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.

Two cornish game hens in an orange skillet with oranges and onions and rosemary.

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.

Holland House Sherry Cooking Wine on a wooden cutting board with oranges and rosemary.

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

Ben’s mom makes Cornish hens occasionally and she stuffs them with rice pilaf. They are delicious! The day I made this 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.

Overhead view of an orange skillet with cornish game hens.

How to Make this Cornish Game Hen:

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

  • First, remove the giblets. If you like giblets, you could make giblet gravy or a homemade stock.
  • Give the Cornish hens a little massage with olive oil. That helps them get crispy beautiful brown skin. Season them, inside and out, with salt and pepper. Put them into a roasting pan large enough to accommodate the hens side by side.
  • Start with a high temperature to get the Cornish hens going and to caramelize the onions and the oranges. Then, reduce the temperature and add the sherry, chicken broth, and mustard to the pan to keep the hens moist, and to add terrific flavor during the remainder of the cooking time.
  • Remember to baste every 10-15 minutes to bathe 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), remove them from the pan, put them on a platter, and tent them with foil to keep warm. Reduce the juices in the pan over high heat to make a nice sauce.
  • All that’s left to do is to enjoy!

Serving tips:

Try serving Cornish hens 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: 

Two cornish hens in an orange skillet garnished with orange wedges and fresh 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 hen. Arrange in a roasting pan, and arrange remaining orange wedges and quartered onions around hens. Roast at 450°F for 25 minutes.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. 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: 623Total Fat: 44gSaturated Fat: 1gCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 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.

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Two cornish hens in an orange skillet garnished with orange wedges and fresh rosemary.

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.