You'll love these crispy and juicy Air Fryer Cornish Hens! They're ready in no time and are made with a tasty blend of herbs and spices for full flavor. The small game birds are perfect for an individual serving. Great for the holidays or any occassion.
If you're looking for something a little different, you're going to love Air Fryer Cornish Hen!
Cooking the game hens in air fryer means they get wonderfully crisp on the outside, but moist and juicy inside.
Plus, you can use less oil and they're ready in no time!
I've added a tasty blend of herbs and spices to really take your air fried Cornish hens to the next level.
What are Cornish Hens?
A cornish game hen, also known as a cornish hen, is a small poultry bird that is related to the chicken.
Cornish hens are usually about 1-2 pounds in weight and make a perfect individual serving.
There are many ways to cook cornish hens, you can also bake them in the oven, roast them on the grill, or pan-fry them.
They're also great when cooked slow and low in a crockpot or pressure cooker.
But by far, my favorite way to cook these tiny chickens is by using the air fryer.
Using the air fryer is a great cooking method because it cooks the cornish hens evenly and quickly, without using a lot of oil.
You can use your favorite seasonings, and cleanup is a breeze because there's no greasy mess to deal with!
Why Make This Recipe
This recipe is great for when you need a quick protein option that doesn't require a lot of fuss.
Air fryer cornish hens are perfect for a busy weeknight meal, or when you're serving guests and want something special but don't want to spend hours in the kitchen.
They also go great with any side dish!
Cooking cornish hen in air fryer means you have less mess and a quick cleanup.
It's a showstopping dish that's perfect for a weeknight or holiday dinner.
- Cornish Hen - You can find these hens in most grocery stores in the meat section. Some grocery stores freeze them as they aren't as commonly purchased as other types of chicken.
- Olive Oil - Helps brown the chicken in the air fryer and gets the seasonings to stick.
- Garlic & Onion Powder - Infuses the chicken with a light garlic and onion flavor.
- Dried Herbs - A mix of dried rosemary and thyme adds a nice floral herb flavor to the savory chicken.
- Smoked Paprika - Adds a touch of smoky flavor that pairs well with the chicken.
- Salt & Pepper - Brings out and enhances all of the flavors in the seasoning and natural flavors of the hen.
Please scroll down to the recipe card below for the full quantities.
Wondering how to make this Air Fryer Cornish Hen recipe? It's easy!
Just follow this step-by-step photo tutorial. Then, scroll down for the recipe card for the full ingredients list and recipe method.
Prepare for air frying: Preheat your air fryer to 380F. If your air fryer allows, add a layer of foil UNDER the air fryer basket to catch any drippings.
Combine the seasoning: In a small bowl, whisk the dried seasonings together until fully combined.
Season the chicken: Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel, then rub with olive oil and dried seasonings until well coated.
Air fry the cornish hens: Lightly grease the air fryer basket. Place the hen's breast side down into the basket and air fry for 25 minutes. Flip, then cook for an additional 15 minutes or until cooked through.
Rest and serve: Remove the chicken with tongs, let it rest on the counter for 10 minutes before serving warm with your favorite side dishes.
The time and temperature for this recipe are based on a one-pound hen. If your chicken is heavier, you may need to increase the cooking time.
When cooking poultry, it's best to have a kitchen safe thermometer on hand to ensure the chicken is 165F in the thickest part.
For best results, let the chicken rest at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before air frying. This will help the chicken stay moist and juicy.
Use a cooking oil on the air fryer basket that has a high smoke point such as avocado oil or vegetable oil to keep the air fryer from smoking.
Check out these ideas for what to serve with Cornish hens.
Mix in some crumbled bacon or chopped chives for a bit of crunch.
If you're feeling adventurous, try making an Indian-inspired cornish hen by marinating it in yogurt and spices such as cumin, turmeric, and chili powder before air frying.
Try adding a teaspoon of dijon mustard to the olive oil for cornish hens with a tangy flavor.
For cornish hens with a sweet and smoky flavor, try mixing in smoked paprika with a bit of brown sugar.
Add fresh herbs instead of dry extra herby flavor.
For cornish hens with a kick, try adding cayenne pepper or hot sauce to the seasoning mix.
Storage & Freezing
Storing: Once cornish hens have been cooked, they can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.
Freezing: To freeze cornish hens, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and flash freeze for two hours. Then, transfer the frozen chicken into a Ziploc bag and store them in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw overnight before reheating and serving.
Cornish game hens are typically about one pound each, while cornish hens are usually two to three pounds. Cornish game hens can also be cooked in the oven or air fryer.
Yes, you will need to preheat your air fryer to 380F before beginning this recipe as this will shorten the cooking time and help the skin get brown and crispy.
It's recommended that they are thawed first to keep the texture and moisture consistent. If you choose to cook them frozen, increase the cooking time by about 20 minutes and make sure you check them consistently.
More air fryer recipes
We hope that you love this tasty cornish hen in air fryer recipe! Be sure to also check out these other air fryer recipes too!
Air Fryer Cornish Hens
- Air Fryer
- 2 pounds cornish hens (2 x 1lb cornish game hens)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Preheat the air fryer to 380°F
- Combine the garlic, onion, rosemary, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- Brush the olive oil all around the cornish hens, then rub the spice mix over them.
- Lightly grease the basket of the air fryer, then add the cornish hens, breast side down. Air Fry for 25 minutes, then flip them over and cook for another 15 minutes or until they’re cooked through.
- Allow the cornish hens to rest for 10 minutes, then serve warm.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.