Keto Crispy Cornish Hen + Video

Keto Crispy Cornish Hens with delicious low-carb roasted vegetables is the perfect healthy one-pan meals when you want to make a splash!

These beautifully roasted Cornish hens are perfect for special occasions, holidays, dinner parties, or date nights at home.

In this article you will find:

  • How to make the skin crispy on a Cornish hen.
  • What to do if you forgot to defrost your Cornish hens.
  • How to roast vegetables with your Cornish hens.
  • How to prep your Cornish hens the night before.
  • What spices to use on Cornish hens.
A collage of pictures that show different stages of keto crispy Cornish hens being made.

Keto Crispy Cornish Hens

If you have been wanting to try your hand at cooking a Cornish hen now is the perfect time to try it! You will love this incredibly simple recipe that will let you cook a Cornish hen so that it is flavorful, moist, and has perfectly crispy skin.

It is the perfect way to impress your loved ones or guests with minimal effort.

A Cornish hen is a small hen that usually weighs between 1-2 lbs (500g-1kg). Each hen is the perfect size for an individual serving, but can also be cut in half to serve two people.

Cornish game hens are not baby hens. They are a small breed of hens that at maturity are only 1-2 lbs.

So you have someone in your house that is wary of eating a baby hen, rest assured, they are just small hens.

How To Make The Skin Crispy On A Cornish Hen

One keto crispy Cornish hen on a white place with roasted vegetables on the side. Another plate with a hen and vegetables is in the background.

The key to making the skin crispy on a Cornish hen is to cover the skin with butter or olive oil before baking.

The skin on a Cornish hen is very thin so you do not need to pull the skin away from the breast and place the oil under the skin as you might on a whole chicken.

Simply brush on olive oil over covering the chicken in softened butter is enough.

A close up of two Cornish hens smother with butter and seasoned in a white baking pan. Chopping vegetables surround the hens in the pan.

I prefer to use butter when cooking a Cornish hen. I have found that butter traps the moisture in bird better than olive oil and add a lovely dimension of flavor.

However, olive oil works just as well to crisp the skin on your hens.

What To Do If You Forgot To Defrost Your Cornish Hens

Two defrosted Cornish hens resting in a white baking pan ready to be seasoned.

I usually place my hens in the refrigerator a day or two before I am going to cook the hens to defrost. However, sometimes we just forget to defrost our meat before we need it.

Luckily, a cornish hen doesn’t take as long to defrost as a whole chicken or turkey.

If you forgot to put the hen in the refrigerator the day before you can alternatively defrost the hen in a bowl of cold water in your kitchen sink.

The hen will take about 90 minutes to defrost in cold water. Place each hen in a separate bowl so that they defrost faster. This is a great option if you remembered to defrost it halfway through the day and are not in a rush.

However, if you realize your hen is still in the freezer shortly before it’s time to cook the hen you are still not out of luck. You will simply need to cook your hens for about 30-40 minutes longer until it is cooked through.

ALWAYS test the thickest part of the meat to ensure it is thoroughly cooked throughout. You cannot eat any poultry that is remotely raw.

How To Roast Vegetables With Your Keto Crispy Cornish Hens

Brussels sprouts, yellow squash, and red radishes tossed together in a clear glass mixing bowl with melted butter, salt, and pepper.

Roasting low-carb vegetables in the same pan as your hens give your vegetables amazing flavor.

Since the vegetables will be cooking for a long period of time it is important to choose vegetables that will hold their integrity while they cook. You don’t want mushy vegetables.

My favorite low-carb vegetables to roast are radishes, Brussels sprouts, and yellow squash. You get a beautiful melody of colors, they hold their texture well, and taste great together.

To roast your vegetables with your hens toss them in melted butter so that they will crisp. Then spread them out in the same pan as your hens being sure they are not too crowded in the pan.

If you are cooking frozen hens delay adding the vegetables to hens until hens are halfway done cooking so that the vegetables do not overcook.

More Low-Carb Dinner Recipes …

How To Prep Your Keto Crispy Cornish Hens The Night Before

Seasoned uncooked Cornish hens in a white baking pan. Chopped vegetable are in a clear glass bowl in the background.

So, you are on top of your game right now and want to prep ahead of time. Great! Your hens and vegetables can be prepped up to 24 hours in advance.

Just prep and store your hens in separate containers in the refrigerator.

This will prevent cross-contamination between the vegetables and hens until you are ready to cook them.

What Spices To Use On Keto Crispy Cornish Hens

Keto Crispy Cornish Hens fully cooked in a white pan surrounded by roasted low-carb vegetables.

If you have a favorite dry rub for poultry you want to use on your hens feel free to use it. However, if you are not sure what you want to use I suggest keeping your seasoning simple but generous with onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and paprika.

The measurements for the seasonings below might seem small but remember so are your hens. So you can cover your hens with seasonings and not use a whole lot of seasoning.

The key is to make sure your entire hen is seasoned.

Some other seasoning options is to add fresh herbs, lemon juice, or ginger to your hens. I love sprinkling ground ginger over poultry.

Just keep in mind that carbs in seasonings can add up quickly, 1/4 tsp of any additional seasoning your add should be plenty to cover two hens.


More recipes you may like:

Keto Crispy Cornish Hens

You will love how quickly this beautiful one pan keto crispy Cornish hens meal comes together.

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Cuisine: Gluten Free, Grain free, Keto, LCHF, Low Carb, No Sugars, Wheat Free

Diet: Diabetic, Gluten Free

Course: Dinner

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Servings: 2 people

NET carbs: 3.3g

Author: Libby Jenkinson

Recipe Video (tap to play)

Calculate ingredients

Adjustable servings >> 2 people


Roasted Vegetables (optional)


  • Place your hens in the center of your baking pan ensuring that your hens are not touching. Pat the hens dry with a paper towel. Then, rub the softened butter over each hen.

  • In a small bowl mix together your seasonings to make a rub for your hens. Sprinkle all the seasoning over the hens to cover the entire hen.

  • Combine all your chopped vegetables together in a bowl. Cover with the melted butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired. Next, spread the vegetables around the hens in your baking pan.

  • Cover your baking pan with foil and bake the hens at 190°C/375°F for 55-60 minutes or until the internal temperature of your hens is 70°C/165°F. The foil should be removed from the hens during the last 15 minutes of cooking to allow the skin to crisp.

  • Finally, remove the hens and let the hens rest for 10 minutes before serving to allow the juices in the hens to settle. Enjoy!


The nutrition panel is for 1 Cornish hen including butter and spices. Vegetables are optional and the choice of roasted vegetables will depend on your personal preference.


Nutrition Facts

Keto Crispy Cornish Hens

Amount Per Serving (1 Cornish hen)

Calories 1006 Calories from Fat 671

% Daily Value*

Fat 74.5g115%

Sodium 375.5mg16%

Potassium 1062mg30%

Total Carbohydrates 1.3g0%

Fiber -2g-8%

Sugar 0.1g0%

Protein 77.5g155%

Vitamin A 959IU19%

Vitamin B1 0.3mg20%

Vitamin B6 1.3mg65%

Vitamin B12 1.5µg25%

Vitamin C 2.3mg3%

Vitamin D 0.2µg1%

Vitamin E 1.6mg11%

Vitamin K 13.8µg13%

Calcium 49.5mg5%

Folate 13.5µg3%

Iron 3.5mg19%

Magnesium 81mg20%

Selenium 53.1µg76%

Zinc 5.2mg35%

NET carbs 3.3g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Cooked Keto Crispy Cornish Hens in a white baking pan surrounded by low-carb roasted vegetables. The legs of the hens are tied together with twine.

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