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
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
918 Calories
41g Fat
78g Carbs
62g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 918
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 41g 53%
Saturated Fat 12g 62%
Cholesterol 264mg 88%
Sodium 373mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 78g 28%
Dietary Fiber 10g 37%
Protein 62g
Calcium 267mg 21%
*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 butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or about 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
  • 1 medium onion (quartered and sliced)
  • 1 pound small red or gold potatoes (scrubbed and cut in 1- to 2-inch chunks)
  • 3 medium carrots (sliced crosswise then lengthwise into strips about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch wide)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 2 Cornish game hens
  • Optional: 2 teaspoons fresh chopped chives or parsley
  • Optional: 1 lemon (cut up)
  • Optional: 1 small onion (cut into chunks)
  • Optional: Sprigs of fresh herbs

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.