Lemon-Herb Cornish Game Hens with White Wine Pan Gravy


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5 from 1 vote

Lemon-Herb Cornish Game Hens with White Wine Pan Gravy

Rosemary and lemon makes these savory hens a delicious addition to your next dinner party or holiday gathering. They're elegant individually plated – plus everyone gets their choice of white and dark meat! It's a perfect meal for a small crowd at Thanksgiving, too.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 hens


  • 4 Cornish game hens patted dry with paper towels
  • 2 TB butter softened plus 2 TB for pan gravy
  • 1 TB chopped fresh rosemary plus 4 additional sprigs
  • 1 TB minced fresh garlic plus 4 additional whole cloves
  • 1 lemon cut into quarters
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup dry white wine


  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Combine 2 TB butter, chopped rosemary, and minced garlic in a small bowl. Use your index finger to loosen the skin on the top of each hen and spread butter evenly across breasts. Tuck additional sprig of rosemary, garlic clove, and lemon quarter into the cavity of each hen. Tie legs together with kitchen twine. Rub hens with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place hens on the rack of a roasting pan; leaving space between hens so skin can crisp. 
  • Roast for 30 minutes then pour combined chicken broth and wine over hens. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue to cook until thigh temperature reads 165 degrees (approximately 30 minutes). Baste hens halfway through cooking with pan drippings.
  • When done, use tongs to pour drippings from hens into pan. Place hens on a platter, remove twine and lemon/garlic/rosemary sprig from the cavity, and cover with foil to keep warm. Pour pan drippings into a small saucepan and boil until liquid is slightly thickened; about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 2 TB butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hens with individual ramekins of pan gravy.


This recipe can be doubled or tripled to feed a crowd. Just make sure to leave room between the hens (use an additional roasting pan if needed) to ensure they brown evenly.

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