Roasted Cornish Hen Recipe

This Roasted Cornish Hen recipe is basted in the most delicious, sweet bourbon glaze. So easy to make and perfect for Sunday dinners or holiday meals!

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!

platter of cornish hens on a bed of rice

Why You’ll Love This Roasted Cornish Hen Recipe

While this Roasted Cornish Hen recipe is 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!

two cornish hens on a platter with rice pilaf

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. They are bred to have a larger breast, which makes for a delicious dinner for those that don’t like the dark meat. Cornish hens 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. 

cornish hen seasoned and trussed on baking sheet

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 the chicken, the legs and wings will be done before the breast is.

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.

brushing glaze onto a roasted cornish hen

Tips For Success!

A big mistake people make when adding barbecue sauce or any type of glaze to their meat or poultry when cooking is adding it too soon. Barbecue sauce and glaze recipes like this bourbon glaze are made with some sort of sugar which will burn if added to soon.

  • Baste With Glaze At The End: Baste the hens with the bourbon glaze about 5 minutes before the cooking time is over. This will let the poultry finish cooking and also allow the glaze to set.
  • Don’t Overcook: Because Cornish Hens are small, it’s easy to overcook the meat. Use an oven thermometer to ensure success.
  • Rest: Let the birds rest for 10 minutes (or a few minutes more works, too) when they comes out of the oven so that the juices don’t run out when carving.
roasted cornish hen with bourbon glaze on bed of rice

How Do You Serve Roasted Cornish Hens?

You can serve these roasted Cornish hens whole or 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 a hungry crowd.

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. When planning a holiday or diner party, you can typically count on one Cornish hen feeding two people.

roasted cornish hen on bed of rice pilaf with cranberries

What Side Dishes Go Well With Cornish Hens?

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

roasted cornish hen on bed of rice pilaf with cranberries

Roasted Cornish Hens with Bourbon Glaze

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

These Roasted Cornish Hens are glazed in a sweet bourbon glaze that coats every bite. An elegant but easy recipe to make for Sunday dinners and holiday meals!



  • 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

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