Five-Spice Roasted Duck Breasts

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Make these roasted duck breasts, seasoned with five-spice powder and redolent with aromatic oranges, the centerpiece of a chic dinner. You may be surprised to know that without the skin, duck is a great healthy choice, with no saturated fat in a 3-ounce serving. Starting duck breasts in a cool skillet, then heating, renders off most of the fat with less mess.

Five-Spice Roasted Duck Breasts
photographer: Ken Burris
Nutritionist Tested & Approved

Time: 45 minutes (30 minutes prep)

  • 2 pounds boneless duck breast (see Note)

  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder (see Note)

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • Zest and juice of 2 oranges

  • 2 teaspoons honey

  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 teaspoon water

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

  2. Place duck skin-side down on a cutting board. Trim off all excess skin that hangs over the sides. Turn over and make three parallel, diagonal cuts in the skin of each breast, cutting through the fat but not into the meat. Sprinkle both sides with five-spice powder and salt.

  3. Place the duck skin-side down in an ovenproof skillet over medium-low heat. Cook until the fat is melted and the skin is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer the duck to a plate; pour off all the fat from the pan. Return the duck to the pan skin-side up and transfer to the oven.

  4. Roast the duck for 10 to 15 minutes for medium, depending on the size of the breast, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 150°F. Transfer to a cutting board; let rest for 5 minutes.

  5. Pour off any fat remaining in the pan (take care, the handle will still be hot); place the pan over medium-high heat and add orange juice and honey. Bring to a simmer, stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Add orange zest and soy sauce and continue to cook until the sauce is slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Stir cornstarch mixture then whisk into the sauce; cook, stirring, until slightly thickened, 1 minute. Remove the duck skin and thinly slice the breast meat. Drizzle with the orange sauce.

Notes: Boneless duck breast halves range widely in weight, from about 1/2 to 1 pound, depending on the breed of duck. They can be found in most supermarkets in the poultry or specialty-meat sections or online at or

Often a blend of cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, star anise and Szechuan peppercorns, five-spice powder was originally considered a cure-all miracle blend encompassing the five elements (sour, bitter, sweet, pungent, salty). Look for it in the supermarket spice section.

Nutritional Facts

Serving Size
3 oz
8 g
2 g
Saturated Fat
1 g
24 g
122 mg
Dietary Fiber
1 g
89 mg
280 mg
4 servings
1 fruit
3 very lean meat
Vitamin C
45% daily value
36% dv
25% dv

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