Roasted Garlic Lemon Cornish Hen

A good roast chicken dinner is a classic meal enjoyed by many. We love our share of chicken at our house but I wanted to try something a bit different, yet familiar with a typical chicken dinner. Instead of chicken, I served up these Roasted Garlic Lemon Cornish Hens. These miniature chickens were stuffed with lemon, rubbed with garlic and baked until golden before serving alongside some roasted Parmesan and bacon smashed potatoes. Comfort food, kicked up a notch...

Patrick has grown his culinary palate quite a bit the past couple of years and this meal was another one to add to the book. Prior to this, he never had Cornish Hen. Afterward, he became a fan and it was a great way to enjoy poultry with a twist. We had this on a typical weeknight but this is a dish that's perfect for guests. It's not everyday folks actually eat cornish hen, so serving it is already a treat. 

The preparation of this easy - garlic, salt, pepper and a lemon. But it doesn't stop there! You can prepare cornish hen just as you would marinate or impart flavor to a whole chicken. The fun part is that the hens are a miniature version of a whole chicken. Use your favorite homemade marinade or grab a store bought marinade if its easier. .This garlic and lemon version makes for a good base to start with. As for presentation, I like splitting the hens in half, making it easier to plate up or portion out. 

Garlic Lemon Cornish Hen
recipe adapted from Cooking Light

2 cloves garlic, minced1/2 teaspoon salt, divided1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided(1 1/4-pound) Cornish hens 1/2 lemon, halved and dividedCooking spray 

2 cups cubed Yukon gold or red potato
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 grated Parmesan cheese
1 stalk green onion, mined
2 tablespoons crumbled cooked bacon

Preheat oven to 375°.

In a bowl, combine minced garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; set aside.

Prep the hens by removing the giblets from hens and rinsing with cold water; pat dry. Giblets can be discarded or saved later for a giblet gravy. Remove any excess skin and fat. 

For each hen, place 1 lemon piece in the cavity of hen and  tie ends of legs together with twine. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under hen. Repeat procedure with remaining hen and lemon piece. 

Rub hens with garlic mixture. Place hens, breast sides up, on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl combine potatoes and oil, tossing to coat. Season with remaining salt and pepper. Transfer potatoes around the hens on the broiler pan. 

Bake at 375° for 1 hour or until thermometer inserted into the hen's meaty thigh registers 180°. 

Remove twine from each hen and split in half to serve.

Mash roasted potatoes coarsely and place in a large bowl. Add Parmesan cheese, green onion and bacon. Transfer to a baking dish and serve.


  1. Gorgeous and simple comfort food! It looks amazing.

  2. I've never made cornish hens before, believe it or not. This sounds like a great recipe to start with!

  3. My gran loves to make Cornish hen, especially if we are having a fancier dinner, but a small one. Great recipe!