Cornish Hen Recipe with Cranberry Orange Glaze (2024)

Published: · Modified: by Shadi HasanzadeNemati · This post may contain affiliate links .

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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.

Cornish Hen Recipe with Cranberry Orange Glaze (1)

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 chicken shawarma, zereshk polo morgh and Mediterranean garlic chicken.

If you're looking for delicious holiday main dishes that you can serve when having company, this Cornish game hen recipe is it! I'm going to show you how to cook Cornish hens with an orange cranberry glaze at home and wow everyone. I love making this dish for the holidays because it looks very festive and beautiful on individual plates.

Table Of Contents:
  • About this recipe
  • What's the difference between Cornish hen and chicken?
  • Ingredients and substitutions
  • Instructions
  • Serving suggestions
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Variations
  • Notes and tips
  • More Chicken Recipes
  • Cranberry Orange Glazed Cornish Hens

About this 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.

This recipe is so simple to make yet taste and look as if you have spent half of the day in the kitchen preparing them. They 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!

What's the difference between Cornish hen and chicken?

The main difference is in size. While a mature Cornish hen usually weighs less than 2 pounds, it's smaller than a whole chicken which usually weighs about 4-5 pounds.

Since Cornish hens are small, they're always sold and cooked whole whereas you can buy chicken whole or cut into pieces. Check out this article about Cornish hen vs chicken for more information.

Cornish Hen Recipe with Cranberry Orange Glaze (2)

Ingredients and substitutions

  • Cornish hen: Use ones that are not too big or too small. If using frozen ones, let them thaw in the fridge before you start cooking.
  • Soy sauce: You can use regular or low sodium soy sauce for this recipe.
  • Orange juice: It's best to use freshly squeezed orange juice for this recipe.
  • Cranberries: This recipe calls for fresh cranberries. It's possible to use frozen cranberries as well but dried cranberries won't work.

Instructions

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.

Roast the cornish hen

  • Start with pat drying the birds, this will absorb any extra moisture. This step is essential to make sure the game 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 again halfway so they're very flavorful.

Serving suggestions

I served this dish 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 400 degrees F so if you have enough space in the oven, you can pop these in 25 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
  • Beet salad with feta
  • Garlic oven roasted brussel sprouts
  • Instant pot brown rice
  • Cucumber tomato avocado salad
Cornish Hen Recipe with Cranberry Orange Glaze (3)

Frequently asked questions

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 game hen would perfectly do for one person.

How do I know my Cornish hen is fully cooked?

After almost 40 minutes of cooking, insert a meat thermometer in the thigh of the bird if it registers at 165 degrees F, the chicken is ready. The breast would also register at 170 degrees F.

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 recipe.

Can I make this ahead of time?

You can make the glaze ahead of time but the chicken is best served immediately after it's roasted.

Variations

Another way to cook this recipe is 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 bird, 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.

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Notes and tips

  • It's very important to have your birds cleaned 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 bird.
  • 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.
Cornish Hen Recipe with Cranberry Orange Glaze (5)

More Chicken Recipes

  • Chicken Cacciatore
  • Whole Roasted Chicken Recipe
  • Moroccan Chicken Tagine
  • Best Chicken Pesto Sandwich

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Cranberry Orange Glazed Cornish Hens

Shadi HasanzadeNemati

These Cranberry Orange Glazed Cornish Hens are perfect for holiday family dinners. The flavors of cranberries and oranges make this festive dinner a winner!

4.47 from 67 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes mins

Cook Time 50 minutes mins

Total Time 1 hour hr 5 minutes mins

Course Main Course

Cuisine American, Asian

Servings 4 servings

Calories 761 kcal

Ingredients

Orange Glazed Cornish Hens:

  • 2 Cornish Hens
  • cup Kikkoman® Soy Sauce
  • ½ cup Orange Juice
  • cup Water
  • 1 tbsp Corn Starch
  • 2 tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Fresh Cranberries
  • 1 White Onion

Panko Crusted Roasted Potatoes:

  • 3 Russet Potatoes washed and dried
  • 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • ¾ cup Kikkoman® Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1 tsp Salt

Instructions

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 400°F. 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 170°F.

  • 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 400°F. 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.

Notes

  • It's very important to have your birds cleaned 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 bird.
  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 761kcalCarbohydrates: 55gProtein: 46gFat: 39gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 227mgSodium: 1894mgPotassium: 1392mgFiber: 4gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 322IUVitamin C: 31mgCalcium: 88mgIron: 4mg

Did you make this recipe? Let us know how it was by leaving a comment and a 5-star review!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SeasonYourHolidays #CollectiveBias

Cornish Hen Recipe with Cranberry Orange Glaze (2024)
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