Cornish hens are a type of chicken that is typically found in the UK and Europe.
These chickens have dark meat, just like other types of chickens, but they also offer more flavor with their delicate bones.
They’re not too large so that they can be cooked quickly over an open flame or inside your oven.
The best part about cooking them is that they come with their roasting pan.
If you have cornish hens on your table this season, then it’s essential to know what side dishes to serve with them.
Here are 14 of our favorite recipes that are perfect for this occasion.
What To Serve With Cornish Hens? 14 BEST Side Dishes
These smaller birds are packed with flavor, which means they can be served by themselves or accompanied with other dishes.
One of the most popular accompaniments for this dish is rice pilaf, but many more side dishes go well with it.
1 – Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Sure, they might not be everyone’s favorite vegetable (or even a vegetable at all) but roasting them with olive oil and salt is sure to change your mind.
They taste delicious on their own and mixed in with other roasted vegetables like potatoes, carrots, squash – really anything you have lying around that needs to get roasted.
You can use any of the cooking methods for roasting vegetables you prefer.
2 – Crispy Fried Onion Rings
These are a classic appetizer but can also be used as a side dish.
The batter is typically made from flour and milk, with the onion rings battered in rice or corn starch before being fried for about three to four minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Let them cool a little before you serve them, and they will have that perfect crunch.
You can also make them in advance and reheat for a few minutes at 350 degrees.
3 – Sautéed Mushrooms
Cook mushrooms by adding them to butter in a pan over medium heat until they release their liquid (this will help bring out all of their deep flavors).
Then once that has cooked off, add salt, pepper, garlic powder, fresh thyme leaves and cook it down just slightly again.
So you get some lovely rich browning on the edges of your mushroom slices.
Serve these alongside any meat like Cornish hens.
4 – Creamy Coleslaw
Again, this dish requires quite a bit more time than others on our list, but if you’re looking for something light yet flavorful, then creamy coleslaw will do nicely.
All you need to do is shred cabbage (or any vegetable like carrots), mix mayonnaise and sour cream as your dressing base, toss in some sugar while adding salt, pepper, celery seeds, and mustard to taste.
Let your coleslaw sit in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.*
5 – Butternut Squash Gratin
This one takes a little more work than the other dishes, but it is well worth the effort.
Slice up some of that squash you love so much and add to stewed tomatoes before topping with a crusty breadcrumb or cheese-based topping and baking in an oven until bubbly and golden brown.
You can also make a cheese sauce for the topping, but you might want to add some cream or milk if you do.
6 – Delectable Eggplant Parmesan
This one is another dish that takes a bit of prep work and time in the oven, but once it’s ready, there are few dishes as satisfying.
Lay out slices of eggplant with tomato paste on top before adding your favorite marinara sauce and grated mozzarella cheese, then baking until bubbly and browned on top.
Serve with crusty garlic bread (or better yet, basil-seasoned buns) for dipping into all that yummy goodness.
7 – Arugula, Radish, and Feta Salad
This salad takes just a few minutes to make but tastes like something you would find on the menu of an expensive restaurant.
The tangy combination of arugula, radishes, and feta cheese is sure to please any palate with its fresh taste that will leave your mouth watering long after it’s gone.
The key to making this salad a success is to make sure you use fresh ingredients.
Also, store-bought dressing on this salad is a no-go. Only use the homemade version to make sure it has that fresh taste you are looking for.*
8 – Lemon Garlic Pasta
This easy side dish can be made in less than 20 minutes and will have your mouth watering with its tangy yet rich flavor that comes from the bright lemon juice mixed perfectly with garlic.
The only thing you’ll need for this recipe is some noodles of your choice, olive oil, salt, and pepper, along with butter.
It doesn’t take much and is served warm, so it’s the perfect dish to serve up right before dinner.
9 – Sautéed Kale with Garlic
This side dish goes great with any meat but pairs exceptionally well with
Cornish hens because of its health benefits, like cleansing your system through toxins for a healthier you.
Just take some olive oil and garlic in a pan, then add chopped kale leaves and sautée them until they are bright green. You can also use other greens if desired.
Make sure that the color remains vibrant. Add just about anything else you want, such as butter or cheese.
Or you can skip these ingredients and enjoy them as is.
10 – Asparagus and Goat Cheese Quiche
A quiche is usually not something you can make on the spur of the moment.
Still, this recipe allows you to whip one together quickly without sacrificing quality or taste.
You’ll need just 20 minutes from start to finish and will have an impressive dish at your fingertips with minimal effort.
This particular version includes goat cheese and garlic, onion, eggs, and flour, making it all very moist and creamy while still having plenty of flavor from those essential ingredients mentioned above.
You can also experiment with different types of cheese to find your favorite.
11 – Salad Caprese
It may sound simple. Still, there are few things as satisfying or refreshing in the summertime than a classic Caprese salad made from ripe tomato slices topped with basil leaves tossed in olive oil before being layered on top of buffalo mozzarella then finished off with some balsamic vinegar drizzle straight from the bottle.
This salad is perfect for your guests because it is quick and straightforward to make, but they will be impressed by the freshness of the ingredients you used.
12 – Bacon and Butternut Squash Gratin with Truffle Oil
You know that rich, earthy, creamy dish you make in a large casserole dish from time to time? Well, this is it but better.
First of all, it starts by slicing up half a head of bacon into cubes, then cooking them until they are crispy brown before taking off the pan and adding about two cups of chopped onion (you can use shallots if you want) along with peeled and cubed squash to cook for five minutes or so while stirring often.
Next, add cream cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and some freshly grated parmesan at your discretion before pouring over breadcrumbs mixed with melted butter and baking for about 20 minutes.
The final touch is a sprinkle of truffle oil or some other type of fancy-pants oil, and voila.
13 – Classic Cranberry Sauce
I don’t know about you, but I can never get enough cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving dinner.
It’s the perfect accompaniment to just about any main dish, and it makes a great addition to Cornish Hens too.
There are many ways to make cranberry sauce, but make sure to use fresh cranberries and good quality sugar.
Also, you want to make sure the berries are nice and sweet so that they don’t taste like sour jello.
As a result, the sauce will have a much better texture and flavor.
14 – Creamy Mushroom Sauce
This is a simple way to dress up your Cornish Hens without much fuss or muss.
Mushrooms are one of my favorite things, and they’re so easy to cook too, making them even more appealing.
All you have to do is sauté some mushrooms in butter with salt, pepper, and thyme leaves before adding heavy cream (or half-and-half) for an extra creamy touch that’s delicious when tossed over pasta as well.
You can use your favorite mushrooms or whatever you happen to have on hand.
Cornish hens are a popular dish for Thanksgiving dinner and holiday entertaining. These tasty little birds are usually served with stuffing, mashed potatoes or rice pilaf, roasted vegetables, gravy, and cranberry sauce.
Our team has compiled a list of 13 side dishes to serve with Cornish Hens. We hope this inspires you and helps you make the most of your holiday dinner plans.
What is your favorite side dish? Let us know in the comments section below.