Cornish hens are slightly sweet and make a tasty alternative to less healthy pork and red meat. They are easy to season and cook fairly quickly because of their small size. One standard-size Cornish hen feeds one to two average adults, so consider making extra if you are feeding a large group of people. Cornish hens are not game birds. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service explains that they are actually young chickens. Therefore, preparation and food safety issues are the same for Cornish hens as for chickens.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and wash and dry your Cornish hens. If you leave the birds wet, you will dilute your seasoning.
Place Cornish hens on a roasting rack in a large pan, breast-side up.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan and then combine with the lemon juice, paprika, thyme, garlic powder, pepper and salt in a bowl.
Pour the seasoning mixture inside each bird's cavity and cover the outside of the hens, rubbing the seasoning mixture into the birds with your clean hands.
Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and then baste with seasoning.
Continue to bake for another 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the hen reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
For extra flavor, baste again about 10 minutes before removing the hens from the oven. Use a clean basting brush to prevent contaminating the birds with bacteria. Rosemary, oregano, basil and onion are other good seasonings for Cornish hens. Experiment until you find the perfect blend for your taste.