Cornish Game Hen Recipe with Orange, Rosemary, and Sherry

This Cornish Game Hen Recipe is perfect for Easter or any other occasion! The bright flavors of the orange, sherry, and rosemary will have everyone wanting more.

This Cornish Game Hen Recipe is perfect for Easter or any other special occasion! The bright flavors of the orange, sherry, and rosemary will have everyone wanting more. Get the recipe on!

This cornish game hen recipe was created in connection with my partnership with Holland House Cooking Wines.

Raise your hand if you eat ham every single Easter. I bet a lot of you are raising your hands. As much as I love ham (especially this five ingredient slow cooker maple dijon ham), I think there comes a time for mixing it up a little. Blow your family and friends away with this beautiful cornish game hen recipe. They’ll be impressed, but more importantly, their taste buds will be satisfied with the bright citrus of the orange and the savory pine notes of the rosemary.

This Cornish Game Hen Recipe is perfect for Easter or any other special occasion! The bright flavors of the orange, sherry, and rosemary will have everyone wanting more. Get the recipe on!

If you’re intimidated by the thought of preparing a cornish game hen recipe, don’t be! It’s really simple. If you can cook chicken, you can cook cornish game hen.

Ben’s mom makes a cornish game hen recipe occasionally and she stuffs them with rice pilaf. They are delicious! The day I made this cornish game hen recipe, I texted Ben and told him I was making cornish hens for dinner. When he got home and began to eat them, he asked where the rice pilaf was. He thought the rice was what made the cornish game hen a cornish game hen. But he was perfectly happy to eat this version as well, once I cleared things up.

This Cornish Game Hen Recipe is perfect for Easter or any other special occasion! The bright flavors of the orange, sherry, and rosemary will have everyone wanting more. Get the recipe on!

How to Make this Cornish Game Hen:

This recipe is one of those great ones that looks super impressive but in reality is quite easy to make. Those are my favorite kind. As always, scroll down for the complete and printable recipe card.

  • First, remove the giblets. If you like giblets, you can leave them in or make a separate giblet gravy with them. We don’t like them, so I discarded them. You could also use them to make a homemade stock if you’d like!
  • Give the cornish hens a little massage with olive oil. That helps them get that crispy beautiful brown skin. You’ll also season the outsides and insides with salt and pepper.
  • Next up, stuff with oranges and onions and arrange the rest of the onions and oranges around the hens in the roasting pan you’re using (make sure to use one with high sides!).
  • You start with a high temperature to get the cornish hens going and to caramelize the onions and the oranges. Then, you reduce the temperature and add the sherry, chicken broth, mustard to the pan to keep the hens moist and add terrific flavor during the remainder of the cooking time.
  • Another good step to take is to remember to baste every 10-15 minutes to bath the hens in the great flavor of the broth and to keep them from drying out.
  • Once the hens have finished cooking (I like to use an instant read thermometer), you’ll remove them from the pan and tent them with foil while you reduce the juices in the pan to make a nice sauce.
  • All that’s left to do is to enjoy!

Serving tips:

Try serving these with brown butter slow cooker mashed potatoes, zucchini rice casserole (also bakes at 350!), sauteed parsnips with white wine and thyme, or green beans with lemon and feta.

Used in this recipe: 

Cornish Game Hen Recipe with Sherry, Orange and Rosemary

Cornish Game Hen Recipe with Sherry, Orange and Rosemary

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

This Cornish Game Hen Recipe is perfect for Easter or any other special occasion! The bright flavors of the orange, sherry, and rosemary will have everyone wanting more.


  • 2 cornish hens (about 2 pounds each)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 orange, quartered
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 1/4 cup Sherry or Sherry Cooking Wine
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. If present, remove giblets from cornish hens.
  3. Rub outside of cornish hens with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season hens with salt and pepper on all sides. Place 1 orange wedge and 1 sprig of rosemary in cavity of each cornish hen. Arrange in a roasting pan, and arrange remaining orange wedges and quartered onions around hens. Roast at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F as measured by an instant-read thermometer. I recommend ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together Sherry Wine, chicken broth, mustard, and remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and pour over hens.
  5. Continue roasting about 45 minutes longer, or until hens are golden brown and juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 180°F. Baste with juices from pan every 10 minutes.
  6. Transfer hens, oranges, and onions to a platter, pouring liquid from cavities into the roasting pan. Cover cornish hens loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm. Transfer pan juices to a medium saucepan (you can also do this right in the roasting pan) and place over high heat. Boil until liquids reduce to a sauce, 5-7 minutes.
  7. To serve, cut hens in half lengthwise and arrange on plates. Spoon sauce over hens and serve.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1/2 a cornish game hen
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 623 Total Fat: 44g Saturated Fat: 1g Carbohydrates: 4g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 4g Protein: 51g sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietician. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.
Verdict: I loved the flavors in this cornish game hen recipe. The orange, rosemary and sherry paired perfectly.
Husband’s take: No complaints from the peanut gallery as he devoured these.
Changes I would make: None are necessary. If you wanted a sauce for these, you could remove them from the pan and cook down the pan juices into a sauce. Just put them over medium-high heat and cook until reduced and thickened. You’ll see those directions in step 6 of the printable recipe!
Difficulty: Easy!

This Cornish Game Hen Recipe is perfect for Easter or any other special occasion! The bright flavors of the orange, sherry, and rosemary will have everyone wanting more. Get the recipe on!

Disclaimer: This Cornish Game Hen Recipe was created in connection with my agreement as a partner with Holland House Cooking Wines. Holland House compensated me for the time required to create this recipe and share it with you. All opinions are always my own. Thank you for supporting my blog by reading about brands I use and love in my own home.

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  1. Made this dish for Easter dinner – big hit. Reminded me of France – the aroma and taste were wonderful. Served this with a wild rice dish and some corn. Great way to make Cornish hens!

    Rating: 4.5
  2. I made this recipe today. They were the best cornish hens I have made in a long time. Your recipe is keeper.

    Rating: 5
  3. served this to the family last night, with the green bean and feta suggestion, as well as a wild/forbidden rice side cooked with rehydrated leeks and chicken concentrate. i cooked down the juices, but also addd some arrowroot to thicken it, at the was a big hit, everyone especially loved the sauce.

    Rating: 4.5
  4. Thanks for sharing this recipe – I’m going to make it for the holidays. Just one comment though…. I had to close at least 5-6 ads before I was able to view the page. It’s SO annoying to have to wrestle through all these ads! Enough to want to make me never return to this webpage. Sorry.

    • Hi Isabella,
      Thanks for visiting! I hope you love the cornish hens. I understand your frustration and would love to know if you’re browsing on a phone, tablet, or computer. The ads should not get in the way of viewing the content, but please let me know if they do. I hope you also understand that running a website like this and keeping it free for visitors costs me thousands of dollars each month, not to mention the time I put in developing recipes, photographing them, and writing the posts. The ads help me to offset those costs so I can continue doing this.
      Thanks again for your feedback! -Rach

      • Very puzzled by this response. What could possibly cost thousands of dollars each month in addition to (“not to mention”) the time put in, etc? Anyone could do it for less than $100/month. And, yes, it took FOREVER for the page to load on a highspeed broadband connection here as well (top of the line laptop too), so not a site I would continue to visit either. After 30+ years in IT, I have to say someone is bilking you if it’s costing you that kind of dough. A shame, really…. your content has potential. Find someone to help you vs whoever is ripping you off!

        • Hi Emil,
          I pay less than $100 for my hosting service, but I also pay for things such as site maintenance, security, site design, a videographer, a social media assistant, SO MANY GROCERIES, camera equipment, photo editing software, props to make my photos look appealing for all of you, etc. etc. I appreciate you saying my content has potential, but part of the reason for that is because I invest time and money into it.
          I am also very focused on keeping the site loading fast, so to hear that it’s loading slowly is quite a surprise, I’ve never heard anyone say that.
          Thank you for your feedback and concern.

  5. Made it tonight with the addition of sweet potatoes and carrots nestled around the hens. It was a really nice and relatively easy Sunday dinner!

    Rating: 5
  6. This is a lovely recipe! I stuffed the hens with several quartered Cutie clementine tangerines and several quartered cloves of fresh garlic. I also placed several quartered clementines around the hens with the onions. The result was not only beautiful, but the dish was heavenly to the taste buds. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    Rating: 5
  7. Made this for Thanksgiving as a change.  Excellent recipe. The last 10 minutes are critical to monitor each bird, almost made the mistake of checking only one of four. The sauce rendered as explained and was delicious. Thank  you a very successful meal. 

    Rating: 5
  8. Great!

    Rating: 4
  9. I made this recipe for Easter dinner yesterday, and it was amazing! I added a little paprika and garlic powder to the chicken seasoning, but otherwise stuck to the recipe. My husband and our guest LOVED it.

    Rating: 5
    • I’m thrilled to hear that! Thank you for taking the time to come back and leave a comment! I’m glad I was able to make your Easter a little more delicious!

  10. Excellent.. change nothing

    Rating: 5
  11. Cornish game hen is the ONE nice dinner my hubby has ever made for me…..I will need to slip him this recipe! ;)

  12. I love this alternative to ham on Easter! Though, truth be told, I’d eat this at any time of the year, particularly with some sherry in there.

  13. We eat ham every Easter, just bought mine today! But I love these little cornish game hens for entertaining! And that sherry has to give them such great flavor!

  14. This is such a gorgeous dinner! I need to make this for my family soon!

  15. Love the colors in this dish! These Cornish hens look perfect for any special occasion, and maybe even a shortcut for Thanksgiving ;)

  16. looks delicious

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