Buttered Lemon Garlic Rosemary Cornish Hens

Cornish game hens baked or smoked with fresh garlic and rosemary and lemon for a deliciously juicy and flavorful meal.

This recipe for buttered lemon garlic rosemary Cornish hens is a flavorful and aromatic dish that is sure to impress. The hens are seasoned with a blend of paprika and Italian seasoning, and stuffed with lemon, garlic, and rosemary for a burst of fresh flavor. The hens are basted with melted butter throughout the cooking process, ensuring they stay moist and tender. The end result is a deliciously juicy and flavorful dish that is perfect for any special occasion or family dinner.


  • 2 Cornish hens
  • 1 lemon, cut in 4 quarters
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 4 cloves of garlic, cut in halves
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter


  1. Prepare lemons, garlic, rosemary.
  2. Rinse and pat dry hens. Stuff each cavity with one quarter lemon, 4 halves of garlic cloves, and 1 sprig of rosemary.
  3. Use remaining quarters of lemon to squeeze over the hens.
  4. Lightly season hens with kosher salt and pepper. Then sprinkle with paprika and Italian seasoning blend.
  5. Baste the hens with half of melted butter, leaving other half for basting.
  6. Place the hens in a roasting pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then baste with more butter.
  7. Bake up to 1 more hour or until internal temp reaches 180 degrees and juices run clear. Baste with last of melted butter.
  8. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Prepare lemon wedges, garlic cloves, and rosemary sprigs.

Place hens in roasting pan, ready to stuff.

Stuff the cavities and squeeze lemon juice over the hens.

Season hens with kosher salt, pepper, paprika, and Italian seasoning.

Baste with melted butter and cook until internal temp reaches 180 degrees, about 75 minutes total or until juices run clear.