Marinated Cornish Game Hens Recipe

Marinated Cornish Game Hens recipe are easy to prepare ahead off time in a delicious ginger-soy sauce. Bake and serve for your next dinner party!

Being prepared for entertaining is really what makes a get-together successful, which is why I LOVE this Marinated Cornish Game Hens Recipe.

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).

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

Know what to cook.

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

Marinated Cornish Game Hens Recipe

So I’m sharing a delicious recipe that our friend Jenny has made for us for many years for her dinner parties. I can see why now … 24 hours ahead of time you marinate the Cornish Game Hens (very easy), and then pop in the oven 1 hour before you’re ready to serve. You do baste them every 15 minutes, but that’s easy. Give one of your kids the job! :)

I’ve made them both ways … blending the marinade, and then not blending (just mixing). Both delicious!

I made these hens on Christmas Day and our entire family loved them. The flavor is … well, you decide. Fantastic!

All I know is that I was asked over and over to make them again.

Marinated Cornish Game Hens Recipe

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.

-Tell yourself you are not going to run to the store. Use what you have; fight the “perfectionism” inside of you.

-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.

They are delish!

Have you ever cooked Cornish Game Hens?

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 Time6 hrs
Total Time7 hrs
Servings: 4


  • 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!


More recipes: Cranberry BBQ Sauce Cornish Hens [Nutmeg Nanny], Coca Cola Glazed Cornish Hens [Grandbaby Cakes], and Pineapple and Brownsugar Cornish Hens [Big Bear’s Wife].

Marinated Cornish Game Hens

35 comments on “Marinated Cornish Game Hens Recipe”

  1. Pingback: Dinner Menu With Cornish Game Hens | Best Vegan Dieting

  2. Have you ever made this recipe and not split the chickens?

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  5. Love Cornish hens. My go to recipe for them is a pack of Lipton onion soup…but this sounds new and tasty.ibe never thought about cutting them before. What do you or your friend typically serve with this when entertaining? Thanks.

  6. We had guests this weekend and made these for dinner. They were so good and so easy to make! I loved the flavor of the marinade! My hens were actually done in about 45 minutes as opposed to an hour.

  7. Great tips!
    Being prepared is so important. It really helps to keep my stress level down and makes entertaining flow smoothly, even if everything doesn’t turn out “perfectly”. I couldn’t live without my lists. My husband thinks it’s so funny how I have lists for everything:).
    The cornish hen recipe sounds delicious too. I’ll be giving it a try. I usually stuff mine with rice or cornbread stuffing, but I’ll look forward to trying it this way too. I love any recipe where I can get some of the work done ahead of time.

  8. These look so easy to pull off and juicy.

  9. Great post! My kids love the “cute chickens” because of their size. :)

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  11. Beautiful chicken and love these helpful party tips.

  12. I served cornish game hens at one of my very first dinner parties. Your tips would have been very handy as would a meat thermometer! They were not cooked through and I was so embarrassed, I haven’t made them since! That was about 20 years ago, I think I should give them another go!

  13. No, I have never cooked cornish game hens! This sounds like an excellent marinade. Now I want to try them for myself!

  14. These are great tips! I have never cooked cornish game hens but I do love to eat them. They look wonderful!

  15. I have cooked these little game hens a lot for special occasions, but not with this marinade. Click. Print. :-D

  16. Your recipe looks great!! Hopefully I will be brave enough to try it sometime.. :)

  17. Glad you provided that video, because I definitely have never split cornish game hens. Looks super easy and yummy!

  18. Great tips Sandy! I follow so many of these as well. Here are some more that have helped me:

    * Clean as you go, so the mess doesn’t show. Leaving it until an hour before the company comes will cause us to go into panic mode and take away our joy & peace in hospitality.

    * Confirm with guests 24 hours before a dinner party. A friendly e-mail reminder, text, or phone call helps those with hectic & busy schedules. It also helps the hostess to adjust the amount of food served.

    * Be forgiving when someone needs to cancel. Don’t easily take offense. Remember the times when you had too much on your “plate” or really needed to be at home, etc.

    * Don’t focus on what would make the dinner better, when you have no way of getting what you think is “better”. Example: If I could serve Lobster with the steak it would be the best meal. If only we had more furniture and a bigger house, we would have the best dinner parties.

    YOU make it better by your smile, warmth, kindness, personality, etc. Those things can not be bought & are better than any of the finest foods & decor.

    Just some simple thoughts I hope helps someone. May you have a wonderful day Sandy. Your blog is wonderful!

  19. My husband loves cornish game hens and Ive never thought to marinate them so long before! They look great, look forward to trying it out.

  20. I have always wanted to try and cook them. Will try this weekend. Just wondering….there is nothing written after the number 1 in the list of instructions. Something else I should be doing?

  21. Looks good. But I think computer gremlins are playing with the instructions a bit. #1 is missing on my screen and #3 must be a typo? Not sure what a leg ziplock could be.
    Do you do the splitting of the hens? Any important tips are doing that successfully?

  22. We love cornish game hens and this looks like a fabulous recipe. Can’t wait to try it!

  23. you make it look so easy! I’ve never been brave enough.

  24. I love cornish game hens, and most people don’t realize how cheap they are, I get them at our local Aldi’s at a great price. I have to try your recipe, looks so flavorful!

  25. Your tips on being prepared are almost exactly what I do when hosting a party. If I’m hosting buffet style, several days in advance I lay out all of the serving bowls and platters on the table. If I am hosting a sit down dinner, I set the table a the day before. Anything that I can do in advance I will do! I have made cornish game hens before, but for some reason haven’t made them in a few years. I am so excited that you shared your friend Jenny’s recipe! It looks delicious, and I can’t wait to make it!

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