Grilled Cornish Hens with Chimichurri

Grilled Cornish hens with chimichurri are a simple and easy summertime meal. Not needing a marinade they can go straight on the grill and are ready in less than 45 minutes. 

My father is the one that use to serve Cornish hens when my brother and I were little. This is one of my favorite ways to prepare them since it is so easy and doesn’t take a lot of time. They make for a great relaxed meal but work well when your friends and family come over. The best part is that they make excellent leftovers if you happen to have any but I highly doubt that will be the case here. 

In this recipe

While there are a lot of ingredients for this recipe they are easy to combine and there is very little prep especially if you have a food processor or blender. 

Cornish hens: these are the star of the show and are very young chickens. 

Honey: this will create a light glaze on the hens when they cook and add a little sweetness. 

Parsley: this is part of the chimichurri and will stay green even in contact with the vinegar and oil. 

Cilantro: fresh and crisp this is the other main ingredient in the chimichurri. 

Ingredients for grilled Cornish hens on a wooden cutting board
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Spatchcock the hens

To spatchcock a chicken is to removed the backbone and flatten it. This makes the cooking time reduce significantly which is what makes this recipe so wonderful. Starting with the breast side down take the kitchen shears and cut on either side of the backbone. Then continue down the entire length of the backbone. Repeat this with the other side of the backbone and remove it. Then you will want to place the cut side down and press down until the hen lays flat. You might hear some bones crack and that is ok.

Glaze in a mixing bowl
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Cut game hens on a cutting board
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Cornish hens on a grill
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Grilled Cornish hens
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Mixing the glaze

I use the term glaze loosely here since it might be a little thick. When you brush it on the hens it might not brush on easily and that is ok. As the hens cook the glaze will thin. This is also the reason that you don’t want to start with the skin side down when cooking these. If you do that the skin will scorch as well as the herbs and spices not seasoning the hen. 

Cornish hens on a slate plate
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Making grilled Cornish hens

Like I just mentioned one of the first things that you will do is cook the hens skin side up. This will prevent the scorching of the skin due to the honey. When the hens are almost done, which is about 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the hen. Then you will flop it over to get those gorgeous grill marks for about 5 minutes. Then once they are nice and ready top with the chimichurri for a fantastic meal. 

Close up of Cornish hens on a slate plate
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Looking for other chicken recipes?

3 grilled Cornish hens
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Grilled Cornish Hens with Chimichurri Sauce

Spatchcocked Cornish hens grilled to perfection and topped with chimichurri sauce.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 770 kcal


  • Food processor
  • Pastry brush
  • Grill
  • Tongs


  • 3 Cornish hens

Seasoned glaze

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • ½ tablespoon paprika
  • ½ tablespoon garlic powder
  • ½ tablespoon oregano
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon pepper


  • ½ cup cilantro chopped
  • ½ cup parsley chopped
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 shallot minced
  • tablespoon garlic about 4 cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 serrano pepper


  • Heat the grill to 350°F or 177°C.
  • In a mixing bowl combine the 2 tablespoons olive oil, honey, lime zest, lime juice, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, ½ tablespoon salt, and pepper.
  • Cut the spine out of the Cornish hens and flatten. Brush the seasoned glaze over the hens.
  • Spray or brush the grill with oil and place the hens on the grill skin side up. Cook for 15-20 minutes and then flip over for 5 minutes. The internal temperature should be 165°F or 74°C.
  • While the hens are cooking in a food processor combine all of the chimichurri ingredients and blend until everything is finely chopped and mixed.
  • Once the hens are ready top with the chimichurri and serve


Serving: 1servingCalories: 770kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 39gFat: 63gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 10gMonounsaturated Fat: 37gCholesterol: 227mgSodium: 577mgPotassium: 631mgFiber: 1gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 801IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 50mgIron: 3mg
Nutrition Disclaimer*
Keyword Chimichurri, Game Hens, Grill
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Grilled Cornish hens Pinterest pin
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1 thought on “Grilled Cornish Hens with Chimichurri”

  1. 5 stars
    I like this recipe, it is simple and easy to make if you have the ingredients, the chicken looks awesome and juicy definitely packed with flavor, and something you would enjoy!

5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

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