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Air Fryer Cornish Hens

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Air fryer Cornish Hens are tasty miniature chickens! You'll love their crispy skin, juicy meat and fantastic flavor. This quick & easy meal is ready in 45 minutes.
Cornish game hens after air fryin.

Air Fryer Cornish Hens gives you crispy skin, juicy meat, and fantastic flavor in every bite of your meal! These miniature chickens are the perfect size for families and couples and are ready in about 45 minutes.

You deserve delicious and healthy dinners that won’t stress you out. Whether it is a special occasion or a weeknight dinner, these game hens will give you delicious tender meat without much work.

Cornish game hens after air fryin.

My family loves these cute little Cornish hens, and I love how easy they are to make. There are a few minutes of prep, and then they are hands off, giving you plenty of time for other things.

Find more air fryer chicken recipes! Try Air Fryer Whole Chicken, Air Fryer Fried Chicken, or Air Fryer Chicken Thighs.

🍗Key Ingredients

For exact amounts needed see the recipe card below

  • Cornish game hens
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
air fryer cornish hens ingredients
Ingredients

🥣How to Make Cornish Hens in the Air Fryer

  1. Prep – Pat the game bird dry and remove the giblets.
  2. Season – Drizzle oil on the birds. Then rub them with the garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Air Fry – Put them in the air fryer with the breast side down. Air fry at 380 degrees F for 25 minutes.
Cornish hens before air frying.
Before air frying
game hens in air fryer basket.
Ready to flip
  1. Flip – Flip them over and air fry for another 10-15 minutes until the skin is crispy, and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
  2. Rest – Let them rest for 10 minutes before serving.
air fryer cornish hen in basket.
After air frying

⭐Tip

To flip and remove them without damaging the crispy skin and marring the presentation, put tongs or a serving spoon inside the body cavity and lift them out.

flipping the game hen.

Always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature, don’t try to cook based just on time. A thermometer is not expensive and the peace of mind they give you is priceless. Food poisoning is not fun! This is my favorite inexpensive meat thermometer, which you can buy on Amazon.

🍴Serving Ideas

Air Fryer Cornish Hens look fancy, so they make a great holiday dish for a small celebration or just a simple weeknight meal. I paired mine with mini honeynut squash to go along with the mini chickens!

Other favorite side dishes include cranberry sauce, baked sweet potatoes, asparagus, or cornbread stuffing. Each hen will serve 1-2 people.

💭How to Store

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for about 3 days. You can use leftovers just like you’d use leftover chicken.

My favorite leftover recipes are Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza, Instant Pot Chicken Stew with Squash, or Chicken Salad Wraps.

side view of air fryer Cornish hen.

⭐Tips and Variations

Be sure to check out the step by step instructions

  • Always check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer.
  • Season the skin well for maximum flavor.
  • Let them rest for at least 5 minutes before serving the juiciest meat.
  • Stick tongs or a spoon inside the body cavity to lift them out
  • Use your favorite seasonings. Poultry seasoning, lemon pepper seasoning, or Italian seasoning all work well.

📝FAQ

What are Cornish Game Hens?

Cornish Game Hens are a small breed of chicken that only grows to 1-2 pounds in size. They look like mini chickens, and the meat tastes similar to regular chickens, although it is more tender.

How Many Cornish Game Hens Per Person?

Each Game Hen will serve between 1-2 people. With 2 game hens, I can comfortably serve 3 to 4 people. It is nice to give everyone their own bird for a special occasion like Thanksgiving.

Can You Air Fry Frozen Game Hen?

Yes. I prefer to defrost them, but if you forget, you can air fry a frozen game hen, as long as it doesn’t have giblets inside. Air fry the frozen bird at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Then flip them over and add the oil and seasoning. Air fry at 380 F for another 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.

Did You Make This? Leave a Star Rating!

Cornish game hens after air fryin.
4.75 from 4 votes

Air Fryer Cornish Hens Recipe

Air fryer Cornish Hens are tasty miniature chickens! You'll love their crispy skin, juicy meat and fantastic flavor. This quick & easy meal is ready in 45 minutes.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Resting Time5 mins
Servings: 3
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Ingredients
 

  • 2 Cornish game hens
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Take the game hens out of the package and pat them dry. Remove the giblets if they are inside the body cavity.
    2 Cornish game hens
  • Mix the garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
    1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Drizzle the oil on the Cornish hens and rub them with the spices. Try to coat both sides well.
    1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Put them in the air fryer basket with the breast side down. Don’t crowd them.
  • Air fry at 380 degrees F for 25 minutes. Then flip them over and air fry for another 10-15 minutes until they are golden brown and the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees F.
  • Put them on a serving platter to rest for 5-10 minutes.

Notes

  • Always check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer.
  • Season the skin well for maximum flavor.
  • Let them rest for at least 5 minutes before serving the meat.
  • Stick tongs or serving spoon inside the body cavity to lift them out
  • Change up the seasoning. Poultry seasoning, lemon pepper seasoning, or Italian seasoning all work well.

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 645kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 52g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 22g | Cholesterol: 303mg | Sodium: 959mg | Potassium: 725mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 0.03g | Vitamin A: 326IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition facts are estimates.

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top view of air fryer cornish game hen.
By on December 2nd, 2022

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