, I will quit cooking much earlier.

  25. Roasted a goose many years ago, they were each to find at the butcher ( now a butcher is as hard to find as a goose). Found an organic free-range one on the Internet. Never heard of steaming one before roasting, but I now have the steamed one roasting in the oven. In the cavity I put an orange, lemon, Apple & fresh thyme. Rendering the fat for roasted baby potatoes; serving with braised red cabbage, stuffing with pecans, chestnuts, apple; fresh home-made 9 grain bread & butternut squash soup.