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Roasted Apricot-Ginger Glazed Game Hens

Scott Phillips

Servings: four.

Pint-size Cornish hens roast more quickly than chicken, but make a simple dinner feel special. A simple glaze of soy sauce, lemon juice, apricot preserves and fresh ginger give these hens a whiff of spring flavor.


  • 2 Cornish hens, 1-1/2 lb. each
  • 4 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on four servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 560
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 300
  • Fat (g): 33
  • Saturated Fat (g): 9
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 8
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 14
  • Cholesterol (mg): 205
  • Sodium (mg): 740
  • Carbohydrates (g): 30
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 35


  • Set a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. With a sharp knife or poultry shears, remove the backbones from the hens and slice through the breastbone, cutting the hens in half. Brush the skin of the hens with 2 tsp. of the sesame oil and set them, skin side up, on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle the skin with 1/2 tsp. salt and several grinds of pepper. Roast until the hens are almost cooked through (an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh should register 165°F), about 25 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tsp. sesame oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring often, until soft and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the preserves, honey, soy sauce, and lemon juice; bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened slightly, 4 to 5  minutes. Dissolve the cornstarch in 1 tsp. water, add to the saucepan, and cook until the mixture thickens, another 1 minute.
  • Brush the hens with the apricot-ginger glaze and continue to roast until the glaze has browned in spots and the thermometer registers 170°F in the thigh, another 5  to 7  minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Serve with a basmati rice pilaf with pistachios and a baby spinach salad.


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Reviews (3 reviews)

  • decardon | 12/22/2019

    Omitted sesame oil and used olive oil. Omitted the ginger and used 2 T finely chopped rosemary. Added 1/2 tsp of aleppo pepper and 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika. Hens were excellent with raving reviews from family and friends. Hens were perfectly cooked and not dried out despite the high temperature. A new fav recipe!

  • MamaGray | 12/05/2014

    Game hens with apricot glaze were a family favorite growing up, so last week I used this and the results were wonderful. My boyfriend raved to his friends, family, coworkers, the mailman, etc! Thank you, Fine Cooking!

  • maha | 11/27/2008

    Moist and very easy to make!

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