Cornish Hen in Air fryer (Super easy and Juicy)

Fresh or frozen, these Air Fryer Cornish Hens are a juicy and full-of-flavor recipe seasoned with herbs and spices. These mini rotisserie chickens are an excellent choice for any dinner or holiday main course.

It is made on special occasions like Thanksgiving dinner or weeknight Dinners.

Cornish hens are known simply as chickens; small, young, and tender chickens. They are not game birds because game birds live in the wild.

Cooked cornish hen on a black plate
Cornish hens are juice and full of flavor

Cornish hens are similar to chickens, but the comparison isn’t as simple as it appears. Cornish chickens, in particular, are an English breed. Female chickens, known as ‘hens’, are not known to be skilled egg producers, so they are generally bred for meat.

Cornish hens are infrequently larger than 2 pounds. They are a type of chicken known as a game hen. The flavor and taste are reminiscent of chicken and can be prepared similarly to chickens. There are numerous flavor options.

Can you cook Cornish Hen in an Air fryer?

Cornish hens are very lean and high in niacin, which can help lower cholesterol and improve brain function because they are mostly white meat.

Making Cornish hen in the air fryer is super easy and healthy. Just season the hen with the spice mixture, place it in the air fryer, set the time and temperature, and let the air fryer do its thing.

Nutritional Value

The rough estimate of the Nutritional information is calculated as almost 135 Calories for only one serving of Cornish Hen in an Air fryer.

Cornish hen in an Air fryer
Cornish hen in an Air fryer
NutrientsAmount per serving
Total Fat14g
Saturated Fat2g
Trans Fat0g
Unsaturated Fat12g
This table shows the nutritional value of Cornish Hen in the Air fryer


  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dry rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon dry thyme
  • 1 (2 lbs.) Cornish hen
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Italian seasoning to taste

Seasoning Cornish Hen

You can season your Cornish hen with whatever spices you like. Some people like to season it with Salt and pepper. You can use as much or as little as you prefer. 

Seasoning Cornish hen
Seasoning Cornish hen
  • Italian seasoning is another option for people who eat less spicy food. It includes dried basil, dried oregano, rosemary, dried thyme, and dried marjoram, but several variations also feature additions like dried sage, fennel seeds, or even spices like garlic powder or crushed red pepper flakes. 
  • Rub the spice mixture all over the bird, including inside the cavity and beneath the skin. Open the space beneath the skin with a spoon to make it easier to season the Cornish with the spice blend and add more flavor.
  • You can put all spices on the Cornish hen ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until ready to cook. The combination of spices and herbs gives you an entirely different taste every time.

Directions to cook Cornish hen in an Air fryer

  • Preheat the air fryer to 380º F for 5 minutes.
  • Using a paper towel, pat dries the Cornish hen. Rub Olive oil all over the hen’s skin. Season them with salt and pepper and blend all spices and herbs like Italian seasoning all over to taste.
  • You can cook as many hens as will fit in your Air fryer basket. Make sure to place the breast side up for 40 minutes then flip halfway through 20 minutes per side. Flip for the final 5 minutes to ensure that all sides are crispy.
  • Check the thickest part of the breast with a meat thermometer. Your hens are ready if the temperature is at least 165°F/74°C.
  • Take the hens out of the air fryer basket and place them on a plate. Allow them to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to redistribute and settle.
  • Let the cooked Cornish hen rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve and Enjoy.

How to easily thaw Cornish hens?

  • There are many ways to thaw your frozen Cornish hen. One way is to remove the Cornish hens from the freezer, place them in the refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours, and allow them to thaw. It will take quite a lot of time but it’s worth the method of Thawing.
  • Another method is to fill a large bowl halfway with cold water. Add the frozen Cornish hen in it, and change the water every 30 minutes until the hen is thawed. This is a super easy and time-saving trick. You can also put Cornish hen into the microwave for fast thawing.
  • Avoid frequent freezing and thawing of Cornish hens or any other poultry meat. Increasing freeze-thaw cycles resulted in greater lipid and protein oxidation, as evidenced by higher contents of malondialdehyde and carbonyl compounds, and lower contents of sulfhydryl groups. 

Here’s a short video of the Air Fryer Cornish Hen Recipe:

Watch this video to learn about the recipe for Cornish Hen in the Air fryer

What to serve with Air fryer Cornish hen?

Serve it with Salad, roasted veggies like air fryer broccolis, or these air fryer bacon-wrapped asparagus. If you like roasted cauliflower, then air fryer cauliflower steaks are perfect for serving with Cornish hens and air fryer spaghetti squash too.

If you want to present it more appealingly, try to serve it with a fresh squeeze of lemon and maybe a couple of extra lemon wedges, and allow everyone to slice their own. You can also pair it with classic sides like Cranberry Sauce, Creamy Broccoli Casserole, Mashed Potatoes, and Roasted Broccolini.

How do you keep Cornish hens from drying out?

Allow the chickens to rest for 5-10 minutes after taking them out of the oven to prevent moisture loss.

The serving of properly baked, golden, and crispy roast Cornish hen per plate gives your table an elegant, restaurant-at-home feel. 

Air-fried Cornish hen served with lemon
You can use various sidelines for air-fried Cornish hen

Which is the best choice; Parchment paper or Aluminum foil?

Chicken requires a high temperature and takes longer to cook so aluminum foil is preferable.

If you’re grilling or baking something that requires a high temperature above 400° F, aluminum foil is a better choice because it can withstand high temperatures. If you want to cook on medium heat under 400°F, you can freely choose either of two.

The trick to store Leftovers

Refrigerate leftover air-fried Cornish hens in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze them for up to 3 months. It reheats quickly in the microwave.

To keep the chicken from drying out, save some of the pan drippings and reheat it in a skillet with the drippings.

You can also use your leftover chicken to make some fantastic salads like these:

  • Asian Chopped Chicken Salad
  • The Best Chicken Salad
  • Mexican Chicken and Rice Salad
  • Waldorf Salad

Temperature to Reheat roasted Cornish hen in the Air fryer

Firstly, Preheat the Air fryer to 350ºF and place the roasted Cornish hen in a baking dish. Cover it with foil and a sprinkle few tablespoons of water over it.

Heat until the cooked Cornish game hen reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF. The cooking time will vary depending on how much leftover you’re reheating in an Air fryer.

How Long Should My Cornish Hen Be Cooked?

Cornish hens should be roasted until golden brown with an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

This normally takes 45 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the cornish hen.

Covering cornish chickens with foil during baking will keep them moist and prevent them from drying out. You don’t have to do this if you marinade the hens for a few hours before baking them.

Why Isn’t My Chicken Crisping In The Air Fryer?

Follow these guidelines to learn how to properly utilize oil in your air fryer:

  • Before adding oil, thoroughly dry the outside of the meal. If you use too much oil, the food will become less crispy and fattier.
  • To achieve the crispiest results, gently coat meat or poultry with oil or marinade it.


  • Remember to preheat your air fryer as unlike other chicken recipes this requires preheating. 
  • Bringing your hens to room temperature at least 30-40 minutes before air frying. Properly thaw your hens as it can help you in easy cooking.
  • For much easier clean-up and to help with a nonstick surface of the Air fryer, use parchment paper or Aluminum foil in the air fryer basket. The quality of the lining depends upon the cooking/baking temperature of the Air fryer.
  • Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature to tell if your cooked Cornish game hen is fully cooked or not.

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