Duck à l’orange gets a modern makeover in this sophisticated yet simple riff on a French classic. What makes it newsworthy and notable is the zingy addition of jalapeño, ginger, and scallions. Fusion food at its finest.Angie Zoobkoff

A white oval platter filled with sliced duck à l’orange, topped with sliced scallions and jalapenos, and drizzled with sauce.

Duck à l’Orange

5 / 2 votes
This contemporary riff on the classic duck à l’orange, using a simple marinade, takes it from a fussy, time-consuming project to an easy weeknight winner.
David Leite
Servings2 to 4 servings
Calories534 kcal
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Chilling time2 hours
Total Time3 hours 30 minutes


For the orange sauce

  • 2 oranges, preferably organic, scrubbed
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

For the duck à l’orange

  • Two (8- to 16-oz) boneless duck breasts
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 small jalapeño chile, cut into slices 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick
  • 2 scallions, white and tender green parts only, cut into 1-inch (2.5- cm) lengths
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • Steamed rice for serving


Start the orange sauce

  • Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the oranges in long strips and toss them in a bowl. Juice the oranges and add the juice to the bowl along with the brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and white pepper. Transfer half the orange mixture to a small bowl to use for the orange sauce, cover, and refrigerate.

Make the duck à l’orange

  • Combine the remaining orange sauce mixture with the duck breasts in a resealable plastic bag or airtight container. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight. (Alternatively, if you’re pressed for time, you can skip the marinating and go straight to searing the duck since the final sauce contributes most of the orange flavor to the duck. Go ahead and use all the orange sauce mixture in the final orange sauce—you’ll simply have more orange sauce to drizzle, dunk, and douse your duck breast.)
  • Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C)
  • Remove the duck breasts from the marinade, discarding the marinade. Pat the duck breasts dry with paper towels. Using a paring knife, score the skin by making slices 1/4 inch (6 mm) deep, spacing them about 1/2 inch (12 mm) apart. Be careful not to cut into the meat beneath the skin and fat.
  • Place the breasts, skin side down, in an ovenproof sauté pan or cast-iron skillet that’s large enough to contain both duck breasts without crowding them. Place the pan over low heat and cook the duck for about 15 minutes, allowing the fat to render, or melt, very slowly and pouring off the fat as it accumulates in the pan. (You can reserve the fat for another use. We suggest you sizzle or roast up some potatoes after you toss them in the rendered duck fat.)
  • Transfer the pan with the duck breasts to the oven and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the duck breast registers 135°F (57°C) for medium-rare or 140°F (60°C) for medium. You’ll want to check the duck after 10 minute but it could take as long as 25 minutes. When the duck is done, transfer it to a wire rack placed over a rimmed baking sheet, tent the duck breasts loosely with foil, and let rest for at least 5 minutes.
  • Carefully pour off the excess fat from the pan used to cook the duck and return the pan to medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, toss in the shallot, jalapeño, and scallions and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and softened, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch into 1/4 cup chicken stock. Add the orange mixture, the cornstarch mixture, and the remaining 1/4 cup chicken stock to the pan, bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring until warmed through and lightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
  • To serve, thinly slice the duck breasts against the grain and arrange on a platter. Pour the warm sauce over the duck. Serve with steamed rice on the side.
Classic Recipes for Modern People Cookbook

Adapted From

Classic Recipes for Modern People

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 534 kcalCarbohydrates: 56 gProtein: 52 gFat: 11 gSaturated Fat: 3 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3 gCholesterol: 176 mgSodium: 1378 mgPotassium: 1217 mgFiber: 5 gSugar: 42 gVitamin A: 604 IUVitamin C: 99 mgCalcium: 118 mgIron: 12 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2015 Max and Eli Sussman. Photo © 2015 Erin Kunkel. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This duck à l’orange was outstanding. The flavor of the orange sauce was so rich and the duck itself was moist and tender. It was relatively quick to put together but turned out like a restaurant-quality meal. The sauce came together easily and there was plenty of it for dipping and drizzling over rice. My duck needed 25 minutes in the oven at 300°F to reach an internal temp of 135°F. The duck breasts were on the small side with a total weight of 1 pound, 2 ounces for the 2 of them. I marinated the duck for 3 1/2 hours.

This duck à l’orange was my first time cooking duck and it wasn’t nearly as complicated as I thought it would be. This is an easy-to-follow recipe made with easy-to-find ingredients. Delicious and tender.

The orange sauce that was poured over the sliced duck meat was delicious and imparted the classic flavor that you would expect from a duck à l’orange recipe. I used half the marinade on the duck meat overnight but there was no discernible flavor from the marinade in the duck breast after it cooked. But the concoction was very good and works well at the end as a sauce that was very good and definitely reflected the marinade ingredients. I made a 1-pound duck breast which served two of us.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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  1. I assume you could do the initial cooking of the duck in advance, refrigerate and put it into the oven just before visitors arrive allowing a bit extra time.

    1. Exactly, Barbara T. Just be certain to cool the duck to room temperature before covering and refrigerating.