Cornish Hens

Rating: 4.00
By Dave
January 11, 2022

Roasted Cornish hens are easy to make and are great for an everyday dinner. Season them lightly and roast until golden brown.

What is a Cornish Hen?

Cornish hens are essentially small chickens. They are a special breed of chicken that are slaughtered when they are approximately one to two pounds. They are more tender than full grown chickens, have a different flavor and texture, and are generally more expensive. When cooked, the meat typically falls off the bone.

How to Prepare Cornish Hens

As with chickens, there are many ways to cook Cornish hens including roasting, grilling, slow cooking, sautéeing and braising. This recipe is about roasting. Remember that these birds are small and will cook much faster than a standard chicken, which makes it a little easier to get the skin nice and crispy.

Cornish Hens

Where to Buy Cornish Hens

These little birds are easy to find at most grocery stores and butcher shops. Since they are not big sellers, don’t expect to find them fresh. Most markets carry frozen hens which work just fine.

A Word About Wood-Fired Ovens

The video for this recipe shows roasting these birds in a cast iron skillet in a wood-fired oven. While a wood-fired oven is not necessary to make this dish, it certainly is fun. In addition to making awesome pizza, a wood-fired oven can also be used to grill (over a Tuscan grill), to bake and roast.

Cornish Hens in a Wood Fired Oven
Cornish Hens in a Wood Fired Oven

When making pizza, the floor of a wood-fired oven is around 850˚ F and the top can be well over 1,000˚ F. The logs at the back of the oven create a rolling fire that climbs the back wall and top of the oven and acts like a broiler. These temperatures work well for pizza, but not so well for delicate little Cornish hens. Once the oven is warm, just let it cool down to about 450˚ F before loading it up with the hens. Don’t worry, a wood-fired oven takes a long time to heat up and a longer time to cool down. It will stay hot.

Some Other Interesting Dishes

Here are some similar dishes to try:

Watch the video on YouTube

Cornish Hens

Cornish Hens

4 from 1 vote
If you like chicken, give these Cornish hens a try. They are easy to make and taste great.
Servings 4 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 4 Cornish hens
  • 1 tbs olive oil divided
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 yellow onion coarsely chopped


  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Rinse Cornish hens and pat dry. Rub with olive oil on both sides and sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika.
    Cornish Hens Preparation
  • Add 1 tbs of oil to an oven safe baking dish or cast iron skillet. Add onion and then place the hens on top of the bed of onions. Bake for 30 minutes and serve.
    Cornish Hens in a Wood Fired Oven



BBQ Tools & Supplies


Serving: 1henCalories: 938kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 77gFat: 67gSaturated Fat: 18gPolyunsaturated Fat: 13gMonounsaturated Fat: 30gCholesterol: 455mgSodium: 857mgPotassium: 1091mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 528IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 55mgIron: 4mg
Calories: 938kcal
Cost: $12
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, BBQ
Keyword: chicken, cornish hens

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