Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross
Total Time
1 Hour 20 Mins
4 servings (serving size: 1/2 hen)

Ginger gives the sweet-tart cherry glaze a little bite atop roasted Cornish game hens.

How to Make It

Preheat oven to 400°. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet; coat rack with cooking spray. Combine preserves, port, ginger, vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook 9 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard giblets and necks from hens. Rinse hens with cold water; pat dry. Remove skin; trim excess fat. Working with 1 hen at a time, tie ends of legs together with twine. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under hen. Sprinkle evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Set on wire rack on baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Brush hens with cherry mixture; bake 40 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the meaty part of thigh registers 165°, brushing with cherry mixture every 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Let stand 5 minutes. Remove twine; split hens in half lengthwise.

Ratings & Reviews


September 05, 2016
This is really great.  I forgot to put foil in the bottom of the pan and now I'm regretting it (pan is crusted) but otherwise this is a great dish.  My teenager isn't a huge fan of game hens so next time I may just get a whole chicken and use the sauce to baste that.  I also don't see any reason why I couldn't grill this on our Traeger and save on the messy pan.  Wonderful flavors even without the skin.  Perfect with a lovely pinot noir.

RBN1122's Review

June 28, 2010
I didnt give this 5 stars because of the time needed to continually baste the birds. It was worth it though, the meat was juicy and very flavorful.

Harrijc's Review

March 19, 2012
Excellent flavor and easy to prepare. It could use a little more spice so next time I'll increase the ginger a bit.

sedutta's Review

January 05, 2010
This was an easy recipe, especially for a "fancy" dinner. I made this for Christmas Eve and it was a tasty hit. The hens I bought had already been split, so I didn't have to do much prep work. The only thing I modified was that I brushed the hens with the cherry glaze every 10 minutes. It turned out great!

mmadgirl's Review

December 09, 2014

jacquieM's Review

September 05, 2010
Good and moist. Nice not to have to deal with skin while eating...but prefer my recipe using marmalade and OJ.

mimseylamimosa's Review

August 24, 2013
Excellent recipe. I double and triple the sauce portion of the recipe so that there's a gravy to go with the chicken.

mrmacrae73's Review

February 26, 2010
Simply fantastic and fun to make. I used a roaster oven and the result was very juicy, tender and flavorful dinner!

springhilllad's Review

March 25, 2012
Excellent taste. Followed directions exactly. However, allow one bird for the males eating.

EllenDeller's Review

November 27, 2009
Very easy to make and very tasty. I followed the recipe exactly and it worked out with no problems. I might use foil on the bottom of the pan next time because the glaze was difficult to remove from the pan. We had these on thanksgiving with cornbread stuffing and brussel sprouts with pancetta and figs.