When you crave roast chicken but don't have time to roast a whole bird, consider Cornish hens. The split hens cook up--juicy and succulent--in less than 45 minutes. Here, orange marmalade, spiked with ginger, makes an easy and delicious glaze. Serve with wild rice, winter squash and sautéed greens.

Wendy Kalen
Source: EatingWell Magazine, Winter 2003


Recipe Summary

55 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Place onion and orange rounds in the pan. Place hens, skin-side up, on top; rub with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake the hens until the juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the breast registers 170 degrees F, 30 to 35 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, combine marmalade, ginger, tarragon and cayenne. Remove hens from oven. Set oven to broil and place a rack 6 inches from the heat source. Brush the hens with marmalade mixture. Broil until glaze is lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Transfer the hens to a serving platter or plates. Remove all but one orange slice from the pan and place over medium heat. Add water and bring to a simmer, using the orange slice as a spatula to scrape up any browned bits. Pour this pan sauce over the hens.


Tip: The bones of a Cornish hen are soft enough to cut easily with poultry shears or a sharp knife. Cut each hen in half through the breast bone. Cut along both sides of the backbone to separate the halves. Discard backbone.

Nutrition Facts

522 calories; protein 35.7g 71% DV; carbohydrates 22.4g 7% DV; dietary fiber 1.8g 7% DV; sugars 17.8g; fat 31.9g 49% DV; saturated fat 8.4g 42% DV; cholesterol 203.9mg 68% DV; vitamin a iu 322.5IU 7% DV; vitamin c 28.2mg 47% DV; folate 24.8mcg 6% DV; calcium 59.1mg 6% DV; iron 1.7mg 10% DV; magnesium 38.8mg 14% DV; potassium 544.5mg 15% DV; sodium 257.8mg 10% DV; thiamin 0.2mg 16% DV; added sugar 12g.

Reviews (6)

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6 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 6
  • 4 star values: 0
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
I too used an apricot glaze. I "eyeballed" the other ingredients and it was terrific. I served the hens on a bed of rice pilaf cooked with broccolini and it was scrumptious. The sauce from the pan with the orange slices and onions were a knock-out. I'm thinking of serving this dish for Christmas dinner. Nice presentation and very easy. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
LOVED IT! The recipe wasn't too time consuming and the results were fantastic! This will definitely be added to the dinner rotation! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Big hit! This recipe was fast easy and packed with moist flavor. Just enough sweet and kick from the cayenne. I'm putting this on my top ten list. Pros: Very moist and flavorful. Easy and quick to prepare. Cons: Nothing wrong with this recipe go for it. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I used an apricot glaze: 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper 1/4 cup butter melted 1/2 cup apricot preserves 2 Tbsp. honey Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I used an apricot glaze consisting of 1/4 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper 1/4 cup melted butter 1/2 cup apricot jam 2 Tbsp. honey 2 Tbsp grated onion 1/4 tsp. nutmeg. Combine cook and stir till preserves are melted. Brush over hens. Bake 35-40 minutes longer or until golden and 180. Cover and let stand 5-10 minutes before serving. Stuffing consisting of 3 Tbsp. celery 2 tsp. slice fresh mushroom 2 1/2 tsp olive oil 3 oz brown rice and 3 oz wild rice reduced sodium chicken broth 3 1/2 Tbsp chopped green onions 2 1/2 tsp. reduced sodium soy sauce. 2 Cornish game hens. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I absolutely Love and use this recipe all the time. Everyone who eats it says how much they Love it. Read More