Impress guests or have a simple delectable main meal made with this roasted Cornish hens recipe!
This Cornish hens recipe produces tender, juicy game hens with a savory seasoned, crispy skin.
It isn’t difficult to cook like a professional with this easy to make recipe.
Best Cornish Hen Recipe!
- Roasted Cornish hens are a deceptively easy dish to prepare that looks so elegant on the table!
- Make easy Cornish game hens instead of larger holiday turkeys, chickens, or even ham for smaller gatherings. They can even be stuffed with your favorite keto stuffing.
- Make this special occasion dish at home with just a few ingredients and then pop them in the oven! Add a side of cauliflower rice and a simple salad and dinner is served!
Ingredients and Variations
Cornish Hens – Most Cornish game hens are found in the frozen section shrink-wrapped and without giblets. They are nearly identical in size which makes it easier to bake more than one.
Vegetables – Celery and onions add subtle flavor to Cornish game hens and soak up the seasoned drippings. Or use the drippings to make a savory gravy.
Variations – Toss some whole radishes, brussels sprouts, zucchini, and colorful bell peppers into the pot in step 3. Tuck in some sprigs of fresh rosemary, oregano, thyme, sage, or a slice of lemon into the cavity for an even more savory flavor.
How to Cook Cornish Hens in the Oven
- Brush seasoning mixture over each Cornish hen.
- Place the Cornish hens on a ‘raft’ of celery in a casserole dish. Arrange onions (and other optional veggies) around the hens.
- Bake as directed in the recipe below.
- Let Cornish hens rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
Recipe Tips and Tricks!
- Always check for doneness using a meat thermometer. This ensures the meat is properly cooked as it’s hard to tell just from looking at the outside of the bird. Safe poultry temperatures should be 165°F but pull it around 160°F because it will continue to cook as it rests under the foil.
- Be sure to start the roasting at 450°F to initially seal the outside of the hens, locking in all the juices under the skin. Lower the heat to 400°F for the remainder of the roasting time.
We Love It Crispy!
For extra crispy skin, put the hens under the broiler until the skin turns golden brown.
Leftover Cornish Hens
Just like turkeys that are roasted whole, the meat from a cornish hen needs to be removed from the carcass before storing to avoid contamination. Save the carcass to make stock, if desired.
Freeze Cornish hen meat in zippered bags for up to one month.
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Roasted Cornish Hens Recipe
- 2 Cornish hens about 1½ pounds each
- 2 ribs celery
- 1 small onion quartered
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons thyme
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon salt to taste
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- In a bowl, combine all the spices together. Thoroughly brush the hens with the olive oil mixture. Twist the wings of the hens and tuck them under the body.
- Make a raft of the celery ribs on the bottom of an 8 x 12 baking pan with the hens on top. Arrange the onions around the hens.
- Place in the oven and reduce heat to 400°F.
- Bake 55-65 minutes or just until hens reach 165°F.
- Remove from the oven and loosely tent with foil for 10 minutes before cutting.
- Cut hens in half and serve.
- Always check for doneness using a meat thermometer to ensure the meat is thoroughly cooked. Safe poultry temperatures should reach 165°F but hens can be removed from the oven at 160°F because they will continue to cook as they rest under the foil.
- For an accurate temperature reading of the hen, ensure the thermometer does not touch the bone.
- Be sure to start the roasting at 450°F to initially sear the outside of the hens, locking in all the juices under the skin. Lower the heat to 400°F once the birds are in the oven.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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