Roasted Game Hens With Potatoes and Carrots

Roasted game hens with potatoes and carrots

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 75 mins
Total: 90 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1216 Calories
79g Fat
62g Carbs
65g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 1216
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 79g 102%
Saturated Fat 23g 116%
Cholesterol 367mg 122%
Sodium 625mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 62g 22%
Dietary Fiber 9g 32%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 65g
Vitamin C 30mg 151%
Calcium 120mg 9%
Iron 6mg 31%
Potassium 2168mg 46%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Although Cornish game hens may seem like a fancy meal, it is very easy to prepare. Cornish hens (also known as poussin or rock Cornish hen) are actually just a hybrid chicken—a broiler chicken and not a game bird. The name is also misleading in that it can be male or female, so it isn't really a hen at all.

This recipe for Cornish game hens is easily doubled for a family. Thyme and chives are called for in this recipe, but feel free to use your favorite combination of fresh or dried herbs. You can roast the hens in a large, heavy skillet or roasting pan.


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 large clove garlic, minced

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, or about 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 medium onion, quartered and sliced

  • 1 pound potatoes, red or gold, scrubbed and cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks

  • 3 carrots, sliced crosswise then lengthwise into strips about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch wide

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 2 Cornish game hens

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives, or parsley, optional

  • 1 lemon, cut up, optional

  • 1 small onion, cut into chunks, optional

  • Sprigs of fresh herbs, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat the oven to 375 F. 

  3. Melt butter with olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over low heat. Add the minced garlic and herbs. Remove about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of the mixture and set aside.

  4. Add the onion slices, potatoes, and carrots to the skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss well to coat the vegetables with the butter, oil, and herbs; cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. 

  5. Sprinkle the cavities of the game hens with salt and pepper. 

  6. Rub the reserved herb mixture all over the hens. If desired, put pieces of lemon and onion and some herb sprigs in the cavities.

  7. If the skillet is not oven safe, move the vegetable mixture to a baking dish or pan. 

  8. Arrange the hens on the vegetables, and place in the oven. Roast for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the hens register at least 165 F in the meatiest part of the thigh, not touching bone. 

  9. If the hens are browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil near the end of the cooking time. If they don't brown enough, turn the broiler on for 2 to 3 minutes before you take them out of the oven. 

  10. Serve and enjoy!

Glass Bakeware Warning

Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.