Herbed Cornish Hens

Total Time

Prep: 15 min. Bake: 1 hour


6 servings

Updated: Jul. 28, 2022
The refreshing sauce Mom makes with thyme, lemon juice and butter gives these Cornish hens savory flavor throughout. The seasonings in this recipe also work great on a whole roasted chicken. Either way, the result is a mouthwatering feast. —Maria Costello, Monroe, North Carolina
Herbed Cornish Hens Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 6 Cornish game hens (20 to 24 ounces each)
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme, divided
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons seasoned salt, divided
  • 1-1/8 teaspoons garlic powder, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper


  1. Place the hens on a wire rack in a large roasting pan. In a bowl, combine lemon juice, butter, paprika and 1 teaspoon each of thyme, seasoned salt and garlic powder. Pour half over the hens; set the remaining mixture aside for basting. Combine salt, pepper and remaining thyme, seasoned salt and garlic powder; sprinkle over hens. Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 30 minutes. Baste with reserved lemon juice mixture. Bake 30 minutes longer, basting occasionally, or until the meat is tender and juices run clear.
Cornish Hens Tips

What are Cornish hens?

Cornish hens are one of the smallest commercial birds. They're crossbred chickens processed at 4-6 weeks of age and are known for having larger breasts that grow in a short period of time. They're a great option for smaller families or small-batch recipes. Find them in the freezer section of your local grocery store near the frozen turkeys, ducks and other poultry.

What internal temperature should Cornish hens reach to make sure they're cooked properly?

Treat Cornish hens similarly to chicken. Cook until the meat is tender and the juices run clear. The internal temperature should be 165°F, as measured by a meat thermometer.

What can you serve with Cornish hens?

Cornish hens are pretty versatile—pair them with your favorite side dishes, such as Dill & Chive Peas or Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Bacon.

Rashanda Cobbins, Taste of Home Food Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 hen: 910 calories, 72g fat (28g saturated fat), 412mg cholesterol, 770mg sodium, 4g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0 fiber), 60g protein.