Orange Maple Roast Duck

Have an important dinner date coming up and want to impress your guests or loved ones? Try this roast duck recipe that’ll WOW both yourself and your diners as if this was a restaurant made dish! Best of all it’s really really easy to make at home because it’s no different than roasting a whole chicken, which I think many of you already know how to do.

Okay so one key thing about this recipe is to make sure you buy a YOUNG duck and not stewing or mature duck, which are often older and the meat can be quite stringy and tough…not good eating. I usually buy ducks frozen and you can often find them in the freezer isle of most grocery stores. If you have access to fresh whole young duck by all means get that and save yourself the thawing step. Just be sure to read the label and make sure it says ‘young duck’ otherwise you’ll be in for a sad surprise like me the first time I made a duck dish….I mean the duck flavor was there but man were we giving our jaws a workout trying to down this meat.

So this recipe was inspired by the oh so famous French dish “Duck à l’Orange”, a wonderful classic pairing of sweet and savory! I added a twist and included some nice sweet spices like fennel and star anise as well as a nice blend of poultry herbs like thyme, rosemary, and sage to give the duck an added herbaceous flavor.

I also used Cara Cara oranges for this dish but feel free to use whichever orange you have access to as long as it’s sweet and juicy. After roasting your house will smell so incredibly delicious and the best part is the GRAVY! This is the secret to making this duck dish complete….the tangy and sweet sauce that’s so rich and syrupy because of the duck drippings and natural sugars from the maple syrup and orange. Plus a hint of brandy to make it oh so special! Seriously, consider making this orange maple roast duck the next time you’re in the mood for something fancy without all the fancy schmancy effort!

Orange Maple Roast Duck

Prep time: 5 min     
Cook time: 1 h 20 min    
Total time: 1 h 25 min   
Servings: 4


  • 1 whole young duck (5 lb)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp ground sage
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp brandy


  1. Clean the duck and remove any gizzards, liver, or neck that may be in the cavity and pat the duck dry with paper towels. Place innards and duck neck in a small pot of water and boil for 45- 1 h to make stock for gravy.
  2. Peel orange rind into large pieces and set aside for later. In a separate bowl, squeeze in juice of one orange and mix in brandy, soy sauce, and maple syrup then set aside.
  3. Make spice rub by putting fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cumin, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper into a food processor and blend into a coarse powder. Rub the entire duck including the cavity with the spice rub and place onto a roast tray.
  4. Cut onion into slices and carrots into halves length wise. Place half of the onions into the cavity along with the orange peel and 1 star anise. Using a few toothpicks close up any looks skin at head and end of the duck, and use twine to tie the legs together. Place remaining onions and carrots on the roasting tray below the duck.
  5. Preheat oven to 475°F and cook the duck on the middle rack for 20 min. Reduce heat to 350°F and pour in 1 cup of water into the roasting tray and continue cooking for 1 h.
  6. Once cooked let the duck rest and pour out juices into a sauce pan. Bring the sauce pan to medium high heat and add in the orange, brandy, soy sauce, and maple syrup mixture. Cook the sauce until it becomes thick and syrupy and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve the duck warm with the gravy. Enjoy!

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