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Roast Cornish Hens

Roast Cornish Hens

Roast Cornish Hens - juicy, flavorful, and fall-off-the-bone tender roasted cornish game hens packed with fresh herbs and seasonings. Simply split the hen in half and you'll have two servings of elegant dinner without the messy carving. Perfect for date nights or special occasions!
Course Main
Cuisine American
Keyword cornish hens
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6 halves
Calories 769kcal
Author Imma


  • Large roasting pan 
  • Foil
  • Paring knife 
  • Small mixing bowl 
  • Meat thermometer  
  • Flavor injector 
  • Baster or large spoon  
  • Wire rack 
  • Small saucepan 


  • 4 cornish game hens 
  • 4 tablespoons (56g) garlic butter , softened
  • Olive oil 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1 tablespoon (5.5g) Italian seasoning 
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) creole seasoning  
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary 
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme 
  • 2 bay leaves , halved  
  • 4 medium yellow onions , quartered 
  • 12 cloves garlic , roughly chopped 
  • 2 lemons , quartered 
  • 2 cups (480ml) chicken stock 
  • ½ cup (117.5ml) dry white wine 
  • ¼ cup (62.5ml) fresh lemon juice


  • Rinse Cornish hens with water, then pat dry with paper towels. Salt and pepper the hens.
  •  Preheat oven to 450°F. The high temperature at the beginning is to crisp the hens.  Line the bottom of a baking pan, cast iron or roasting pan with foil.   
  • Use your index finger to carefully loosen the skin on top of the hens and rub with garlic herb butter mixture. Plain butter works as well. 
  • Slightly spray or coat the skin of hens with olive or cooking oil then season Italian or creole seasoning.     
  • Open up the cavity of the hens and stuff with half of the herbs, bay leaf, onion, garlic and lemon. Tuck the wings under the hen,and use kitchen twine to tie the legs together. This help the hens roast evenly and presents well. No worries, if you do not have any on hand. 
  • Place hens in roasting pan and place the extra herbs, garlic, lemon and onions around hens. Roast for about 20- 25 minutes.
  • While the hen is roasting whisk together chicken stock, white wine and lemon juice. Set aside. 
  • After 25 minutes of the hen roasting, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.  
  • Carefully and heavily baste  the hen with chicken stock mixture, continue roasting for about 25- 30 minutes or until juices run clear and/ or thermometer reaches 165°F. 
  • If using a flavor injector inject hens with chicken mixture, baste and eject your hens every 10 minutes. This step is optional, for those who can.  
  •  Remove pan from the oven let, chicken rest for about 5-10minutes. Transfer fully cooked hens to a carving board, cut and serve. 


  1. No garlic butter? That's okay. Plain butter works fine.
  2. Get yourself a digital instant-read thermometer to check doneness of the meat.
  3. Roasted Cornish Hens will last in the fridge for up to 3-4 days
  4. Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.


Serving: 1half of a cornish hen | Calories: 769kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 55g | Fat: 51g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 325mg | Sodium: 370mg | Potassium: 1025mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 960IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 4mg