Garlic Butter Cornish Game Hens

If you haven’t roasted a whole bird before, I would highly recommend starting with cornish game hens.  They’re quite small, only about 16 oz. each, they cost about the same price as cut chicken breasts, and they make a beautiful presentation.  Cook time is a little under an hour but it looks like you worked on these all day. 1 cornish game hen  per person is just right.  Here, I served with steamed chinese broccoli for a simple, yet elegant plate.


Recipe after the jump 🙂

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 2 frozen 6 oz. cornish game hens
  • 1/2 stick salted butter
  • 1 small bunch of parsley
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 bulb of garlic finely minced


  • Oven
  • 10″ oven pan – roasting pan or glass casserole
  • aluminum foil
  • thermometer
  • 2 6″ pieces of twine
  • paper towels
  • small microwave safe bowl
  • serving spoon

Thaw frozen cornish game hens at room temperature in a container or in the sink.  Once thawed, remove plastic wrapping and rinse under luke warm water to melt any ice in the cavities. Un-hinge the wings and legs from the body with water but leaving the bird whole.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees farenheit.

Pat dry with paper towels. The drier the hens, the better your seasoning will stick to the skin and body.  Place birds in oven pan.  Sprinkle salt, pepper, paprika, and lemon pepper seasoning on both sides. Cut 2 small slices of butter and stick one piece into each bird.  Stuff with a small bunch of fresh parsley.  The butter and herb stuffing should be loose, being careful not to over-stuff.  Sprinkle minced garlic on both sides and follow with chopped fresh parsley.

Tie the legs together with twine.

Cover the oven pan with aluminum foil to seal in the moisture and heat while cooking.

Reynolds Oven Bags do a better job of keeping  the meat moist than an aluminum foil top.  I love these bags since they also reduce your cooking time.

Roast in oven for 45 minutes.  Use thermometer to check if chicken is fully cooked at 165 degrees farenheit and the juices run clear.  Once the hens are fully cooked, melt remaining butter in a small microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds. Bast the top of the hens with the melted butter using a serving spoon. Set oven to broil and broil for 5 minutes.




Remove pan from oven.  The bones should be easy enough to cut with steak knives, no need to carve the hens before serving.

If you love lemon pepper flavor, you can skip all other seasonings and season the hens generously with lemon pepper.  Any seasons or sauces that you love on chicken will work well with cornish game hens.

Bon appetite!


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