Poultry recipes are prevalent in most households for dinner or holidays like thanksgiving and Easter.
However, Cornish hens are not as common for their tiny size.
Since you are home alone and want to try something new, Cornish chicken pops into your thoughts.
So, how long to cook Cornish hens?
Cornish hens take about 20 to 60 minutes depending on the cooking method and oven heat—provided it reaches 165F—with a 10 minutes rest time.
Grilling takes about 20 minutes, while slow cooking Cornish hens takes around 5 to 7 hours.
To achieve tender results when baking, aim for lower oven heat; high temperatures for a brief time give crispier skin.
Although simple, it’s easy to get it wrong with Cornish.
However, worry not; this article highlights the basics for tender and juicy Cornish hens.
What’s a Cornish hen?
Cornish game hens are a tiny chicken breed hailing from Cornwall County.
They are fully matured at a smaller weight, about 2 pounds, as opposed to regular chickens that weigh 4 pounds or more.
Cornish hens are tender, easy to prepare, and take less cooking time.
In most cases, Cornish hens are served as a single portion, limited to roasting as a preparation option.
On the other hand, regular chicken is more versatile and easily portioned into thighs, breasts, or drumsticks.
There are endless possibilities for cooking chicken, such as baking, roasting, slow-cooking, grilling, broiling, sautéing, or poaching.
What temperature should Cornish hen be cooked to?
The USDA recommends cooking poultry, including Cornish hen, to an internal temperature between 165F to 180F depending on the desired doneness.
For instance, medium-rare (160F- 165F), medium (170F), medium-well (1705F), and well (180F).
Once the Cornish hen has reached the desired temperature, remove the heat source and rest for about 10 minutes.
Regardless of the oven temperature (350F, 375F, or 425F), chicken weight, and thickness, ensure the final temperature reads at least 165F.
Baking chicken at high temperatures for a brief time seals in the moisture resulting in tender and juicy Cornish hen.
How long to cook Cornish hens?
The consistent temperature for baking Cornish chicken is between 350F and 425F oven heat.
Cooking time varies depending on the oven heat used, Cornish chicken thickness, desired doneness, and whether stuffed or unstuffed.
Generally, Cornish hens roast for about 35 to 40 minutes a pound or until the final temperature registers 165F.
Stuffed Cornish hens take longer to cook than unstuffed ones.
Ideally, bake the stuffing alongside the chicken as opposed to inside it.
How long to cook Cornish hens at 350F?
Cornish hens cook for about 40 minutes a pound at 350F oven heat to reach an internal temperature of 165F.
The chicken has ample time to tenderize and cook evenly at this heat, resulting in dense flavors and tender meat.
When baking two Cornish hens, adjust the time to accommodate both and allows even cooking.
For instance, it would take an extra 20 minutes for each Cornish hen to cook and brown perfectly and reach a 165F internal temperature.
Stuffed Cornish hens would need 10 to 20 minutes more to reach 165F.
For example, cooking two stuffed chickens would take approximately 50 to 60 minutes per pound.
How long to cook Cornish hens at 400F?
At 400F Cornish hens would cook for about 30 minutes per pound, depending on the size, thickness, and whether stuffed or unstuffed.
Add 5 to 10 minutes a pound if you’ve stuffed the Cornish hen.
The chicken should reach at least 165F with an added 10 minutes of rest time.
Baking at this temperature takes less time, locks in moisture, and produces caramelized crispy skin-which you can remove if your taste buds are against such.
How long to cook Cornish hen at 425 degrees?
Baking Cornish hen on high heat (425F) takes about 25 minutes per pound, depending on whether it’s stuffed or unstuffed.
However, the final thermometer reading should register at least 165F for doneness.
If the Cornish chicken is thick, adjust the timelines to allow thorough cooking, especially with stuffed hens.
Most times baking on high heat may result in uneven cooking where the skin overcooks or burns with undercooked inner parts.
How long to cook Cornish hens in a slow cooker?
Cooking Cornish hens in a slow cooker takes about 6 to 8 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165F.
Low and slow is the ideal approach to cooking flavor-dense Cornish hens if you have time.
The steps are simple as indicated below:
- Step 1: Preparation time—Rinse and pat dry your Cornish chicken
- Step 2: Making baste—Mix the herbs and cover the chicken with the dry rub
- Step 3: Crockpot arrangement—Place half the veggies at the bottom of the pot in an even layer. Set the chicken on top of the veggies and place the remaining veggies around the hen.
- Step 4: Cooking time—Add the chicken stock and cook for 6 to 8 hours.
- Step 5: Measuring doneness—Use an instant thermometer to check the internal temperature, which should read 165F when done.
- Step 6: Resting—let the Cornish chicken rest for about 10 minutes before carving. Serve and enjoy.
How long to cook a Cornish hen on the grill?
Grilling Cornish hen is simple and ready in about 30 minutes at 350F.
Grilling works best if you are looking to impress your guests but don’t have the time.
Follow these simple steps;
- Step 1: Prepare the chicken—Rinse and dry your chicken with paper towels. Remove the backbone and flatten the bird.
- Step 2: Make marinade—Mix your favorite spices in a bowl and coat the chicken with the marinade.
- Step 3: Grill set up—preheat the grill to 350F. Place the Cornish chicken over the grill with skin side up.
- Step 4: Grilling time—cover and cook the hens for about 30 minutes, flipping in intervals.
- Step 5: Rest and serve.
How long to cook a Cornish hen in an air fryer?
Air frying Cornish hens take about 20 minutes to reach 165F.
It’s fast and produces juicy meat with caramelized crispy skin.
The instructions are simple, as illustrated below;
- Step 1: Pre-heat the air fryer at 350F.
- Step 2: Prepare the marinade with desired seasoning, preferably dry spices.
- Step 3: Drizzle the hens with olive oil, then season with the dry rub to coat until well covered.
- Step 4: Place the hen in the air fryer basket, breast side up. Air fry for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Step 5: Let the chicken stand for about 10 minutes before serving.
Tips for tender and juicy Cornish hens
- Pick similar-sized Cornish chickens to avoid uneven cooking. Likewise, ensure the crock pot perfectly fits the chicken.
- Whichever chicken you’re cooking, regular or Cornish, brining is essential to add some moisture. This is an important step to provide extra moisture and tenderness when cooking on high heat, roasting, or grilling.
- Buttering your chicken beforehand with melted butter gives you a golden brown crispy exterior and prevents it from sticking to the pan.
- Don’t forget to season, whether dry or wet, mild or spicy. Otherwise, you’re in for a bland outcome.
- Bake your Cornish hens on low heat (350F) for about 35 to 45 minutes, whether stuffed or unstuffed. Some prefer high heat, 350F, for a brief time. However, if looking for crispy and juicy chicken, brine and aim high on the temperature, provided it reaches 165F.
- Let your baked chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving or serving. This locks in the moisture distributing it evenly and giving each bite a decadent taste.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What’s the best method for reheating leftover Cornish chicken?
Depending on the urgency, you can reheat chicken in the oven, microwave, or skillet.
It’ll take about 5 minutes in the microwave but may result in a tough outcome.
In a skillet, you can add gravy or desired sauce to retain the moisture, which will take about 20 minutes.
Finally, reheating in the oven takes about 40 minutes, but the outcome is a tender and juicy chicken—thus, the best, if not in a rush.
What’s the best pair to serve with Cornish chicken?
Cornish chicken is a dense flavored heavy dish that needs light sides.
Pair it with tossed salads like potato, cucumber, and carrots.
Roasted veggies like asparagus, squash butternut, and mushrooms are great combos—sandwiches with the leftovers.
How do I know when my Cornish hen is well-done?
Use an instant thermometer for accurate readings.
If it reads 165F, your hen is well-done.
Alternatively, insert a metal fork at the thickest part of your Chicken; if it slides without resistance, it’s cooked through.
In case of resistance, let the chicken cook a bit longer.
There’s an art to baking Cornish chicken that revolves around how well it has been seasoned, the temperature, and whether stuffed or unstuffed.
Although tiny, Cornish chicken serves you dense flavors when correctly roasted or slow cooked.
The general rule of thumb is to ensure it reaches an internal temperature of 165F; that way, it’s perfectly safe for consumption.
Cornish Hens Recipe
- Slow Cooker
- 2 whole Cornish hens
- 2 sprigs rosemary.
- 4 sprigs thyme.
- 1 large onion cut in quarters.
- 6 cloves garlic.
- 1 lemon cut in slices.
- 2 tablespoon olive oil.
- Preparation time—Rinse and pat dry your Cornish chicken
- Making baste—Mix the herbs and cover the chicken with the dry rub
- Crockpot arrangement—Place half the veggies at the bottom of the pot in an even layer. Set the chicken on top of the veggies and place the remaining veggies around the hen.
- Cooking time—Add the chicken stock and cook for 6 to 8 hours.
- Measuring doneness—Use an instant thermometer to check the internal temperature, which should read 165F when done.
- Resting—let the Cornish chicken rest for about 10 minutes before carving.
- Serve and enjoy.