Skip to Content

Roasted Cornish Game Hen

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my privacy policy.

Roasted Cornish Game Hen is a versatile main dish. The game hen is simply roasted and combined with root vegetables and an incredibly flavorful broth. This one-dish meal is easy enough for dinner any time, and elegant enough for a special-occasion meal.

This post and recipe card updated December 20, 2020
overhead shot of finished Roasted Cornish Game Hen on a white platter with vegetables around the edges

Growing up, we spent every Thanksgiving at a family friend’s home. Dinner was the traditional huge turkey and more sides and desserts than any one person could ever eat.

When I moved to Oklahoma, I did a solo Thanksgiving nearly every year. That first year, I had no clue what to make for the main course. And a whole turkey was out of the question because of the size.

I still wanted something along the same lines, to complement my Baked Homemade Mac and Cheese and Skillet Green Bean Casserole.

I eventually settled on a Cornish game hen. I’d never made one before, but I knew it couldn’t be that hard. And then I hit it out of the ballpark with Roasted Cornish Game Hen

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
  • It’s perfect for a smaller holiday meal, or dinner any time of year
  • You can easily double or triple the recipe for a crowd
  • It’s a one-dish, gluten-free meal that’s perfect for leftovers
overhead shot of finished Roasted Cornish Game Hen on a white platter with vegetables on the side

This Roasted Cornish Game Hen is so delicious, and the meat is incredibly tender and juicy. 

WHAT EXACTLY IS A CORNISH GAME HEN?

Despite the name, Cornish game hen is not a game bird. Rather, it is a broiler chicken. Each one is about 2lbs with the bones, so it’s great for an intimate meal.

Where in the grocery can I find Cornish game hens? They’re with the other frozen meats, in the meat section, and typically sold 2 per pack.

INGREDIENT TIPS FOR ROASTED CORNISH GAME HEN

Thaw the hen in the fridge for at least 24 hours. Once thawed, remove the packaging and drain all of the liquid.

Pat the skin on both sides well with paper towels. Then, place fresh paper towels under the hen and on top for about 30 minutes. This is a great time to take the butter out to soften as well.

Inside the cavity I put crushed garlic, plus sprigs of fresh oregano and thyme. Sage or rosemary would be wonderful options as well.

Generously smear the skin with the softened butter. Use real butter, and I prefer unsalted butter.

Do I have to use butter? I highly recommend it, because it adds great flavor. Plus, butter gives you that golden brown and crisp skin.

What are the best vegetables to use? I use brussel sprouts, carrots, and onions. But you can certainly use your favorites. Just remember to use sturdy vegetables that will withstand an hour in the oven. Try it with cauliflower, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, or parsnips.

Broth and dry white wine add another layer of glorious flavor. I use my Homemade Vegetable Broth, but chicken broth works as well. If you use Store-Bought Broth, look for unsalted or low sodium.

Do you have to use wine? I highly recommend it, because it does add a lot of flavor. You’re not using much, and the alcohol cooks out. But if you don’t drink wine, simply substitute with more broth.

I cook the Roasted Cornish Game Hen in a Roasting Pan, and line it with aluminum foil for easy clean-up. I cook it on the middle oven rack for the first half, and then move it to the top rack for the second half of cooking.

Roasted Cornish Game Hen - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade
STEP BY STEP DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Put the butter out on the counter to soften for 30 minutes.

While the butter softens, pat both sides of the thawed game hen well with paper towels. Place fresh paper towels underneath and on top of the hen to soak up excess liquid.

Discard the paper towels. Add garlic, thyme and oregano into the cavity of the game hen.

Smear both sides of the hen with butter. I use my hands to massage the butter onto the skin. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

overhead process shot: seasoned Cornish game hen on a white plate

Add onions, brussel sprouts, and carrots to a large bowl. Add oil, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Toss well to combine and add to the roasting pan.

Pour the broth over the vegetables.

overhead process shot: vegetables and broth in a roasting pan

Place the hen, breast-side up, on top of the vegetables.

overhead process shot: game hen, vegetables and broth in a roasting pan

Place on the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes.

Pour in the wine. If desired, brush a little more softened butter onto the hen.

Return to the oven on the top rack and cook for another 25 minutes.

overhead process shot: game hen and vegetables in a roasting pan

Take the roasting pan out of the oven. Cover loosely with foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

angled close up shot of finished Roasted Cornish Game Hen with vegetables on a white platter
SERVINGS AND LEFTOVERS

Roasted Cornish Game Hen is best served immediately. But be careful, because the meat will be scorching hot! Use a very sharp knife to carve the hen for serving.

As I mentioned earlier, a Cornish game hen is about 2lbs with the bones. So one hen can easily serve 2-4 people with the vegetables.

I’m pretty picky about leftovers, but Roasted Cornish Game Hen is a dish I look forward to having as leftovers. Store the extra meat, vegetables, and broth in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

MORE DELICIOUS ROASTED RECIPES
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? COMMENT AND RATE BELOW, THEN TAKE A PICTURE AND TAG ME ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM: @KARYLSKULINARYKRUSADE

FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM AND PINTEREST FOR MORE RECIPES! 
Roasted Cornish Game Hen - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Roasted Cornish Game Hen

Yield: 1 Game Hen
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Roasted Cornish Game Hen is a versatile one-pan main dish. The game hen is simply roasted and combined with root vegetables and an incredibly flavorful broth.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cornish game hen, thawed (thaw it in the fridge for 24 hours; remove from packaging and drain well)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
  • 4 cloves raw garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 carrots, whole
  • 1 medium onion
  • 12 brussel sprouts
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon avocado or canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Put the butter out on the counter to soften for 30 minutes.
  3. Pat both sides of the game hen well with paper towels. Place fresh paper towels underneath and on top of the hen to soak up excess liquid
  4. Peel the carrots, and cut them into 2-3" pieces.
  5. Trim the ends from the brussel sprouts and cut them in half lengthwise.
  6. Peel the onion, cut it lengthwise in half, and then cut each half into half for 8 total sections.
  7. Add vegetables to a large bowl. Add oil, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder, and toss well to combine.
  8. Discard the paper towels from the game hen. Add garlic, thyme, and oregano into the cavity of the game hen.
  9. Smear both sides of the hen with butter. I use my hands to massage the butter onto the skin. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper
  10. Add the vegetables to the roasting pan, and cover with broth. Put the Cornish game hen, breast-side up, on top of the vegetables.
  11. Put the roasting pan in the oven on the middle rack and roast for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and add the wine. If desired, spread a little more butter onto the game hen.
  12. Return the pan to the oven, to the top rack. Roast for 25 minutes.
  13. Take the roasting pan out of the oven. Cover loosely with foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

    Notes

    Where in the grocery can I find Cornish game hens? They’re with the other frozen meats, in the meat section, and typically sold 2 per pack.

    Do I have to use butter? I highly recommend it, because it adds great flavor. Plus, butter gives you that golden brown and crisp skin.

    What other vegetables could I use? Use sturdy vegetables that will withstand an hour in the oven. Try it with cauliflower, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, or parsnips.

    Do you have to use wine? I highly recommend it, because it does add a lot of flavor. You’re not using much, and the alcohol cooks out. But if you don’t drink wine, simply substitute with more broth.

    SERVINGS AND LEFTOVERS

    Roasted Cornish Game Hen is best served immediately. But be careful, because the meat will be scorching hot! Use a very sharp knife to carve the hen for serving.

    Cornish game hen is about 2lbs with the bones. So one hen is a generous meal for 2-4.

    Store the extra meat, vegetables, and broth in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

    Recommended Products

    As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 grams
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 306Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 93mgSodium: 1349mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 17g

    Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients, etc

    pile of Sausage Pepper Wonton Cups on paper with a napkin in the background
    Previous
    Sausage Pepper Wonton Cups
    Venison Salisbury Steak - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade
    Next
    Venison Salisbury Steak

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Skip to Recipe