Spatchcocked Cornish Hens With Mustard Marinade

Prep Time
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"I love cornish hens. One, they have a delicious sweet taste to them; and, two - they are perfect to entertain with. And, this is a delicious easy marinade for the hen. Now, obviously, you could do this with chicken; but, I just enjoy the change. Add some horseradish mashed potatoes and roasted green beans, for a delicious dinner. Also, when butterflied or spatchcocked, they are quick cooking. But, I do like to let these marinate a few hours if possible. Prep time does NOT include time for the hens to marinade. Note: 1 large hen, usually will feed 2, where are smaller 1 lb hen, is usually just 1."

Original recipe yields 3-4 servings


  • Serving Size: 1 (294.6 g)
  • Calories 385.5
  • Total Fat - 19 g
  • Saturated Fat - 3.1 g
  • Cholesterol - 544.3 mg
  • Sodium - 1744.4 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 9.1 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 1.6 g
  • Sugars - 0.5 g
  • Protein - 43.1 g
  • Calcium - 48.4 mg
  • Iron - 6.7 mg
  • Vitamin C - 8.9 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.2 mg

Step 1

Mustard Marinade ... Add all the ingredients to a small bowl/dish and mix well.

Step 2

Cornish Hens ... Now, if you aren't familiar with this technique, your butcher will be happy to do this. Even those at your local grocery store - you just have to ask. To spatchcock a hen: turn it breast side down on a cutting board. Using heavy duty kitchen shears, cut along each side of the back bone; this runs right down the center from one end to the other. Then using the palm of your hand, flatten if out pushing down. There is a small breast bone or plate right in the center, which is easy to pull out. Then, flip it over (breast side up). At the end by the drumsticks, there is a flap of skin; you need to poke 2 small holes using a knife; and stick the ends of the drumsticks in them. This keeps them in place during cooking.

Step 3

Again, if you uncomfortable doing this, have your butcher, or the guy behind the meat market do this; yes, they are willing and more than happy to help. Also, there are wonderful videos online too.

Step 4

Marinate ... Add your hens to a glass 13x9 pan, and pour the marinate over the chickens. Make sure to rub the marinate over both sides. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate/marinate at least 1 hour, up to 8 hours.

Step 5

Cook ... I prefer to grill mine; but, living in FL, we grill year round. But, probably the most common method is to start on the stove top, and finish in the oven.

Step 6

Note - Make sure you let the hens come to room temperature or to take the chill off. Also, when you first add your hen to the stove or grill, make sure to use all the marinade in the pan - but only right at the start. You then want to throw away any extra marinade.

Step 7

To grill - Brush your grill with oil; and, start out on medium high heat to get a good sear on the first side (skin side), about 5-7 minutes. Then, flip, but set off to the side with lower or indirect heat. This will allow the hen to finish cooking without burning, about 20 minutes until the temperature reaches 165. Keep an eye on them.

Step 8

For the stove top/oven - Use a heavy oven proof pan, I prefer a cast iron or heavy stainless pan. Preheat to medium high heat, add a little oil; then, cook your chicken skin side down, for 5-7 minutes until you get a nice sear. Flip, and transfer to a 425 degree preheated oven, to finish cooking. About 20-25 minutes until the temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Step 9

After your hens are done, cover with foil, and let them rest at least 5 minutes before serving.

Step 10

Serve and ENJOY! ... If serving larger hens, you can cut them in pieces or in half and serve family style; but, if serving smaller 1 lb hens, you can serve 1 hen per person. I always prefer family style. Horseradish mashed potatoes and roasted green beans would be a perfect side dish.

Tips & Variations

No special items needed.



This is 5 star plus - fabulous flavour, lovely moist result. I cut the hen in half for easy serving. It was marinated for 6 hours, roasted at 425f for 25 minutes. The prep time takes way more than 10 minutes. The flavour from the marinade is wonderful. This is now my favourite Cornish Hen recipe.

review by:
(10 Oct 2017)