Gluten Free Cornish Hens

Update: I wrote this post in April of 2020, at the height of the pandemic.  We are so thankful that those days are (hopefully) behind us, and we can celebrate the holidays with family again.  I debated rewriting the introduction, to remove references to this point in time, but decided to leave it as is for now, as a reminder to cherish our family gatherings and take nothing for granted.

Like so many this year, we will be spending Easter at home and practicing social distancing.  Plans to invite family over, go visiting or eat at a restaurant are all on hold.  I hope that everyone is staying healthy and keeping their spirits up while we wait for this virus to recede.

I have been passing the time doing some deep cleaning and home reorganization.  But my happy place is and always will be the kitchen.  So, I’m taking advantage of the extra hours to create some delicious quarantine cuisine that I wouldn’t normally have time to make!  Today’s post is a special dinner that you can make at home for one, two or more.  Easter is going to be different this year, but it can still be delicious!

A single Cornish Hen should yield 2 servings, or for hearty appetites plan on one hen each.  For this meal I borrowed some inspiration from my Whole Roast Chicken recipe as well as my Thanksgiving Turkey Stuffing.  The result, a delicious, flavorful and very moist chicken dinner, completely gluten free.


  • 2 Cornish hens
  • 1/2 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. each, rosemary and thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the stuffing:

  • 2 strips of bacon, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 cup onion, small dice
  • 1/3 cup celery, small dice
  • 1/3 cup apple, small dice
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • gluten free sausage seasoning
  • 1/4 cup gluten free seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp. gluten free chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste


Cook the bacon and drain on paper towel, reserving the fat in the skillet.

Add 1 tbsp. butter to the skillet with the bacon fat and begin cooking the onion, celery and apple.  Sprinkle with sausage seasoning.  Chop the bacon and add it back to the pan, and let it cool slightly while you prep the hens.

Place the hens in an empty sink.  Remove the gizzards from the cavity, rinse the hens inside and out with cold water and place in a baking dish coated with cooking spray.  I used a 9″ x 13″ Pyrex dish.

Wash the sink thoroughly and now we’ll finish the stuffing.  Stir in 1/4 cup breadcrumbs and about 2 tbsp. chicken broth, just enough to bring the stuffing together.  Gently spoon the stuffing into each hen.

Mash together the softened butter, rosemary and thyme.  Rub the hens all over with the herb butter, be sure to get under the legs and wings and place a pat under the skin.  Season with salt and pepper.

Use twine to tie the legs together and wrap another strand around the center of the bird to secure the wings close to the body.  Add 1/2 large onion, 1 carrot and 1 potato to the pan.

Roast for 70 minutes at 350º or until the internal temperature reaches 165º.

Broil on low for 5 minutes to get more color on the skin.

Aren’t they beautiful?  Whether you are dining solo or with those you love most, I hope you find some gluten free meal inspiration for your holiday table!  May your home be filled with Easter blessings and the hope that we will soon be together again with all our family and friends.

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