Crispy Baked Cornish Hens

Cassie *


I found a really good buy on Cornish Hens awhile back and was looking for a simple way of preparing them. Well, hubby and I were watching Americas Test Kitchen Sat night, low and behold they were showing how to render a hen crispy on the outside,yet tender on the inside. So, I decide we'd try it.
They were definitely a big hit. I didn't leave the salt mixture on as long as they called for, but still turned out awesome. We will definitely make them this way again and soon!


★★★★★ 1 vote

8 halves
15 Min
25 Min


  • 4
    cornish hens, cleaned
  • 2 Tbsp
    kosher salt - no substitute - divided
  • 1/2 Tbsp
    vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp
    baking powder
  • Black
  • Cooking

How to Make Crispy Baked Cornish Hens


  1. With a pair of sharp kitchen shears, cut down along both sides of the hens backbone to remove.

    Place the hens breast side up on cutting board and with a sharp knife cut each hen in half through the breast bone.

    Loosen the skin on each hen, by running your fingers underneath. ( thigh and breast ) Tuck wings under bird.
  2. With a sharp thin knife, poke the fat of the bird several times. Pat the birds dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle the underside of each bird with 1 tablespoon of the kosher salt.
  3. Add remainder of salt to a small bowl, to this mix with oil. Stir in the baking powder. Rub this mixture on the breast and thigh meat evenly of each halve. Sprinkle with pepper.

    Place each halve on a single layer of a platter or sheet pan, uncovered. Refrigerate up to 4 hours, but 24 hours is better.
  4. Remove from fridge. Preheat oven to 500 degree F. Place a sheet pan with edges into oven to preheat. This step is to sear the fat without frying..I left mine in for at least 20 minutes.
    Spray each hen piece with cooking spray. Then place each piece of hen skin side down in single row onto hot sheet pan. You should hear it sizzling. Place back into oven on lowest rack for 10 minutes.
  5. Next preheat broiler and finish cooking until temp reaches 160 for breast and 175 for thigh and legs, turning pan every so often to brown evenly. I broiled about 15 minutes and they were cooked perfectly.

    The steps seem like a lot, but are really actually easy and quick. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe Card

About Crispy Baked Cornish Hens

Course/Dish: Chicken
Main Ingredient: Chicken
Regional Style: American
Other Tag: Quick & Easy

Show 4 Comments & Reviews

Apple Desserts You’re Going to Want to Make Today

Apple Desserts You’re Going to Want to Make Today

While apple desserts are popular year-round, they make their way back to being a staple on menus in the fall. From Dutch babies to muffins and slab pie to fresh apple cake, it’s all apple all the time and most taste buds are OK with that. Filled with apple, spice, and everything nice, you’re going […]

Tasty Pork Recipes Your Family Will Enjoy

Tasty Pork Recipes Your Family Will Enjoy

Some nights I can’t figure out what to make for dinner. I love chicken, but that can get old. Another go-to protein of mine is pork. When I’m looking to get an easy and tasty meal on the table, pork can be very versatile. It has a more savory flavor than chicken, but still mild. […]

18 Delicious Cookie Recipes You’ll Make Again and Again

18 Delicious Cookie Recipes You’ll Make Again and Again

Is there anything better than a warm cookie out of the oven? Gooey butter cookies, spicy snickerdoodles, chewy chocolate chip, a fudgy chocolate cookie… our mouths are watering just thinking about them. If you want to learn about the history of cookies, click here (they’ve been around since 7th century AD!). What we love most […]