Pineapple Cornish Hens

Have you ever gotten a beer can chicken out to your grill, only to realize your grill is too small? Good news! Cornish hens are the perfect alternative to whole chickens, especially if you're cooking for one or entertaining a crowd (they're very elegant). (If you are intimidated by grilling these tiny hens, you can roast them in the oven instead*).


  • 1 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp lime zest
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 pound Cornish game hens
  • 12 oz pineapple juice
Pineapple Cornish Hens
Total Time: 1 hour


Servings: Makes 2 Cornish hens


  1. While the hens are defrosting, combine butter, oil, lime zest, cilantro, salt, sage, and pepper in a small bowl, transfer to a piece of plastic wrap and roll into a cylinder.

  2. Chill  until firm (about an hour).

  3. Prepare pineapple cans by removing the paper labels and scrubbing off any glue left behind.

  4. Open each can and pour out about half.

  5. Rinse and pat dry Cornish hens once they are defrosted.

  6. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder inside and out of each bird.

  7. Slice coins of the chilled butter and place them under the skin all around the bird-don't forget the back, too.

  8. Tuck the wings back, drizzle the birds with oil. Set birds on top of the pineapple juice cans (so can is firmly inside the cavity) and stand chicken upright using the can and legs as a tripod.

To Grill:

  1. Grill over medium heat for approximately 40 minutes, or until internal temperature reads 180°F on an instant read thermometer.

To Bake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Roast for approximately 30 minutes per pound, or until internal temperature reaches 180°F on an instant read thermometer.

  3. To brown outside of chicken, increase temperature to 400°F during the last ten minutes.