Roasting the perfect Cornish Hen in a Dutch oven is an easy one-pot meal. These little birds are renowned for their succulent taste and simple preparation. The relatively quick cooking time of Cornish game hens allows for a convenient yet sophisticated meal and delicious dinner for the solo diner.

I’m a fan of old-fashioned delicious dinner recipes, and if you are also, try my popular small meatloaf dinner, classic paprika beef stew, and easy slow cooker spicy chili.

Cornish hen, potatoes and carrots on white plate.

Click the recipe link at the top of the page to go straight to the printable recipe card, which includes ingredient amounts, a detailed ingredient list, instructions, and recipe notes. You can also scroll through the post for helpful tips and step-by-step instructions. The recipe card is located at the bottom of the post.

Reasons You Will Enjoy This Recipe

  • EASY – Easy Roasted Cornish Hen recipe ready to pop into the oven in minutes.
  • ELEGANT– A golden brown roasted tender Cornish hens surrounded by sliced carrots and potatoes is a delicious one-pan meal for that special occasion or the perfect holiday meal!
  • LESS FOOD WASTE – Cooking only what you need for a meal or two cuts down on dreaded food waste. Reduce leftovers with these game birds for a great alternative to regular chicken.


Uncooked cornish hen with herbs and spices on baking sheet.
  • Cornish Hens: These small birds are easy to find in grocery stores. Often sold frozen in packs of two.
  • Seasonings: You can season this little bird with fresh herbs and dried seasoning. Try sprinkling black pepper, salt, lemon zest, or a sprinkle of Italian seasoning mix.

Recipe Tips

  • You can customize the herbs and seasonings to your taste. Other popular additions include sage, onion powder, garlic powder, or a touch of cayenne for heat. Another great flavor option is to rub the hen inside and out with garlic butter.
  • This meal is also an easy and delicious recipe in a Slow Cooker.
  • For extra flavor, the pan drippings make an excellent gravy. Add the drippings to a small saucepan and stir in a little flour, chicken stock, and seasoning. Bring to a simmer and season with salt and pepper to taste.

How To Serve A Cornish Hen

Due to their smaller size, Cornish hens are often served whole or halved, making them a popular choice and delicious dinner for individual servings or during special occasions at home.

Start the meal with a creamy parsnip and leek soup, and pair your tender Cornish hen with a side of paprika-roasted carrots, a light salad, or creamy mashed potatoes for a complete meal.

Recipe Directions

Preheat and Prep: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Pat the Cornish hen dry with paper towels.

Uncooked cornish hen sprinkled with herbs and spices.

Step 1: Season: In a small bowl, combine garlic powder, dried thyme and rosemary, paprika salt, and pepper. Rub the outside and top of the hen with olive oil or melted butter. Rub this dry mixture all over the inside and out.

Uncooked cornish hen sprinkled with herb, spices with small bowl of rosemary, garlic and lemon slices.

Step 2: Stuff the inside of the hen with lemon slices, chopped garlic, and sprigs of fresh rosemary.

Cornish hen, potatoes and carrots in dutch oven.

Step 3:Roast: Place the hen breast side up in a roasting pan or Dutch oven. Arrange the potatoes and carrots. Roast for about 1 hour until the juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 180°F.

Roasted cornish hen on white plate with potatoes and carrots.

Step 4:Rest and Serve: Let the hen rest for 10 minutes before carving. Garnish with fresh lemons and herbs, and serve.

Common Questions

What is the ideal cooking time for a Cornish hen?

A Cornish hen weighing 1 to 1.25 pounds should be roasted at 375°F (190°C) for about 50 to 55 minutes. The exact time may vary based on the size of the bird and your oven.

How do I know when the Cornish hen is fully cooked?

The internal temperature should reach 180°F at the thickest part of the thigh. a meat thermometer is the most accurate way to check for doneness.

Can I stuff a Cornish hen?

Cornish hens can be stuffed with wild rice, bread, herbs, or citrus fruits. Just ensure the stuffing is cooked to 180°F as well.

What is Trussing?

Trussing, or tying the legs together with butcher’s twine, helps the bird cook more evenly, but it’s not absolutely necessary. If you choose not to truss, you might find that the legs cook a bit faster than the rest of the bird.

How do I make the skin crisp?

Patting the hen dry, using a dry rub, and roasting at a higher temperature initially or using a broiler for the last few minutes can help achieve crispy skin.

Can I make gravy from the drippings?

You can make a delicious gravy from the drippings by combining them with flour, butter, and stock, cooking until thickening.

Try this tender Cornish hen recipe and experience the joy of cooking for one. Share your creations and thoughts in the comments below!

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French Roasted Cornish Hen

This recipe is perfect for a single-serving meal and can easily be adapted for a larger group by multiplying the ingredients accordingly. Enjoy your elegant and delectable roasted Cornish hen!
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 623kcal
Author:Sydney Dawes


  • 1 Cornish hen 1 to 1.25 pounds, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter
  • 1 lemon halved
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ carrot sliced
  • 1 red potatoes quartered

Dry Rub

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 375°F. Rinse the hen and remove any giblets and trim any excess fat from the hen. Pat it dry with paper towels.
    1 Cornish hen
  • In a small bowl, combine the dry rub ingredients. Rub the hen with olive oil or melted butter, then generously apply the dry rub, making sure to coat inside the cavity as well.
    1 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter, Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon paprika, Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Place the lemon slices, rosemary sprigs, and minced garlic inside the cavity of the hen.
    1 lemon, 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, 2 cloves garlic, 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • (Optional): You may choose to truss the hen by tying the legs together with kitchen twine. This helps it cook more evenly.
  • Place the hen breast-side up in a roasting pan or Dutch oven. Arrange the carrots and potatoes around the hen. Roast for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 180°F at the thickest part of the thigh.
    ½ carrot, 1 red potatoes
  • Remove the hen from the oven and cover with aluminum foil. Let it rest for 10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.


  • Proper Preparation and Seasoning: Thoroughly clean the Cornish hens before cooking. Remove any giblets from the cavity and rinse the hens under cold water, then pat them dry with paper towels. For the best flavor, season them both inside and out. You can use a variety of herbs and spices according to your taste preferences. . For an extra flavor boost, consider marinating the hens or using a dry rub a few hours before cooking.
  • Cooking Technique and Temperature: Cornish hens can be roasted, grilled, or even cooked in a slow cooker. Regardless of the method, it’s crucial to cook them at the right temperature. When roasting, preheat your oven to around 375°F (190°C) and cook the hens until they reach an internal temperature of 180°F . This ensures they are cooked through without being dry. The skin should be golden brown and crispy.
  • Resting Time: Just like with other poultry, it’s important to let Cornish hens rest after cooking. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring that your hens will be moist and flavorful when you cut into them. A good rule of thumb is to let them rest for about 10 minutes before serving.


Serving: 1hen | Calories: 623kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 39g | Cholesterol: 227mg | Sodium: 171mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g
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