Stuffed Cornish Hens with Cranberries and Apples

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.

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. The potatoes are roasted in the same skillet and in an hour you have the perfect Sunday meal.

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!

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!

Yield: 4 servings

Cranberry Apple Stuffed Cornish Hens

Cranberry Apple Stuffed Cornish Hens

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.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 2 - 1 1/2 pound cornish hens
  • 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


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Rinse cornish hens and pat dry. Season liberally with kosher salt and pepper on the outside and inside the cavities.
  3. Mix the apples, cranberries, rosemary, garlic and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a small bowl.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the cavities of the cornish hens.
  5. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and place in a 10 or 12 inch cast iron skillet or appropriate sized baking dish.
  6. Scatter the potatoes around the cornish hens in the skillet.
  7. Drizzle both hens and potatoes with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  8. Cut the butter into small pieces and dot on top of the chicken as well as the potatoes.
  9. 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.
  10. Remove from the oven, let rest a few minutes before carving. Serve with accumulated juices from the bottom of the skillet.



    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      Temp would be the same. Not sure on time, just use a thermometer and roast until internal temperature is 180. It’s probably more like 1.5 hours.

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  5. Jessica


    I made the above last night for my boyfriend and me, and it was SO easy and SO good. For us, the cook time was about 1 hour and 10 minutes, but it came out tender, juicy and he loved it!

    The prep time actually took about 10 minutes (I find that it’s usually longer than the recipe says), so it was super quick, which is great for us since we’re usually exhausted when we get home from work.

    The supermarket did not have cranberries, so I reluctantly used a can, but honestly, it was still great. I also used smart balance instead of butter.

    This was amazing and easy! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

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

  6. jackrokon

    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!

  7. Deanna

    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!

  8. Norma

    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.

  9. Melody Kia

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


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