Chef John's Orange Duck Recipe -
Chef John's Orange Duck Recipe
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Chef John's Orange Duck
See how to make simple, saucy, somewhat sexy duck a l’Orange. See more
  • READY IN 50 mins

Chef John's Orange Duck

Recipe by  

"This is one of those classic dishes that somehow became a cliche, and people stopped making it for fear of looking un-cool, which is too bad, since it's really good. This is traditionally done with a whole roasted duck, but by using breasts we get pretty much the same results in a lot less time."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 2 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    15 mins
  • COOK

    20 mins

    50 mins


  1. Score duck skin almost all the way through the skin and fat each way on the diagonal in a crosshatch pattern. Generously season with salt and rub salt into each breast. Let rest, skin-side up, at room temperature, for 15 minutes.
  2. Whisk chicken broth, orange liqueur, sherry vinegar, orange marmalade, orange zest, and cayenne pepper together in a small bowl.
  3. Pat duck breasts dry with paper towels. Re-season skin-side of duck breasts with salt.
  4. Heat duck fat in a heavy skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Place duck in skillet, skin-side down, and cook for 6 minutes. Flip duck breasts and cook until they start to firm and are reddish-pink and juicy in the center, about 4 minutes more. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 140 degrees F (60 degrees C). Transfer breasts to a plate to rest. Pour any rendered duck fat into a glass jar.
  5. Return skillet to medium heat and whisk flour into pan; cook and stir until flour is completely incorporated, about 1 minute. Pour orange mixture into skillet; bring to a boil. Cook until sauce thickens and is reduced, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low. When orange mixture stops bubbling, add butter; stir until butter is completely melted and incorporated into the sauce, about 1 minute. Season with salt to taste.
  6. Slice duck breasts across the grain, arrange on a plate, and spoon orange sauce over the top.
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  • Cook's Note:
  • You can substitute vegetable oil for the duck fat.

Reviews More Reviews

Jan 03, 2015 best friend had duck with orange sauce 20 years ago!! she raved about it and I've been wanting to make it for her ever since. Time and availability presented itself last night, as she is here visiting. What an amazing treat this was!! This recipe was so easy to follow and sauce was awesome!! I didn't have any sherry vinegar but i had some orange champagne Muscat vinegar i got from trader joes!! perfect!!! you get 5* for making my girl happy!! so worth the face!! thank you!!

Jun 23, 2015

There are comments on the duck breast being tough. I jaccard my breast before I cook them. Jacardding is an hand held unit that has many small knives that pierce the flesh to tenderize. Same thing can be used on steaks. You can buy these off of ebay. Great piece of equipment to have.


10 Ratings

Apr 08, 2015

I loved this

Mar 04, 2015

Great sauce, for sure, but any time I make duck breast, it is tough not tender. I've done it medium rare to medium and nothing makes it tender. Any advice out there?

Feb 08, 2015

Delicious! I did not have Geraldine but used another orange liqueur.

Jan 22, 2015

My dear favorite chef. This looks wonderful and want your opinion in using the sauce for chicken breasts. What do you think? Ruth

Nov 11, 2014

This was the first time I've cooked duck. The meat was tender and the sauce was excellent (not sweat, which was great). Next time I make it, I'll have to remember to use a splatter screen to reduce the mess and to remove the fat off the breast before slicing (we won't eat it and it's hard to see under the sauce).

Mar 31, 2014

Excellent and easy! I have tried to roast whole duck twice before only to end up with a smoky, greasy mess. I bought 2 boneless duck breasts (Mary's brand, natural, free range duck from Petaluma, California) and followed this recipe - perfection! Moist, tender and savory. The sauce was light and not too sweet. Roasted some winter squash and purple potatoes and a steamed half an artichoke on the side for a special dinner. Even though I was worried about the cook times being under done, I let them rest in a warm oven while I made the sauce and it was perfect. Only wish I had taken a picture!


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  • Calories
  • 354 kcal
  • 18%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 14.9 g
  • 5%
  • Cholesterol
  • 130 mg
  • 43%
  • Fat
  • 20.9 g
  • 32%
  • Fiber
  • 0.3 g
  • 1%
  • Protein
  • 19.8 g
  • 40%
  • Sodium
  • 787 mg
  • 31%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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