This easy recipe delivers moist and tender roasted Cornish game hens that are infused with flavor from a homemade seasoning salt made with delicious herbs and spices.
Why make this recipe?
This Cornish game hen recipe is easy to make and the roasted hens are moist, full of delicious flavor and have nicely crispy skin.
How to make it:
See full ingredients & instructions in the recipe card below!
Step 1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Briefly rinse the Cornish game hens with cold water, then pat them dry with paper towels. Peel the onion, then cut onion, carrots and potatoes into chunks.
Step 2. Brush the dried game hens with vegetable oil.
Step 3. Rub them with seasoning salt.
Step 4. Set the two hens into two small or one large cast iron pan. Distribute potatoes, carrot and onion around the hens, then drizzle the vegetables with a bit of oil and sprinkle with the remaining seasoning salt.
Transfer the pan(s) into the oven and roast until the birds’ internal temperature measures 165 degrees F. (about 1 hour).
Recipe notes & tips:
- It’s really important to get the Cornish game hens completely dry because only dry skin will get nice and crispy in the oven.
- If you buy frozen game hens, be sure to let them thaw fully before cooking them. It will be difficult to cook them properly if they are still partially frozen on the inside.
- Here is the recipe for my homemade seasoning salt.
Frequently asked questions:
The bottom line is that a Cornish game hen is simply a small chicken. The USDA has specific age and weight requirements as to what can be called a Cornish game hen but simply put, that’s all it is, a small chicken.
The words “game” and “hen” have no actual meaning here because Cornish game hens are not game birds and they can be either gender.
What about the “Cornish,” you ask? Well, apparently most chickens that are bred in the U.S. today have some type of Cornish root, so therefore nearly all chickens you find here are indeed Cornish.
There are a few good reasons and all of them have to do with the small size of the birds:
• The meat of a Cornish game hen is more tender than that of a larger chicken.
• Cornish game hens cook faster than chickens.
• Because there is less meat to penetrate, Cornish game hens absorb any flavorings you rub on them better and faster.
More delicious poultry recipes:
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Full Printable Recipe
Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Homemade Seasoning Salt
- measuring spoons
- knife and cutting board
- paper towels
- pastry brush
- one large or two small cast iron pans
- meat thermometer (recommended)
- 2 Cornish game hens, fully thawed
- a little bit of vegetable oil
- 2 ½ teaspoons homemade seasoning salt
- 1 small onion, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 carrots, cut into chunks
- 3 red potatoes, cut into chunks
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Rinse the Cornish game hens briefly with cold water, then pat them dry with paper towels.*
- Brush vegetable oil onto the birds and rub seasoning salt on them (about 1 teaspoon each).
- Place the hens and the vegetables into one large or two small cast iron pans. Drizzle a little bit of oil on the vegetables, then sprinkle them with seasoning salt as well.
- Transfer the pan(s) to the oven and roast everything until the thickest part of the game hens' thigh meat registers 165 degrees F. (about one hour).