These stuffed cornish hens are filled with cranberries and apples then roasted in the oven over a bed of red potatoes. A simple, elegant meal.

I remember my mom making cornish hens once as a kid and literally freaking out because I thought it was a baby chicken.

She assured me it wasn’t but having just googled the life span of a cornish hen, being slaughtered 30 days after birth sounds pretty much like a baby chicken, mom.

These cranberry apple stuffed cornish hens are roasted in the oven over a bed of red potatoes. It's a simple, elegant fall meal you'll make over and over.
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Makes me wonder how many times I was lied to just to get food down my throat.

Last Saturday night, Brandy came over with Thai takeout, we watched Pitch Perfect, Save the Last Dance and Love and Basketball while drinking red wine until 2am.

When Ulysses walked in the door after his shift at 1am, he found us on the couch reminiscing about how epic the early 2000s were while singing Maxwell’s This Woman’s Work on repeat in a slightly inebriated state.

Welcome to the life of childless 32 year olds.

The next day, I was left with a residual headache and half a bottle of opened wine leftover.

And since the best way to get rid of a hangover headache is to just drink more, that’s what I decided to do.

Stuffed cornish hens with cranberries and apples is a stunning meal that couldn't be easier to put together.

Except in a way a little more age appropriate.

By roasting up a these cranberry apple stuffed cornish hens with some potatoes and eating it alongside a nice glass of wine.

This tart cherry red wine spritzer would’ve been a good accompaniment too.

Cranberry apple rosemary stuffed cornish hens is a winter inspired alternative to roasted chicken, try it for your special weekend meal!

Baby chicken or not, this recipe for stuffed cornish hens is freaking delicious and just perfect for stuffing.

Apples, cranberries and rosemary make this an awesome dish for fall or the winter holidays. The potatoes are roasted in the same skillet and in an hour you have the perfect Sunday meal or low-key holiday dinner. Make sure to check out our Christmas meal-prepping tips and tricks if you’re making this for guests.

If you want an even easier way to make Cornish hens try these sheet pan Cornish Game hens. They’re roasted to crispy perfection along with rhubarb, fennel, potatoes and blood oranges and there’s just 1 pan to clean up afterwards!

You can even make Cornish hens in the air fryer!

They’re ready in less time than the oven and the resulting golden brown crispy skin is to die for. My air fryer has a rotisserie attachment that spins the chicken as it cooks and it’s become my favorite way to cook a whole chicken or Cornish hen now.

Grab a glass of wine and pretend you’re Sanaa Latham in the scene with Maxwell’s song (and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, go watch Love and Basketball) and your night is complete.

Love a good roasted chicken? Check out this apple butter roasted chicken – it’d work great with cornish hens too!

4.37 from 19 votes

Cranberry Apple Stuffed Cornish Hens

Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
These stuffed cornish hens are filled with cranberries and apples then roasted in the oven over a bed of red potatoes. A simple, elegant meal.


  • 2 Cornish hens, about 1 1/2 pounds each
  • 1 small apple, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cranberries, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes
  • salt and pepper


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Rinse cornish hens and pat dry. Season liberally with kosher salt and pepper on the outside and inside the cavities.
  • Mix the apples, cranberries, rosemary, garlic and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a small bowl.
  • Spoon the mixture into the cavities of the cornish hens.
  • Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and place in a 10 or 12 inch cast iron skillet or appropriate sized baking dish.
  • Scatter the potatoes around the cornish hens in the skillet.
  • Drizzle both hens and potatoes with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Cut the butter into small pieces and dot on top of the chicken as well as the potatoes.
  • Place the skillet in the oven and roast for about 1 hour until the skin has turned golden brown and crispy, the potatoes start to shrivel and the internal temperature of the chicken is about 180 degrees.
  • Remove from the oven, let rest a few minutes before carving. Serve with accumulated juices from the bottom of the skillet.


Serving: 1SERVINGCalories: 818kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 42gFat: 53gSaturated Fat: 17gPolyunsaturated Fat: 32gCholesterol: 253mgSodium: 298mgFiber: 5gSugar: 8g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American


Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I’m trying this recipe for Christmas based on the simple fact that not only have you mentioned Love and Basketball, but because you also recommended to rinse the hens. I trust you implicitly! Thank you!

  2. I made this last night in lieu of turkey, as my family wasn’t doing a big holiday this year. I’m vegetarian but often cook for meat-eaters and this seemed perfect replacement for the usual giant turkey. We used fresh cranberries and local, tart apple. Everyone said it was great. I forgot to take pictures, which is too bad because it came out to look very nice… but everyone ate it all right away. Thanks!

  3. This is just the right recipe I have been scouring the internet for! I’m planning to make this for my small gathering at Thanksgiving this year! I was happy to see the exclusion of a bread or gluten laden stuffing! The apples and cranberries are simple but perfect and I think I will serve on a bed of herbed cauli-rice. Thank you so much for sharing and I’ll be sure to report back with feedback. :)

  4. I made this tonight. But I sautéed the apples with onions and a little pancetta. It came out great! Thank you so much!

  5. This not only looks amazing but it is delicious. I used for Cornish hens and it works in a small whole chicken as well. I had to use dried cranberries because the fresh are seasonal.

  6. Made these tonight for Christmas Dinner! I didn’t use the apples and cranberry as my husband was not a fan of the idea, instead I made traditional stuffing and stuffed the hens with that instead but I used the oil/rosemary/garlic and salt and pepper on the outside. It was delishous! My husband ate his whole hen and my 3 year old ate almost a whole hen! Thanks for sharing this recipe and Merry Christmas!

  7. Wow, perfect timing! I just came into a giant box of frozen cornish game hens that need to be cooked up. I’m definitely going to use this recipe. Your pictures are fantastic!

    1. honestly, I don’t remember. Probably granny smith but it doesn’t matter. Use whatever you like/have.