2 Birds in A Pod

Cornish Game Hen 2 Ways

Cornish game hens are the perfect entree for two people. If you crave that unmistakable roasted chicken flavor, but a whole bird is too big, game hens are definitely the way to go. Each hen is perfectly portioned for one person. They’re satisfying, delicious and simple to prepare. And they can be personalized to reflect different tastes. I like to use a fruit-based glaze, but my husband prefers spicy. No problem! There are dozens of different ways to flavor your hens, from pesto to teriyaki and everything in between. The only potential drawback (for some people) is that they can be a bit messy to eat, but, to me, that’s all part of the fun. They’re literally finger-lickin’ good! So, roll up your sleeves, grab a couple of extra napkins and dig in!

Cornish Game Hen 2 Ways

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Cornish game hens are perfectly portioned entrees for two people.


  • 2 Cornish game hens, cleaned and prepared as described below
  • EVOO or olive oil spray
  • Fresh herbs for stuffing the cavity (thyme, oregano, rosemary, parsley, chives, etc)
  • Lemon
  • Garlic salt or Kosher salt

Fig Thyme Glaze

  • 1 Tbl Bonne Maman Purple Fig Spread (or any other fruit preserve, such as apricot, cherry or orange marmalade)
  • 1 Tbl white wine
  • 1 tsp EVOO
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • Shake of dried thyme
  • Shake of red chile flakes (optional)

Bourbon-Hot Pepper Jelly Glaze

  • 1 Tbl Hot pepper jelly
  • 1 Tbl bourbon
  • 1 tsp EVOO
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • Shake of dried thyme


There are two ways to prepare the hens for roasting. I like mine whole, so I can stuff the cavity and all the juices remain trapped inside. My husband prefers his butterflied.

  1. First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Rinse the hens inside and out, and dry with a paper towel.
  3. If you choose to keep them whole, simply season the cavities with salt and stuff with any fresh herbs you like and a quarter of a lemon.
  4. If you opt for butterflying your hens (or one of your hens, as we do), lay the bird breast side down in your hand, and with kitchen shears, cut down both sides of the backbone to remove it completely. Once the backbone is removed, your hen will lay flat in a butterfly position.
  5. Place both hens on a lightly oiled grate placed in a roasting pan deep enough to hold the juices. Whole hens should be positioned breast-side up (you will flip it later); butterflied hens should be placed skin-side up and will remain that way throughout the roasting process.
  6. Brush or spray them with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt or kosher salt.
  7. Place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  8. While they cook, prepare the glaze(s). In separate small bowls, mix the indicated ingredients together with a whisk. Set the glaze(s) aside.
  9. After 15 minutes, reduce the oven temp to 350 and flip the whole birds, so they are breast-side down. (For the rest of the roasting process, the juices will drip down to the breast meat, keeping it nice and moist.)
  10. After approximately 30 minutes in the oven, baste the hens with some of the prepared glaze(s). Baste again after about 45 minutes.
  11. The hens will roast for about one hour in total, depending on how well you like yours cooked. I recommend pulling on one of the legs to see if it pulls away easily, or place a slight incision in the thickest part of a leg to see if the juices run clear.
  12. Serve with some Israeli couscous and a spoonful or two of the flavorful juices that accumulated in the bottom of the roasting pan. Check out my Charred Kale Salad for a great accompaniment.

Recipe by 2peasinapod.online


Cornish game hens 2 ways — butterflied (L) and whole (R)