Air fryer cornish hens are tender, juicy, and seasoned to perfection! This is an easy, no-fuss solution to making a tasty chicken for family and holiday dinners. This recipe doesn’t take up valuable oven space and results in juicy, tender meat with crisp, golden skin. Cornish hens make an elegant holiday and family dinner, that everyone is sure to enjoy!
What are cornish hens?
Cornish hens, also known as cornish game hens, are young female chickens. They are similar to mini rotisserie chickens, and you can prepare them the same way you would cook any chicken.
They typically weigh less than 2 pounds each, which results in a faster cooking time than a traditional rotisserie chicken.
One cornish hen is usually the perfect size to serve 2 - 4 people. Simply slice it in half, or slice it into quarters after cooking to serve. They really do taste just like chicken!
Here’s what you’ll need for cornish hens roasted in the air fryer:
- Cornish Hens- When I made them, they were about 1.5 pounds each. You may need to increase or decrease time if they are too much smaller or bigger.
- Olive Oil - The oil helps to give the skin a nice golden brown color and crispy texture. You could use another oil if you prefer.
- Seasonings - I use salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and poultry seasoning. Poultry seasoning contains thyme, rosemary, and sage if you want to make your own. Of course, you can use your favorite seasonings instead.
- Lemon Juice - I use fresh squeezed because it adds a fresh light lemon flavor that you don’t get in a bottle.
How to cook cornish hen in an air fryer
Cornish hens in the air fryer are super easy to make. Here’s what you need to do.
Step by step instructions:
- Pat the cornish hens dry using paper towels. Check to make sure that there is nothing in the cavity of the hen.
- Rub each hen all over with olive oil, then season the cornish hens front and back with the seasonings. Be sure to also season the cavity of the chicken.
- Drizzle the lemon juice over the top of the hens.
- Place the cornish hens in the air fryer basket breast side down. Air fry for 25 minutes and then flip them over and fry for another 15 minutes.
- Remove the hens from the air fryer, and allow them to rest for 10 minutes prior to serving.
I like to garnish the hens with fresh herbs and lemon slices on a serving dish for a nice dinner presentation!
How long to cook
Cornish hens take about 40 minutes at 350 degrees to cook fully in the air fryer. Flip over after cooking for 25 minutes. They are considered done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Use a meat thermometer to obtain the best results.
Can you put frozen cornish hen in an air fryer?
Cornish hens are sold frozen in most grocery stores. You should allow them to thaw prior to cooking to ensure they are cooked thoroughly.
To thaw, place them unopened in the fridge for 48 to 72 hours. This allows them to thaw safely.
What to serve with
Some side dishes that would pair well with these cornish hens include green beans, collard greens, roasted broccoli, or any of your favorite vegetables.
If you have leftovers, place them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. To reheat, you can microwave individual servings or reheat in the air fryer for 5 to 10 minutes or until warmed through.
More easy air fryer recipes
- Air Fryer Turkey Breast
- Air Fryer Chicken Tenderloins (No Breading)
- Best Air Fryer Pork Chops
- Best Air Fryer Brats
- Air Fryer Salmon
Air Fryer Cornish Hens
These air fryer cornish hens are juicy and full of delicious flavor! They are the perfect main dish for your next family or holiday dinner!
- 2 Cornish hens, (They should weigh about 1.25 pounds each)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, (freshly squeezed)
- Pat the cornish hens dry with a paper towel. Check to make sure there is nothing inside the cavity of the chicken.
- Rub each cornish hen all over with olive oil.
- Season the hens with all of the seasonings on both the front and back sides. Be sure to also season the cavity of the chicken.
- Drizzle the lemon juice over top of the breast side of the cornish hen.
- Place the cornish hens in the air fryer breast side down, and air fry at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
- Flip the cornish hens over and air fry for another 15 minutes. The internal temperature should reach 165 degrees.
- Remove the hens from the air fryer, and place them on a serving dish. Allow the hens to rest for 10 minutes after cooking.
- Optional: Spoon any leftover air fryer basket drippings on top of the cornish hens for added flavor.
- Garnish the cornish hens with fresh lemon slices, fresh thyme, and fresh rosemary prior to serving for a nice presentation.
- Feel free to adjust seasonings to taste as needed.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 368Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 168mgSodium: 613mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 29g
All nutritional information and calculations are provided as a courtesy. Nutritional values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product, and brand selection. You should not rely on this information for medical advice.
Kay is passionate about living a healthy low carb lifestyle. She loves low carb comfort foods that are also family-friendly!
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