“Moist and tender cornish hens seasoned with a savory spice mixture and roasted with vegetables to perfection!”

Cornish hens are so doggone cute!! Every time I make them I’m all like “awwwww look…. so precious”. Sometimes I even do the whole baby talk thing “awww wook at those wittle wegs!!” Ha! Ay don’t act like you didn’t know I was a tad off.

roasted cornish hens recipe

If you’ve never made cornish hens before then you should definitely start with this easy, basic recipe. It’s nothing fancy schmancy really. No super seasoning blends. Just a delicious, quick recipe that creates  one juicy, tender cornish hens (without brining) that pairs up great with so many side dishes.

roasted cornish hens easy

Feel free to add in more seasonings and spices if you’re going for something really spicey…or smokey…or salty…or whatevs!

What I love about this roasted cornish hen recipe is that it cooks over a bed of fresh veggies so this could totally be a complete meal.

roasted cornish hens

There is something about serving cornish hens that looks so elegant. Everybody gets their own little juicy hen to devour.  It’s a GREAT alternative to doing a whole turkey for Thanksgiving, especially if you’re having a small gathering.

I usually serve it with wild rice, candied yams and cabbage. Oh yeah and a basket of yeast rolls and sweet ice tea!!! Yes Lordt!!!!”  I wish I had that meal right now!

Watch me make these easy roasted cornish hens from start to finish!


The Recipe

Easy Roasted Cornish Hens

By Divas Can Cook
4.9 from 38 reviews


  • 8 carrot, peeled and evenly chopped
  • 8 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 5 springs rosemary (can use more)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic (optional)
  • 4 cornish hens, thawed, rinsed and patted COMPLETELY dry inside out.
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2-3 tablespoons parsley
  • 3-4 tablespoons butter, sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. Spread out chopped vegetables and rosemary in the bottom of 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
  3. Rub olive oil lightly over the cornish hens. Set aside.
  4. In a bowl, mix together spices and sprinkle generously over the hens, being sure to season the inside cavity as well. (double the spice mixture (or at least the salt) & let marinate for 3 hours if you're going for maximum flavor, but that's optional)
  5. Place the hens on top of the bed of vegetables.
  6. Run your fingers under the skin to loosen it.
  7. Place a slice of butter under the skin of each hen.
  8. Tie the legs together with kitchen string or foil paper.
  9. (I like to sprinkle on more parsley at this point but that's optional)
  10. Bake for 50-60 minutes, depending on size of hens.
  11. Let hens rest for 15 minutes before eating.