Cornish Game Hens Recipe

The stuffing is moist moist and delicious.

The Cornish game hens recipe is a treat, a beautiful presentation which people love – never more than on a special celebration.

That’s the good part. The bad part is the labor, cost and oven space. But we believe it’s worth it – hopefully you will too.

The shrimp stuffing adds a nice spice, and we have used oysters and sausage stuffings as well.


This recipe will feed 50 people, if you are you are serving other snacks, and/or appetizers, dinners, etc. Read about Party Food Quantities and how to plan for the right amounts.

Cornish Game Hens Recipe Shopping List for 50 People:

___25 Cornish game hens. These are sold individually wrapped and frozen.

___4 pounds of cooked, cleaned salad shrimp, 120/pound fresh or frozen – definitely not canned.

___salt, pepper and garlic powder

___4-6 large bags of herb cube stuffing, sold in bags

___6 large cans of chicken broth, or make your own, but DON’T use bullion cubes (they’re all salt and nasty)

___2 large onions – we like Vidalia

___1 package of fresh hearts of celery

___1 large box of Ritz crackers

___1 stick of butter or margarine (1/4 pound)

___1 small can of vegetable oil spray

___4 large disposable aluminum pans 20”x12¾”x2½” Must be this size so that it will fit into the chafing dish.


___ Two bunches of fresh parsley

Procedure for Cornish Game Hens:

Three Days Before the Party:

Move all of the some Cornish Game hens from the freezer to the refrigerator and allow them to thaw.

One Day Before the Party:

The Stuffing

Peel and cut the onions into small pieces – about ¼” squares.

Wash and peel the celery, not using leaves and cut small like the onions.

In a large frying pan, melt the butter and fry the onions and celery until cooked through. Pour them into a large bowl and set aside.

Open the cans of chicken stock and pour them into the bowl with the onion. Also open half the bags of stuffing cubes and carefully add them to the stock stirring it around. Read "Drippy but not Runny" below before opening the other bags.

TIP: This calls for a good-sized bowl, or you can use one of the large full pans that you will probably be using for your chafing dishes. But, if you can’t fit all the stuffing into one pan, make it in two batches.

Open up the "sleves" of Ritz crackers and put them into one or more Zip Lock bags.

Squeeze out about half of the air from the bag, seal it up (check it twice...!) and crush the crackers into broken pieces. It doesn't need to be small like crumbs - pieces is OK.

Now add the 3 pounds of small salad shrimp to the mix. No need to cut them up. Add any liquid from them too.

“Drippy but not runny.” Add all of the chicken stock and also tap water to the stuffing mix, as needed. How much stock/water do you need? This depends on the kind and amount of bread/stuffing you use.

We mix it all together and let it stand for a few minutes so the bread will absorb some of the liquid. Then, pick up a handful of the mixture but don’t squeeze it. Does any liquid drip out?, because some should. Drippy but not runny – that’s how we do it.

Cover the stuffing mixture and refrigerate.

The Cornish Game Hens

Using your heavy sharp knife and a good cutting board, begin to cut the hens in half.

TIP: If you have a very sharp knife, it may be easier for you to cut the hens in half without taking them out of their packaging. The only issue is to make sure you don’t accidentally slice some plastic and mix it into the bird. We like this method, but we do a lot. See which works for you.

Cut each bird in half, right down through the middle. There should be a small bag of internal organs included with each bird. You may want to freeze them and use them in a recipe later or two cook them for chicken stock – or not.

As you cut the birds, keep putting them back into the refrigerator. No need for them to sit out now. Keep cutting until all are halved and back in the fridge.

Stuff the Hens

Take the four 20” large disposable aluminum pans and spray them very well with vegetable release.

With your very clean hands, take a small handful of stuffing and push it into the middle of the uncooked bird.

Place the bird stuffing side down into one of the aluminum pans. You’ll need to fit twelve or thirteen into each pan.

Season the tops of the birds with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Cover each pan tightly with film and refrigerate.

On the Day of the Party:

Preheat your oven to 375°.

TIP: As you can already see, these birds take up a lot of space. They will dominate your oven for 75 minutes. Maybe your neighbor is willing to help out, or perhaps one of your guests lives nearby and can bring a pan or two with them.

Remove them Cornish hens refrigerator about a half an hour before you start to bake them. And a cup of hot water to each pan.

Cover the pans loosely aluminum foil, so that you can easily remove the foil after they’ve been baking for a while.

Into the oven they go, for 90 minutes total. Remove the aluminum foil for the last 15 minutes of baking.

TIP: if you’re going to be serving these hens over a period of time, recover the pans with aluminum foil and turn your oven heat down to 150°, just enough to keep them warm.

Presentation: Your Eyes Eat First

Place the aluminum foil pan right into the chafing dish at your buffet table. Add some fresh parsley around each pan.

Be sure to have a spatula type flat serving tool for your guest to get the birds out of the pan, and remind them that there is stuffing underneath each one.


Wrapped tightly with film, these birds will freeze very well, read to reserve almost as good as the original.

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