Cornish Hen Brine - Carolina Country

Cornish Hen Brine Bring on the brine!

3.1/5 rating (125 votes)
Cornish Hen Brine

Brining can greatly enhance some meats and seafood, making them extra juicy, and can even help with caramelization — especially on poultry skin.

The basic brine ratio is ¼ cup of salt per 1 quart of water. If more caramelization is a goal, add ¼ cup of sugar. Aromatics and seasonings can also be added. You will want to make enough to cover (plus a little) whatever you are brining.

Here is a brine you can use to make your Cornish hens extra juicy and enhance caramelization of the skin. 


  • 3 quarts water
  • ¾ cup salt
  • ¾ cup sugar


  1. Whisk salt and sugar with just enough hot tap water to dissolve.

  2. Add birds to container with solution and fill with remaining cold tap water until fully submerged. Add a little ice to chill faster. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight. Drain and discard brine.

  3. Prepare hens according to your favorite recipe! Try our Sesame Cornish Hens with Honey and Rosemary recipe.

Recipe courtesy of

Wendy Perry, a culinary adventurist and blogger, chats about goodness around NC on her blog at

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3.1/5 rating (125 votes)

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Comments (2)

  • Hello, hope you are well. I tried the brine on a cornish game hen. After cooking the hen was so salty we could not eat it. I revisited the recipe. I followed it exactly. The only thing I can think of is I should have used kosher salt? Please respond, and thank you, Terry

    terry brown |
    July 23, 2020 |

    • Hello Terry,
      We're sorry to hear about the overly salty cornish game hen! This brine recipe is fairly standard ... it's even less of a salt-to-water ratio than some suggest. When testing, our recipe expert used table salt, sea salt, pink sea salt and kosher salt and they all yielded a similar level of acceptable saltiness. It's possible that the game hen was in the brine for too long, but in addition to saltiness, you would have noticed an odd mushy texture to the meat. If you try again, you could decrease the amount of salt to be on the safe side, and/or decrease the brine time.

      Carolina Country |
      July 25, 2020 |

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