Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Homemade Seasoning Salt

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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.

A roasted Cornish game hen with vegetables in a small cast iron pan.

This post was originally published on July 7, 2014.

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What is a Cornish game hen?

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. Who knew? Not me, I had to look it up. :)

Why make Cornish game hens instead of “regular” chicken?

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.
  • Cornish game hens are better at absorbing the flavorings you rub on them, such as the seasoning salt I used in this recipe.

How to roast a Cornish game hen:

It’s quite simple to roast a Cornish game hen, you do it in the same way you roast any chicken, just for less long.

Step 1. Start this recipe by heating the oven to 375 degrees F. and gathering your ingredients:

  • 2 Cornish game hens
  • 1 small onion, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 3 red potatoes, cut into chunks
  • vegetable oil, such as canola
  • about 2.5 teaspoons homemade seasoning salt
All ingredients needed to make roasted Cornish game hens with homemade seasoning salt and root vegetables.

Step 2. Briefly rinse the birds with cold water, then pat them dry with paper towels and brush them with vegetable oil.

RECIPE NOTE: It’s really important to get the game hens completely dry because only dry skin will get nice and crispy in the oven.

Step 3. Rub the game hens with the seasoning salt (about 1 teaspoon for each bird).

Two raw Cornish game hens on a baking sheet with oil and seasoning salt.

Step 4. Set the two hens into two small or one large cast iron pan along with the potatoes, carrot and onion, then drizzle the vegetables with a bit of oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt. Transfer the pan(s) into the oven and roast everything until the birds’ internal temperature measures 165 degrees F.

Two raw, seasoned Cornish game hens and raw root vegetables in a large cast iron pan.

More chicken recipes:

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A roasted Cornish game hen with vegetables in a small cast iron pan.
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5 from 1 vote

Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Homemade Seasoning Salt

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.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: homemade seasoning salt, roasted cornish game hen
Servings: 2
Calories: 650kcal

Ingredients:

  • 2 cornish game hens
  • a little bit of vegetable oil
  • 2.5 teaspoons homemade seasoning salt
  • 1 small onion, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 3 red potatoes, cut into chunks

Instructions:

  • 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).

Notes:

*Make sure to get them really dry otherwise the skin will not get crispy.

Nutrition

Calories: 650kcal

2 comments

  1. Pang says:

    This is such a stunning photo, Nicole. I absolutely love the light, and that hen looks so yummy looking as a result. Wonderful!!!!

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