These slow-cooked Cornish Hens have a flavor that slowly cooks over hours. It is part of what makes them so tender and delicious! If you are looking for a flavorful, easy family recipe, cooking Cornish Hens in a Crock Pot or a slow cooker is the way to go!

A slow cooker cornish hen on a plate.

This is one of my very favorite dump-and-go slow cooker recipes. I wanted my slow cooker Cornish hen recipe to be the easiest dinner recipe because weeknights are brutal after work and school. Before dumping them into your slow cooker, you don’t have to pre-cook or prep anything!

The slow cooker (or Crock Pot) is a great way to make family meals for those busy school nights. They require little prep, and you don’t have to watch them cook all day! I have several delicious gluten free slow cooker recipes if you want to try some more recipes out!

Why I love this slow cooker Cornish hen recipe:

  • Cornish game hens are easy to cook in a slow cooker.
  • You can make this Cornish Hens Crock Pot recipe using only 5 ingredients!
  • Everyone gets their own, so there is no fighting over wings and legs!

You may also love this Slow Cooker Barbecue Leg Quarters recipe too!

An uncooked cornish hen on a cutting board.
You can see how small Cornish game hens are!

Ingredient Notes:

  • Cornish Hens – Usually, you will find these in either the meat section or the frozen section of your grocery store. I only have seen them frozen and sold in two-packs.
  • Rotel – I used Rotel tomatoes because I love the flavor combination of tomatoes, onions, and chiles, but you can also cut up fresh tomatoes and onions and use green chiles. (This is fun during the summer when tomatoes are in season and fresh!)
  • Salt and Pepper – I use these to season the hens, too!

If you prefer a more traditional flavored recipe, my Air Fryer Roasted Cornish Game Hens get rave reviews! You may also love these popular gluten free slow cooker chicken recipes.

How to Make Slow Cooker Cornish Hens:

Cooking Cornish hens in a slow cooker is so easy!

Two seasoned hens in the slow cooker.

Step 1: Season the hens with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Make sure to check the inner cavity to remove any bags that may contain organs. Put the hens into the Crock Pot.

🔑 Sandi says: You do not have to wash the Cornish hens before cooking them.

Two cornish hens with Rotel in the slow cooker ready to cook.

Step 2: Pour the Rotel over the game hens and add 1/2 cup of water to the slow cooker.

Step 3: Put the lid on the Crock Pot and turn it on. There are two cook options to choose from. You can cook them on low power for 6 hours or faster at high for 4 hours.

Some slow cookers can start on high power and automatically switch to low in a couple of hours. This is good if you will be gone longer than 6 hours while they are cooking.

Step 4: After the hens have finished cooking, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the hens. You want the internal temperature to be 165º F.

Serve hot with these Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes and Air Fryer Green Beans. If you enjoy this recipe, you will want to try my Bacon Wrapped Cornish Game Hens recipe too!

Variations and Substitutions:

  • This recipe works with a whole chicken, so this is a great option if you can’t find Cornish hens.
  • As I mentioned above, make your own blend of diced tomatoes, green chiles, and onions.
  • Add some ground cumin for more flavor.
  • Add in carrots and potatoes and let them cook with the hens.

If you prefer to bake the Cornish hens, try my delicious Roasted Cornish Hens recipe!

Storage:

You can store the leftover Cornish hens in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 3 days.

If you want to freeze the leftovers, remove the meat and freeze it in a freezer-safe zip-style bag. Press out the extra air. This will help to prevent freezer burn. They will keep in the freezer for up to 4 months.

The top view of a cornish game hen on a plate.

These Slow Cooker Hens would go well with my fluffy Gluten Free Biscuits!

Frequently Asked Questions:

What do Cornish hens taste like?

Cornish hens taste just like chicken; they are more tender and moist.

How do you thaw Cornish hens?

Because most Cornish hens are sold frozen, you will want to thaw your hens before cooking them.

To thaw, put the packaged hens onto a plate. Do not remove the plastic wrap they are in; they will leak all over your refrigerator as they thaw. Thaw in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours before cooking.

Can you use chicken if you can’t find Cornish hens?

Yes! You can use a chicken instead of Cornish hens. However, as a larger chicken, you will need to cook it longer in the slow cooker.

What Are Cornish Game Hens?

Cornish hens, also known as Cornish game hens, are small domestic chickens that weigh between 1 and 2 pounds. They are a cross between Cornish and White Plymouth Rock chicken breeds known for their tender, juicy meat.

The meat of a Cornish hen is flavorful and slightly more tender than that of a regular chicken due to its smaller size, which allows it to cook more quickly and evenly. They are the perfect size for one to two people and make a beautiful holiday meal.

More Gluten Free Slow Cooker Recipes:

Love This Recipe?

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

A slow cooker cornish hen on a plate.

Slow Cooker Cornish Game Hens

Sandi Gaertner
Moist flavorful Cornish game hens that you make in your slow cooker. You only need 4 ingredients!
4.93 from 13 votes
dairy free allergen icon
an egg free allergen icon
gluten free allergy icon
nut free allergen icon
soy free allergy icon
a sugar free allergen icon
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 5 minutes
Course Gluten Free Dinner Recipes, Meal Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 469 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cornish game hens *Thawed, see note
  • 15 ounces Rotel * see note
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup water

Instructions
 

  • Season the hens with salt, and garlic powder. Make sure to check the inner cavity to remove any bags that may contain organs. Put the hens into the Crock Pot.
  • HINT: You do not have to wash the Cornish hens before cooking them.
  • Pour the Rotel over the hens and add 1/2 cup of water to the slow cooker.
  • Cover and turn the Crock Pot on. You can cook them on low power for 6 hours, or cook them faster on high in 3 1/2 hours.
  • Some slow cookers have the option to start on high power then automatically switch to low in a couple of hours.
  • Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. You want the internal temperature to be 165º F.

Notes

  1. If you can’t find Rotel, you can easily use a can of diced tomatoes. Add 2 TBSP canned green chiles, and 1/2 cup diced onion.
  2. You can store the leftovers in an air-tight container in your refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  3. I do not recommend cooking frozen Cornish hens in a slow cooker. It takes a long time to cook the hens to an internal temperature of 165º F in a slow cooker and the flavor doesn’t cook into the meat the same as using thawed Cornish hens.
  4. Because most Cornish hens are sold frozen, you will want to thaw your hens before cooking them. To thaw, put the packaged hens onto a plate. Do not remove the plastic wrap they are in or they will leak all over your refrigerator as they thaw. Thaw in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours before cooking.

SPECIAL NOTE

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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1half henCalories: 469kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 39gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 227mgSodium: 440mgPotassium: 733mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 367IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 59mgIron: 3mg
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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.

This post was updated from an older October 2021 post with more cooking details.

4.93 from 13 votes (12 ratings without comment)

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4 Comments

  1. I m making Cornish hens for Thanksgiving,2021, I omitted the seasoings and I replaced with 2 boxes of Turkey stovetop stuffing and under the hens a bed of onions. I will let the stove top to soak up the juices from the hens and slow cook on low. The hens will also have red beets and biscuits,both done separately. And Cranberry Sauce too.
    I got Turkey broth dat was made from last years Turkey frame,I will make extra gravy for on the side.
    Happy Thanksgiving!