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Roasted cornish hen on a plate served with potatoes and green beans.

Roasted Cornish Hen

This roasted Cornish hen recipe is an easy and elegant way to make a meal that's quick enough for a busy weeknight, yet fancy enough for a special occasion. The hens are coated in butter, garlic and herbs, then cooked in the oven for perfectly tender and juicy results every time.
Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 392kcal
Author Sara Welch


  • 2 Cornish hens 1.5 - 2 pounds each
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 small onion cut into wedges
  • 1/2 lemon cut into wedges
  • 6 tablespoons butter softened
  • 2 teaspoons garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh parsley leaves minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooking spray
  • herb sprigs and lemon wedges for garnish optional


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Tuck the wings underneath the breast of each hen. Stuff each hen cavity with the rosemary and thyme sprigs, onion and lemon.
  • Tie the legs of the hens together with kitchen twine.
  • Place the butter, garlic, minced thyme, rosemary and parsley, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Rub the butter mixture all over the hens, both on the outside of the hens and underneath the skin.
  • Place the hens in the prepared dish.
  • Bake for approximately 50-60 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F. The cook time may vary a bit depending on the size of your birds.
  • If the skin is getting overly dark as the hens cook, them with foil.
  • Let the hens rest for 5 minutes. Remove the lemon, onion and herbs from the hen cavities. Cut in half, then serve with pan drippings. Garnish with lemon and herbs if desired.



Calories: 392kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 166mg | Sodium: 428mg | Potassium: 394mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 705IU | Vitamin C: 16.3mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2mg