Duck Breast with Orange Sauce
duck breast in orange sauce

Duck Breast with Orange Sauce

Total time: 28 minutes
Servings: 2
duck breast with orange sauce

Duck breast with orange sauce is quick, easy and delicious.

Meat from game birds like duck or goose has a reputation for being fatty. Its a myth, properly cooked the fat keeps the meat moist during cooking and melts away by the time its ready.

You can choose from hot seared, cold pan cooked or an orange and ginger marinaded recipe.

I Like Duck

As anyone who knows me will testify, I am very partial to duck. If duck is on a restaurant’s menu, 9 times out of 10 that’s what I have.

Gav’s recipe from ticks all the boxes for me and I highly recommend it.

I am including a couple of alternative recipes which cook the duck breasts starting with a cold pan. Apparently this technique cooks the duck more evenly and removes virtually all the fat. I haven’t tried it yet but I’m definitely going to give it a go in the near future.

For my wife (aka Nanny) I have to cook her meat to within an inch of being cremated so any recipe which claims to remove all the fat is worth its weight in gold.

Original Duck à L’orange

Duck served with orange, Duck à l’orange, orange duck, or canard à l’orange is a French dish although the Italians claim it originated in Florence with the Medici’s.

duck a l'orange - duck with orange

At its peak of popularity in the 1960s, every restaurant had Duck à l’orange on its menu.

Catherine de Medici

Legend has it that when Catherine de Medici married the Duke of Orleans in 1533 she brought her cooks with her. Now queen consort, at her many banquets, she would introduce her guests to Florentine specialities. Amongst others, this included “pàpero all’arancia” which became canard à l’orange.

catherine de medici who brought duck with orange to france
Catherine de Medici

Catherine is credited with bringing Béchamel, crepes and soupe à l’oignon to the, obviously in her opinion, gastronomically challenged French.

french vs italian cooking

I’m not entirely sure the French see it that way?

Arabian Influences

Cooking meat with fruit, like lamb cooked with apricots from Morocco, seems to originate in Arabia. Southern Spain and Portugal show a lot of influence from the Moorish invasion, and it’s entirely likely that the style of cooking fatty meats like duck or lamb with citrus fruit came up through Spain into Italy and France.

The Science Bit

The acid in citrus fruits like lemons, limes and oranges can break down the collagen in meat when used in marinades. This tenderises the meat and allows other flavours to infuse more easily. Meat must still be cooked with heat to make it safe to eat.

oranges lemons limes
Citrus fruits

Duck breast with orange sauce needs some really good roast potatoes and sweet honey roast parsnips to soak up the sauce. That’s my preferred way to serve it. Add some fresh green brocolli and carrots and you have heaven on a plate.

I know what I’m having for dinner tonight!

Other Recipes You Maybe Interested in …..

duck breast with orange sauce

Duck Breast with Orange Sauce

This duck breast recipe is easy with a delicious orange sauce.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: 🇫🇷 French
Keyword: duck, orange, sauce
Difficulty: Average
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Resting time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 421kcal
Author: Gav


  • 2 Duck breasts
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:

  • 120 ml Chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 2 tbsp Soy sauce
  • ½ tbsp Root ginger pureed
  • ½ tbsp Tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp Red wine
  • 1 Orange juiced


  • Pre-heat the oven to 200°C
  • Score the skin side of the duck breasts 1cm apart in a criss-cross pattern.
  • Season with the salt and pepper.
  • Put the duck breasts skin side down into a heated oven proof pan and cook until the skin is crispy. This should take 4-5 minutes.
  • While the duck is cooking prepare the sauce by putting the stock, honey, red wine, ginger, orange juice and tomato puree into bowl and whisking together.
  • Discard any excess fat from the pan and turn the duck breasts over, cooking for a further 2 minutes.
  • Discard any excess fat again, and place the pan in the oven for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and set the duck breasts aside to rest covered with foil for 10 minutes.
  • Pour the sauce mix into the same pan and bring to the boil stirring to loosen any residues.
    Simmer for a few minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
  • Slice the duck breast and serve with the orange sauce.


Serve with roast or dauphinoise potatoes and seasonal vegetables.


Calories: 421kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 25g

In the two following recipes the duck is cooked starting in a cold pan and then increasing the heat until the skin crisps and the fat layer melts away.

duck breast with orange sauce

Duck Breast with Orange Sauce – Cold Pan Method

Tender duck breast served with warm orange segments and a sweet orange sauce.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: 🇫🇷 French
Keyword: duck, French, orange
Difficulty: Easy
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 383kcal
Author: Richard


  • 4 duck breasts
  • 2 Orange
  • 1 shallot small, chopped
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 150 ml hot chicken stock
  • 4 tbsp orange marmalade

To Serve:

  • Roast potatoes to serve
  • Green beans to serve


  • Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6.
  • Pat the skin of the duck with kitchen paper. Make parallel cuts in the skin, taking care not to cut through into the flesh.
  • Grate the zest of ¼ of an orange and squeeze the juice from both oranges – you need 150ml.
  • Put the duck breasts skin-side down in a cold frying pan. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes until the skin is golden brown and starting to crisp, and a lot of fat has run out. Drain off the fat and reserve. Turn the breasts over and cook the other side for 1 minute.
  • Transfer to a roasting tin, skin side up, and cook in the oven for 9-15 minutes, depending on how pink you like your duck. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Cook the shallot in 1 tbsp of duck fat until soft. Remove from the heat, add the flour then stir over a low heat for 1 minute. Gradually stir in the stock and orange juice and zest. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the marmalade and simmer until it melts. Serve the sauce with the duck, green beans and roast potatoes.


Calories: 383kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 19g

The second cold pan method but this time the duck is marinated for a couple of hours prior to cooking which infuses all the lovely flavours and tenderises the meat.

duck with orange sauce

Marinated Duck Breast in Orange and Ginger Sauce

Asian style duck breast marinated in orange and ginger then cold pan cooked.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: duck, orange
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Marinading Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 388kcal
Author: Richard


For the duck

  • 4 duck breasts
  • 1 tsp cornflour

To Serve

  • Rice
  • Mange Tout
  • Sugarsnap peas

For the marinade

  • 2 tbsp fresh root ginger grated
  • 3 balls stem ginger in syrup chopped
  • 1 tbsp stem ginger syrup from the jar
  • 1 small orange grated zest of
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 2 tbsp dry sherry optional
  • 1 clove garlic crushed


  • Whisk together all the marinade ingredients. Pour into a shallow dish.
  • With a sharp knife, score parallel lines in the duck skin and fat – take care not to cut through to the flesh. Put in the marinade, skin-side up, to cover the meat while leaving the skin marinade-free. Chill, uncovered, for at least 2 hours.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6.
  • Pat the skin with kitchen roll, to remove any traces of marinade. Put in a cold, non-stick frying pan, skin side down, then turn on the heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes, until lots of fat runs out and the skin is golden and starting to crisp. Drain off the fat and reserve – it’s great for roasting vegetables. Turn the duck over and cook for 1 minute.
  • Transfer the duck to a roasting tin, skin side up. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes if you like your meat slightly pink, or 12 minutes for well done. Put on a warm plate and cover with foil. Rest for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, strain the marinade into a pan, heat until boiling, then simmer for 5 minutes. Mix the cornflour with 3 tbsp cold water and stir into the marinade. Simmer for another 2 minutes. Pour on the duck.
  • Serve with the rice and veg.


Calories: 388kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g

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