The Easter Table

Lacquered with a flavorful citrus glaze, these small birds are a beautiful way to celebrate spring.

Citrus-Glazed Cornish Hens, Image by Rachel Johnson


Easy and economical, these birds cook up fast for an applause-worthy presentation.


PREP TIME: 15 Minutes

COOK TIME: 45 minutes to 1 Hour

4 Cornish game hens (20 to 24 ounces each)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Cooking spray

1/4 cup apricot preserves

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, minced

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 orange, zested and juiced (plus more for garnish)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. To prepare the hens, pat birds dry with paper towel; season with salt and pepper. Tie legs of hens together with kitchen twine. Set two wire cooling racks into two foil-lined sheet pans; coat with nonstick cooking spray. Set two birds on each rack.

3. To make the glaze, bring preserves, butter, mustard, garlic, lemon juice and orange juice to a simmer in a small saucepan; stir in zest. Allow to cool slightly.

4. Reserve half-cup of sauce; set aside. Brush birds evenly with glaze.

5. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°F, and the juices run clear.

6. Remove hens from oven; bring oven temperature to a broil. Brush hens with remaining sauce; broil 2 minutes on the lowest rack or until skin is crispy.

7. Transfer to a serving platter; garnish with orange wedges.


Past Issues