Cornish hens are an excellent choice for any occasion. These little birds are tasty, juicy, and protein-packed and are just the appropriate size for one or two people. They have an unrivaled flavor.
Cornish hens are delicious and simple to prepare a meal that can be served in various ways. But when it comes to what sides to serve with Cornish hens, the options can be overwhelming!
Here are 23 perfect sides to make your next Cornish hen dinner truly special.
In A hurry, want to know What to serve with Cornish Hens then any of these- Roasted Root Vegetables, Mashed Potatoes, Green Salad, Roasted Potatoes, Asparagus, Wild Rice Pilaf, Braised Greens, Baked Beans, Green Beans Almandine, Sweet Potato Fries, Garlic Bread, Biscuits, Potato Salad, Quinoa Salad, Baked Sweet Potatoes, Macaroni & Cheese, Broccoli & Cheese Casserole, Spinach Artichoke Dip, Fruit Salsa & Chips.
What are Cornish Hens, and what do cornish hens taste like?
Cornish hens, also referred to as Rock Cornish Game Hens, are small chickens that weigh between 1-2 pounds.
They have a light flavor with a hint of sweetness and can be prepared in many different ways. The meat is very tender and juicy, making it ideal for roasting or grilling.
The skin will be crisp, and the meat more succulent when cooked properly.
Cornish hens can be stuffed with a variety of ingredients, such as rice, herbs, fruits, or vegetables, for an interesting flavor combination.
The most popular way to enjoy Cornish hens is to roast them whole in the oven. This simple preparation will result in a flavorful dish that always impresses you.
Cornish hens can also be seasoned with spices, rubs, marinades, or sauces to add extra flavor and texture.
23 Best Side dishes to serve with Cornish Hens
1. Roasted Root Vegetables
Roasted vegetables make an excellent complement to the flavor of Cornish hens. You can roast any type of vegetable, such as carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, Turnips, Rutabaga, Parsnips, and onions.
Simply cut them into bite-sized pieces and coat them in olive oil before roasting them in the oven until they’re tender. The vegetables will absorb all of the flavors from the Cornish hens while also giving you a healthy side dish that everyone will love!
2. Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are another easy and classic side dish that goes perfectly with roasted poultry like Cornish hens.
I personally like Yukon Potatoes, Use Yukon gold potatoes for extra flavor, or add garlic for even more depth of flavor! Top off your mashed potatoes with some butter or cheese for an even tastier experience.
3. Greens on Greens
Another tasty and nutritious side dish option is greens. Spinach or kale sautéed with garlic makes for a delicious addition to any meal.
If you want an additional layer of flavor, try adding some diced onion or bell pepper to the mix when you add the garlic. You can also mizzle some olive oil over the greens before serving for an extra burst of flavor.
4. Buttery Veggies
If you’re looking for something more savory than vegetables but not as heavy as potatoes, opt for buttery veggies like green beans or Brussels sprouts.
Start by blanching your vegetables in boiling water until they’re crisp yet tender (about 4 minutes). Then heat some butter in a skillet over medium heat and add your vegetables along with garlic and salt to taste.
Cook everything together for about 3 minutes until everything is coated in buttery goodness! Serve hot, and enjoy!
4. Green Salad
This simple side dish only requires a few ingredients and can easily be customized according to your taste preferences.
For example, you can add nuts or dried fruit for extra flavor and texture. And don’t forget about adding some croutons for crunch!
5. The Perfect Potatoes
Potatoes are always a great side dish because they’re filling and flavorful. If you’re looking for something simple, try roasted potatoes.
Start by cutting russet potatoes into cubes and coating them with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Roast the cubes in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes until they’re golden and crispy.
For an extra flavor boost, top off your potatoes with freshly chopped parsley.
Asparagus is one of the very few vegetables that can stand up to richly flavored dishes like Cornish hens without becoming overpowered.
Roast it in the oven until it’s tender-crisp, and add some lemon juice before serving for an extra zing of flavor!
7. Wild Rice Pilaf
Wild rice pilaf is an excellent way to add texture and flavor to your plate. Plus, it’s a great source of fiber! Make it even more flavorful by adding dried fruit like cranberries or apricots along with herbs like rosemary or thyme.
8. Braised Greens
Braised greens such as kale or collard greens make an excellent side dish when served alongside roasted poultry like Cornish hens.
Simmer them in chicken broth until they become tender, then top them with butter and balsamic vinegar before serving!
9. Baked Beans
Baked beans are always a crowd-pleaser! Add some molasses for sweetness and smokiness or diced bacon for an extra boost of flavor if desired!
Serve this hearty dish alongside your roasted chicken for a complete meal everyone is sure to enjoy!
10. Green Beans Almandine
Green beans almandine is a classic French preparation that will help elevate any meal from ordinary to extraordinary!
Sautéed green beans get topped off with buttery almond slices for crunchy goodness in every bite!
11. Grilled Veggies
Grilled veggies are always a great addition to any plate, thanks to their smoky flavor and crispy texture! Try grilling bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, squash…or whatever else you have on hand!
12. Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet potato fries are another great option when you’re looking to up the ante on your side dish game! Cut into wedges (or matchsticks!), toss in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then bake until golden brown perfection has been achieved!
13. Garlic Bread
Garlic bread adds an extra layer of garlicky goodness when served alongside roasted poultry like Cornish hens, so why not whip up some homemade garlic bread using your favorite recipe?
14. Grilled Zucchini
Grilled zucchini rounds out any plate thanks to its mild flavor, which makes it incredibly versatile when it comes time to pair it with main courses like roasted chicken or turkey.
Soft fluffy biscuits make an excellent accompaniment when served alongside poultry, especially if you brush them lightly with melted butter before baking them in the oven.
16. Potato Salad
Potato salad is another classic side dish that pairs well with poultry dishes such as Cornish hens – especially if you make it with mayonnaise and herbs or spices instead of creamy dressing for a lighter option!
17. Quinoa Salad
Quinoa is a nutritious grain that makes a great side dish when served cold in salads or warm as a pilaf-style dish. Add some fresh herbs and diced vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers to create an exciting twist on traditional potato salad recipes!
18. Green Beans Almandine
Fresh green beans tossed in buttery almonds and garlic make this recipe an easy yet classy side dish that goes perfectly with roasted birds such as cornish hens! Plus, the crunch from the almonds adds texture which contrasts nicely with the tenderness of the bird itself.
19. Baked Sweet Potatoes
For those who prefer something sweet over savory – baked sweet potatoes are always a fan favorite!
Cut them into cubes before baking them in the oven along with cinnamon, honey, and brown sugar to create an irresistible sweetness that contrasts nicely against the savory flavors of roasted poultry like cornish hens… Yum!
20. Macaroni & Cheese
Everyone loves macaroni & cheese – so why not serve it up alongside your cornish hen dinner? Just use whole wheat pasta (or even quinoa pasta!) instead of regular white pasta to add an extra layer of nutrition to this already delicious side dish choice!
21. Broccoli & Cheese Casserole
Broccoli casseroles are usually made with cream-based soups, but this version opts out of that ingredient by using cheese instead – resulting in an incredibly flavorful (not to mention healthier) side dish option that pairs well with roasted meats like cornish hens!
22. Spinach Artichoke Dip
Who doesn’t love dip? This delicious spinach artichoke dip is sure to be a hit at any gathering or family dinner – especially when served alongside roasted birds like cornish hens… Just don’t forget the chips or crackers for dipping purposes.
23. Fruit Salsa & Chips
For something light but still full of flavor – try making a batch of fruit salsa (with mangoes, strawberries, pineapple, etc.) and serve it up alongside some tortilla chips or pita chips for dipping purposes…
It’s fruity yet savory, which makes it the perfect accompaniment for any type of poultry entrée, such as cornish hens!
Now that you have some ideas on what sides go best with Cornish hens, it’s time to get cooking!
Best way to serve Cornish Hens
One of the tastiest ways to serve Cornish Hens is by roasting them. This technique helps the skin become crisp, and the flavor of the meat inside becomes more intense. Roasting also allows for an even cooking temperature throughout the bird.
To begin, preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C. Use a roasting pan big enough to hold the Cornish hens comfortably and line it with parchment paper or aluminum foil. This will help make cleanup easier. Place each hen in the pan, breast side up. Rub oil on the skin of each bird and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and any other desired spices.
Next, stuff the hens with a stuffing of your choice. Stuffing is optional; it is not necessary for roasting Cornish hens. However, if you choose to stuff them, use about ½ cup of stuffing per hen before continuing.
Place the pan with hens in the preheated oven and roast for 40-50 minutes. Check the internal temperature of the hens after 40 minutes by inserting a meat thermometer into the breast and thigh area. The desired minimum internal temperature should be 165°F (74°C).
Once your Cornish hens are cooked to perfection, remove them from your oven and let them rest for at least 10 minutes. This gives the juices time to settle, making them tender and juicy. Serve your roasted Cornish hens with a side dish of your choice, and enjoy!
By following this guide, you can easily roast Cornish hens that are tender and flavorful. Roasting is an easy and fool-proof way to bring out the best in Cornish hens. Try it out and see for yourself!
The Meal Plan – Serve the roasted Cornish hens with steamed vegetables or salad, mashed potatoes, and warm dinner rolls. This is sure to be a blow to your friends and family!
Do you cover Cornish hens when baking?
Yes, Cornish hens can be cooked in the oven or on the grill. When baking, it is recommended to bake them at 400°F for 40-60 minutes per pound.
To prevent dryness and to keep them juicy, consider brushing them with olive oil or melted butter and wrap them in foil before baking. You can also add seasonings of your choice for additional flavor.
How long should I cook my Cornish hen?
When cooking Cornish hens, it is important to ensure that the internal temperature reaches at least 165°F (74°C). This can take anywhere from 40-60 minutes, depending on the size and weight of your hen.
To confirm that the internal temperature has reached the desired level, you can use a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh. Once the temperature has been reached, the hen is ready to be served and enjoyed. Be sure not to overcook your hen, as it can become dry and unappetizing.