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How to cook Cornish Game Hens (Crockpot Recipe)

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Slow Cooker Cornish Hen –  fall of the bone juicy and delicious whole chicken made right in your crockpot. Fresh rosemary, garlic, onion powder, paprika, and thyme simmer in a chicken broth and butter stock for a mouthwatering, flavor-infused chicken like no other. 

overhead shot of two cornish game hens in a crockpot.

Crockpot Cornish Hens

Looking for an easy way to cook cornish game hens? Try this crockpot recipe! All you need is a few simple ingredients and a slow cooker. This dish is perfect for a busy weeknight meal and great for meal prep.

No need to go and spend double on a precooked cornish hen when you can make two in your crockpot for the price of one.  

This slow cooker recipe is simple and straightforward, but yields some of the most tender and juicy chicken you will ever taste. In this recipe, we will be using butter and a mixture of dried and fresh herbs and spices to create a delicious and flavorful meal.

The best part is that it only takes a few minutes to prep, so you can have dinner on the table without spending hours in the kitchen. Let’s get started!

Why you’ll love this Cornish Hen Recipe

  • Flavor packed – this dish is full of delicious flavor thanks to the herbs and spices used.
  • Easy prep – only a few minutes of prep time is needed for this recipe.
  • Slow cooker friendly – this recipe can be made in a slow cooker, so it’s perfect for busy weeknights or meal prepping.
  • Tender and juicy – the chicken cooks slowly in the crockpot and results in some of the most delicate and juicy chicken you will ever taste.
  • Cost-effective – Save on buying precooked whole chicken in the deli. You get twice the meat for the same price as one deli chicken.
boned chicken on a plate next to a cornish hen.

Equipment you’ll need to make this crockpot Cornish Hen Recipe

This is one of the best things about this recipe – virtually no clean-up! All you will need is a crockpot and some basic kitchen supplies.

  • Slow Cooker – This has been my slow cooker of choice for years. I love that it switches to WARM after the set cook time.

Ingredients for your Cornish Game Hen

Below is a list of ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card with measurements.

CORNISH HENS – A cornish hen is basically a small chicken, so you’ll need two. If you have a whole, bone-in chicken, you can also use that.
ONION – One whole onion, quartered. White onion gives good flavor but yellow can also be used.
CHICKEN BROTH – To add moisture, you’ll add chicken broth to the bottom of the slow cooker.
BUTTER – Again for moisture and flavor, you’ll add pieces of butter all over the chicken.
SEASONINGS – I used garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, ground thyme, fresh rosemary, and salt & pepper. The hen is a blank canvas and can be seasoned with whatever you prefer, the method stays the same.

How to cook Cornish Game Hens in the crockpot

STEP ONE: First, quarter the onion and lay it into the slow cooker. Top with the chicken broth.

STEP TWO: Then, season the hens with garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, ground thyme, salt and pepper. Place it into the slow cooker on top of the onions and broth.

STEP THREE: Next, add the cubed butter all over the top and sprig of rosemary. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 6 hours.

STEP FOUR: Finally, remove the hens from slow cooker and place them under the broiler to brown and crisp up the skin before serving. This step is optional but recommended.

collage of 3 photos showing raw cornish game hens in a crockpot.

How to store & reheat leftover cornish hen

For storing, you have two options – you can either leave it on the bone or shred it.

If you leave it on the bone, wrap it well in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for up to four days.

If you shred it, place it in an airtight container or storage bag and store it in the fridge for up to four days.

You can also freeze the shredded chicken for up to four months. This is one of my favorite things about this recipe; it’s great having precooked shredded chicken to pull out of the freezer, especially for busy weeknights when you forget to pull something out. It’s great for making sour cream chicken enchiladas or chicken fajita casserole.

To reheat, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place shredded chicken on a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil. Bake for about 15 minutes until heated through, and serve immediately.

What to serve with Cornish Game Hen

This dish is excellent served over rice or with a side of mashed potatoes, green beans, corn on the cob, etc. It’s so versatile that you can pretty much pair it with anything!

Finish your meal off and really wow your family with a sour cream chocolate bundt cake or a butter pecan bundt cake!

overhead shot of cornish hens in a slow cooker topped with rosemary.

How To Cook Cornish Game Hens FAQs

Can I make this recipe in the oven?

Absolutely! You’ll want to use a dutch oven with a lid or a deep baking dish and cover it tightly with aluminum foil. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake for about an hour and a half or until the chicken is cooked through (165 degrees F with a meat thermometer).

Can I use bone-in, skin on whole chicken instead of cornish game hens?

Yes! You can use either one; just prepare the chicken the same way.

Can I use a different type of spice?

You can definitely change up the spices to your liking. Some other great options are poultry seasoning, smoked paprika, lemon pepper, or cajun seasoning. Enjoy!

Is cornish game hen the same as chicken?

The biggest difference between the two types of chickens is when they are slaughtered (we just got dark). Cornish hens are smaller because they only are raised until 4-5 weeks so they never reach full size.

This means that the cornish hens are very lean and have a lower fat content.

Do cornish hens taste different than chicken?

Not really, most people aren’t able to tell the difference in taste.

Need more crockpot chicken recipes? Try these:

Crock Pot King Ranch Chicken
Slow Cooker Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Soup
Slow Cooker Creamy Italian Chicken

Click here for my entire collection of slow cooker recipes.

two cornish hens in a crockpot topped with rosemary sprig.

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overhead shot of two cornish game hens in a crockpot.

Crockpot Cornish Hens

Melissa Williams
Slow Cooker Cornish Hen –  fall of the bone juicy and delicious whole chicken made right in your crockpot. Fresh rosemary, garlic, onion powder, paprika, and thyme simmer in a chicken broth and butter stock for a mouthwatering, flavor-infused chicken like no other.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 678 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 2 small cornish game hens
  • 1 large onion quartered
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup butter cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary

Instructions
 

  • Quarter the onion and add it to the bottom of the crockpot. Pour in the chicken broth.
  • Sprinkle the cornish hens on both sides with the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, ground thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place the hens on top of the onion and chicken broth.
  • Add the butter pieces all over and around the chicken.
  • Top the chicken with the sprig of rosemary.
  • Cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 6 hours.
  • Optional: remove the chicken from the crockpot, and place under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up and brown before serving.

Notes

Oven Directions
Use a dutch oven with a lid or a deep baking dish and cover it tightly with aluminum foil. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake for about an hour and a half or until the chicken is cooked through (165 degrees F with a meat thermometer).

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 678kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 40gFat: 55gSaturated Fat: 23gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 289mgSodium: 432mgPotassium: 636mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 1451IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 49mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  1. Cynthia says

    5 stars
    Sounds wonderful! But what can you use the leftover broth for?

    • Melissa Williams says

      You could turn it into a gravy if you wanted.

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