Roasted Lemon-Herb Cornish Hens Roasted Lemon-Herb Cornish Hens

Roasted Lemon-Herb Cornish Hens | Food styling by David Grenier | Prop styling by Jennifer Evans Image by: Jodi Pudge

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. 

  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Total time 1 hour & 15 minutes
  • Portion size 8 servings
  • Credits : Canadian Living Magazine



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 facts per serving: about

  • Sodium 359 mg
  • Sugars 2 g
  • Protein 25 g
  • Calories 333.0
  • Total fat 24 g
  • Potassium 304 mg
  • Cholesterol 146 mg
  • Saturated fat 6 g
  • Total carbohydrate 3 g


  • Iron 9.0
  • Folate 2.0
  • Calcium 2.0
  • Vitamin A 4.0
  • Vitamin C 13.0
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Lunch & Dinner

Roasted Lemon-Herb Cornish Hens