Bourbon Glazed Cornish Hens

These Bourbon Glazed Cornish Hens are going to steal the show on your holiday table! A sweet and thick bourbon glaze coats these little chickens perfectly, and they couldn’t be easier to make!

We love serving these Cornish hens on a bed of our Rice Pilaf with Almonds & Cranberries and a whole lot of our Sweet Cornbread on the side!

Cornish hens on a platter with rice

Bourbon Glazed Cornish Hens Recipe

While these Bourbon Glazed Cornish Hens are wonderful for the holidays, they’re easy enough to make for Sunday dinners or even a nice dinner during the week! All you need to do is tie them up, make a quick glaze and off to the oven they go.

So if you don’t have enough of a crowd to make a Whole Roasted Turkey or this gorgeous Bourbon Glazed Ham, these Cornish Hens will be just the right amount!

Cornish hens with a bourbon glaze on a platter with rice

What Are Cornish Hens?

Cornish Hens (also known as Rock Cornish Game Hen) are produced from a cross between Cornish and White Plymouth Rock chicken breeds. These little chicken are bred to have a larger breast, which makes for a delicious dinner for those that don’t like the dark meat, and they usually weigh in at about 2 – 2 1/2 pounds each.

You can serve Cornish Hens as an individual portion, but most commercial Cornish hens sold in stores today are big enough for two people. An easy way to serve them to a group is to cut the chicken down the middle before serving. 

Bourbon Glazed Cornish Hens on a platter with rice pilaf

Why Do You “Truss” A Chicken Or Turkey Before Cooking?

Trussing means to tie a chicken or turkey up so that the wings and legs stay tucked into the body of the bird, ensuring an even cooking time. If you don’t truss your chicken then the legs and wings will be done way before the body of the bird is, causing them to be overdone or even burn.

Trussing a chicken or turkey also makes for a nicer presentation when serving because you get that perfectly tucking in bird like you see in our pictures here. Trussing only takes a few minutes to do and anyone can do it!

Of course there are super professional ways to truss a chicken, but as long as you get some kitchen twine and get everything nice and tucked in, you’re good to go.

Cornish Hen trussed on a baking sheet

When Do You Glaze The Cornish Hens?

A big mistake people make when adding barbecue sauce or any type of glaze to their meat or poultry when cooking is that they add it too soon. Barbecue sauce and glaze recipes like this bourbon glaze tend to have some sort of sugar in it to make them sweet and sugar will burn if added too soon to your meat.

These Bourbon Glazed Cornish Hens are just about cooked when the glazes gets added, just about 5 minutes before the chickens are done. This will let the Cornish hens finish cooking and give the glaze time to get caramelized and set on the Cornish hens.

Cornish Hen bring glazed with a bourbon glaze

How Do You Serve Cornish Hens?

You can serve Cornish Hens whole, as an individual portion if you have big eaters! Typically, as we mentioned before, Cornish Hens are about 2 or 2 1/2 pounds so that’s probably too big for one person, unless your feeding one of our teenagers.

I like to cut the hen right down the middles and serve each person a half of the chicken. Along with a couple of sides, that’s a very generous portion! So when planning a holiday or diner party, you can typically count on one Cornish Hen feeding two people.

Two Cornish hens on a platter with rice

What Side Dishes Go Well With Cornish Hens?

Like we mentioned before, we like serving these Bourbon Glazed Cornish Hens on a bed of our delicious Rice Pilaf, but there’s a ton of other side dishes that go perfectly with Cornish Hens!

Two Cornish hens on a platter with rice

Bourbon Glazed Cornish Hens

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

These Bourbon Glazed Cornish Hens are so easy to make, but look like they took all day! Perfect for a smaller holidays or special occasion dinner!



  • 2 Cornish Hens (typically about 22 1/2 pounds each)
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt, fresh black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning, divided
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder, divided

For The Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place the Cornish hens on a baking sheet that’s been lined with aluminum foil. Tie or truss the Cornish hens by wrapping a pieces of kitchen twine around the breast to tuck in the wings and another piece around the legs to tuck them in close the the body of the chicken. Refer to the photos in the post for a visual of how the hen looks when it’s trussed. Season the hens generously with salt and black pepper and then divide the poultry seasoning and garlic powder between the two birds. Rub just a little bit of olive oil onto each bird and then place into the oven.
  3. Roast the Cornish hens for 15 minutes, then remove them from the oven and reduce the heat to 400 degrees.
  4. While the chickens are in the oven, combine the ingredients for the glaze in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 7-8 minutes until the glaze haas thickened.
  5. After the hens have roasted for 15 minutes, glaze them generously with the bourbon glaze and then place them back into the oven for another 10 minutes until the temperature on the thighs reach 165 degrees.
  6. Remove the Cornish hens from the oven, tent loosely with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Serve the chicken whole or cut down the center in half and serve.

Recipe Notes

This recipe can be doubled or triple if needed for a larger crowd!

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: mantitlement, cornish hens, cornish hen recipe, holiday recipes, thanksgiving recipes, beaked chicken recipe


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