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How to Roast a Cornish Game Hen

Thanks to my father, I'm a big foodie who's been cooking and baking since I was a young girl. Cooking is a passion that brings me joy.

Roasted Cornish Game Hen With All the Fixin's

Roasted Cornish Game Hen With All the Fixin's

A "Def-hen-ition"

In the United States, a Cornish game hen (also sometimes called a Cornish hen, poussin, rock Cornish hen, or simply rock Cornish) is a hybrid (a cross between a Cornish and White Plymouth Rock breeds). These hens are always sold whole since they are young and weigh no more than two pounds. Despite the name, it is not a game bird. Rather, it is a broiler chicken, the most common strain of commercially raised meat chickens.

Cornish Game Hen

I feel proud as a peacock sharing this delicious chicken recipe with all of you. My inspiration for trying this out for the first time was seeing it prepared on my favorite cooking show, The Chew. I was initially a little intimidated, but it's actually a pretty simple recipe. You'll love the spices used to season the chicken and how the meat falls off the bone.

Dice up potatoes and vegetables of your choice to complete this delicious chicken recipe.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

20 min

1 hour

1 hour 20 min

2 servings

Ingredients needed for preparing Cornish game hen.

Ingredients needed for preparing Cornish game hen.


  • 2 Cornish game hens, 2 pounds each
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Lawry's season salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 4 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 potatoes, quartered
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, stir together salt, pepper, dried basil, dried thyme, Lawry's season salt, paprika, and lemon juice
  3. Rub olive oil all over the hens, including the inside of each cavity.
  4. Rub the spice mixture all over the hens.
  5. Place fresh basil leaves inside the hen cavities.
  6. Dice potatoes, onion, carrots, and celery and spread them on the bottom of a roasting pan.
  7. Place hens on top, making sure to leave plenty of room between the hens to allow the skin to crisp while baking.
  8. Roast hens in preheated oven for approximately 1 hour or until thermometer reads 165 degrees and juices run clear.
  9. Carefully remove the hens to a serving platter.
  10. Put potatoes and vegetables into a serving bowl.
  11. Serve each guest one whole hen; place cavity-side-down on the plate.
  12. Serve while meat is hot.

Cornish Game Hen

Make Sure to Rinse and Rub the Cornish Hens

Once you've rinsed the chicken, pat dry and rub with olive oil and spices. Set chicken on top of diced vegetables and potatoes. Bake at 375 degrees.

Once you've rinsed the chicken, pat dry and rub with olive oil and spices. Set chicken on top of diced vegetables and potatoes. Bake at 375 degrees.

Test Yourself

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Another name for Cornish Game Hen is 'Poussin'
    • True
    • False
  2. Cornish Game Hen is considered 'Game'
    • True
    • False
  3. Cornish Game Hen (although smaller) is more expensive than regular whole chicken
    • True
    • False
  4. True Cornish Game Hens are young male Cornish Chickens
    • True
    • False
  5. True Cornish Game Hens are young female Cornish Chickens weighing about 2 pounds
    • True
    • False

Answer Key

  1. True
  2. False
  3. True
  4. False
  5. True
The meat is juicy, tender, and delicious

The meat is juicy, tender, and delicious

© 2016 Linda Rogers


Linda Rogers (author) from Minnesota on July 08, 2019:

Peggy-I am happy to hear I inspired you to bake some cornish game hen. It's a perfect recipe for special occasions like New Years Eve or Anniversaries.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 08, 2019:

You have inspired me to make this recipe of yours. It has been quite some time since I have baked a cornish game hen. Pinning this!

Linda Rogers (author) from Minnesota on November 29, 2017:

It is perfect for single people or family's of two. I love making this on holiday's, like New Years Eve. Thanks so much for coming by.

RTalloni on November 29, 2017:

A perfect recipe for a couple to share or a single person to have a two-for-one cooking session.

Linda Rogers (author) from Minnesota on February 06, 2017:

Audrey-so glad to hear you made this on Sunday. Hope it was tender and juicy. I really appreciate you coming by.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on February 04, 2017:

Well you should be proud Linda. This is one delicious recipe for Cornish game hen. It's on the menu for sunday.

Linda Rogers (author) from Minnesota on December 30, 2016:

What a great idea Shauna-we don't always have to do the traditional turkey or ham; especially if you don't have a lot of guest's. Awesome to see you my friend :)

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on December 30, 2016:

I love Cornish Game Hens. I often make them for Christmas dinner rather than turkey (not again, argh!) or ham.

Linda Rogers (author) from Minnesota on December 28, 2016:

Hi Flourish and Maria-so glad you came by to see my recipe for Cornish Game Hen. It's really fun to make and will impress your guest's. Happy New Year to both of you. Hope your Christmas was full of love and joy.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on December 25, 2016:

Merry Christmas...this is a wonderful dish to enjoy for this season - will be sure to pass it along to my hubby / chef. Hugs and Happy 2017, Maria

FlourishAnyway from USA on December 23, 2016:

This recipe sounds delicious. I've made Cornish game hens a couple of times. It's strange that some people won't eat them because they look like little baby chickens. However, I like that each person can get their own.

Linda Rogers (author) from Minnesota on December 21, 2016:

So nice to see your beautiful smiling face. Thanks for the nice comment. If I can make this, you can. It turned out so tender and delicious. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on December 21, 2016:

Linda, your Cornish hens recipe looks delicious and I will be making it in the near future. Thank you for sharing....

Linda Rogers (author) from Minnesota on December 21, 2016:

Hi BP-Hopefully this wasn't beginners luck for me. Hope your having a great holiday season thus far. Thanks for coming by.

breakfastpop on December 21, 2016:

I am going to try this recipe. I made Cornish Hens once, but I wasn't thrilled with the results.

Linda Rogers (author) from Minnesota on December 20, 2016:

Oh wow Bill-are you kidding me? This would be a top notch meal for New Years Eve. I'm guessing Bev will do the cooking. LOL Merry Christmas to both of you and the rest of your family.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 20, 2016:

So here's the thing: we raise quail, and I'm wondering if this recipe wouldn't be perfect for those small birds? I think I'll be giving it a try. Thanks so much for the inspiration, and Merry Christmas to you and your amazing sister.

Linda Rogers (author) from Minnesota on December 20, 2016:

Happy New Year Jackie-This is a perfect dinner for bringing in the new year. It's got that special, holiday flare. Hope you make it.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on December 20, 2016:

I love the Cornish hen and I know veggies are great with any chicken baked on top...wings or whatever so I just know these hens would be fantastic! Have to give them a try...maybe for new years! Thank you.

Linda Rogers (author) from Minnesota on December 20, 2016:

Thanks Laura-glad you liked it. I'll be making this on a regular basis. It's just like eating a whole rotisserie chicken but just smaller and more tender.

Laura Arne from Minnetonka, MN on December 20, 2016:

I so enjoyed the Cornish game hen the other night. You did a great job. The meat was tender and juicy and I loved the potatoes and veggies to accompany the hen. So glad dad taught us to cook.

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