How to Cook Cornish Hens with Wild Rice Stuffing

Four roasted cornish hens with an apricot glaze sit on top of a wild rice stuffing on black plates. A black bowl of wild rice stuffing sits next to it.

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5 from 3 reviews

This dish is the perfect alternative to your Holiday turkey. Each guest has their own individual bird. The apricot glaze adds a nice dimension of flavor along with the wild rice stuffing which has dried apricots and cranberries.



Wild Rice Stuffing

  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Large Sweet Onion, chopped
  • 1 cup Celery, chopped
  • Kosher Salt, to taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • 4 large Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 4 cups Cooked Wild Rice
  • 8 oz Dried Apricots, chopped
  • 8 oz Dried Craisins
  • 4 tablespoons Slivered Almonds

Cornish Hens

  • 4 thawed Cornish Hens
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons each Fresh Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, chopped
  • 2 heaping cups Wild Rice Stuffing (above)
  • 18 oz Apricot Preserves
  • 1/2 cup Triple Sec


Wild Rice Stuffing

  • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan and sauté 1 large chopped onion and 1 cup of chopped celery over medium heat until they are soft, approximately 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste as the veggies cook.
  • Add 4 large minced garlic cloves and cook for one more minute. Remove from the heat.
  • Combine 4 cups of wild rice, 8 ounces of chopped apricots, 8 ounces of dried craisins, 4 tablespoons of slivered almonds with the sautéed veggies. Set aside.

Glazed Stuffed Cornish Hens

  • Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  • Rinse 4 thawed Cornish hens inside and out and dry with paper towels.
  • Generously salt and pepper the inside of the hens. Shake out any excess seasonings.
  • Fill the cavity of the birds with a heaping 1/2 cup of wild rice stuffing.
  • Tie the legs of each bird together and tuck the wings under.
  • Rub the 2 tablespoons of olive oil on all sides of the hens.
  • Generously season the hens on all sides with salt and pepper.
  • Combine 2 tablespoons each of fresh chopped sage, rosemary, and thyme and rub into the olive oil on all sides.
  • Place the breast side up on a wire rack in a shallow pan.
  • Mix together an 18-ounce jar of apricot preserves and 1/2 cup of triple sec. Baste each bird.
  • Roast for 80-90 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160° F in the thigh.
  • While the birds are cooking, continue to baste every 20 minutes with the apricot glaze. If they start to burn, tent foil over them.
  • Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes of cooking. At this time place the remaining stuffing in an ovenproof pan and place it in the oven to warm.
  • Remove the birds from the oven and tent more foil over the top and let them sit for 10-15 minutes.
  • Serve with the remaining wild rice stuffing.
  • ENJOY!!!


  • You can find Cornish hens in the freezer section of your grocer's meat department.
  • One of the things that I would recommend for the wild rice stuffing is to make sure the rice is cooked until the grain has burst open a bit and it's tender and fluffy.
  • Unlike regular rice, wild rice does not absorb all the water, therefore, you will need to drain the excess liquid from the rice. 
  • Roast the birds uncovered and baste them often. If they begin to burn, cover them with foil but remove the foil for the last 15 minutes of roasting.
  • Roast the hens on a wire rack inside a shallow baking sheet to elevate the birds so that the thighs cook as quickly as the breasts.
  • Let the Cornish hens rest for 10-15 minutes once you pull them out of the oven. This ensures that you will have juicier meat. If you cut into them too soon, all the juices will run out and the meat will be much drier.
  • Do not overcook. Use an instant-read digital thermometer to determine when the hens are done cooking. It should register 160°F in the thickest part of the thigh. The temperature will continue to rise about five degrees after you pull it from the oven. Cornish Hens are fully cooked at an internal temperature of 165°F.


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