Lemon-Rosemary Cornish Hens

By ​Carolyn Williams, PhD, RD​ | November 4, 2020 | Rally Health

Lemon-Rosemary Cornish Hens

Serves 4

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Many holiday meals often center around turkey, but Cornish hens are equally dramatic and a great option to consider if you’re serving a smaller crowd. Their smaller size also means they need to go in the oven only about 1 hour prior to serving, compared with a large turkey, which may require 4 to 5 hours to cook. Leave the skin on while baking to keep the poultry moist and flavorful. Then, remove before carving and serving. 


3 lemons, divided

2 sprigs rosemary, halved

2 (1¼ to 1½ lb) Cornish hens 

1 ½ Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 Tbsp minced garlic

½ tsp kosher salt, divided

½ tsp pepper, divided


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 

2. Cut two lemons into ½-inch-thick slices. Place lemon slices in the bottom of an 11x7-inch baking dish, and top with rosemary spring halves. Place hens, breast side up, on top of lemons and rosemary. 

3. In a small bowl, grate remaining lemon to get ½ tsp zest, and squeeze to get 2 tsp juice. Add oil, rosemary, garlic, and 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper. Rub oil mixture over hens and under skin. Sprinkle top of hens with remaining 1/4 tsp salt and pepper. 

4. Bake hens at 450 degrees for 45 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the thigh reads 165 degrees. Let stand 10 minutes. Remove skin from hens before cutting. 

NUTRITION FACTS (per ½ cooked hen): Calories 200; Total Fat 10g (Saturated Fat 2g); Cholesterol 120mg; Sodium 250mg; Total Carbs 1g (Dietary Fiber 0g, Total Sugars 0g, Added Sugars 0g); Protein 27g.


Rally Health

Already a Rally member? Please log into Rally for more.

Keep Exploring

Would you like to see more? Explore


Articles on Rally Health’s website are provided for informational purposes only, as a free resource for the public. They are not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Rally Health does not accept solicitations or compensation from any parties mentioned in the articles, and the articles are not an endorsement of any providers, experts, websites, tools, or financial consultants, services, and organizations.