Cornish Hens in Oven

Get ready to impress your guests with a delectable recipe for Cornish hens! These petite birds, bursting with flavor, are ideal for intimate dinners or special occasions. Baking them in the oven results in crispy skin outside and tender, juicy meat inside.

This simple recipe, full of aromatic herbs and spices, elevates the hens to a gourmet meal while keeping the process easy and accessible for all. So, roll up your sleeves and let's journey into the world of home-cooked, oven-baked Cornish hens. Trust me, this is a culinary adventure you won't want to miss!

Why This Recipe Works

The first thing that makes this recipe a winner is its simplicity. Cornish hens are smaller and quicker to cook than a traditional chicken, making this a great choice for a weeknight dinner or a special occasion. Even better, each person can have their own hen, making it an individual serving that feels extra special. The recipe also allows the hens to roast perfectly, ensuring a juicy, tender interior and a crispy, golden exterior.

Secondly, the flavor profile of this recipe is truly remarkable. The combination of herbs and spices not only compliments the natural flavor of the hens, but it also adds an extra layer of complexity. Each bite is a blend of savory, sweet, and slightly spicy notes, which makes every mouthful a delightful surprise. Moreover, you can easily adjust the spices according to your preference, making this recipe versatile and customizable.


Cornish hens - Small, tender birds perfect for roasting. If unavailable, use small chickens or game hens.

Olive oil -Adds flavor and helps crisp the skin. Substitute with melted butter or vegetable oil.

Salt - Enhances flavor. Use sea salt, kosher salt, or table salt.

Pepper - Adds a little heat. Use black or white pepper. Alternatively, use paprika or red pepper flakes.

Fresh herbs - Enhance taste and aroma. Use rosemary, thyme, or parsley. If fresh herbs are unavailable, use dried herbs.


  • Pat hens dry to help the skin crisp.
  • Tie legs together for even cooking.
  • Rotate hens in the oven for even browning.
  • Use a meat thermometer to check doneness.
  • Let hens rest before serving to retain juiciness.

How to serve

Cornish hens are an impressive dish for dinner parties or special occasions. Their small size makes them perfect for individual servings, providing a unique presentation. Serve them whole or cut in half to showcase their tenderness and flavor.

  • Pair with roasted vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots, and Brussels sprouts, for a hearty meal.
  • Serve over rice pilaf or wild rice to add texture and contrast.
  • Accompany with a simple green salad and crusty bread for a lighter option.

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Cornish Hens in Oven

Savor tender, juicy Cornish hens in the oven with this simple, flavorful recipe perfect for special occasions or dinner parties. A true crowd-pleaser!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cornish hen, olive oil
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: Corrie


  • 4 Cornish hens
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs rosemary, thyme, and/or parsley


  • Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
  • Pat hens dry with paper towels.
  • Rub hens with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Stuff each hen with fresh herbs.
  • Tie legs together with kitchen twine.
  • Place hens on a roasting rack in a roasting pan.
  • Roast for 45-50 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the thigh.
  • Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.


Calories: 3848kcal Protein: 309g Fat: 280g Saturated Fat: 74g Polyunsaturated Fat: 53g Monounsaturated Fat: 131g Cholesterol: 1818mg Sodium: 1099mg Potassium: 4248mg Vitamin A: 1944IU Vitamin C: 9mg Calcium: 198mg Iron: 14mg


  • Pat hens dry to help the skin crisp.
  • Tie legs together for even cooking.
  • Rotate hens in the oven for even browning.
  • Use a meat thermometer to check doneness.
  • Let hens rest before serving to retain juiciness.
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