Roast Goose

Recipe for Roast Goose
Agnes Kantaruk/Shutterstock


1 goose
A little olive oil for browning (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
A few lemons and oranges
Some herbs (thyme and sage) for stuffing



If the goose is purchased trussed, then loosen the string and pull out the legs and wings a little; this helps the bird cook better. Check the inside of the bird and remove any giblets or pads of fat. Wash the bird thoroughly and pat dry.

Prick a goose’s skin with a fork, especially in the breast area; otherwise it will be sitting in unappetizing fat! It’s also common to leave goose in the fridge for a couple days (in advance of roasting) to help it crisp up. You can prepare and stuff the bird a day in advance if you wish.

When ready to cook, remove the goose from the fridge and let it stand for 2 hours at room temperature. 

Cooking Time

  • A 9-pound bird (which feeds 6 to 8 people), put into the oven un-stuffed and at room temperature, will take about 2 hours to cook. 
  • A 12-½ pound goose (which feeds 12 to 14 people) that’s un-stuffed takes 2 hours and 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Add 20 to 40 minutes if the bird is stuffed.
  • Do not overcook goose! You’ll know the goose is done when its juices run pale yellow; the breast meat will dry out of the goose is cooked too long.

Roasting the Goose

Preheat your oven to 475°F.  

Rub the goose with sea salt and pepper to taste. If you would like, rub with the zest from lemons and oranges. Season the cavity of the goose generously with salt, too.

Optional: If you want to give the bird a nice golden color, first brown it in a large frying pan in a couple of tablespoons oil. Just hold the bird by the legs and press the breast-side into the pan to brown. Once browned, place the bird in the roasting pan. 

Optional: If you wish, stuff the cavity with the lemons and oranges, and some herbs. You can really use whatever stuffing you fancy—dried fruit such as figs or prunes, other fresh fruits such as apples or pears, or vegetables such as onions or celery. (Whether you stuff the bird or not for extra flavoring, we still would prepare stuffing separately outside of the bird for serving.)

Roast the bird at 475°F for 10 minutes and reduce the heat to 375°F until done. 

Ideally, your roasting pan could have a sort of wire rack fitted inside because goose creates a lot of fat drippings. Every 30 minutes or so, you’ll want to baste the bird with the pan juices, then drain off the fat through a sieve into a heatproof bowl. Save the fat or freeze it for later!

Cover the goose with foil if it is starting to brown too much.

Optional: About 30 minutes before the end of cooking, add some quartered apples around the goose on the rack and baste with drippings.

At the end of the cooking time, let the bird rest for 30 minutes, covered loosely with foil, so it’s easier to carve.

Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

goose info from a goose farmer

Im a free range goose farmer.

Please stop telling people there is some magical difference between a frozen and freshly killed goose. There is absolutely NO difference whatsoever.

As a matter of fact I have had people cancel on dinners before I was able to get the goose cooked, so I refroze the goose and there was even zero difference in a frozen/thawed/refrozen/rethawed/roasted goose.

When I have killed a goose to cook it, it ends up EXACTLY the same as a frozen one that had been been thawed and then cooked. Exactly the same.

Free range geese vs confinement geese: free range geese will have less fat on them and confinement raised will have more. Much more. So, if you are looking for the goose fat to cook with after roasting, go with a confinement goose. They can have up to three times the amount of fat a free range goose will have. You will be trading flavor for fat though. A free range goose is more tasty. (And less tender BTW, since they are constantly walking & grazing and using their muscles vs confinement who just sit around)

Leave the goose untrussed so the meat cooks evenly. I cut the legs so they flop open when roasting. Then the thigh meat and the breast meat will cook evenly.

You plate goose meat to serve it instead of carving at the table like a turkey. You will have to wrestle with it way more than a turkey as the meat is on the bones tighter when cooked. So, do it in the kitchen & plate it up.

Do not overcook a goose ever. It will start tasting "liver-like" and be unpleasant and dry. Undercook it a bit, tent it 30 minutes and then serve. If its a little pink, its fine! Perfect really. I have eaten it raw, seared, roasted and overcooked. Tryst me on that over coooking thing. It tastes awful.

Goose info from a goose farmer

Connie, thank you for sharing your wisdom about purchasing and roasting a goose. Very informative!!

Goose Baking

I love the comments; would like to be able to print for directions. However unable to do so.