These Baked Cornish Hens with Rosemary Wine Sauce are perfect for a special dinner and are totally company-worthy (so they are fancy enough for a dinner party). This recipe is also economical, simple, and easy to make and you can make it in advance. All my favorite things...
It's also Weight Watchers friendly - yay! And it's only 2 WW points. I love a fancy dinner that is healthy and won't break the WW points bank! This sauce for Cornish hens is, by far, the easiest and tastiest of the Cornish hen recipes out there! This recipe makes a great holiday meal, but it's popular any time of year.
These Easy Baked Cornish Hens with Rosemary Wine Sauce are the perfect date night recipe, for Valentine's Day, birthday dinner, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas dinner or fancy enough for a dinner party. This recipe is also economical, simple, easy to make, Weight Watchers friendly, and can be made in advance.
🐓What is a cornish hen?
And if you have never made Cornish hens, don't be intimidated- they are just little chickens and nothing more. Really- it's true! Many assume that they are like a pheasant or grouse because they are also known as Cornish Game Hens, but the "game" part doesn't mean wild or refer to anything remotely exotic in this case; they are simply regular chickens that were cross-bred to be smaller with more breast meat.
Yet this particular breed of chicken somehow gained and retained this reputation of being "exotic." You can read more about Cornish hens HERE. But even if they aren't exactly exotic, because they are smaller chickens, cuter and you get half a hen all to yourself, they just feel fancier than eating your typical communal roasted chicken.
For this Cornish game hen recipe, you'll need:
- Cornish hens
- dry white wine * you can use any type (it doesn't have to be expensive wine)
- white wine vinegar
- low- sodium soya sauce
- dried rosemary
- dried thyme
- garlic cloves
- Garnish: fresh herbs (rosemary or thyme) optional
For best results, when you cook a Cornish hen, it's best to remove the backbone because the bones are super tiny and you don't want your fellow diners to choke on them. It's really easy to do -see the instructions below and in the recipe card. Otherwise, you roast Cornish hens in the oven, as you would a roasted chicken, but in this case, in wine sauce.
How to Cook a Cornish Game Hen
- Remove and discard giblets and necks from cornish chickens. Rinse hens under cold water and pat dry. Split each hen in half lengthwise. Pat dry with paper towels.
- Partially remove the backbone from the middle.
- Cut backbone from each side.
- Place hens, meat side up, in pan and whisk together wine, white wine vinegar, soya sauce, rosemary, thyme, and garlic in a separate bowl, then pour over hens. *Cover the hens' legs with a little aluminum foil to prevent burning (this can also be done during the cooking process, if you start to see them browning faster than the rest of the hen)
🐔Cornish Hen Sauce
I love this sauce for Cornish hens because it's so easy! It's a wine sauce with only a few ingredients, that take minutes to throw together, but tastes like it took hours. The best part of this recipe is that it can be made ahead!
I personally, don't like the stress of cooking while guests are over or for a special dinner, so I always cook ahead.
🥗 What to serve with Cornish hens
Although rice is the most popular accompaniment to this dish, you can serve Cornish game hens as a main course with:
- Potatoes, such as my 3 Ingredient Onion Baked Potatoes in Foil, Chipotle Mashed Potatoes, Greek Style Potatoes or sweet potatoes
- Pasta: my Easy Greek Pasta Salad is a great pairing
- Garden salad, Mandarin Orange salad, or Spinach salad, Kale Salad with Cranberries and Feta, brussels sprouts or Green beans
- Rice: if you decide on rice, my Sausage Apple Rice with wild rice (shown below) goes very nicely with this recipe, as does my Easy Greek Rice (with Lemon)
- Buns: if you're making a holiday dinner (like Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, ) they go nicely with crusty bread, my Granny buns (dinner buns) or my WW Everything Bagel Cloud Bread Recipe
- WW sides: You can also check out my Weight Watchers side dishes for more ideas!
👪 Serving Size
This Baked Cornish Hen recipe serves 4. The serving sizes in all my recipes are adjustable by simply clicking on the blue number of servings, so you can make this recipe for all of the above and as many people as you want!
This Roasted Cornish Hen recipe is 2 ww points for a ½ a hen!
You will need a cutting board, a sharp knife, a baking dish (9x13) or a shallow roasting pan. A meat thermometer (instant-read thermometer) (affiliate link) also comes in handy for this delicious meal.
Store these roasted cornish hens for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Cook cornish hens to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (74 degrees C)
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
- Never leave cooking food unattendedSee more guidelines at USDA.gov
My Easy Homemade Lasagna is another one of my make-ahead dishes for entertaining. I love that I can make it waaay ahead and freeze it!
🍰Don't forget dessert!
If you're looking for a dessert to go along with this dinner and want to stay on track, then I would suggest my Weight Watchers Friendly Healthy Chocolate Cake
BUT....if you want to indulge, then give my Grand Marnier Cheesecake with Chocolate Glaze a try!
These Baked Cornish Game Hens with Rosemary Wine Sauce are a great EASY option for any special occasion meal. So, if you're looking for Cornish hen recipes, give this easy recipe a try!
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📋 Cornish Hens with Rosemary Wine Sauce Recipe
- 2 1 lb Cornish hens ½ per person
- 1 cup dry white wine * you can use any type (it doesn't have to be expensive wine)
- ⅓ cup white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoon low- sodium soya sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9X13 pan with non-stick cooking spray
- Remove and discard giblets and necks from hens. Rinse hens under cold water and pat dry. Split each hen in half lengthwise.
- Partially remove the backbone from the middle
- Cutting from each side
- Place hens, meat side up, in pan.
- Whisk together wine, white wine vinegar, soya sauce, rosemary, thyme and garlic in a separate bowl, then pour over hens. *Cover the hens' legs with a little aluminum foil to prevent burning (this can also be done during the cooking process, if you start to see them browning faster than the rest of the hen)
- Bake uncovered (preferably on roast if you have a convection oven) for 50 - 60 minutes basting occasionally, as you would a chicken or turkey; just spoon the sauce over the hens to baste. Cook until juices run clear and hens are cooked inside (no longer pink).
- Serve warm (½ a hen per person) with a spring of fresh sprigs of rosemary and lemon wedges, if desired.