Our Favorite Cornish Hen Recipes

This little bird can make a big statement at dinner parties.

Cornish game hens are a popular main dish for dinner parties or a fun family dinner. Originally developed in the 1950s, the Cornish or Indian Game is a breed of chicken from Cornwall in England. The Cornish game hen is not a game bird, but rather a diminutive broiler weighing less than two pounds.

The tiny birds make a stunning presentation at the table, as everyone gets their own. If you are serving a full-blown dinner with an appetizer or salad, two side dishes, bread, and dessert, you can use half of a Cornish hen as an entree serving.

Cornish game hens can be prepared any way you'd prep a whole chicken. They can be fried, boiled, and grilled, but roasting is the most common way to prepare game hens. Stuffing is optional, and you will typically need about one cup per hen. They shouldn't be stuffed until right before being put in the oven due to food poisoning risks.

  • 01 of 10

    Succulent Glazes and Rubs for Cornish Game Hens

    Cornish Game Hen
    The Spruce

    Learn the basics of how to roast a Cornish game hen at home with this simple recipe. You'll have a succulent bird in about an hour with minimal effort. You'll also find easy formulas for rubs and glazes like Mexican spiced, lemon and basil, mustard herb, and Asian accent—flavors to fit any mood using simple ingredients.

  • 02 of 10

    Herby Roasted Cornish Hens

    Cornish Game Hen with Rosemary
    Penina Meisels / Getty Images

    With this Cornish hen recipe, you get licorice tones from the fennel, and a touch of heat from the paprika, black pepper, and pepper flakes. It's a great combination that is hard to beat. If your tastes tend to go toward fiery foods, feel free to adjust the amount of spices.

    It takes about a little over an hour to bake the hen, but you can prep this relatively simple dish in only 10 minutes. A thermometer is helpful in order to gauge the temperature.

  • 03 of 10

    Roasted Game Hens With Potatoes and Carrots

    Roasting game hens on top of vegetables gives the entire dish tons of chickeny flavor. The potatoes and carrots soak up all of the juices, making them a superior side dish. It's an extremely convenient recipe since everything cooks together at once. Serve with a super simple salad and dinner is complete.

  • 04 of 10

    Apple Sausage Stuffed Cornish Hens

    Stuffed Cornish hens are a fun alternative to turkey on Thanksgiving. Every person or two gets their very own bird stuffed with apple sausage stuffing. Since you can roast several at a time, the cook time is shorter than your typical turkey, too. Baste the birds occasionally to keep them moist as they roast.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Crock Pot Cornish Game Hens

    Set it and forget it with this slow cooker Cornish hen recipe. While you're busy all day, the birds will slowly cook until tender and juicy. Instructions are included for making a simple gravy, too. Serve with a grain or mashed potatoes so that you can enjoy the gravy on more than just the meat.

  • 06 of 10

    Orange-Glazed Cornish Hens

    Cornish Game Hens On Cutting Board
    StockFood / Getty Images

    A simple mixture of orange marmalade, butter, and Worcestershire sauce makes a fast and easy glaze with lots of flavor. This Cornish hen recipe makes four birds, and you can use your favorite stuffing or skip it altogether. Try experimenting with other fruit preserves to vary the flavor, like grapefruit or lemon. The glaze is also delicious on roast chicken.

  • 07 of 10

    Cornish Game Hens With Oyster Stuffing

    Roasted Game Hens
    Robert Linton/E+/Getty Images

    Make your Corish hens something extra special—stuff the petite birds with homemade oyster stuffing. This recipe is roasted with the hens covered to cook through, then finished uncovered so that the skin gets nice and brown. Use the brine from the oysters as the stuffing liquid for extra flavor.

    If you don't care for oysters, leave them out and substitute with cooked, crumbled sausage, canned chestnuts, or leave them out altogether.

  • 08 of 10

    Moroccan Cornish Game Hens

    Cornish hen with vegetables on plate
    Ray Kachatorian / Getty Images

    For a Moroccan take on Cornish hens, cook in a fragrant sauce of harissa paste (a spicy pepper paste), ginger, spices, dried fruit, and honey. Before cooking, the hens are split in two, allowing you to cook the birds through in a skillet. A sprinkle of pistachios and pomegranate seeds add color and texture. Serve over rice or couscous to soak up the sauce.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Grilled Cornish Game Hens

    A marinade of lemon, rosemary, garlic, and pepper lend these Cornish hens moisture and balanced flavor. A trip on the grill adds succulent smokiness. For best results, marinate all day or overnight and split the birds lengthwise. This will ensure that the meat cooks evenly on the grill. Baste for the first several minutes of cooking and use a meat thermometer to make sure the hens are cooked through without drying out.

  • 10 of 10

    Light Honey-Glazed Cornish Hens

    These Asian-inspired Cornish hens are sweet, tart, and salty. A sauce of orange juice, soy, lemon, and honey cooks right along with the hens, and basting the birds infuses them with the sauce. Any remaining sauce can be served right alongside the birds, along with rice and a vegetable or two.