The Best Roasted Cornish Game Hens Recipe – delicious tender juicy cornish game hens packed with flavor.
Perfect for a holiday dinner, keto and low carb diet friendly, and easy enough for even beginner cooks!
We provide a skip to recipe button in the top left corner, as well as a clickable table of contents, just below, to help make this page easier to navigate.
Table of contents
Easy Baked Cornish Hens
Cornish Game Hens (or Cornish Chickens) make excellent holiday dinner food – they are gorgeous as a main course when served individually.
If you love tender, juicy chicken – but feel like the large whole roaster chickens don’t have a ton of flavor, you’re not wrong. Smaller chickens tend to have much more flavor – and are easier to cook!
These Cornish game hens are the easiest, most delicious dinner and are perfect for a dinner party or even just Sunday supper!
This recipe is designed to be easily adaptable – please feel free to use your favorite herb or seasonings to bring this delicious baked cornish game hen recipe your own!
Even though they have a very fancy name, Cornish Game Hens, as labeled by the USDA, are really just small chickens. The USDA currently has a pretty sparse definition of the Cornish game hen – which includes chicken between one and two pounds in weight, and slaughtered at fewer than five weeks of age can be labeled as a Cornish game hen.
A Cornish game hen must weigh between 1 and 2 pounds, with the standard at about 1 1/4 pounds. Cornish hens have to be slaughtered before five weeks of age and they can be either male or female birds.
Since Cornish game hans are smaller than chickens, they actually are easier to cook – you can get crispy, crunchy perfect skin and juicy, tender, not-dried out meat.
Cornish game hens are the perfect easy main course for any elegant dinner!
How To Roast Cornish Game Hens
To roast cornish game hens, you will need the following ingredients:
- Cornish game hens – Cornish game hens aren’t actually game birds – they are young broiler chickens that are between one and two pounds when ready to cook and have a great flavor and small shape, making them quicker to cook than a whole chicken.
- Lemon – we love to stuff lemon into the cavity of Cornish game hens to help infuse tons of flavor and aroma into the poultry as it cooks. This also helps to keep the meat tender and juicy!
- Sprigs of fresh rosemary – stuffing rosemary into the cavity also helps to release tons of rich, delicious flavor and a to-die-for aroma that will make your game hens irresistible!
- Italian Herb Seasoning Blend – a simple blend of marjoram, thyme, basil, oregano, and other herbs helps to add complexity and flavor to poultry – without overpowering the light meat flavor.
- Softened butter – rubbing butter all over the hens helps to crisp skin, so the hens have a perfect caramel color and crispy, crunchy crackle – the fat in the butter also keeps the meat from drying out as it roasts.
- Garlic – garlic adds flavor to Cornish game hens as it cooks by stuffing cloves into the cavity, releasing tons of amazing flavor into the bird as it cooks – and helping to flavor the liquid that drips to the bottom of the pan that can be used as a baste or a gravy!
Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use the following process:
- Prep. Preheat oven to 450F. Rub chickens with 1 tablespoon of butter. Lightly season hens with salt, pepper, and herbs. Place 1 lemon wedge, 4 garlic cloves, and 1 sprig rosemary in cavity of each hen. Arrange chickens in a large, heavy roasting pan or on a foil lined baking sheet.
- Roast on high. Roast in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
- Reduce. Reduce oven temperature to 350F. Continue roasting about 25 minutes longer, or until hens are golden brown and juices run clear – and chicken’s internal temperature is 170 degrees.
- Rest. Remove hens from oven when they reach 170 degrees with an instant read digital thermometer. Tent hens with aluminum foil as hens carryover cook, do not carve for at least 10 minutes.
- Serve. Serve individual chickens on diners plates, and encourage them to carve tableside for a fun dinner!
Tips To Perfect Cornish Game Hens & FAQs
Cook from frozen. To cook cornish game hens from frozen, let fully defrost before cooking for the best results. I let my cornish game hens defrost in a bowl in the refrigerator overnight before cooking. Be sure to thoroughly pat dry hens before roasting in the oven to ensure skin can crisp and become golden brown.
How many cornish game hens to serve per person. One of the trickiest parts of serving Cornish Game Hens for a holiday dinner is planning out just how many to cook for a crowd! Luckily, it can be easy to figure out with a little bit of planning! While one Cornish hen per person might make the most sense for your dinner party, you might want to go for a little less, and serve it pre-carved to guests.
How Many Cornish Game Hens To Serve For Bigger Portions. If you want to serve a meal with some meat left as leftovers, it is important to be sure you cook a slightly bigger portion per person. Since cornish game hens are quite small, they really only give 1 – 1 1/2 servings per bird, making them a dish you really need to plan ahead to be sure you have the proper amount before roasting.
- For larger portions dinners, plan for one cornish game hen per person for dinner.
- Hens can be sliced and portioned and then served to dinner guests on a platter, or presented whole on a plate so the guest can carve their own hen.
How Many Cornish Game Hens to Serve For Four. For a standard portion, plan for three cornish game hens for four people – which would ideally be carved ahead of time and served on the table like you would present a turkey or whole roasted chicken.
How To Store Baked Cornish Game Hens. After you’ve roasted your cornish game hen, serve and carve immediately. To store cooked leftovers, place in an airtight container or plastic bag and keep in the refrigerator up to four days.
To Freeze Roasted Cornish Game Hens. To freeze roasted cornish game hen, gather up any leftovers and trim fully from hen. Place in airtight freezer bag and store for up tp four months in a freezer.
How To Reheat Baked Cornish Game Hens. To reheat frozen baked Cornish game hens, let thaw int he refrigerator naturally overnight. Place thawed frozen Cornish hens, or refrigerated hens, in a foil pouch with 1tbsp chicken stock.
Plan on one game hen per person for hungry adults if it is a main course.
Game hens run from 1-2 pounds, but most hens will weigh about 1 1/4 pound.
Slather cooked game hen in a little butter and prop under the broiler for 2-5 minutes to crisp skin before serving.
Cornish game hens can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to four days.
What to Serve With Cornish Game Hens
If you’re looking for a great dish to serve alongside your baked cornish game hens, look no further for easy, delicious sides – many low carb and incredibly easy!
- The Best Keto Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts Recipe
- The Best Easy Air Fryer French Fries Recipe
- Easy Sautéed Squash and Zucchini Recipe
- The Best Easy Rice Pilaf
- The Best Easy Buttery Soft Dinner Rolls Recipe
- The Best Easy Baked Scalloped Corn Recipe
- Easy Cranberry Fluff Salad
- The Best Easy Mac and Cheese Recipe
You can find our complete side dish recipe archives here.
The Best Roasted Cornish Game Hens Recipe
If you love this delicious roasted cornish game hens recipe as much as I do, please give it a five star review (just click the stars in the recipe below!) and help me share on facebook and pinterest!
CONNECT WITH SWEET C’S!
Be sure to follow me on social media, so you never miss a post!
Facebook | Twitter | Youtube | Pinterest | Instagram
Only have 30 minutes to get dinner on the table? Sign up for my 30 minute dinner plans direct to your inbox!
Find and shop my favorite products in my Amazon storefront here!
The Best Roasted Cornish Game Hens Recipe - delicious tender juicy cornish game hens packed with flavor. Perfect for a holiday dinner, keto and low carb diet friendly, and easy enough for even beginner cooks!
- 4 Cornish game hens
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lemon, quartered, to stuff in hens
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, to stuff in hens
- 1 tbsp Italian Herb Seasoning Blend
- 1 tbsp butter, softened
- 16 cloves garlic
- Preheat oven to 450F.
- Rub chickens with 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Lightly season chickens with salt, pepper, and herbs.
- Place 1 lemon wedge, 4 garlic cloves, and 1 sprig rosemary in cavity of each hen.
- Arrange chickens in a large, heavy roasting pan or on a foil lined baking sheet.
- Roast in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350F.
- Continue roasting about 25 minutes longer, or until hens are golden brown and juices run clear - and chicken's internal temperature is 170 degrees.
- Remove hens from oven when they reach 170 degrees with an instant read digital thermometer.
- Tent hens with aluminum foil as hens carryover cook, do not carve for at least 10 minutes.
- Serve individual chickens on diners plates, and encourage them to carve tableside for a fun dinner!
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra expense to you.
ThermoPro TP19H Waterproof Digital Meat Thermometer for Grilling with Ambidextrous Backlit and Motion Sensing Kitchen Cooking Food Thermometer for BBQ Grill Smoker Oil Fry Candy Thermometer
ThermoPro TP-02S Instant Read Meat Thermometer Digital Cooking Food Thermometer with Super Long Probe for Grill Candy Kitchen BBQ Smoker Oven Oil Milk Yogurt Temperature
Morton & Bassett Italian Herbs 0.8 ounce
JOHO BAKING Non-Stick Cookie Sheet Pan Set,Baking Sheets for oven,Nonstick Bakeware Set Baking Tray,13inch,2-Piece,Champagne Gold
Webake Enamelware 9x13 Baking Pan Oblong Cake Pan Enameled Steel Roasting Pan Baking Dish Lasagna Pan Food Containers, Solid White with Blue Rim
Serving Size1 cornish hen
Amount Per Serving Calories 218Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 92mgSodium 236mgCarbohydrates 6gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 15g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.