Best Recipe for Cornish Hens in the Oven

Cornish hens are a delicacy; these tiny birds are frequently served for special occasions because they are typically more expensive than conventional chicken. Cornish chickens are technically immature birds that are under five weeks old. They difftraditionalconventional chicken because they are younger and smaller, typically weighing no more than 2 pounds at the grocery store.

Cornish hens make a fantastic main course because of their high protein content. According to the USDA, a 3-ounce portion includes 170 calories and approximately 15 grams of protein. Typically, they are baked or roasted in the Oven and eaten with seasoned vegetables. Baked Cornish chickens are a terrific option if you’re searching for a meal to upgrading your dinner party. 

Cornish Hen

Simply put, cornish hens are a specific breed of chicken. This kind of chicken, also known as Cornish game hens, is considerably smaller than the typical birds we typically see sold in grocery shops, weighing between 1 and 2 pounds. Additionally, there isn’t much difference in flavor from Conventional chicken. They are a convenient whole chicken variety that will let each diner enjoy an entire breast and leg with that mouthwatering skin intact. 

Cooking a Cornish Hen



The skin is flavored with a straightforward olive oil and herb blend. Use any herbs you like (or have on hand).


Vegetables such as butternut, acorn, or zucchini squash should be added more! After the hens are cooked, please remove them and surround them with the vegetables to add more flavor to the pan juices.


Try hiding fresh rosemary, thyme, and oregano sprigs among the vegetables, or spread your preferred seasoning blend all over the bird’s skin for a very flavorful skin.

For the Marinade of Cornish Hens! 

We stumbled into the unanticipated ideal marinade for a Cornish hen: this warm, savory Mediterranean sauce! The chicken takes a few minutes to soak up this marinade before you cook it; the result is fantastic! What you’ll need for this marinade is as follows:

* Ground allspice – adds complex warmth and heartiness

* Dried thyme – adds some earthiness

* Ground black pepper – adds warmth and a slight kick

* Nutmeg – the silent star in this rub, giving it an extra layer of warmth without being overpowering

* Fresh lemon or lime juice – brings a bright pop of brightness and amplifies the intensity of the other flavors.

* Hot or sweet paprika – adds depth of flavor and beautiful color. When the Cornish hen is roasted, lime/lemon juice helps to tenderize it and make it fall-off-the-bone tender. We used our Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil, an excellent extra virgin olive oil. 

Although it may seem complicated, making a fancy supper is one of the easiest things! 

  1. Oil-brush the hens and season them if desired. Place the bird on a pan with its wings tucked under it. Around the cornish hens, arrange some veggies. 
  2. Bake the dish as directed in the recipe below, uncovered. 
  3. Take the hens out of the Oven and let them rest before serving. 

PRO HINT: Broil the hens until the skin turns golden brown and becomes crispy for even crispier skin! 

Serving Suggestions for Cornish Hen 

A side or two completes the dinner and maintains the attention on the entrée even though this recipe is already a one-and-done! In addition to a straightforward tossed salad or caesar salad, we like to prepare some fresh French bread for soaking up any tasty juices. 

Tips for Making the Perfect Cornish Hen

  •  For best results, rub salt into the cavity of the hens to draw out more moisture while roasting. This also helps season the meat a little more.
  • A lemon slice or a few fresh herb sprigs can also be placed into the cavity.
  • This is an excellent method to add another delicate layer of flavor if you conserve the bacon grease in place of the olive oil.
  • The most crucial advice is to ensure the chicken is properly cooked but not burned. After the bird is taken out of the Oven, check that the internal temperature is 165°F by inserting a meat thermometer in the thickest section of the breast that is not near any bones.

Here, private chef Michael Johnson from Brighton, England, demonstrates how to bake Cornish hens in the Oven for a delectable dish.

Step 1: Warm the Oven Up 

Set the Oven’s temperature to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Johnson advises preheating the Oven while assembling your food and kitchenware. 

Step 2: Place the Hens on a Baking Sheet  

Put the birds on the baking sheet or casserole. Choose a baking pan that is big enough to prevent the birds from touching it while baking, advises Johnson.

Step 3: Add Spices and Olive Oil to the Food

Sprinkle sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper all over the hens before drizzling some olive oil. Crush a few garlic cloves, then distribute them among the chickens. You can also include rosemary and thyme sprigs. 

Step 4: Add Butter  

Butter cubes should be placed on the chickens before being in a hot oven. As a result, flavor and texture are added. 

Step 5: Place the Hens in the Oven 

The Cornish hens should be placed on a baking pan, well-seasoned, and covered with aluminum foil before going into the Oven to keep them moist. In total, bake them for 45 to 60 minutes. Depending on your Oven and the size of the Cornish hens, the entire baking time may change. 

Step 6: Halfway Bast Through 

Baste the birds halfway through the total cooking time. To prevent the meat from drying out, basting entails moistening the surface of the flesh. Open the oven door, remove the baking sheet or dish containing the birds, and then carefully remove the foil. Apply the liquid to the top of the Cornish hens using a basting bulb to scoop it up from the bottom of the baking sheet or dish. Use a large spoon to pour liquid on the hens if you don’t have a basting bulb. Return the birds to the Oven to complete baking, and then cover with foil. 

Step 7: Take Out of the Oven 

Make sure the chicken is fully cooked on the inside before serving when preparing any chicken. However, you run the chance of drying out the hens by overcooking them. While taking the Cornish hens’ temperatures is optional, it is advised and necessitates using a meat thermometer. Remove the birds from the Oven after they are fully cooked or when their internal temperature reaches 165 F. 

Step 8: Lay it Down 

Before serving, give the hens 10 to 15 minutes to rest.

When Baking, do you Cover Cornish Hens? 

The Cornish hens should be placed on a baking pan, well-seasoned, and covered with aluminum foil before going into the Oven to keep them moist. In total, bake them for 45 to 60 minutes. Depending on your Oven and the size of the Cornish hens, the entire baking time may change. 

How do you Take a Cornish Hen’s Temperature? 

Put an instant-read meat thermometer into the thickest portion of a hen’s thigh when you believe the chickens are cooked through. Before removing the hens from the Oven, the internal temperature should be at least 165 °F (74 °C). Roasting stuffed Cornish game chickens may require an additional 20 to 30 minutes. 

Can you Cook Frozen Cornish Hens? 

 Cornish hen should be cooked straight from the freezer if you neglected to thaw it. Roast for 30 minutes, add a pat of butter, and season with salt and pepper. Continue roasting for the appropriate time or until your cornish hen is thoroughly done and an instant-read thermometer reads 165 F. 

What Area of a Chicken Should a Thermometer be Placed? 

The deepest part of the breast is the most delicate area to insert a probe into a complete chicken. Measure three-quarters of the way down the breast using the probe’s length, then mark the spot with your fingers. Put the search through the front of the breast while maintaining the position of your fingers on the hunt. Stay away from any bones. 

What Distinguishes a Cornish Hen from a Cornish Game Hen? 

The size of Cornish game hens is the primary distinction between them and chickens. Game hens are the same size as broiler chickens when fully grown. However, the latter is killed at an earlier age, about 2 lbs (900 g). Because of this, they cook more tenderly and are typically more expensive. 

How Long does a Cornish Hen Take to Smoke? 

Set the smoker to 230–260°F for cooking. It will only take the hens around 1.5 hours if you can sustain the higher temperature, and they will take, on average, around two hours. Cook them further until a digital meat thermometer registers 165°F. 

Can Cornish Hens be Injected? 

The Cornish hens should be taken out of the plastic and placed on a stack of paper towels. Make sure the skin is dehydrated by dabbing paper towels over the tops of the hens. Inject Tony’s Creole-style Butter Marinade throughout the entire bird using the injection needle, ensuring every possible muscle. 

What does Trussing a Cornish Hen Mean? 

A chicken’s (or any other bird’s) legs and wings are securely tied to the body when it is trussed. By doing so, the chicken can keep its shape and cook evenly without having its extremities become dry once you know how this simple method of trussing is straightforward and takes less than a minute. The instructable contains enough images to guarantee that you succeed on your first attempt. 

How can Cornish Hens be Prevented from Drying Out? 

After removing the chicken from the Oven, you should allow it to rest for 5 to 10 minutes to minimize moisture loss. You determine the serving size. Serving one roast Cornish hen that has been expertly roasted, golden, and crispy on each plate gives your table a classy, restaurant-at-home vibe. 

How Healthy is Cornish Hen? 

Reduced fat content is also a result of the adolescence of cornish hens. Since they are primarily white meat, Cornish hens are extremely thin and high in niacin, which can help decrease cholesterol and improve brain function because most of their hearts are white. 


Even though cornish hens may not be your top pick for a weeknight or holiday supper, you should still give them a shot! For a memorable gathering, try this easy recipe: Provide everyone with their own, or divide the Cornish hens in half to feed a large group!