Make Cornish hens for the perfect festive holiday meal!

This simple recipe makes juicy and succulent game hens with flavorful, crispy skin.

This fabulous entree has gourmet appeal, without being complicated to make!

Two baked Cornish Hen in a roasting pan

What is a Cornish Hen?

Cornish hens (AKA Cornish game hens) are miniature versions of chickens in Britain, between 1.5 and 3 pounds each. They are faster and easier to cook and the meat is super tender!

Super Simple Cornish Hens

  • Easy and quick to cook! Make baked Cornish hens instead of large turkeys or chickens for smaller gatherings with a ‘just as festive’ presentation!
  • Leaves oven space! Small Cornish hens allow for lots of extra space in the oven for delish side dishes so everything can cook at the same time!
  • Batch cooking! Serve once and use the leftover meat in sandwiches, salads, or soups all week long!
Ingredients to make baked cornish hen labeled: olive oil, chicken seasoning, and cornish hens

Simple 3 Ingredient Recipe!

Three degrees and three ways to make them, it doesn’t get any easier!

Cornish Hens – Nearly all Cornish hens are identically shrink-wrapped, guaranteeing the delicate birds stay in one piece. Let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using. Cornish hens won’t have any giblets in the cavity like turkeys or chickens.

Seasonings – Olive oil and poultry season are all this recipe needs, but you can switch out the oil for leftover bacon grease which will give the skin an amazing smoky flavor. Feel free to experiment with herbs, spices, and seasonings from the pantry and create a new blend!

Variations – Create a ‘raft’ of celery and sliced onions to soak up the drippings and make a creamy and savory gravy!

How to Cook Cornish Hens

Cornish hens can be stuffed with your fave dressing recipe or even roasted vegetables!

  1. Whisk the olive oil and the seasonings together.
  2. Brush seasoning mixture over each Cornish hen.
  3. Roast hens until they reach 165°F in temperature in the thickest part of the breast.
  4. Remove the hens and allow them to rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

On the Grill:

  1. Preheat grill to 375-400°F.
  2. Grill hens on the top and the bottom on indirect heat until they reach 165°F.

Air Fried Cornish Hens:

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 380°F and place Cornish hens in the air fryer breast side up for 10 minutes.
  2. Flip it over and cook for another 10 minutes until they reach 165°F.
Two Oven baked Cornish Hen on a bed of thyme on a serving tray

What to Serve With Cornish Hens

For holidays and special occasions, great sides to Cornish hens are creamy garlic mash, and some roasted broccolini that can be baked with the hens. Add a bright and crisp salad, and a pineapple upside-down cake for dessert!


Just like whole roasted turkeys and chickens, remove the meat from the carcass before storing to avoid contamination. Save the carcass to make stock, if desired. Freeze meat in zippered bags in the freezer for up to one month.

More Easy Chicken Recipes

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Two baked Cornish Hen in a roasting pan
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Baked Cornish Hens

Cook like a professional with this recipe for succulent and juicy cornish hens.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 2
Author Holly


  • 2 cornish hens about 1½ pounds each
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chicken seasoning


  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Combine the olive oil and chicken seasoning in a small bowl. Brush the olive oil mixture over the hens. Twist wings and tuck them under the bird.
  • Place hens in a casserole dish or on a rimmed baking sheet. Reduce heat to 400°F.
  • Bake 55-65 minutes or just until hens reach 165°F.
  • Loosely tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting.
  • Cut hens in half and serve.


  • When gauging the temperature of the bird, ensure the thermometer does not touch the bone.
  • Leftovers will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month. 
5 from 6 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Nutrition Information

Calories: 1030kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 77g | Fat: 77g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g | Monounsaturated Fat: 38g | Cholesterol: 455mg | Sodium: 275mg | Potassium: 1076mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 539IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American

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