This bacon-wrapped maple baked cornish game hen recipe is an easy dinner that only has three ingredients! Easy and delicious, this cornish hen recipe is guaranteed to become a family favorite!

Two bacon wrapped cornish hens on a platter.

Are you still wondering what to make for your holiday dinner?

If you don’t need a large turkey, why not consider baking a cornish hen for your holiday dinner? I guarantee it will turn out as moist and flavorful as a turkey! (And a bonus, you can easily cook two game hens in your oven at the same time!)

This recipe has only three simple ingredients: bacon, maple syrup, and Cornish game hens. It won’t get much easier than this. If you are entertaining for the holidays or looking for an easy dinner recipe, this is for you. There are many recipes for Cornish game hens, but this one is wrapped in bacon, making it hard to resist.

If you are looking for more delicious dinner recipes, check out all of my gluten free dinner recipes!

What is a Cornish Game Hen?

A Cornish game hen is a hybrid of a chicken that is a lot smaller! These birds are sold whole in most grocery stores.

Our family is enjoying our first experience with cornish game hens. Have you tried baking one of these hens yet? They look like teeny, tiny little chickens, and they have just enough meat to fill up one adult or one very hungry growing teenager!

Usually, I hate when the house smells like what I cook, but I can forgive bacon the bacon smells. Bacon makes everything great, including my house :-). (I suspect our dog won’t agree…it probably made her very tempted to steal a game, hen!)

There is an added bonus to the smell of bacon cooking. It is quite magical. Did you know bacon smells make teenagers come out of their caves? (If you have teens, you know exactly what I mean!!)

Close up of the front of a Bacon Wrapped Maple Cornish Game Hen.

My teens’ reactions were actually quite funny. I could hear their desk chairs move. Then, doors opened…and I sprinted downstairs. They were so excited to try a Cornish game hen. My son, the die-hard carnivore, ate a whole hen by himself! I hope you love this recipe as much as my family did :-).

Step-By-Step Directions:

Two cornish game hens in a baking tin with maple syrup.

Step 1: Rub the game hens with natural maple syrup. You can use either Grade A or Grade B maple syrup. Next is wrapping these hens in bacon!

Cornish game hens wrapped in raw bacon, ready to bake.

Step 2: Wrap the hens in bacon and bake for 50 minutes to one hour. Baking time will vary depending on the size of the Cornish hens.

Be sure your hens are completely thawed before baking! You can also cook these hens in your air fryer. See below for the many ways you can cook Cornish hens.

Ways to Cook a Cornish Hen:

  • Marinate the hen and cook it on the grill.
  • Stuff the hen with fresh oranges and stuffing, and bake it!
  • Cook your hens in a slow cooker with fresh vegetables.
  • If you have a smoker, try smoking your game, hens. Smoking adds a rich flavor that penetrates the whole hen!
  • Roast them like in my Roasted Cornish Hens recipe.
  • Try my Air Fryer Cornish Hens recipe if you love using your air fryer.


Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will keep fresh for up to 3 days. You can also freeze any leftovers in a freezer-safe container.

Recipe FAQ:

How do you know when your hens are done baking?

Cornish game hen’s cooking time is very similar to chicken. Make sure the internal temperature is 165º F when finished. Use a digital thermometer to verify the temperature.

Is bacon gluten free?

Most bacon is gluten free. Always check the labels.

What flavor is best for roasting?

I like to use Applewood smoked bacon, but you can use any kind!

Can you use frozen Cornish hens?

You can not use frozen Cornish hens in this recipe. The cooking time becomes too uneven, and you end up with a burnt hen and a raw inside.

Bacon wrapped cornish game hens with plates in the background.

Serve With These Side Dishes:

You may also love this Ham Steak Dinner recipe.

Love This Recipe?

If you made and enjoyed this recipe, I would be incredibly grateful if you could leave a comment below. This helps others know this recipe is delicious. Thank you!

Bacon wrapped cornish hens on a platter.

Bacon Wrapped Maple Cornish Game Hens

Sandi Gaertner
These bacon wrapped maple cornish game hens is a delicious dinner that is perfect for any occasion. Just three simple ingredients!
4.86 from 35 votes
dairy free allergen icon
an egg free allergen icon
gluten free allergy icon
nut free allergen icon
soy free allergy icon
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Gluten Free Dinner Recipes, Meal Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 674 kcal


  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 Cornish game hens thawed
  • 8 slices bacon
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat the oven to 350º F.
  • Remove the Cornish game hens from wrapping. Place in a pan.
  • Drizzle maple syrup over the chicken.
  • Wrap the raw bacon around the hens. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 30 minutes, or until the cornish game hens reach 165º F internal temperature.


  1. You can use grade A or B maple syrup. Be sure to use 100% real syrup and not imitation syrup.
  2. Be sure your Cornish hens are completely thawed before baking!!
  3. These Cornish hens will keep up to 3 days in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.


Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.


Serving: 1gCalories: 674kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 44gFat: 49gSaturated Fat: 15gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 256mgSodium: 430mgPotassium: 652mgSugar: 9gVitamin A: 259IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 2mg
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Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.


4.86 from 35 votes (21 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


    1. Hi Alice, I have not used honey so I am not sure. Maple and bacon flavors impart in the recipe…and honey and maple are very different in their flavor profile. If you do try it, please do come back and let us know how it turned out.

  1. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe for Thanksgiving 2018 and it was absolutely fabulous! It was delicious and turned out beautiful! Thank you for the recipe!

    1. I am SOOOO glad you liked this recipe Donna. It is one of our very favorites too. Thank you for coming back to let me know.

  2. 5 stars
    Gorgeous pictures Sandi! They looked soooo good, I had to try and make bacon wrapped maple cornish game hens. I used your suggestion and used 8 slices of raw bacon. Thx for sharing!

  3. Hi Sandi,
    Wow!! This looks incredibly delicious. And This looks AMAZING! I will have to try it. These sound fantastic, wrapping anything in bacon makes it better, well almost better… That snickers bar did not work out too well.Thanks for reminding us to think of the people in the New york.

  4. Bacon definitely does make everything better! I love these little hens, they look so delicious and I love anything mini. I can’t describe why lol, I just like little things and think they’re cute! We’re definitely going to try these Cornish hens soon, my fiancé loves anything bacon wrapped!

  5. 5 stars
    I’ve never tried a Cornish Hen and can’t buy them where I live. Love the idea of stuffing poultry with orange though – a fresh and unusual twist.

  6. 5 stars
    These sound fantastic, wrapping anything in bacon makes it better, well almost better… That snickers bar did not work out too well 😮

  7. I haven’t made a game hen in forever! this looks like the perfect recipe to introduce them to my boys!

  8. Bacon wrapped anything is sure to be amazing! These look incredible! I’ve never had cornish game hen before, but these look so festive and pretty for Christmas!