Impressive Grilled Cornish Hen Recipe using Butterfly Technique

Butterflied Grilled Cornish Hens
Dairy Free Grain Free Keto Friendly Kid Friendly Low Carb 

Nutrition: 377 Calories | 0.9g Net Carbs | 28.8g Protein | 27.9g Total Fat

Enjoy juicy meat and crispy skin with this easy Grilled Cornish Hen Recipe. Butterflied and perfectly seasoned, these hens make a fun and impressive meal.

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Grilled Cornish Hen Recipe

Cornish hens are a fun and easy way to change up your regular meal rotation. There’s something about these little birds that makes them more special than regular ole chicken. Growing up, we only ate Cornish hens on special occasions, so in my mind they are quite gourmet. Despite their fancy reputation, Cornish hens are very easy to make. These grilled hens are incredibly juicy and delicious, which makes them perfect for a meal that’s aimed to impress.

How to Butterfly a Cornish Hen

Before grilling the birds, first prepare the Cornish hens using the butterfly technique (also called spatchcocking). This helps ensure all the meat cooks evenly and stays juicy. Basically there are two steps to the Butterly technique. First, cut out the backbone. Find the tail of the hen, and then use kitchen shears to cut down both sides of the backbone. Second, turn the hen over, folding it open, and press down in the center to flatten it out. You’ll feel the breastbone crack (and you might hear it too). Discard the backbone or save it to make homemade stock.

How to Spatchcock a Chicken

This is a great video that shows the butterfly (spatchcock) method. They’re using a whole chicken, but it works the same for a Cornish hen. They’re just smaller birds.

Homemade Seasoning Mix

Create a Homemade Seasoning Mix

These hens don’t need much to enhance their flavor, so make a simple homemade seasoning blend. In a bowl combine seasoning salt, garlic powder, onion powder and dried lemon peel. Mix it together and you’re done. You can experiment with some of your other favorite spices too.

Butterflied Cornish Hens with Simple Seasoning

Brush olive oil all over the Cornish hens. Then, liberally season them with your seasoning blend. Turn the hens over and repeat on the other side. Tuck the wingtips under the drumettes, to prevent them from burning. Now your Cornish hens are ready for the grill.

Cornish Hens on the Grill

Grill the Cornish Hens

Once your grill is hot, turn the heat to medium. Start by grilling the hens skin side down so it can get really crispy. After about 10 minutes, turn the Cornish hens over, and turn the heat down to low. Grill for another 15-20 minutes with the lid closed, checking occasionally. The hens are done when the internal temperature is 180°. Finally, let the hens rest for about 5 minutes. Then, cut them in half and serve.

Butterflied Grilled Cornish Hens
Cornish Hen with Asparagus and Cauliflower
Grilled Cornish Hen

Check out these great recipes too: Slow Cooker Cornish Hens and Garlic Lemon Spatchcock Chicken

Impressive Grilled Cornish Hen Recipe using Butterfly Technique

Enjoy juicy meat and crispy skin with this easy Grilled Cornish Hen Recipe. Butterflied and perfectly seasoned, these hens make a fun and impressive meal.

Total Time: 45 min
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 30 min


  • 3 Cornish Game Hens
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp Seasoning Salt
  • 1 tsp Dried Lemon Peel


  1. Place one Cornish hen on a plate or cutting board. Use kitchen shears to remove the backbone. Start at the tail and cut along both sides of the backbone. Open up the hen with the skin side up and press down to flatten the breastbone (you will hear it crack). Repeat with the other Cornish hens.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, onion powder, seasoning salt and lemon peel. Brush the butterflied Cornish hens with olive oil, inside and out. Coat the hens with the seasoning mixture inside and out.
  3. Heat up your grill. Grill the Cornish hens over medium heat. Start with the skin side down. Turn over after about 10 minutes, once the skin is crispy. Turn the heat to low and grill for another 15-20 minutes with the lid closed until the Internal temperature is 180°.
  4. Let the hens rest for 5 minutes. Cut them in half and serve.


Yield: 6 servings, Serving Size: 1/2 a Cornish Hen

Amount Per Serving:  Calories: 377,  Total Fat: 27.9g, Saturated Fat: 7.2g,  Cholesterol: 168.3mg, Sodium: 511mg, Carbohydrates: 1.1g, Fiber 0.2g, Sugars: 0.1g, Protein 28.8g

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