Marinated Cornish Game Hens recipe is is an easy make-ahead recipe, with a savory ginger-soy-lime marinade. Delicious for any party!

Baked Marinated Cornish Game Hen with rice and asparagus

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Being prepared for entertaining is really what makes a get-together successful. And that’s why I LOVE this Marinated Cornish Game Hens Recipe.

What is the differene between a chicken and cornish game hen?

Cornish game hens are just very small, tender chickens, and not very old. They are not Cornish. (The name just denotes the breed.)

Marinated Cornish Game Hens Recipe

This is a great recipe to make for fall and winter dinner parties! Or, try my Grilled Cornish Game Hens! It’s easy to follow, and great to make-ahead if you’re having company over for dinner.

pan of baked Marinated Cornish Game Hens

Marinated Cornish Game Hens Recipe

If you’ve never split a cornish game hen, watch the video. It’s really easy!

And the marinade? SO GOOD!

Ingredients for cornish hens

Here’s what you need for this easy recipe!

  • Cornish Game hens
  • Soy sauce + olive oil
  • Garlic cloves
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Ground ginger
  • Brown sugar
  • Lime juice

one Marinated Cornish Game Hen on dinner plate

What to serve with cornish hens

When I’m not prepared, I’m scattered, frustrated, and grumpy. Who wants to be around a grumpy hostess? (My family for sure does not).

Part of being a prepared hostess is not only knowing what you are going to cook, but making sure that it’s easy and dinner-party worthy.

This recipe is fabulous served with my Potato-Fennel Gratin Recipe! Also try my Baked Asparagus Shaved Parmesan or Perfect Instant Pot Brown Rice (in photos).

raw cornish game hens, halved

How to make Marinated Cornish Game Hens

This Cornish Game Hens recipe is great for dinner parties. Here’s why:

  1. 24 hours ahead of time, marinate the Cornish Game Hens (super easy steps)
  2. 1 hour before company comes, pop in the oven.
  3. Baste the hens every 15 minutes.

Basting is a great job to give your kids … have you ever tried that?

baking 9 x 13 pan of Marinated Cornish Game Hens

Making the marinade

There are 2 ways you can make the marinade.

  1. Blend it completely into a red sauce.
  2. Just mix ingredients together (more chunky), and do not blend.

I’ve made it both ways– delicious!

close up baked Marinated Cornish Game Hens

Here’s my list of tips that help me get prepared and stay on track for a dinner party.

Be prepared:

-Choose a main dish that you can prepare ahead of time, that takes very little of your time the day of the dinner. (You marinate this recipe ahead of time, up to 24-36 hours.)

-Get your shopping done 1-2 days ahead of time.

-Make a list and cross things off as you complete them.

-Make a list of what items need to go in the oven, with a time frame.

-Know what your guests are bringing. KNOW YOUR MENU. Write it out and place it on the refrigerator so you can keep checking it.

-Have any condiments, butter, or extra food items you’ll need, in dishes, ready to put on the table. Get prep work done ahead of time.

-Count backwards and plan out your time for what needs to be done at certain times.

-Know in advance what you want to wear.

-Use my 10-minute Countdown Method.

baked Marinated Cornish Game Hens Recipe

I’ve made these hens for many occasions, and our entire family loves them. The flavor is … well, you decide. Fantastic!

My friend, Jenny, shared the recipe years ago, and it’s so good!

More recipes:

Cranberry BBQ Sauce Cornish Hens [Nutmeg Nanny], Coca Cola Glazed Cornish Hens [Grandbaby Cakes].

serving of Marinated Cornish Game Hen

one Marinated Cornish Game Hen on dinner plate
3.81 stars (36 reviews)
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Get the Recipe:

Marinated Cornish Game Hens Recipe

Delicious recipe good enough for company! Be sure to double the sauce ingredients for every 2 hens you cook.
Prep Time: 6 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 7 hours
Yield: 4
Print Recipe Pin Recipe


  • 2 game hens split in half
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves sliced
  • 2 TBS toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 TBS brown sugar
  • 3 TBS lime juice


  • Lay hens skin side down in glass dish. Prick each several times with a fork. In blender or food processor, blend all above ingredients until smooth, about 1 minute.
  • Place hens in a ziplock bag (you can double bag), pour marinade over, seal bag and refrigerate 6-24 hrs, turning occasionally.
  • Transfer hens to a 9×13 baking dish, single layer, skin side up. Reserve marinade.
  • Roast at 400 for 1 hour. Baste with marinade every 15 minutes.
  • Serve right away!


Originally posted on RE January 2013
Cuisine: American
Course: Main Course
Did you make this recipe?Tag @reluctantentertainer on Instagram and hashtag it #reluctantentertainer!


9x13 pan Marinated Cornish Game Hens