This Cranberry Orange Glazed Cornish Hen recipe is perfect for holiday family dinners. Learn how to cook Cornish hens so they turn out juicy and flavorful every single time.
If you’re looking for delicious dishes that you can serve when having company, this cornish game hen recipe is it! This Cornish hen recipe is a keeper. I’m going to show you how to cook Cornish hens with an orange cranberry glaze at home and wow everyone. I love making cornish hens for the holidays because they look very festive and beautiful on individual plates.
Holiday season for me means warm sweaters, tea, lattes, cookies, cranberries, oranges and tons of delicious homemade food. My favorite protein to cook in the holiday season is chicken as it tends to be overlooked when beef and turkey end up in many holiday celebrations. We have so many tasty chicken recipes on the blog and some of our favorites are 30-minute honey sesame chicken, orange roasted chicken, zereshk polo morgh and one pan 5-ingredient chicken skillet.
What’s the difference between cornish hen and chicken?
The main difference is in size. Cornish hen is smaller than a chicken. While a mature cornish hen usually weighs less than 2 pounds, a whole chicken usually weighs about 4-5 pounds. Since cornish hens are small, they’re always sold whole whereas you can buy chicken whole or cut into pieces. Cornish hen is also cooked whole most of the time whereas for chicken, you can roast a whole bird or cook the pieces. Check out this article about cornish hen vs chicken for more information.
Roasted Cornish Hen Recipe
This is an easy, quick recipe for juicy Cornish hens that comes together in no time. It’s very flavorful and delicious. You only require a few ingredients and it’s packed with orange cranberry flavor – perfect for this holiday season. These gorgeous orange glazed Cornish hens are so simple to make yet taste and look as if you have spent half of the day in the kitchen preparing them.
Cranberry orange glaze
The main flavor of this dish comes from a festive and bright orange glaze flavored with fresh cranberries. To make the glaze, follow these steps:
- In a saucepan, stir soy sauce, orange juice, cornstarch and water together.
- Add the brown sugar and cranberries. Turn the heat to medium high.
- Bring the mixture to simmer and turn the heat to medium low, cook until the cranberries pop and the glaze thickens.
The glaze will thicken even more when it cools. You can even make the glaze a day ahead and use it when you’re ready to roast the cornish hens.
How to cook Cornish hens in the oven
This Cornish hen recipe, also called Cornish game hen recipe is quite simple to follow:
- Start with pat drying the Cornish hens, this will absorb any extra moisture. This step is essential to make sure the cornish hen will have a beautifully roasted skin after cooking.
- Make the glaze using soy sauce, orange juice and cranberries.
- Brush the glaze all over the Cornish hens and roast them in the oven at 400ºF until done and fully cooked. You can glaze them halfway so they’re very flavorful.
What to serve with roasted Cornish hen
I served these cranberry orange glazed Cornish hens with Panko crusted roasted potatoes. These potatoes are very simple and easy to make. All you need to do is to cut up some russet potatoes and mix them with salt, olive oil and Panko Bread Crumbs.
These potatoes also need to be roasted at 400F oven so if you have enough space in the oven, you can pop these in 20 minutes before the Cornish hens are ready. They make a simple yet very tasty side dish for almost any dish.
Other side dishes you can make to serve with this orange glazed cornish hen are:
- Mediterranean oven roasted vegetables
- Garlic oven roasted brussel sprouts
- Instant pot brown rice
- Cucumber tomato avocado salad
How many people will a Cornish hen serve?
Cornish hens are small enough that one can be served for each person. However, if you’re serving two types of food or having appetizers and side dishes such as potatoes and rice, half of a Cornish hen would perfectly do for one person.
These glazed Cornish hens are perfect for the holidays because of their festive flavors. Cranberry and orange combine so well together and once mixed with soy sauce, the flavors shine more which will result in a delicious dish that your family will love!
How do I know my Cornish hen is fully cooked?
After almost forty minutes of cooking, insert a meat thermometer in the thigh of the Cornish hen if it registers at 165F, the chicken is ready. The Cornish hen breast would also register at 170F.
How long does it take to cook a Cornish hen
It usually takes forty five to fifty five minutes to cook one Cornish hen. It would take just as long if you decide to multiply this Cornish hen recipe.
How to make stuffed Cornish hen
It’s so simple to make stuffed Cornish hen. You can stuff the birds with cooked rice or quinoa, onions, celery, garlic, bell peppers (capsicum) and even beans. Once you stuff the Cornish hens, proceed with the Cornish chicken recipe as mentioned in the instructions. You need to be very careful when stuffing cornish hen because the skin in very thin and can rip easily.
Can I use frozen cornish game hens?
Yes, you can use frozen cornish hen to make roasted cornish hen recipe. However, make sure to thaw them in the fridge overnight before you start cooking.
Notes and tips on how to make Cornish hens:
- It’s very important to have your Cornish hens washed and completely pat dried. The dryness would result in a very crispy skin at the end of cooking.
- The Cornish hen recipe calls for brushing the birds twice with the glaze. You can do this up to 4 times if you would like a darker color on the Cornish hens.
- The onions at the bottom of the baking dish will be caramelized and flavored with the glaze. They’re going to be very delicious so don’t leave them out.
- If Cornish hens are not available where you live, simply use a whole chicken and follow the exact same steps of this recipe. Make sure the chicken is fully cooked by inserting a meat thermometer into the thighs. It should register at 165F. Then insert the thermometer into the breast. It should register at 170F.
- For the Panko crusted roasted potatoes, I used russet potatoes but red potatoes or Yukon gold would work perfectly, too.
Cranberry Orange Glazed Cornish Hens
Orange Glazed Cornish Hens:
- 2 Cornish Hens
- 1/3 cup Kikkoman® Soy Sauce
- 1/2 cup Orange Juice
- 1/3 cup Water
- 1 tbsp Corn Starch
- 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1 cup Fresh Cranberries
- 1 White Onion
Panko Crusted Roasted Potatoes:
- 3 Russet Potatoes washed and dried
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 3/4 cup Kikkoman® Panko Bread Crumbs
- 1 tsp Salt
Orange Glazed Cornish Hens:
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Pat dry the cornish hens, clean the inside and generously sprinkle some salt inside and on them. Set aside.
- In a sauce pan, pour Kikkoman® soy sauce and orange juice. Mix the water and corn starch together and pour into the sauce pan.
- Add brown sugar and cranberries. Bring to simmer and let cook until the cranberries start popping and the glaze thickens.
- Slice the onion into thin rings and place them at the bottom of an oven safe dish. Place the cornish hens on the onions and brush with the cranberry orange glaze.
- Roast in the oven for 25 minutes at 400F. Brush again with the glaze and roast for another 25 minutes. If the cornish hens are browned and beautiful, cover them with aluminum foil and roast so they don't burn.
- Check the cornish hens using a thermometer. The thighs should register at 165F and the breast should register at 170F.
- If you have oven space, you can make the panko crusted roasted potatoes at the same time.
Panko Crusted Roasted Potatoes:
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with non stick spray. Cut the russet potatoes into chunks and place them in a bowl.
- Add in olive oil and stir until the potatoes are coated.
- Add in Kikkoman® Panko bread crumbs and toss to cover the potatoes. Transfer the potatoes to the baking sheet and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes until soft on the inside and golden brown.
- Serve with cranberry orange glazed cornish hens.
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