Roasted Cornish Hens or otherwise called “game hens” are small birds perfect for impressing guests. They are smaller in size making them a great choice for smaller gatherings. Coated in savory seasonings and roasted on top of potatoes for a meal fit for a king!
If you are having a small gathering or even a date night in and are looking for a dish to impress these roasted cornish hens will do the trick! They are found in your freezer section where you would find frozen turkeys and are so easy to make. I also like to make this Homemade Oven Roasted Rotisserie Chicken or even this Sweet Potato and Stuffing Turkey Roulade.
Tell Me About These Roasted Cornish Hens
- Take less time to roast than regular chickens
- Anyone can make this dish…..it’s super easy!
- No carving skills needed. Just cut each bird in half and serve!
- Perfect for serving a small guest list
- The meat is so tender
- And the potatoes soak up so much flavor while cooking beneath the hens
It’s a pretty straight forward ingredient list! 2 cornish hens, potatoes (I like to use Yukon gold for this dish but russets will do great too), and the spices. You will need season salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and a little cayenne pepper.
The How To
Just like the ingredient list, it’s pretty simple!
Mix together the spices and set aside. Cut the washed potatoes into large cubes (about 1″) and place in a cast iron skillet or a 9×13 pan. Toss the potatoes with a little oil and a little seasoning mix.
Coat the hens in oil and sprinkle with seasoning mix, Place on top of potatoes. Bake at 425 degrees F for 50-60 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the breast.
Allow the hens to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes before cutting.
To serve: cut each bird in half and serve with potatoes. You can also carve each bird if desired.
Cornish hens are a breed of chicken that is served at a young age compared to regular chickens. They are not a true game bird. They are much smaller in size; 1.5-2 pounds versus 5 pounds so they are perfect for serving to a small guest list or even cooking them for yourself.
They taste very similar to regular chicken but are more tender because they are butchered at a younger age.
Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Tips and Variations
- Be sure to pat the hen dry before brushing with oil. This helps ensure crispy skin.
- Use bacon grease or butter in place of the oil for a different flavor.
- Add fresh herbs and lemon to the cavity while roasting.
- Add some carrots to the skillet along with the potatoes.
- Replace the potatoes with sweet potatoes or a different root vegetable.
What To Serve With Roasted Cornish Hens
There are a lot of options! You may need to cut some of these recipes in half to serve 4 people. Here are a few ideas for side dishes. Don’t forget to check out my desserts too!
Roasted Cornish Hens
- ½ tablespoon season salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
- 2 pounds (905g) potatoes (yukon gold or russets)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 (1.5lb)(680g) cornish hens
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine the salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl; set aside.
- Wash potatoes and pat dry. Cut into 1" cubes and place in a 12" cast iron skillet or 9×13 baking pan. Toss with 1 tablespoon of oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of reserved salt mixture.
- Pat the cornish hens dry. Brush hens with remaining oil coating entire surface. Sprinkle with remaining salt mixture. Place on top of the potatoes. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165°F. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting.
- TO SERVE: Cut each bird in half and serve.
- STORAGE: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.