Roasted Cornish Game Hens Recipe Courtesy the Neelys

"Show: Down Home with the Neelys Episode: We Really Do Have Friends (Pat and Gina Entertaining Friends) Since we are garlic lovers I added a tablespoon of garlic powder to the rub and 3 chopped garlic cloves to the stuffing. TIPS: Line the baking sheet pan with foil under the wire rack for an easy clean-up. The veggies and herbs stuffed in the cavities of the hens will impart flavor to the meat as it cooks. Be sure not to crowd the hens on the baking sheets or else the skin won't crisp up properly and they will take much longer to cook."
photo by mcbridejc photo by mcbridejc
photo by mcbridejc
photo by cali_love photo by cali_love
Ready In:
1hr 20mins




  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • In a small mixing bowl, stir together salt, lemon pepper, dried basil and poultry seasoning.
  • Rub olive oil all over the hens and season each with the salt mixture.
  • Place the hens on a baking sheet pan with plenty of space between them. You may need to use 2 pans.
  • Loosely stuff the cavities of each hen with some green bell pepper, celery and onion.
  • Roast the hens in the preheated oven for about 1 hour or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F and the juices run clear.
  • Remove the hens from the oven, loosely tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes before carving or serving.

Questions & Replies

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  1. VERY TASTY! These cute little birds were eady to make, moist and they freeze well too. I usually add a few fresh garlic cloves and a wedge of lemon into each cavity. Like another reviewer, I pre-heat my oven to 450 degrees, then lower it back to 375 degrees when the birds go in. Altho certainly not needed, I I may try a glaze of some sort (apricot?) in the final 15 minutes of cooking to baste them with. Very tender and juicy, thanks for posting, Luvs.
  2. We made these with stuffing, green beans, and mashed potatoes and they were delicious! Small chickens, big taste!
  3. I've never attempted to cook Cornish hens before. But after watching the Neely's demonstrate how easy it was, I just HAD to try this recipe. The seasonings sounded appealing to me since I LOVE lemon pepper and use it alllllll the time when I bake chicken, which is another reason why I chose to try this recipe. We're garlic lovers in this house too, so I too added garlic powder to the rub, and garlic cloves into the cavity. My oven cooking times can sometimes be off, so I pre-heated my oven to 450 degrees to ensure a hot oven, then lowered it back to 375 degrees when I put the hens in. For the last 10 minutes of cooking, I turned my heat up to 400 degrees and it resulted in nice crispy skin. Delish!


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