Cornish Hens

Total Time:
1 hr
25 min
35 min

2 servings

  • 1 large Spanish onion, sliced
  • 2 Cornish hens
  • Cornbread Stuffing, recipe follows
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Cornbread Stuffing:
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups cornbread
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Watch how to make this recipe.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

  • Place the sliced onion in the bottom of a roasting pan. Remove the giblets from the hens, and rinse them inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outsides dry. Place the hens on top of the sliced onion.

  • Pack the cavities of the hens with the cornbread stuffing.

  • Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the hens. Rub the hens with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  • Roast the hens for 30 minutes, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh.

Cornbread Stuffing:
  • Melt the butter in a large saute pan. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Break the cornbread into pieces and place the pieces in a large bowl. Add the onion mixture to the cornbread. Add the celery, chicken stock, parsley, salt and pepper, and mix together.

  • Yield: 2 servings

View All

Pairs Well With

Rich, buttery white wine

  • Find easy pairings for your favorite recipes, Bobby's perfect picks and party ideas.
Cooking Tips
More Recipes and Ideas
4.3 60
I made these 12/2015 & they were delicious. The onions made a yummy gravy & the cornbread stuffing was outrageously delicious. My fussy son picked every last bit of meat off the bird & scavenged for more stuffing. Having read previous comments, I followed advice: 3 hens 425 for 55 minutes. There was sufficient stuffing for the 3 hens.  item not reviewed by moderator and published
These hens certainly taken longer than 30m. In addition to the other reviewers, I had to cut into the chicken to see how done it was and it was not cooked fully. I also had to remove the chicken from the bed of onions because it was starting to burn. I replaced it with another pan. The stuffing however was fine. I used gluten green cornbread that I baked and added a sage maple pork ground and it was delicious. I also dont know what is so intermediate about this recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I am 100% positive that the cooking temp is off for this recipe. I followed everything exactly. No changes. 30-35 isn't even close. Until done you say? Try 1.25 hours for ONE small hen. AT 35 minutes, I cut in the leg and it was RAW (not just red juice). The last 15 minutes I added a casserole dish filled with extra stuffing (like you do on Thanksgiving) to brown it. Taste 12 5+ but there is an error in cooking time. Watch your timing or you will serve raw birds. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Wonderful recipe :) Made this for Thanksgiving dinner two years in a row! Absolutely love the corn bread stuffing! I followed the recipe as written and served with Ina's homemade gravy, sauteed green beans with garlic, caramelized butternut squash, and dinner rolls. Thank you Ina for making my Thanksgiving delicious, stress free, and memorable! Note: the cornish hens took about 50 mins to cook on 425. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I saw you make this with what looked to be potatoes it looked good you said this was a dinner for two and your husband tested it and was going to be in a magazine just looking for the recipe for that meal. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have used this recipe for several Thanksgiving dinners. It is delicious each and every time. I serve half of a bird to each person. Cut down the center after baking. It's the right amount of meat per person. Just don't crowd the birds on the baking sheet so they will cook evenly. I also did not stuff mine with stuffing, but used a slice of lemon, sprig of thyme, salt and pepper. Sooo much easie than cooking and carving a turkey. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made these hens last year and when I asked my husband what he wanted for Thanksgiving this year, he specifically asked for these hens instead of turkey or standing rib roast. I notice many say the cooking time is off, but I find that to be true any time I cook poultry. I start with the stated time, and then go from there using a thermometer to keep a close eye on when they are done. This year, I plan on making a rhubarb glaze from another tried and true recipe to baste the hens. Another person suggested pairing them with Ina's green bean recipe, and I think I will try that as well. I really do believe you will enjoy these hens - just remember to add an extra 30 minutes in your menu planning just in case it takes the hens longer to cook. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Made this recipe a few years ago and it was good, the hens stayed tasty and juicy. Planning to do this again this year for Thanksgiving... and get this for a group of people; no more than 10; hope it goes well. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I absolutely love this recipe. I made it for my boyfriend and I for a Sunday evening meal, and it was wonderful. The cornish hens bake perfectly at 400 degrees for 50 minutes exactly. The cornbread stuffing is a lovely addition to the meal. I served this with sauteed green beans in garlic (another Ina recipe. Definitely make this recipe for you and your family. I would even consider replacing Thanksgiving turkey with these cornish hens. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this for my husband and he thought it was the best thing I have ever made. Thank you so much Ina! The only difference was that mine took nearly an hour to come up to 160F. Other than that, this was so easy and amazingly good! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Easy to prepare and delicious!! but I guess time depends on the oven :-/ this is my third year cooking the same recipe and the cooking time has not been the same in any of those times (I have to mention that we have move apartments and the stoves are different item not reviewed by moderator and published
These were great! For the stuffing, I cut two slices of bacon into small pieces, sauteed them and then added the onion and celery. One everything was softened, I added 2 cups of Pepperidge Farm cornbread stuffing and 1 cup of chicken broth. Once the birds were stuffed, I made a glaze of 2 T butter and 2 T honey melted together and brushed it over the hens. I then added salt and pepper. My oven usually takes longer to cook things so I went for a cooking time between Perdue's and Ina's and baked mine at 400 for 1 hour. They were perfect! They made a great Sunday dinner with mashed potatoes! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Everything tasted wonderful and I agree with the other reviewers that the only thing off was the cooking time. I bought Purdue cornish hens and the directions on the package said to cook at 350 for 60 minutes or 75 if stuffed. I followed Ina's directions though and cooked at 425 degrees, but it did take about 55 minutes till they were cooked properly. Because of the difference in time I did have to cut into the meat more than desired, so the hens weren't as pretty as they could have been, but now that I know the cooking time, I am sure they will turn out great the next time around. I am going to follow the advice of another reviewer and saute my celery along with the onions next time for the stuffing, as I too do not like crunchy celery in my stuffing. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The cornish hens were good, but I definitely cooked longer than what the recipe stated. Although I don't rate a recipe down for cooking time because I think that a thermometer should be used to tell doneness because there are diferebt factors to consider such as weight and the oven used. I rated this a 3 because I thought that the stuffing should have had sage or poultry seasoning to give it the flavor of a good stuffing. This was just bland to me. Maybe because I grew up eating southern cornbread dressing with lots of flavor. This is the fist miss for me regarding Ina's recipes. Her recipes have usually been fulproof. However, it didn't take much for me to add some flavor to it. I don't know if a novice cook would know to do that. Also, the stuffing was teribly dry to me until I added more stock. Stuffing should be moist in my opinion. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I was really shocked at the missed cooking time on this recipe. Salmonella is far too serious to risk and after 30 minutes, the hens were raw. After 50 minutes, the hens were raw. I had to cut into the hens multiple times, (not exactly ideal when you are going for decent presentation). I eventually had to throw them out as they were unrecognizable. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was my first time making Cornish Hens and it was SUCH a success with this recipe!! I put my hens in a brine the morning I made them with some rosemary and garlic in the brine mixture. I also added 2 slices of bacon and a clove of garlic to the stuffing (I sauteed the garlic with the onion). Then on the outside I added a bit of garlic and rosemary to really tie all the flavors together. I doubled the recipe to serve 4 and everyone loved it and devoured the whole thing! Definitely one of my new favorites. item not reviewed by moderator and published
its good but nothing to right home about item not reviewed by moderator and published
They came out fantastic! My first time making cornish hens. I followed the recipe as is from Ina's cookbook. Funny, the cookbook called for a 400 degree tamp for 50-60 mins. They came out golden brown and just perfectly delicious. item not reviewed by moderator and published
First of all this was a beautiful dish and tasted fabulous as usual with Ina. A perfect score. If you follow her directions it always comes out exactly as she has written. In the reviews I saw that some stated it was not done or they changed the recipe from what was written. Any cook should have a thermometer to begin with as oven temperature or weight could vary. And if you change a recipe then it really is not the same recipe to even compare to so then please do not rate. item not reviewed by moderator and published
We had this for Christmas and it was a big hit with my husband and two sons. I seasoned the hens with garlic powder, kosher salt, pepper, and parsley. I forgot the olive oil, but the skin still came out crispy and delicious. I will say that the cooking time specified in the recipe would not have yielded fully cooked (and in my opinion safe birds. I just kept cooking the hens until they were a lovely brown on the outside, and when juices ran clear - in all about 55 minutes. That is stuffed. I made 4 hens and stuffed them with the cornbread stuffing and still had leftover stuffing that baked in a dish. Used cornbread from Food Lion, sauteed my celery with the onion because we don't like it crunchy, and the stuffing came out terrific. The onions on the bottom of the pan caramelized and were a delicious accompaniment for the hens. The only reason I am not giving the 5 stars is because of misdirection on cooking time. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I used this recipe last Christmas and will use it again this Christmas. I use an Irish sausage stuffing instead of cornbread stuffing. Using just salt & pepper seems so blah but it is excellent and does not need any more seasoning!!! BEST EVER CORNISH HEN RECIPE!!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Looks like a good, simple recipe and the onion bed is a good idea. As to the person who claimed that the cooking time was insufficient, who in their right mind would only go by the recipe cook time when preparing poultry? Maybe your oven runs on the cool side, maybe your birds were heavier than Ina's. Whatever the case may be, always check the internal temp of the bird to determine whether or not it is done. Instant read thermometers are very cheap insurance to avoid an undercooked meal. item not reviewed by moderator and published
One word...RAW! I have noticed that before with some of her recipes. She doesn't cook the chicken long enough. I can't tell you how it would taste since the birds now rest in the trash along with the recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The onion bottom was great and the stuffing was very tasty. I added carrots for a great earthy texture and slight crunch. item not reviewed by moderator and published
My family picked them clean! The only thing I did differently was cook a boxed cornbread stuffing and put it on the side. The inside of the hens looked a little suspect for me to mix the flavor of that with the stuffing. Could have been the brand I bought not doing to well at cleaning them out but the MEAT was perfect!!!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Good foundation for exploration! I made my corn bread from a box mix and added 2 slices of bacon, small onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 bunch cilantro, and dash cayenne pepper to the mix prior to baking. I also split the hens to roast. Covered with tin foil for first and served the stuffing baked separately. Lastly, I added a sweet honey, merlot wine gravy to the dish, grizzling it over before serving. Bright yellow stuffing, crispy brown hen, and light purple gravy.... beautiful!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe was great but 2 hens serve 2 people?! No wonder Americans are so fat. I think half a hen should be considered a serving size. item not reviewed by moderator and published
It's amazing that people complain and give a low star rating to these recipes here on Food Network due to not seeing the chef wash their hands. Blame the editing, not the chef. It should go without saying to wash your hands after handling poultry. These chefs are showing how to prepare a dish not the safety of handling products. Do you see chefs constantly tell us and demonstrating how to make sure we dont cut our fingers off when chopping something with a knife? It's the same idea. Another pet peeve I have is when people give a low star rating after they have changed the recipe and it didnt come out good.... You are basically giving YOURSELF a low rating as a cook because what YOU changed/substituted didnt turn out well. I saw someone give a low rating on something because they substituted Panko bread crumbs for a stuffing instead of regular bread stuffing... She said the stuffing was a disaster and rated the recipe 1 star... sigh...... Now, onto the recipe (which I did cook) I took the advice on another poster to NOT tie the legs together and it came out wonderful. I sometimes have trouble with an uncooked bird (I tie every time) and this seemed to work! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I did a couple things to this recipe that I think made it better. I actually brined the cornish hens in the morning. I put some fresh thyme and garlic in the brining liquid. I made the stuffing and added Granny Smith Apples to the onions and I also added some poultry seasoning. When it came time to get the birds ready I made an herb butter and put it between the meat and skin of the hens. This was the first time making them and they were great! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I splint the hens in half and seasoned them with italian seasonings, salt, peper, and oil. I cooked the stuffing seperately and both were delicious and moist. The meal severed 4. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Our children are spread across the USA with one in the military. Thanksgiving is usually the two of us and this receipe is perfect for us. We have prepared this receipe over the holidays and cooked extras when we have guests. We love the simplicity of this receipe and rarely have any leftovers! To me this is a successful holiday! Thank you Ina....we adore you! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I've never made Cornish hens before and was looking for an easy recipe for my first time and was so glad to have found this one! The hen was moist and delicious and the stuffing was so sweet and very complimentary of the hen. I omitted the celery from the stuffing because my husband and I aren't big fans of celery and added a little shredded cheddar cheese to the stuffing. After reading comments that the hen was a little bland, I used some olive oil and Emeril's chicken rub seasoning on the outside of the bird and it was excellent! There was some left over stuffing so I put it in two small oven safe dishes, topped them with cheddar cheese, and baked until crispy. It was a great side! This was a great recipe and I will definitely use it again! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this last week and it was so easy to prepare. Ina's recipes are all so easy and tasty. I loved the recipe so much, tonight I am stuffing a chicken with the cornbread stuffing I used for the cornish game hens. item not reviewed by moderator and published
My mom used to make this when I was young and I had not cooked this myself in many years. I put more seasoning on mine. I like the Paula Dean mix of garlic, parsley, salt and pepper and I add Rosemary too! Sometimes you can get the bottle labeled "Herbs of Provence" which has most of the spices I listed. Mine cooks faster in my electric oven and my daughter in law has to cook hers longer in her gas oven. Thanks for reminding me to cook some of the Classics that I had forgotten about. My chicken was delicious. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this last night for my boyfriend and he loved it!! I put two hens in the oven for 45 minutes not covered. They came out golden brown and delicious! The cornbread stuffing was a nice touch. I will make this again for sure! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I fixed the hens just like it said, except I didn't do the stuffing. I baked them @ 425 covered for about and hour and then uncovered about 30 min, they still were not done. It is not my oven, it is new, so if someone could tell me what I am doing wrong, the same thing happens when I bake regular chicken. So it is something I am doing. Otherwise this was very good once I got them cooked! I love Ina, and all the dishes she makes, I just wish she was on more! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Very tasty and VERY easy. My kitchen smelled so good when this was cooking. I cooked it with roasted red potato's. Yummy item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this last night for my husband and I, we both loved it! It was easy to put together. This was the first time I have ever made cornbread stuffing and I loved this recipe, had extra left and put in a corning ware dish and baked off. As far as the hens go, I put 2 in my 7 quart casserole and baked with lid on for 1hour, then lid off for 20-30 minutes turning the Broiler on the last 10-15 or so to brown the top of the hens, just have to watch not to burn them. One last note, between the 2 of us we shared one, so will look forward to having the leftovers. Great recipes, all of Ina's that I have tried seem to work really well. Thanks Ina!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Very simple quick meal. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The stuffing was great. I actually cooked it on the side instead of inside the bird. I added carrots and more stock to it. the bird was very simple, but really great. Add extra onions whenever you can. The hen had great flavor. Very simple, but hard to eat. put some chicken stock in the roasting pan with the onions and lots of salt around the onions. its very good. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was just OK. The next time I make this I will make some sort of rub. The stuffing was pretty bland too. Nonetheless, all of this can be modified. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I love this recipe, like most of Contessa's recfipes, they are just so tasty and yet so simple to prepare. My family and I had a great time having our cornish hens; even the kids! Thanks Ina item not reviewed by moderator and published
The dish was simple to make and pleasing to my palate. item not reviewed by moderator and published
hens were very bland. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Made for thanksgiving and came out great! My boyfriend loved it! The stuffing was delicious and the hens were moist item not reviewed by moderator and published
My husband and I loved this recipe, especially all the onions on the bottom of the pan. YUM! I did need to cook the hens longer than stated in the recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Ina is so fun to watch she has such a great energy. This recipe and all her recipes are the best. I never liked cooking until I started watching Barefoot Contessa. Shes the BEST! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I LOVED these. I only made 2, so I cut the recipe. It's important not to overstuff, and I learned that leaving legs untied ("Wrestling with Gravy") helps to avoid undercooked parts, speeds up cooking,and takes nothing away from the dish. Very flavorful and super moist! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Iba is a pro and I am sure she washed her hands after handling raw poultry. This is a taped television show. My guess is the hand washing which eats up valuable time was edited out. item not reviewed by moderator and published
It took a little longer to roast but the outcome was good. Meat was tender and moist. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Very easy and very, very good. My kids thought they were kings and queens at the table with their own little hens. The stuffing was really good for a dry stuffing. My family would like to eat this alot. I will share this with all my friends. item not reviewed by moderator and published
this is an excellent recipe and as for the person who complained about Ina not washing her rude are you? item not reviewed by moderator and published
The game hen could've cooked a bit longer I think. I checked to make sure the 'juices ran clear' but it was still kind of bloody and raw inside in places. I would advise cooking a bit longer. The chicken itself was a bit bland but the stuffing and the buttered onions on the bottom portion were yuummmy. I just wish I could get the chicken to have a bit more flavor. I think I could get this recipe down pat by my second try. item not reviewed by moderator and published
These were really easy, elegant and delicious. Of course, that's what I've come to expect from the Barefoot Contessa. As for Catherine's comment - who are you, Mrs. Monk? Get a life! item not reviewed by moderator and published
First to Catherine ... get over yourself. So, don't watch. Ina is REAL and forgot to wash, IT HAPPENS! Ina is consistently produces the best recipes of anyone on Food TV. She is delightful to watch and makes real food that anyone can cook and want to eat. I wish she were on more often with new shows. LOVE HER! I have all her cookbooks and can't wait for the next. item not reviewed by moderator and published
first time cooking with cornish hens, and i must admit, i'm a huge fan now: juicy, tender, and very tasty. i must admit the cornbread stuffing could have used a TOUCH more flavor, but that could easily be remedied for the next time around. thanks, ina! item not reviewed by moderator and published
A very easy recipe to make. I prepared the hens and baked them next dasy. Added a layer of onions and roasted red peppers to the bottom - a lot of flavor added. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I always loves Ina recipes. This one is simple and delicious at the same time. It is great with the brocollini side dish. And for the other review regarding about Ina not washing her hand while she was cooking, please dont judge the recipe by that, it is simply not the place for it. This is for the recipe review only. Thank you. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Without washing her hands after handling the hens she put her fingers on the lip of the oil bottle to slow the drizzle. I won't even watch her anymore. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe is simply wonderful. The hens are juicy and the stuffing is so tasty. My husband usually won't eat stuffing but he ate all of it along with the Cornish Hen. Thanks Ina! item not reviewed by moderator and published
it says, or until juice runs clears!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Cooking time depends upon the actual heat of your oven AND the temperature of the poultry when you place it in the oven. If your poultry goes from fridge to oven, it will take longer. Besides, who cooks poultry based upon time? I always use a meat thermometer to ensure it's cooked through. item not reviewed by moderator and published

This recipe is featured in:

The Best Christmas Recipes