Baked Cornish Hens are easy to bake and delicious! You can prepare one per person or split a hen in half for two.
Recommended side dishes would be mashed potatoes with homemade chicken gravy made from the drippings and fresh corn on the cob.
keto diet substitutions for the potatoes would be fresh steamed broccoli and cauliflower. The corn on the cob is keto friendly as long as you have completed your first 2 weeks or so.
- 2 Cornish Hens Thawed and Seasoned to Taste (Tony Chachere’s Original works great!)
- Large Baking Dish
- PAM Cooking Spray
- Aluminum Foil
- 1 Cup of Water for the Drippings
- 1 Cup of Water for the Gravy
- 3 tbsps of Corn Starch for the Gravy
Your hens need to be completely thawed before you start. If you don’t have the opportunity to set them in the fridge a couple of days before you’re ready to cook, then soaking them in the sink with cold water will do the trick.
The hens will come in individual vacuum sealed packages. Do not remove packaging until your hens are thawed and you are ready to move them to the baking dish.
It will take 1 or 2 hens 1 1/2 to 2 hours to completely thaw in the cold water. If you are trying to thaw more than that, it may take longer and you may have to change out the water.
You need to make sure there is enough water in the sink to make the hens float and be sure to flip your hens about every 45 minutes to an hour. It is important to make sure the whole bird stays nice and cool while they are thawing.
When the hens have thawed, move on to the next section.
Set your Oven to 350°
Before you take the hens out of the water, go ahead and turn your oven to 350°. Next, drain the sink and remove the hens from the packaging.
As you rinse the hens under cold water, open up the neck and bottom. Place your fingers inside the hen until they touch. Feel around the rib cage for chunks of ice and remove.
Run water freely through the hen to insure it is completely thawed. You can do this with warm water if the hen is still a bit frozen.
Place your hens in the baking dish and season the entire bird. Do not overcrowd your hens. Choose a pan big enough for air to move between each bird so they will cook and brown evenly.
Place breast side up in the pan and liberally spray PAM cooking spray across the top of the breasts and legs. This will keep the breasts from drying out and make the skin nice and crispy.
TIP: Cover your baking dish with aluminum foil before placing your hens to help with clean-up later. Also, add a cup of water to the baking dish just before you set in the oven. The water will mix with the drippings of the hens for a more flavorful gravy.
Cook Hens for 1 1/2 Hours
Cook 2 or 3 hens for 1 1/2 hours. If you are cooking more than 3, add another 15 minutes and check regularly as not to over or under cook.
When your hens have about a 1/2 hour left to cook, go ahead and start your side dishes. The gravy should be the last thing you make.
DING! The Cornish Hens are Ready!
Carefully, take your hens out of the oven. There will be a significant amount of drippings in the bottom of your pan and too much tipping can cause a burn….or worse….you could waste some of the base for your homemade gravy!
Set your pan to the side to allow your hens to rest before you take them out. Go ahead and finish up your side dishes. The hens need to rest at least 10 minutes.
Homemade Chicken Gravy with Drippings
After the hens have rested, place them on a plate and slowly pour your drippings into a sauce pan. You should have enough drippings to make gravy for 3 or 4 people. Each hen you bake should make enough gravy for 2 people.
Bring your drippings to a boil over medium heat. While you are waiting for it to boil, fill a measuring glass with a cup of water and add 3 tbsps of corn starch. Whisk until completely mixed.
As your drippings start to boil, slowly pour some of your corn starch mixture into the sauce pan.
Whisk until it starts to boil again, then keep adding the corn starch mixture a little at a time until desired thickness occurs.Be sure to let your gravy boil before adding more corn starch mixture or your gravy will get too thick.
When you feel your gravy is thick enough, remove from heat. Continue to whisk for a bit until the boiling stops.
Keto Friendly Recipe
Any kind of baked protein will be keto friendly. The drippings from baking the hens used to make the gravy are also considered part of the keto diet.
The corn starch equals 7 grams of carbs per tbsp. The gravy in this recipe yields approximately 4 grams of carbs per serving.
If you choose to have mashed potatoes, you’re looking at 35 grams of carbs per cup. 1 cup of broccoli and cauliflower have about 7 grams of carbs. One large ear of sweet corn on the cob has 25 grams of carbs.
Looking for information on how to start a keto diet for weight loss? We’ve got you covered!
I hope you enjoy this recipe! Please PIN and use the comment box below to share your tips and success with me!