Roasted Cornish Game Hens

Total Time:
1 hr 20 min
10 min
10 min
1 hr

6 servings

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon-pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 Cornish game hens, about 1 1/2 pounds each, rinsed and dried thoroughly
  • 1 green bell pepper, large dice
  • 2 stalks celery, large dice
  • 1 onion, large dice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a small mixing bowl, stir together salt, lemon pepper, dried basil and poultry seasoning. Rub olive oil all over the hens and season each with the salt mixture. Place the hens on a baking sheet pan with plenty of space between them. You may need to use 2 pans. Loosely stuff the cavities of each hen with some green bell pepper, celery and onion. Roast the hens in the preheated oven for about 1 hour or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F and the juices run clear. Remove the hens from the oven, loosely tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes before carving or serving.

TIPS: Line the baking sheet pan with foil under the wire rack for an easy clean-up. The veggies and herbs stuffed in the cavities of the hens will impart flavor to the meat as it cooks. Be sure not to crowd the hens on the baking sheets or else the skin won't crisp up properly and they will take much longer to cook.

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Rich, buttery white wine

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    116 Reviews
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    Most delicious cornish game hen recipe ever! The mixture of seasonings and vegetables makes the meat taste amazing. We tossed diced raw potatoes with Olive oil, fresh garlic, coarse kosher salt and fresh ground pepper and roasted them in a separate pan, next to the cornish hens, at 375 for an hour. Right before we served the meal, we added the browned potatoes to the cornish hen and veggie juices.. Really good.. Mmm
    As a novice in the kitchen I was so proud of myself after making this recipe. I substituted green bells with pineapple because I didn't want to go grocery shopping! In between bites I kept exclaiming "oh my gosh, I can't believe I made this!" - and neither could my husband.
    Thanks a lot for this excellent recipe; easy and tasty! My husband and my 2 sons really like it. Along with the ingredients, I added 2 tablespooons of honey to the mixture, and the chicken turned out really good and had nice brown color. I will make it again, definitely.
    Easy & Tasty. I made this for a pre-Christmas dinner and it was also my first time ever making cornish hens. They were easy to cook and tasted great. Best part was that I have leftovers that I am going to use to make a soup, just like Thanksgiving but smaller. I served with Ina's Zucchini Gratin and a recipe for Roasted Aioli Pearl Potatoes that I found on the back of a package. Perfect!
    This is my first time ever cooking Cornish Hens, and let me say, I rocked it! I have never used seasonings outside of my comfort zone and these seasoning combinations worked for me! My husband and I enjoyed this recipe! I will definitely see Cornish Hens in my future
    Can you leave/refridgerate the veggie stuffing overnight??? I made 
    these hens at night for the next day and not sure how to safely store???
    This was my first time cooking cornish hens. I was told that they tend to dry out pretty quickly. But this recipe was a smash hit with my family on Thanksgiving! And if you knew my aunt and mother, you would know that compliments from them is like a Zagat score in my family! I also followed the advise of putting pats of butter under the skins. I also cooked my hens, following the recipe, but in a baking bag to ensure moist hens. Delicious!
    Thee Best Gamehen recipe out there hands down!!! I made this for my family this week on mon and on fri i was asked to make it again, definitely going to be a staple in my rotation for the week. The only thing i added was the butter under the skin and took someones advice and did season the inside cavity also I added some lemon slices on top oh and some crushed garlics were added too the veggie stuffing while i roasted, the skin falls off the bone and tastes delicious, finger lickin' good!
    This was the first time I've ever cooked cornish hen and my boyfriend and I just LOVED this recipe. Very flavorful, simple to prepare and the seasoning ingredients are just staple items. Totally recommend this one. :
    great recipe. Like others, I added lemon and butter pats under the skin at the breast. Delicious. Thanks Neelys!
    I was looking for a recipe for the first time cooking Cornish hens. I not only find this recipe simple quick, for a family of six but tasty, you made my Friday night!!! Thank you!
    Delicious! My boyfriend loves this recipe and we have had it four times since I first made it, three weeks ago. I love it too. It's easy and tasty, In fact I am making this for dinner tonight. The last time I made it, I substituted the stuffing for a potato and sweet pepper stuffing which my boyfriend requested. It's delicious this way too! Thank you for this great recipe. In fact, I pre-mix the seasonings and keep it on hand in a zip lock bag as I know I will be making this frequently.
    I have tried cornish hens before, but this time using the Neelys' recipe is a big hit with my family. I did add the seasoning to the stuffing as others had suggested. But no other additions were needed. The Neelys recipes that I have tried have been as good as advertised. As to Gina's behavior, YOU go girl! The reason I watch is the simple fact that you two show the playfulness and love that you both have. So ignore the haters, we love it!
    Great Recipe, made it today and tasted great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BTW i love the show chopped also!
    The Neeley's are sickening to watch, but this recipe is quite good. It's your basic "roast it in the oven" fare - hard to screw that up UNLESS, like one person, they measure the temp in the wrong place. When roasting poultry, you have to check the temp in the thigh, since that's the hardest to get cooked. I suggest slitting the skin at the thigh/breast joint - it will allow more heat into that area. Also - make SURE your hens are 100% thawed and headed toward room temp ( don't leave out of the fridge more than 2 hrs when putting in the oven. What most folks don't realize is that "fresh" poultry comes in to the supermarket frozen -they put it out to thaw, and it's not always fully-thawed when consumers try to cook it. Thus over-cooked white meat and raw thighs. Extra time will get it cooked, but you'll have a ruined bird. Much better to make sure it's fully-thawed to start with.
    Delicious. I did follow a couple of suggestions from prior posts. Brined for a couple of hours, combined softened butter with a bit of the spice mix and slid under breast skin, and started and 400 then reduced to 375. Skin nice and crispy and meat very flavorfull. Will definately make again.
    Its was a beautiful FULL flavored meal! Only thing I changed(due to me not having it Is I used red,yellow, and orange bell pepper, also I still used the onion and added Garlic to the mix, I also stuffed the skin with minced garlic and butter. Another key factor to the lovely crispy skin Is, with in the hour I took the juices from the pan with a baster 3 times and poured it over the skin during the cooking process! is was yummy and filling!!!! Oh and 1 more thing I used the left over peppers and onions to put around the game hens on the outside and in the stuffing!
    The recipe is quick and easy. I cooked the hens @ 325 degrees for 55 minutes. The temp reached 165 degrees, juice ran clear and the hen was completely cooked. Next time, I will brine the hen, the breast was a little too dry.
    This recipe sounded delicious so I decided to make it for Easter dinner for myself and my daughter. It was great! The meat was juicy and flavorful and the pepper/onion/celery stuffing was very tasty. A few days later my daughter asked me for the recipe which is a sure sign it was a winner. I will definitely be making this one again.
    First time trying this recipe and it stated to cook for 1 hour. After the hour the temp. was 155 degrees, so cooked for 15 additional mins. Temp registered 165 degrees and juice ran clear like recipe stated. However when our guest got down to the thigh area the hens were not completely cooked.
    Sometimes cook time varies on weight / size of the chicken! 
    I've tried this recipe several times and I absolutely love it. It's a quick and easy meal. You can't go wrong with this! Thanks Neeleys!
    First time i tried this recipe and it came out great. Next ime i will put some pats of butter under the skina s the breast was kinda of dry. Great recipe though.
    Great recipe. I've tried several and this one's at the top of my list. You really can't go wrong with any of the Neely's recipes. Try their short ribs.
    I followed other suggestions and seasoned the inside of the bird as well. The whole thing turned out tasty and juicy!
    First time I cooked cornish hen and it turned out juicy and delicious. The only thing that was a little disappointing was that the veges stuffed inside were a little bland.
    This is delicious and so easy to make! My family loved it and wants me to make again very soon!
    Best cornish game hens I ever have had.
    Excellent recipe. I tried it twice. It was better without putting the celery, green pepper, and onion in the cavity. I have shared this recipe with my family.
    Made this for dinner the other night amd this is WONDERFUL.Thanks to the Neelys for there great recipes.Keep up the great ccoking and sharing all your recipes.
    I made this for dinner tonight and I followed every last step of this yummy recipe and it was sooooo good! Even my picky 7 year old was asking for seconds. The only thing I did differently was season the cavity with the left over seasonings. This is a great and easy recipe!
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