Tested till perfect Roasted Lemon-Herb Cornish Hens
Roasted Lemon-Herb Cornish Hens
Photography by Jodi Pudge

Roasted Lemon-Herb Cornish Hens

Cornish hens brushed with a simple lemony sauce are the perfect springtime main. Splitting the hens in half ahead of time makes serving a breeze because you don't have to worry about carving at the table. Serve with grainy mustard, if you like. Cost: $4.25 per serving

By Irene Fong and The Canadian Living Test Kitchen

Source: Canadian Living Magazine: March 2016

  • rating starrating starrating starrating starrating star
  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Total time 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • Portion size 8 servings


  • 1 tsp 1tspgrated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup 1/4cuplemon juice
  • 2 tbsp 2tbspolive oil
  • 4 4cloves garlic, finely grated or pressed
  • 1 tbsp 1tbspeach chopped fresh thyme and fresh oregano
  • 2 tsp 2tspliquid honey
  • 1 tsp 1tspsalt
  • 1/2 tsp 1/2tsppepper
  • 4 4Cornish hens (each about 580 g)
  • 1 1lemonlemons, halved crosswise
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In large bowl, whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, oil, garlic, thyme, oregano, honey, salt and pepper. Set aside. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours; whisk before using.)

Using kitchen shears, cut 1 hen down each side of backbone; discard backbone or reserve for another use. Cut hen in half lengthwise through breastbone. Repeat with remaining hens. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)

Add hens to lemon mixture; toss to coat. Arrange, skin side up, on lightly greased large heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet. Add lemon, cut side up.

Roast in 425°F (220°C) oven, basting twice, until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh reads 185°F (85°C), about 45 minutes. Remove hens to platter. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, return lemon to oven; broil, cut side up, until lightly charred, about 1 minute. Serve with hens.

Tip from The Test Kitchen: Using a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet, instead of a roasting pan, lets air circulate around the hens, giving them a nicer colour. Look for a baking sheet that won't bend and is heavy for its size.

Nutritional Information per serving: about

cal 333 pro 25g total fat 24g sat. fat 6g
carb 3g dietary fibre sugar 2g chol 146mg
sodium 359mg potassium 304mg


calcium 2 iron 9 vit A 4 vit C 13
folate 2
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