Cajun Herb Roasted Cornish Hens - Cooking Up Clean

Cajun Herb Roasted Cornish Hens

roasted cornish hens

The first snow of the season (happening now!) always makes me a bit giddy. This can only mean one thing…that the holidays are approaching and spending lots of meaningful time with family is just around the corner.  The hubby and I have been hosting his family for Thanksgiving for the past 8 years and we love it! It gives us a chance to create a wholesome meal with a heaping helping of nostalgia. Though each of us has our “must-have’s” as part of the main meal, there’s always room for a little improvisation in flavors like in these Cajun herb roasted Cornish hens.

Cajun herb roasted Cornish hens are much faster to prepare than roasting a turkey and look SO adorable on your table! After marinating overnight, these little fellas roast up in just over an hour which is a far cry from the multi-hour event that roasted turkey takes. If you prefer the big bird, this seasoning combination would also work great for turkey though you’ll have to double or triple it depending on the size of your bird. Our favorite side dishes are easily prepped either in advance or can be prepped while the Cornish hens are roasting.

roasted cornish hens

My daughter’s (and my) favorite side dish is mashed potatoes and gravy. I usually make these ahead of time so I can enjoy a more relaxed kitchen during the big day. I’ll also be preparing a seasoned sweet corn and a modified version of this tart and tangy cranberry sauce that I think will go wonderfully well with the Cajun flavor in these roasted Cornish hens. Other side dish options to try are a simple mushroom green beans, a holiday salad or a Brussels sprouts sauté. For dessert, this pretty pumpkin pie is clean eating comfort in every slice. Bring these beautiful roasted Cornish hens to your Thanksgiving dinner and it’s bound to be a winner!

Cajun Herb Roasted Cornish Hens
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main Dishes
Serves: 6-8
  • 4 Cornish game hens, neck and giblets removed
  • ⅔ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup lime or lemon juice
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • pinch of dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon smoked salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  1. Whisk together olive oil, lime juice, garlic, oregano, cajun seasoning, salt and pepper.
  2. Rub a little of the marinade into the body cavity and under the skin of each hen.
  3. Then, place two Cornish hens in a zip top bag and pour half of the marinade over them. Repeat with the other two. Set aside and marinate in the fridge 4 hours or overnight.
  4. When ready to roast, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Take hens out of their marinade and place in a baking dish (9x13 or a rimmed baking sheet works well).
  6. Scoop marinade out of bag and spoon onto each of the hens.
  7. Roast for 1 hour and 15-30 minutes until a meat thermometer placed in thickest part reads 165 degrees.
  8. Remove from oven and let rest 10-15 minutes before serving.


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