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Stuffed Cornish Hens

Stuffed Cornish Hens

If you’re seeking a non-traditional star for your holiday spread or have a few less attendees at your gatherings this year, look no further. Stuffed cornish hens are the perfect replacement for larger poultry like turkey and happen to be just as delicious.

Thank you Kasim Hardaway —culinary photographer, recipe developer and food blogger—for this recipe.

Stuffed Cornish Hens
Stuffed Cornish Hens

Stuffed Cornish Hens

Honey Thyme Glaze


  • 1

    Cook the wild rice according to package directions. Drain the rice, and set aside.

  • 2

    When the rice is almost ready, prepare the stuffing. Melt 2 tbsp. unsalted butter in a large skillet, and stir in the celery and onions with a pinch of salt. Cook until the vegetables become tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and thyme, and cook until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth, and stir until absorbed.

  • 3

    Stir in the cooked rice, dried cranberries, and fresh parsley. Taste, and season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat from under the skillet.

  • 4

    Preheat the oven to 425 F.

  • 5

    Place a wire baking rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.

  • 6

    If necessary, remove gizzards from the cavity of the cornish hens. Pat the skin of the hens entirely dry. Season the cavities with a touch of salt and pepper.

  • 7

    Spoon about ½ cup of the wild rice stuffing into each of the hens. Use kitchen twine to tie the back legs of the hens together, and tuck the front wings underneath the hens.  Arrange them on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a couple of inches between them.

  • 8

    Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan or microwave. Paint the melted butter over the skins of the cornish hens, entirely coating them. Sprinkle them all with a pinch of salt and pepper. 

  • 9

    Roast the cornish hens at 425 F for 30 minutes until lightly browned. Remove them from the oven, and transfer them to a cutting board or large platter.

  • 10

    Carefully pour the pan drippings into a small saucepan. Turn the heat under the saucepan to medium, and stir in the orange juice, minced thyme, and honey. While the pan heats up, transfer the cornish hens back onto the wire rack in the rimmed baking sheet.

  • 11

    Cook the glaze for about 7-8 minutes until thickened. Paint the glaze over the tops of the cornish hens, and bake them for another 15 minutes until very browned.

  • 12

    Remove the twine from the legs, and serve hot!

  • Tips

  • 1

    Dried herbs can work in place of fresh herbs. For each tablespoon of fresh herbs, replace with 1 teaspoon of dried herbs.

  • 2

    Use any mushroom that you love, or that is easily available to you.

  • 3

    Pro tip

    Seasoning the cornish hens from the inside helps add to the flavor!